The Politics of Friends & Family

Terrell (terrell@FMPPR.FMNH.ORG)
Fri, 13 Oct 1995 12:12:04 -0500

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Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania
1996 Annual Meetings
February 6-12, 1996
King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel, Hawaii

NOTE! Your name, paper title, and abstract MUST be received by
John Terrell no later than ___November 8th___ You MAY submit
this information via e-mail as well as snailmail.

A Proposed New 1996 ASAO Working Session

Organizers: John Edward Terrell and Robert L. Welsch, New Guinea
Research Program, The Field Museum, Chicago

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The political and economic ramifications of marriage alliances
in the Pacific have been explored intensively by anthropologists,
both on a theoretical level and through fine-grained ethnographic
documentation. Since 1987 the New Guinea Research Program at
the Field Museum in Chicago has been running a continuing program
of ethnographic and archaeological research focused on the Sepik
coast of Papua New Guinea in West Sepik (Sandaun) Province. People
on the Sepik coast participate in far-reaching networks of relationships
that could be glossed as exchange partnerships but which can be
more accurately described-the way people on the Sepik coast do-as
intergenerationally inherited friendships (Welsch and Terrell,
American Anthropologist 96:392-396 [March 1994]). The complex
sociopolitical infrastructure maintained by the institution of
inherited friendships unites villages on the coast into a resilient
"community of culture": an interaction sphere that might even
be called a polity without (in pre-European times) an overarching
political authority or governmental central place. We invite
colleagues to join us in Hawaii to take another look at the politics
of friendship and the social dimensions of trade relationships
in all parts of the Pacific.

Please contact: John Edward Terrell (