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James Flexner
Archaeological Research Facility
2251 College Ave.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
jamesflexner@calmail.berkeley.edu
My interests in Polynesia have developed since I spent a semester abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. It was there that I was introduced to Polynesian cultures, and the history of the remote islands of the Pacific both before and after European expansion into the region beginning in the 16th century.

During this time, I obtained a B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Virginia. My fieldwork experiences as an undergraduate ranged from work at Monticello, where I became interested in historical archaeology, to various CRM projects in Virginia and Maryland, and a project on Pemba Island, Tanzania. Most recently my fieldwork has taken me to Kalaupapa National Historic Park on Moloka’i, in the state of Hawaii.

The focus of my research is on the period following European contact, which took place in Hawaii in 1778 with the arrival of Captain Cook. The spread of capitalism and the development of the modern world system are two aspects of world history which I believe archaeology is uniquely poised to examine. Furthermore, I am interested in the ways in which landscapes develop historically. The spread of “portmanteau biota” by Polynesian people first colonizing islands previously uninhabited by humans, and a second wave of landscape change associated with European arrivals are important means of coming to some understanding of the longue duree of historical change in the Pacific.

My research on Kalaupapa will examine these two broad historic properties, as well as the community structure of life at Kalawao Leprosy Settlement (1866-1900). The early inhabitants of this settlement, intended to alleviate the Kingdom of Hawaii’s problems with leprosy, have been mostly overlooked or essentialized by modern history. By examining this community in detail, I hope to bring new voices into the historical literature by studying their material remains. In addition, it is my sincere wish to bring archaeology to the public in ways that bring about positive change in society.


Publications


Flexner, James L.
2005 Review of The Archaeology of Contact in Settler Societies, edited by Tim Murray. Pacific Affairs, in print.

McCoy, Mark D., James L. Flexner, and John M. Matsunaga
2005 Kalaupapa Cesspool Project (KCP 2005): A Report on Archaeological Testing in Kalaupapa Settlement, Molokai Island, Hawaii. Submitted to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Moloka’i, Hawai’i.

McCoy, Mark D., James L. Flexner, and John M. Matsunaga
2005 An Archaeological Survey of Two Proposed Solid Waste Plant Sites, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Hawai’i. Submitted to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, Moloka’i, Hawai’i.

Flexner, James L.
2005 Bead Grinders and the Early Swahili. Distinguished Majors Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia. (Publication in Journal of African Archaeology forthcoming)

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