Dr Fraser Macdonald

Fraser Macdonald

Convenor, Senior Lecturer, Undergraduate Advisor

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

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.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

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 (ongoing)

PhD supervision:

Mosheen Riaz Ud Dean (completed)

Elizabeth Pascal (ongoing)

Ruth Zhang (ongoing)

James Faiau (ongoing)

Lillian Brown (ongoing)

Sharayne Bennett (ongoing)

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.

Recent Publications

  • Macdonald, F. (2019). Fire from heaven or recycled culture? Spiritual gifts within a Melanesian pentecostal revival. In Annual Conference of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO). University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

  • Macdonald, F. (2019). Breaking points: Mediating rupture and discontinuity within Oksapmin church performances, Papua New Guinea. Anthropologica, 61(1), 123-136. doi:10.3138/anth.2017-0051

  • Macdonald, F., & Goldsmith, M. (2019). Introduction: Religious rupture and revival in the Pacific. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 128(4), 371.

  • Macdonald, F. (2019). Melanesia burning: religious revolution in the western Pacific. Journal of the Polynesian Society, 128(4), 391-410. doi:10.15286/jps.128.4.391-410

Find more research publications by Fraser Macdonald


Anthropology; Culture; Pacific Issues; Religion

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Macdonald, Dr Fraser 9315 fraserm J.2.08A Anthropology

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