|[a] From Here to Eternity (Beach) RF|
|[b] Whale Chart RF|
Very few anthropologists have rigorously examined the dimensions of historical change in social and cultural life. Sahlins has, and it is truly contemptible that historians have not read him thoroughly. As more than one critic has noted, it is because of the narrowness of many historical readers, who will not deign to read outside of their geographical areas of specialty (why would an early modern European historian read about Hawaii?...or so the academically xenophobic reasoning goes).
Sahlins's  approach to time and change is deeply innovative, and historians need to read him. He is the most important philosopher of history ever to walk the earth (yup, really). Here is a key quotation from the introduction to Islands of History.
Many weeks from now, I will examine the greatest debate in the history of anthropology (Sahlins-Obeyesekere). If you have not spent much time in the discipline (and that is certainly understandable), let me just say that it comes out of the sentiments in the statement below. This is volatile stuff.
Islands of History
The ritual makes another curious juncture with European history: in the death of Captain Cook, whom Hawaiians had identified as their lost god/king, Lono. The next chapter will document the event in detail; here we may be content with a brief synopsis. Cook's first visit, to Kaua'i Island in January 1778, fell within the traditional months of the New Year rite (Makahiki). He returned to the Islands late in the same year, very near the recommencement of the Makahiki ceremonies. Arriving now off northern Maui, Cook proceeded to make a grand circumnavigation of Hawai'i Island in the prescribed clockwise direction of Lono's yearly procession, to land at the temple in Kealakekua Bay where Lono begins and ends his own circuit. The British captain took his leave in early February 1779, almost precisely on the day the Makahiki ceremonies definitively close. But on his way out of Kahiki, the Resolution sprung a mast, and Cook committed the ritual fault of returning unexpectedly and unintelligibly. The Great Navigator was now hors catégorie, a dangerous condition as Leach and Douglas have taught us, and within a few days he was really dead—though certain priests of Lono did afterward ask when he would come back. It was a ritual demise: hundreds of Hawaiians, many of them chiefs, pressed in upon the fallen god to have a part in his death. 
 Marshall Sahlins, Islands of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 17.
 Sahlins, Islands, 93-94.
Sahlins, Marshall. Islands of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.