This article investigates the importance of Oceania in the early study of kinship. It examines the tensions between evidence and analysis from the Pacific Islands in the development of Lewis Henry Morgan's theory of evolving kinship forms. While other sources from the Pacific islands are investigated it is focused particularly on the correspondence between Morgan and Lorimer Fison, Methodist missionary and key figure in the spread of kinship schedules and anthropological theories throughout Oceania in the I 870s. The empirical data gathered by Fison, challenged Morgan's schema and questioned the orthodox evolutionist hierarchy in Asia and the Pacific. Also investigated is the British response to this unruly evidence.
Field of Research
210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified