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This special issue arose from a panel, “Political and Religious Conversions in the Pacific”, convened by Fraser Macdonald and Michael Goldsmith at the 2017 Australian Anthropological Society (AAS) annual conference held at the University of Adelaide. The papers carried over from that session into this special issue more directly address the question of religious conversion, marshalling evidence from a wide range of ethnographic contexts throughout the Pacific to shed light on the ramifications of conversion to various brands of Christianity. The issue collectively points up a number of critical issues now gaining deeper appreciation within anthropological writing on Pacific Christianity, including the centrality of indigenous agency to processes of change; the importance of charismatic leaders who initiate and orchestrate popular movements; the intrinsically political character of Christianity in the Pacific, including its inextricable historical relationship with colonialism; and, finally, the strongly regional dimensions of Christianity, whereby particular societies are embedded in and contribute to broader religious communities that transcend the local.
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