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Department of Social Anthropology


Recording Kastom brings readers into the heart of colonial Torres Strait and New Guinea with the personal journals of Cambridge zoologist and anthropologist Alfred Haddon. Haddon’s journals highlight his comprehensive vision of anthropology and preoccupation with documentation. They also reveal the personal, often intimate nature of field experience and the central role played by named Islanders who worked with him to record their kastom. The work of Haddon and the members of the 1898 Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Strait was hugely influential on the nascent discipline of anthropology and remains of great interest to Islanders and scholars working in the region.

The production of the book involved consultation and collaboration with Islander communities and direct descendants of the people with whom Haddon worked. In addition to the full text of the journals, this comprehensively annotated edition assembles a rich array of historic photographs, drawings, artefacts, film and sound recordings. An extensive introductory essay provides historical and cultural context. The preface and epilogue offer Torres Strait Islander perspectives on the historical context of Haddon's work and its significance for the future.

To find out more:

Recording Kastom is available for purchase at the Museum shop and can also be purchased on-line via the University of Cambridge Museums and libraries shop here: