Wednesday, May 24, 2006
The Tippett Collection
Research in Fiji anthropology – the Tippett Collection
In Canberra, Australia there is an excellent but less known resource for students who are researching Fijian history, anthropology, and missiology.
This is at the St Mark's National Theological Centre Library. Alan Tippett was Peceli’s lecturer in Davuilevu. We visited Alan Tippett one time I was researching on Labasa and the vanua. He had offered his library to Geelong, but alas, the locals here said they didn't have a good location for it! This was before Deakin University was established in Geelong. He had lived in Geelong as a child, in fact in the manse we lived in for nine years many years later!
Here are some notes adapted from the website about the Tippett Collection.
Alan Tippett was a Methodist minister and missionary, anthropologist and missiologist of international repute, a visionary Christian scholar, and an inspiring teacher. Dr Tippett presented his library and manuscript collection to St Mark's Library in 1984. Dr Tippett and his wife Edna, began their work for the Methodist overseas missionary service in wartime Fiji in 1941. He developed a collection of notes on Fiji custom, culture and folklore."I had not been very long on the mission field before I saw that colonialism, over-intellectualised religion and historical denominationalism all had to go. They had to permit an indigenous Christianity to emerge." (Dr Tippett: 1984)
Alan Tippett's library includes: ".... many kinds of raw material, documented papers, reports of critical debates which become components of what is now called Missiology." It is a comprehensive collection of books, reports and journals, files of professional articles, letters, card systems, cassettes, microfilm and microfiche, field notebooks, transcripts, MA theses and PhD dissertations.
Alan Tippett intended his library to be used as a research source. "Thus it should be possible for the researcher either to probe into the past or to look into the future, to evaluate that which is behind or to anticipate dimensions of the Post-Colonial missiology. Once we have eliminated matters that stem from colonial presuppositions and historical denominationalism, and the missionary task ceases to be one of civilizing and sectarian extension, a completely different set of questions arises. e.g. How may our missionary effort or support from home be relevant in a third world community without intruding, dominating or foreignizing?"
The Tippett Collection is available for research on site at St Mark's Library.
A 39 page article about Dr. Tippett was written by Colin Dundon in 2001.