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Edward Pinfield 540

Edward Pinfield

PhD Student

Research interests

  • Security
  • History
  • Politics

Biography

Ed Pinfield is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Defence Studies. Prior to joining King’s College, Ed earned his MA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of East Anglia in 2021, where he was awarded a distinction for his thesis on the contributions of Pacific Islanders on Bougainville to the Allied war effort in the Second World War.

Following this, Ed is now exploring the legacies of the Pacific War; continuing to emphasis that the people, resources, and lands of the territories of the British Empire were crucial to the Allied war effort, deeply impacted by it, yet have consistently been marginalized in a range of Western-centric histories.

Research Interests:

  • Pacific Islands History
  • Second World War (Asia-Pacific Theatres)
  • Oral History: myths and legends
  • Wars’ impacts on Environments
  • Invasive Alien Species of plants and animals
  • Second World War maritime wrecks, terrestrial detritus, unexploded ordnance, and war graves
  • Nuclear Weapons

Ed’s primary research concerns the enduring legacies of the Second World War across the Pacific Islands; those which continue to affect the lives and livelihoods of Pacific Islanders, and the region’s marine and terrestrial environments.

Thesis and Abstract: 

Pacific Rising: A study of the legacies of the Second World War across the former British Empire Pacific territories

The Second World War was, unquestionably, the watershed moment in the history of the Pacific Ocean. The Allies and Japanese thrust destruction, construction, and interactions upon Indigenous communities and environments on a scale that had simply never been experienced before. Unsurprisingly, the maelstrom of war created far-reaching consequences that continue to affect the lives, and deaths, of people and environments decades after the conflict.

The war halted traditional subsistence lifestyles, forcing many Islanders to rely on imported foodstuffs. Through the movement of troops and equipment, invasive alien species of flora and fauna (rats, snakes, toads, beetles, and numerous weeds) were introduced and spread by the belligerents. The thousands of interactions between military servicemen and Indigenous people, at and behind the battle lines, released social forces and tensions which greatly affected the worldview of Islanders. The Pacific War’s battles left scars and physical remainders on land and at sea; detritus, unexploded ordnance, war graves, and maritime wrecks. While the chaos of war also created lasting memories, trauma, myths, legends, and ‘ghost’ stories - crystallized in places and objects associated with the war. 

This project will convene local and Indigenous perspectives to explore the significance of these and other enduring legacies of the Second World War across the Pacific Islands. Thereafter, presenting solutions from these Indigenous and local voices aimed at safeguarding and utilizing potentially positive legacies (such as war memory) and redressing the adverse effects of the war (such as unexploded ordnance). In turn, augmenting Western understanding of the war’s global impacts.

Supervisors:

  • Professor Ashley Jackson
  • Dr Agnieszka Sobocinska

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News

Announcing the Menzies Visiting Fellow and 2023 Gunter Scholars

The Menzies Australia Institute welcomed Dr Aditya Balasubramanian as the institute's first Visiting Fellow with Australia National University, and excited to...

Graphic of Australia on the globe