Dr James Flexner

BA Virginia MA PhD Calif
Lecturer in Historical Archaeology and Heritage

A14 - The Quadrangle
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 6352
Fax +61 2 9351 3918

Website Academia - Selected Publications
Phonebook Entry

Biographical details

James L. Flexner is a lecturer in historical archaeology and heritage at the University of Sydney. His main research interests are in landscape archaeology and historical archaeology, with a geographic focus on Oceania. Recently, he is also exploring the use of early ethnographic collections in archaeological analysis. A significant component of his research is close collaboration with local communities, as well as broader public outreach efforts to make archaeology accessible to many audiences.His doctoral research at UC Berkeley was a study of the landscapes of the 19th century leprosarium at Kalawao, Moloka'i in the Hawaiian Islands. Since then, he has focused his research efforts on fieldwork projects in Vanuatu. His major research project from 2011-2015 was an analysis of mission sites and surrounding Melanesian landscapes during the era of early Christian contacts on the islands of Erromango and Tanna.

James received an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship (DE130101703) to support research in Vanuatu. Beginning in 2016 he will be leading an ARC Discovery Project (DP160103578) to study 3000 years of settlement patterns and cross-cultural interactions in southern Vanuatu (see Current Projects below).

Current projects

Major Research Projects:

2016-2019: Australian Research Council Discovery Project (with Stuart Bedford and Frederique Valentin), ‘3000 years of settlement and interaction in southern Vanuatu’ (DP160103578, $AU317,698 research funding over four years)

Abstract: ‘One of archaeology's most significant contributions is providing models for the emergence of cultural diversity through time. Vanuatu is one of the most diverse regions on Earth. The southern islands were an important hub in early settlement and long-term inter-island interactions of Island Melanesia. Yet little is known about the origins of cultural contacts and diversity in the area. A major archaeological survey of the Polynesian outliers Futuna and Aniwa and neighbouring islands Tanna and Aneityum would greatly improve our knowledge of settlement patterns, long-distance exchange, and cross-cultural interaction in the region, from initial Lapita settlement 3000 years ago through to the arrival of Christian missionaries in the 1860s.’

2013-2016: Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, ‘Mission archaeology and colonial encounters in southern Vanuatu’ (DE130101703, AU$350,505 salary and research funding over three years, hosted at the Australian National University)
Abstract: ‘The remains of Christian missions in southern Vanuatu are important heritage sites for local communities, and for their place in world history as part of one of the final frontiers of European colonialism. This project explores these sites to produce a new picture of everyday life that includes the perspectives of missionaries and native people.’

Project website -https://svmap.mukurtu.net

Other Current Research Projects:

Hawaiian Sacred Sites After 1820: Archival and archaeological research on the use of indigenous sacred sites in the Hawaiian Islands after European contact, particularly the arrival of missionaries in 1820. Includes research on the earliest archaeological studies of these sites in the early 1900s (with colleagues from the B.P. Bishop Museum, Southern Methodist University, and University of California, Berkeley).

Archaeology of Triabunna Barracks: Historical archaeology project on an 1840s military barracks that housed the regiment guarding Maria Island convict settlement. The site was later used as a tavern, hotel, bakery, and post office. Run as an annual field school (with colleagues from the Australian National University).

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2016

  • 3000 Years of settlement and interaction in southern Vanuatu; Flexner J, Bedford S, Valentin F; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2012

  • Summer Lenfest Grant; Flexner J; Washington and Lee University/Summer Lenfest Grant.

2011

  • Summer Lenfest Grant; Flexner J; Washington and Lee University/Summer Lenfest Grant.

Selected publications

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Books

  • Flexner, J. (2016). An Archaeology of Early Christianity in Vanuatu: Kastom and Religious Change on Tanna and Erromango, 1839-1920. Acton: ANU Press.

Book Chapters

  • Flexner, J., Spriggs, M., Bedford, S., Abong, M. (2016). Beginning Historical Archaeology in Vanuatu: Recent Projects on the Archaeology of Spanish, French, and Anglophone Colonialism. In Sandra Monton-Subias, Maria Cruz Berrocal, and Apen Ruiz Martinez (Eds.), Archaeologies of Early Modern Spanish Colonialism, (pp. 205-227). Cham: Springer. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Morgan, C. (2013). The Industrious Exiles: An Analysis of Flaked Glass Tools from the Leprosarium at Kalawao, Molokai. In edited by Jeb J.Card (Eds.), The Archaeology of Hybrid Material Culture, (pp. 295-317). Cartbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Journals

  • Flexner, J., McCoy, M. (2016). After the missionaries: Historical archaeology and traditional religious sites in the Hawaiian Islands. J P S (The Journal of the Polynesian Society), 125(3), 307-331. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2016). Archaeology and Ethnographic Collections: Disentangling Provenance, Provenience, and Context in Vanuatu Assemblages. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, 4(1), 167-180. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2016). Dark and bright futures for museum archaeology. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, 4(1), 1-3. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Jones, M., Evans, P. (2016). Destruction of the 1912 Lenakel Church (Tanna, Vanuatu) in Cyclone Pam, and Thoughts for the Future of the Site. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 20(2), 463-469. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2016). Ethnology collections as supplements and records: what museums contribute to historical archaeology of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu). World Archaeology, 48(2), 196-209. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Kirch, P. (2016). Field Mapping and Polynesian Prehistory: A Methodological History and Thoughts for the Future. Seances de la Societe Prehistorique Francaise, 7, 15-30.
  • Flexner, J., Willie, E., Lorey, A., Alderson, H., Robert, W., Ieru, S. (2016). Iarisi's Domain: Historical Archaeology of a Melanesian Village, Tanna Island, Vanuatu. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 11(1), 26-49. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Ball, A. (2016). Sherds of Paradise: Domestic Archaeology and Ceramic Artefacts from a Protestant Mission in the South Pacific. European Journal of Archaeology, 19(4), 728-754. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Jones, M., Evans, P. (2015). 'Because it is a Holy House of God': Buildings archaeology, globalization, and community heritage in a Tanna church. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 19(2), 262-288. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Spriggs, M. (2015). Mission sites as indigenous heritage in southern Vanuatu. Journal of Social Archaeology, 15(2), 184-209. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2014). Historical Archaeology, Contact, and Colonialism in Oceania. Journal of Archaeological Research, 22(1), 43-87. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2014). Mapping local perspectives in the historical archaeology of vanuatu mission landscapes. Asian Perspectives, 53(1), 2-28. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2014). The Historical Archaeology of States and Non-States: Anarchist Perspectives from Hawai‘i and Vanuatu. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 5(2), 81-97.
  • Flexner, J. (2013). Mission archaeology in Vanuatu: Preliminary findings, problems, and prospects. Australasian Historical Archaeology, 31, 14-24.
  • Flexner, J. (2012). An Institution that was a Village: Archaeology and Social Life in the Hansen’s Disease Settlement at Kalawao, Moloka‘i, Hawaii. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 16(1), 135-163. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2011). Bottles, abandonment, and re-visitation in the Hansen's disease settlement at Kalawao, Moloka'i: Implications for site formation processes and interpretation in surface middens. Hawaiian Archaeology, 12, 108-124.
  • Flexner, J. (2011). Foreign Animals, Hawaiian Practices: Zooarchaeology in the Leprosarium at Kalawao, Moloka‘i, Hawaii. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 2(1), 82-91.
  • Flexner, J. (2009). Where is Reflexive Map-Making in Archaeological research? Towards a Place-Based Approach. Archaeological Review From Cambridge, 24(1), 7-21.

Edited Journals

  • Flexner, J., Message, K. (2016). Current Approaches to Museum Archaeology. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, 4(1).

2016

  • Flexner, J., McCoy, M. (2016). After the missionaries: Historical archaeology and traditional religious sites in the Hawaiian Islands. J P S (The Journal of the Polynesian Society), 125(3), 307-331. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2016). An Archaeology of Early Christianity in Vanuatu: Kastom and Religious Change on Tanna and Erromango, 1839-1920. Acton: ANU Press.
  • Flexner, J. (2016). Archaeology and Ethnographic Collections: Disentangling Provenance, Provenience, and Context in Vanuatu Assemblages. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, 4(1), 167-180. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Spriggs, M., Bedford, S., Abong, M. (2016). Beginning Historical Archaeology in Vanuatu: Recent Projects on the Archaeology of Spanish, French, and Anglophone Colonialism. In Sandra Monton-Subias, Maria Cruz Berrocal, and Apen Ruiz Martinez (Eds.), Archaeologies of Early Modern Spanish Colonialism, (pp. 205-227). Cham: Springer. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Message, K. (2016). Current Approaches to Museum Archaeology. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, 4(1).
  • Flexner, J. (2016). Dark and bright futures for museum archaeology. Museum Worlds: Advances in Research, 4(1), 1-3. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Jones, M., Evans, P. (2016). Destruction of the 1912 Lenakel Church (Tanna, Vanuatu) in Cyclone Pam, and Thoughts for the Future of the Site. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 20(2), 463-469. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2016). Ethnology collections as supplements and records: what museums contribute to historical archaeology of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu). World Archaeology, 48(2), 196-209. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Kirch, P. (2016). Field Mapping and Polynesian Prehistory: A Methodological History and Thoughts for the Future. Seances de la Societe Prehistorique Francaise, 7, 15-30.
  • Flexner, J., Willie, E., Lorey, A., Alderson, H., Robert, W., Ieru, S. (2016). Iarisi's Domain: Historical Archaeology of a Melanesian Village, Tanna Island, Vanuatu. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 11(1), 26-49. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Ball, A. (2016). Sherds of Paradise: Domestic Archaeology and Ceramic Artefacts from a Protestant Mission in the South Pacific. European Journal of Archaeology, 19(4), 728-754. [More Information]

2015

  • Flexner, J., Jones, M., Evans, P. (2015). 'Because it is a Holy House of God': Buildings archaeology, globalization, and community heritage in a Tanna church. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 19(2), 262-288. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J., Spriggs, M. (2015). Mission sites as indigenous heritage in southern Vanuatu. Journal of Social Archaeology, 15(2), 184-209. [More Information]

2014

  • Flexner, J. (2014). Historical Archaeology, Contact, and Colonialism in Oceania. Journal of Archaeological Research, 22(1), 43-87. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2014). Mapping local perspectives in the historical archaeology of vanuatu mission landscapes. Asian Perspectives, 53(1), 2-28. [More Information]
  • Flexner, J. (2014). The Historical Archaeology of States and Non-States: Anarchist Perspectives from Hawai‘i and Vanuatu. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 5(2), 81-97.

2013

  • Flexner, J. (2013). Mission archaeology in Vanuatu: Preliminary findings, problems, and prospects. Australasian Historical Archaeology, 31, 14-24.
  • Flexner, J., Morgan, C. (2013). The Industrious Exiles: An Analysis of Flaked Glass Tools from the Leprosarium at Kalawao, Molokai. In edited by Jeb J.Card (Eds.), The Archaeology of Hybrid Material Culture, (pp. 295-317). Cartbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

2012

  • Flexner, J. (2012). An Institution that was a Village: Archaeology and Social Life in the Hansen’s Disease Settlement at Kalawao, Moloka‘i, Hawaii. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 16(1), 135-163. [More Information]

2011

  • Flexner, J. (2011). Bottles, abandonment, and re-visitation in the Hansen's disease settlement at Kalawao, Moloka'i: Implications for site formation processes and interpretation in surface middens. Hawaiian Archaeology, 12, 108-124.
  • Flexner, J. (2011). Foreign Animals, Hawaiian Practices: Zooarchaeology in the Leprosarium at Kalawao, Moloka‘i, Hawaii. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 2(1), 82-91.

2009

  • Flexner, J. (2009). Where is Reflexive Map-Making in Archaeological research? Towards a Place-Based Approach. Archaeological Review From Cambridge, 24(1), 7-21.

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