graduate research

Vanessa R. Wight (nessaw@GWIS2.CIRC.GWU.EDU)
Wed, 1 Nov 1995 15:37:16 -0500

I have begun preliminary research on gender relations among the Baruya
in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The project originally began as
research proposal for class credit. However, it continues!

I originally was looking at the female initiation rituals among the
Baruya in terms of the model 'nature-culture/female-male' in an effort to
discern how this model applied to their society, if it could be used to
explain female subordination, if it could be used to uncover the
underlying logic behind this subordination. Of course the major hole to
my entire project is the fact I have never been there and have never had
the opportunity to ask these individuals how they conceptualize nature
and the roles and positions of women.

I chose to look at their initiation ceremonies because it appeared that
the roles of both the men and women and the subordinations of the latter
were perpetuated through these ritual practices.

Interested in sharing any of your thoughts on this subject. Comments,
criticisms and suggestions appreciated.