Wednesday, January 5, 2011

MRS is back!

Dear all,

The MRS is back! Crack open your new diaries and write this down:

Friday January 21, 2011 3.30pm at the British Museum

Recent Cambridge PhD -- now at the University of Aberdeen -- Katharina Schneider has generously agreed to be our first presenter. Approximately one week before the seminar we will pre-circulate her paper, which will address the following theme:

Who sees what in Pororan marriage exchange?
Over time, anthropologists working in Melanesia have provided increasingly nuanced analyses of exchange, and specifically of the transformations of ‘objects’ and ‘images’ that people perceive in the course of particular sequences of events. One aspect of the complexity of exchange in Melanesia appears to have become sidelined, however, by a predominant interest in the temporal transformation of objects and images. This is the multiplicity of objects, images and sequences of their transformation that different participants perceive in the same sequence of events, and the politics (local and transnational) of who sees what in an exchange. The primary aim of this paper is to demonstrate this aspect of exchange ethnographically, and to discuss some of its implications for Pororan Islanders.

Planning ahead, our second presenter will be Eric Hirsch on Friday February 25 at 3.30pm. Further details will follow.

We hope as many of you as possible can make it. Meanwhile, steer clear of snowbanks!

Michael Scott
(on behalf of his fellow committee members: Lissant and Melissa)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Call for Papers

Law and Culture 2011:

The present is the living past

Hosted by the University of the South Pacific School of Law,

Emalus Campus, Port Vila Vanuatu,

29 August - 31 August 2011

The question of how to make law operate effectively whilst remaining culturally appropriate is critical for all Pacific islands. This question arises, in large part, due to the particular colonial histories of Pacific countries. In order to appreciate how law operates in the current post-colonial environment and the current paths of development that we are following, and that shape our laws, we need to understand where our laws and systems have come from.

The issues that this conference theme give rise to are not only legal, or historical. Understanding the place and operation of laws is inherently interdisciplinary, and requires conversations across a range of disciplines. Pacific scholars from other subject areas, including anthropology, development studies, governance and political studies are encouraged to attend this conference.

  • Papers and posters that explore how the historical context shapes contemporary Pacific legal systems are invited.
  • Papers addressing any aspect of Pacific legal studies or post-colonial legal studies more generally are also welcomed.

The conference organisers are committed to the development of young Pacific scholars and students and early career researchers from a range of disciplines are particularly encouraged to participate.

Abstracts are due by 24 June 2011 and should be submitted via email to .

For further information, including the abstract submission form and presentation and poster guidelines see the conference website .