Join SCAS for “Mapping Cultural Landscapes in a 19th Century Pacific Island Port of Call: Community Mapping for the World Heritage List Nomination of Levuka, Fiji,” a talk by Margaret Purser, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology, Sonoma State University. The talk will be held on February 8, 2018, at 7:30 pm at the Santa Cruz Live Oak Grange Hall at 1900 17th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (click here for Google Maps directions).
The Levuka Cultural Landscape Project was designed to support the Fiji National Trust’s efforts to nominate the colonial capitol site of Levuka to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It ran from 2002 to 2010, with the nomination succeeding in 2013. Designed as a community-based participatory geographic information systems (GIS) project, this collaborative project recorded a wide variety of sites, structures, and places important to local residents. Conventional archaeological sites formed only one component of this larger cultural landscape. Working with community members to identify, record, and document the wide range of landscape features created an intriguing picture of the transformation of a small beachcomber settlement of the 1820s into a modern tourist destination. This talk will tell the story of the project, with its many twists and turns, as a useful case study in an increasingly popular methodology: the collaborative community-based research project.
Margaret Purser is a professor of anthropology at Sonoma State University (SSU). She is the past chair of the SSU Anthropology Department, former graduate coordinator of the SSU Cultural Resources Management program, and teaches courses in archaeology, cultural landscape studies, and contemporary heritage management studies. She has worked on community-based research projects on Nevada ranching, Sierra Nevada gold mining, maritime landscapes in the Sacramento River Delta, and coffee and sugar plantations in Pacific coastal Guatemala. From 2000 to 2010 she worked on the nomination of the nineteenth-century Pacific port town of Levuka, Fiji, to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Her current project is called the “Santa Rosa Neighborhood Heritage Mapping Project,” which is creating an online interactive map of that city’s many diverse and vibrant neighborhoods designed to help celebrate the sesquicentennial celebrations in 2018.