This paper explores what sounds and looks like humanitarianism in a local Indigenous context in West Papua, where Indigenous health workers conceptualise HIV treatment as a way to save the Indigenous population from extinction. In West Papua, an estimated 3 to 5 per cent of the Indigenous population is HIV positive, and interventions have been slow, late, and largely driven by international agencies with minimal attention to cultural and linguistic diversity or the political context of Indigenous resistance to a violent state. Indigenous HIV workers operating outside the government health care system conceptualise and deliver HIV prevention and treatment tailored to local considerations. Critiques of humanitarianism emphasise that interventions have the power to exclude and include deserving targets, and determine what people need to survive, enacting a politics of (bare) life. This paper will examine the nuances of Indigenous HIV work in relation to a local politics of life.


About the Presenter

Jenny Munro is a Lecturer in Anthropology at UQ. She works in West Papua on health, gender, violence, and education. Recent research includes Indigenous approaches to HIV education and care, the health care experiences of HIV positive Indigenous mothers, and the consumption and regulation of alcohol.






About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.


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