Nest in the Wind: Adventures in Anthropology on a Tropical Island by Martha  Ward
178 pages, $22.95 list
1-57766-368-3
978-1-57766-368-3
Instructor's Manual available
Nest in the Wind
Adventures in Anthropology on a Tropical Island
Second Edition
During her first visit to the beautiful island of Pohnpei in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, anthropologist Martha Ward discovered people who grew quarter-ton yams in secret and ritually shared a powerful drink called kava. She managed a medical research project, ate dog, became pregnant, and responded to spells placed on her. Thirty years later she returned to Pohnpei to learn what had happened there since her first visit. Were islanders still relaxed and casual about sex? Were they still obsessed with titles and social rank? Was the island still lush and beautiful? Had the inhabitants remained healthy?

This second edition of Ward’s best-selling account is a rare, longitudinal study that tracks people, processes, and a place through decades of change. It is also an intimate record of doing fieldwork that immerses readers in the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and the sensory richness of Pohnpei. Ward addresses the ageless ethnographic questions about family life, politics, religion, traditional medicine, magic, and death together with contemporary concerns about postcolonial survival, the discontinuities of culture, and adaptation to the demands of a global age. Her insightful discoveries illuminate the evolution of a culture possibly distant from yet important to people living in other parts of the world.
Reviews
“This is a richly contextualized longitudinal and intimate portrait of an island people and the field work done to learn about them” — James Russell McGoodwin, University of Colorado

“I found the account of her original trip and then the changes when she returned quite interesting. It is an excellent illustration of how cultures change over time.” — Vaughn M. Bryant, Texas A&M University

Nest in the Wind is very popular with my students. Martha Ward’s engaging experiences allow students to see how anthropologists do their fieldwork and explore cultural differences.” — Patrick Chapman, South Puget Sound Community College

“I would use this as a dual case study: the ‘story’ of a culture as well as an example of the dynamics of anthropological research . . . what goes on in the mind of the researcher. Being a longitudinal study is an added plus.” — Karen Bourg, Nashville State Community College

“Martha Ward is a talented writer. My students enjoyed the book while gaining a sense of the ethnographic endeavor and of the changes on the island. The new edition conveys the dynamics of change for Pohnpei (and Ward) nicely.” — Uzi Baram, New College of Florida

“I thought this was excellent. I am considering it as an ethnography for my human sexuality class. It is definitely appropriate for a class on gender or introduction to cultural anthropology.” — Patricia Whelehan, SUNY, Potsdam

“I think it is a great example of the perils of field work and how difficult it is to separate oneself from the culture of study.” — Barbara Jones, Brookdale Community College

“I have used the earlier edition; it was a good choice from the students’ perspectives as well as mine.” — Susan DeMille Walter, St. Mary’s University

“. . . a very special book.” — American Ethnologist

Nest in the Wind is a readable, enjoyable, and insightful work presenting the personal and professional experiences of a young American woman conducting medical anthropological research in Pohnpei in the early 1970s.” — Robert W. Franco, American Anthropologist

“Here Ward gives us a first-person account of her adventures as she learned to get along and accomplish her work in an unfamiliar and often uncomfortable tropical island environment, among people of an unfamiliar culture. Along with telling her personal story she manages to convey a great deal about Pohnpeian life, society, and culture.” — R. Berleant-Schiller, Choice

“Ward does a masterful job bringing this exotic research setting and the dynamics of fieldwork alive for the reader.” — Suzanne Falgout, Pacific Studies

“It’s wonderful—down to earth, human, humane, and truthful. The style is engaging, highly readable, and thoroughly enjoyable.” — Charlotte Frisbie, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville

“The ethnographic content provides a good starting point for discussions of area similarities and differences while the fieldwork format adds some luster to what can be rather dry ethnographic fact.” — Franklin Young, University of San Diego

“Shows the underlying realities of fieldwork and research that most of us haven’t the nerve to write about. Should prove to be an excellent and more realistic book for priming students to enter fieldwork.” — Joseph K. Long, Plymouth State College

“Written with a verve more characteristic of a novelist than an anthropologist, this book is my choice for the primary text for a course on introductory sociocultural anthropology. Ward presents all of the salient terms and concepts of anthropology in a personal way, embedding them in daily life experiences and thus making them more readily accessible to the introductory student.” — Claire R. Farrer, Colorado College
Table of Contents
Introduction. Once Upon a Time—and Back Again
1. Fruit in the Hands of the Gods
2. Green Leaves on Stories
3. Water Running under Boulders
4. Smoke Follows the High People
5. A Locked Box
6. The Ends of Canoes
7. The Core of a Mangrove Log
8. Between Times
9. You Cannot Hate with Kava in You
10. It Takes an Outrigger to Float a Canoe