John Barker

John Barker (PhD, British Columbia, 1985) is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose main research concerns the religious change among Indigenous peoples in colonial and post-colonial Oceania and British Columbia and the history of anthropological research in Canada. He is Professor and former Head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

 

The Last and First Place: How Melanesia Matters (reflections on how knowledge from Melanesia has shaped intellectual history on topics like gender)

A common complaint heard throughout rural Papua New Guinea is “This is the last place”: a phrase that conveys abandonment, resentment, and powerlessness. Ironically, it is precisely the “lastness” of New Guinea that empowers the region in the Western imagination. This is especially so when New Guinea is simultaneously imagined as a “first place” whose diverse cultures embody an essential truth about humankind. In this talk, I review a number of popular and scholarly representations of New Guinea, ranging from Christian creationists to Jared Diamond to more recent debates about the “ontological turn” to illustrate a common pattern in how New Guinea is made to matter. I conclude with a discussion of now this dynamic affects even conscious attempts to represent Papua New Guineans as co-evals, notably in recent writings on Christianity.

  • Vendredi 28 avril 2017, de 10h-12h, CREDO Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie (Salle / Room: LSH 502 Espace Yves Mathieu),  Université d’Aix-Marseille, 3 place Victor Hugo 13003 Marseille

 

 

The Legacy of War among the Maisin of Papua New Guinea (on WWII stories & how they reflect themes and discourses of traditional war narratives

The Maisin people of Collingwood Bay in the Northern Province of Papua New Guinea regard themselves as a warrior people. In this presentation, I examine the articulation of the warrior image in Maisin oral traditions, memories of the Second World War, and contemporary opposition to large-scale logging in their traditional territory.

  • Vendredi 5 mai 2017, de 10h-12h, CREDO Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie (Room: LSH 502 Espace Yves Mathieu), Université d’Aix-Marseille, 3 place Victor Hugo 13003 Marseille