Welcome to our new member, postgraduate student Brad Underhill!
Brad’s thesis, ‘Colonial Development in Melanesia: Economic and Political Progress or Colonial Control?’ , investigates the economic, social and political effect of colonial development programs in the post-War period on Melanesia. My previous research project focussed on the co-operative movement in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and primarily argued that, despite their economic failure, colonial sponsored co-operatives were instrumental in the long-term success of two independent, self-supporting, subsequent communal organisations. This project will extend my initial research in two ways. Firstly, I found there was a strong correlation between co-operatives and another colonial development ‘tool’- the introduction of local government councils. Due to the restrictions of the Honours program I could not fully examine these links, but I feel they are well worth investigating. Secondly, by extending my research to other parts of Melanesia I will be able to more thoroughly analyse the impact of colonial development programs on the micro-nationalist movements of the late colonial period. Furthermore, this will allow a study of the multiple colonial powers- Britain, France, Netherlands, and Australia- of the region, and provide an opportunity to compare the impact of each on the island peoples.