Melanesia
   A subdivision of Oceania or the Pacific Islands (along with Polynesia and Micronesia), spreading from New Guinea in the west to Norfolk Island in the east. It does not always refer to clear cultural or geographical distinctions. Various Melanesian peoples have been identified as having animistic cultures and employing shamans. Ira Bashkow, for example, writes about the Papua New Guinean Orokaiva’s version of the widespread taro cult in which prophecy, spirit possession, and shamanism confronted colonialism and reasserted indigenous vitality and sovereignty. This local form of “cargo cult” began in 1912 and enabled people to consider and engage with their integration into globalized consumerist modernism. Garry Trompf’s discussion of Melanesian religion notes the induction of trance among the dancers in a taro cult who chewed wild strawberry leaves and blew out scented breath or smoke. Robert Wallis has contributed a critical discussion of shamanism, ethnography, and rock art in Malakula, Vanuatu.

Historical dictionary of shamanism. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Melanesia — one of three large divisions of Pacific islands, 1840, from a continental language, from MELANO (Cf. melano ) + nesos island (see CHERSONESE (Cf. Chersonese)) + IA (Cf. ia). Modeled after POLYNESIA (Cf. Polynesia) and meant to signify the islands …   Etymology dictionary

  • Melanesia — [mel΄ə nē′zhə, mel΄ə nē′shə] [ModL < Gr melas, black (see MELANO ) + nēsos, island (see NATANT) + IA; in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants] one of the three major divisions of the Pacific islands, south of the equator and including …   English World dictionary

  • Melanesia — Ethno cultural definition of Melanesia. Melanesia is …   Wikipedia

  • Melanesia — Mapa de Melanesia. La Melanesia es una de las divisiones tradicionales de Oceanía creadas por el explorador francés Jules Dumont d Urville en 1832. Se extiende desde el occidente del océano Pacífico al mar de Arafura y tiene al sur a Australia,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Melanesia — /mel euh nee zheuh, sheuh/, n. one of the three principal divisions of Oceania, comprising the island groups in the S Pacific NE of Australia. * * * Island group, South Pacific Ocean. A subdivision of Oceania, it lies northeast of Australia and… …   Universalium

  • Melanesia — geographical name the islands in the Pacific NE of Australia & S of Micronesia including Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, & the Fijis …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Melanesia — noun Part of Oceania, made up of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji …   Wiktionary

  • Melanesia — ► Región geográfica del Pacífico que contiene Nueva Guinea y diversas islas: Bismarck, Salomón, Nueva Caledonia, Pinos, Lealtad, Nuevas Hébridas, Santa Cruz, Fidji y Rotuma. * * * Grupo insular del océano Pacífico sur. El grupo, una subdivisión… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • MELANESIA —    eleven archipelagoes of crystalline, coralline, and volcanic islands in the W. of Polynesia, all S. of the equator, and inhabited by the Melanesian or dark oceanic race; includes the Fiji, Solomon, Bismarck, and New Hebrides islands …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Melanesia — Mel|a|ne|si|a a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, northeast of Australia, including Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and Fiji …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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