Faculty of Arts - Anthropology

Dr Phyllis Herda

BA (Arizona), MA (Auckland), PhD (ANU)

Senior Lecturer Anthropology

Dr Phyllis Herda

Anthropology, Social Sciences,

Email: p.herda@auckland.ac.nz

Extension: 87111 (ph + 64 9 373 7599)

Human Sciences Building
10 Symonds St
Room 838

Research interests

Social Anthropolgy / women's studies: Polynesia, textiles, oral traditions as history, disease and colonialism, issues of gender, status and power.


Current research

Phyllis has trained in Anthropology and Pacific History. Her research and writing has focused on gender, politics and colonialism in the Polynesian past and present.


Phyllis is currently completing two research projects:


1) A Plague on Paradise: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Western Polynesia.

This project is a study of the relationship between European colonialism and the spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic in western Polynesia. Archival research was undertaken on this project in the British Library and Public Records Office (United Kingdom), Mitchell Library and the Business and Labour Archives, Australian National University (Australia), Hamilton Library and the Library of Congress (United States), National Library and the National Archives (Aotearoa/New Zealand). Oral history fieldwork was conducted in Tonga and Aotearoa New Zealand;


2) The Creation of a New Tradition: Women’s Quilting in Polynesia.

This project explicates the social and aesthetic practices and values embodied in Polynesian quilting. It explores how patterns of exchange and kinship between island groups are and have been negotiated by women in the establishment of a quilting aesthetic as well as a diversely commodified art form. Research was undertaken at the American Museum in Britain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Bowes Museum, Worthing Museum (United Kingdom) and the Shelburne Museum, New England Quilt Museum, Old Sturbridge Village, Museum of American Folk Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, DAR Museum, Bishop Museum, and Honolulu Academy of the Arts (United States). Fieldwork was undertaken in Tonga, Hawai’i and Aotearoa New Zealand. Fieldwork is planned for the Cook Islands and Society Islands.

Recent publications

Herda, P. In press. "The political aspects of marriage in traditional Tonga". In Tonga and the Tongans: Heritage and Identity, edited by E. Wood Ellem. Melbourne: Tongan Research Association.

———. 2007. "Hybrid identities and the transference of Hawaiian quilt imagery". Pacific Arts (NS) 3-5:37-45.

Addo, P., H. Young-Leslie, and P. Herda, eds. 2007. Hybrid Textiles: Pragmatic Creativity and Authentic Innovations in Pacific Cloth. Special Triple Issue of Pacific Arts, vol 3-5.

Herda, P. 2005. "Narratives of gender and pre-eminence: The Hikule’o myths of Tonga". In Vision and Reality in the Pacific Religion, edited by P. Herda, M. Reilly and D. Hilliard. Christchurch; Canberra: Macmillan Brown Centre; Pandanus Press.

Herda, P., M. Reilly, and D. Hilliard, eds. 2005. Vision and Reality in the Pacific Religion. Christchurch; Canberra: Macmillan Brown Centre; Pandanus Press.

Reilly, M., and P. Herda. 2005. "Vision and reality in Pacific religion: An introduction". In Vision and Reality in Pacific Religion, edited by P. Herda, M. Reilly and D. Hilliard. Christchurch and Canberra: Macmillan Brown Centre and Pandanus Press.

Herda, P. 2005. "Marriage, rank and political process in ancient Tonga". In A Polymath Anthropologist: Essays in Honour of Ann Chowning, RAL (Research in Anthropology and Linguistics) Monograph 6, edited by C. Gross, H. Lyons and D. Counts. Auckland: Department of Anthropology, The University of Auckland.

Recent conference presentations

Herda, P. 2007. "Malaspina in Vava’u’". Tonga: Its Land, Sea and People, Nuku’alofa, Tonga, July.

———. 2005. "Documenting historical New Zealand quilts". Southern Threads: Connecting Dress, Cloth and Culture, Otago Settler Museum, Dunedin, March.

———. 2005. "The political aspects of marriage in traditional Tonga". Tonga and the Tongans, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, July.

Dr Phyllis Herda's Recent Publications

Current teaching

Course Title Availability in 2014
ANTHRO 204 Ethnography of Island Polynesia Summer School, repeated Semester 2
ANTHRO 225 Anthropology of Art and Performance Semester 2
ANTHRO 315 Anthropology of Art and Performance Semester 2
Women's Studies
Course Title Availability in 2014
WOMEN 100 Gender and the Culture of Everyday Life Semester 2

Dr Phyllis Herda's Teaching

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