The value of precious kula ornaments: first results of our recent research project
In February and March 2016, a team of elders and researchers from various islands of the kula network in Southeastern Papua New Guinea has circulated the region, documenting valuables and discussing strategies to advocate for the practice to be continued, in spite of the challenging influences caused by mass tourism, mobile phones, and the increasing impacts of the global economy in general. The talk will outline some key results of these discussions and open the discussion on anthropology’s move from observing and analysing to a form of activism regarding kula exchange practice.
About the presenter
Susanne Kuehling, a German anthropologist, is Associate Professor at the University of Regina in Canada. She received her MA from Goettingen University, Germany. For her doctoral research she conducted 18 months of fieldwork on Dobu Island, a key station in kula exchange. Her PhD thesis, submitted at The ANU in 1999, was titled “The name of the gift: Ethics of Exchange on Dobu Island”. She has published a book (Dobu:Ethics of exchange on Dobu Island) and a number of journal articles on kula, value, personhood, and gender. She taught for five years at Heidelberg University before moving to Canada. The current project was developed during a number of visits to Dobu Island (2009, 2012, 2015) and is funded by the Canadian Social Science Foundation (SSHRC).