Graduate Research School Available Projects Historical Ethnographies - Papua New Guinea

Historical Ethnographies - Papua New Guinea

Title of Project

Historical Ethnographies - Papua New Guinea


Rosita Henry, Aikhenvald, Michael Wood, Maria Wronska-Friend, Daniela Vavrova

College or Research Centre

College of Arts, Society & Education

Summary of Project

Several research students are invited to explore the vast collection of material artefacts, official diaries and reports, recorded and transcribed interviews, as well as written book manuscripts on Sepik history by an Australian Government Officer (Kiap), Lawrence W. Bragge, who during the 1960s and 1970s lived and worked in Papua New Guinea. This collection is held in the JCU library (Special Collections). In consultation with Prof Rosita Henry and other advisors, students will design their own projects based on the Bragge collection. There are numerous themes that could be explored and further contextualised with reference to other archives and literature, including existing ethnographies and histories. These include (among many others): transformations in gender relations; new insights into cargo cults; myth, ritual and religion; changing sorcery practices and patterns of accusation; violence and warfare; Australian government officers’ (kiaps) approaches to their work; history of Australian colonial administration; socio-economic transformations; colonial artefact collectors and collections. The studies would be based on archival research and a period of ethnographic field work in Papua New Guinea. Theses will take the form of written monographs but may also include a creative component, such as a collaborative audio-visual work.

Key Words

anthropology; Sepik; Papua New Guinea; Lawrence Bragge; gender issues; sorcery; cargo cults; Australian Colonial Administration; historical ethnography

Would suit an applicant who

Have a Masters, honours degree, or equivalent, in anthropology and/or history, with strong archival research skills, analytical skills, a sense of adventure, and a willingness to conduct ethnographic field research in an exciting and challenging field site in Papua New Guinea. Outstanding applicants are eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Research Scholarship at JCU.

Updated: 11 Apr 2020