Thu, 2 Dec 1993 18:31:50 +0100


Dear subscribers to ANTHRO_L

As newcomer to this list I would like to introduce myself.
My name is Jaap Timmer. I have done my Masters at the
University of Amsterdam on bodily adornment, tourism and
processes of invention of tradition among the Huli of the
Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea.

As a research assistant I am currently involved in the
multidisciplinary "ISIR - Irian Jaya Studies" project. I am
preparing for my PhD fieldwork among the Tehit at the
southcoast of the Bird's Head peninsula, Irian Jaya.
My research aims at arriving at a more complete
understanding of the relation between cultural models,
individual action and social power relations.
The empirical focus will be on local and regional
variation in meaning, use, ideas, and historical knowledge of
"kain timur" (cloths and other valuables that were imported
into the Bird's Head for centuries until the second world war
in exchange for slaves and Birds of paradise). Analytically,
"kain timur," its use and meaning, is considered as a cultural
schema, or a cultural scenario, i.e., a symbolic program for
the staging and playing out of social interaction. In the
spirit of Fredrik Barth's recent work, "Balinese Worlds"
(Chicago University Press, 1993) I will emphasize variation
and practice in the use of "kain timur" in Tehit society,
because the significance of that which unfolds cannot simply
be read from a formal book of rules. To account for what is
happening (and what has happened) in Tehit society, the
research is intended to determine the face and import of what
people see and how events are understood and interpreted by
means of the probably salient cultural scenario that surrounds
the use of "kain timur." It means that I must identify
correctly the keys (embedded in different traditions of
knowledge, depending on people's background, which differ
greatly in contemporary multicultural Irian Jaya) that the
parties in Tehit society themselves are using, as events

I will commence fieldwork in June 1994 and return for writing
up in December 1995.

Any comments on my project are very welcome,

My mail address:


Jaap Timmer
ISIR - Irian Jaya Studies
Rapenburg 35
2311 GG Leiden
The Netherlands
Ph:(w) +31-71-272979/272416/272419
(h) +31-20-6124367/6936591