Dr Fraser Macdonald

Qualifications: Ph.D (ANU); M.A. (University of Canterbury)

([email protected])

About Fraser

I am an anthropologist of religion with a particular focus upon global evangelical-Pentecostal Christian movements in Melanesia and how they dynamically intersect with traditional cultural frameworks.


Anthropology; Culture; Pacific Issues; Religion

Research Interests

The majority of my research has investigated the effects of evangelical-Pentecostal Christianity among the Oksapmin people, an ethnic group living high in the central mountains of Papua New Guinea near the Indonesian border. Within my published writing I have examined how different aspects of their traditional religion and cosmology have been reshaped and revalued through coming into contact with globalised forms of Christianity. For example, different publications have explored how conversion to Christianity has changed people's understanding of mythology, sorcery and witchcraft, environmental disruption, human and cosmic origins, souls, death and the afterlife, as well as the use of traditional performative elements within church worship.

My interest in the cultural dimensions of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity forms the central thrust of my recently awarded Marsden Fast Start project Melanesia Burning: The Explosion of Pentecostalism in the Western Pacific, a $300,000 grant to fund three years of research into an intense Pentecostal revival that swept through the Melanesian region like wildfire in the early 1970s, dramatically reshaping the local religious landscape. The research, which will begin in March 2019, will see my conduct extensive ethnographic fieldwork throughout Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, as well as detailed archival and interview work within Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia.

In addition to my specifically academic research I have also worked within both Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands as a consultant anthropologist within the development and extractive industries. My work for a variety of organisations and companies across the region has embraced activities such as stakeholder engagement, social mapping and landowner identification reports, as well as cultural heritage surveys.

Featured Publications

Forthcoming Publications

Recent Publications

  • Macdonald, F. (2021). The politics of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity: Religious language, charismatic authority, and temporality in a Melanesian revival movement. History and Anthropology. doi:10.1080/02757206.2021.2014478

  • Macdonald, F., & Falck, C. (Eds.) (2020). Special Issue: Positioning culture within Pacific Christianities. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 31(2), 121-269. doi:10.1111/taja.12323

  • Macdonald, F., & Falck, C. (2020). Positioning culture within Pacific Christianities. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 31(2), 123-138. doi:10.1111/taja.12365

  • Macdonald, F. (2020). How to make fire: Resonant rupture within Melanesian charismatic revivalism. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 31(2), 187-202. doi:10.1111/taja.12362

View all research publications by Fraser Macdonald

Papers Taught


I have a keen interest in supervising students at the Masters and PhD level whose own research interests intersect with mine and welcome any enquiries to provide supervision.

Masters supervision:

Stephanie Howser (completed)

Hayley Phillips (completed)

Ahere Hapi (completed)

Esther Liddle (completed)

PhD supervision:

Mosheen Riaz Ud Dean (completed)

Elizabeth Pascal (completed)

Ruth Zhang (ongoing)

James Faiau (ongoing)

Lillian Brown (ongoing)

Sharayne Bennett (ongoing)

Associations and Memberships