1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Fred Damon awarded 2012-2013 Sesquicentennial Associateship

— from Dionisios Kavadias

All but done with his work in Papua New Guinea, at long last Fred Damon will head to the region called Quanzhou in Fujian Province, southeastern China for the spring semester and much of the summer of 2013. Although he will be organizing anthropological research in contemporary communities, his project takes an historical problem for its raison d’etre.

Over the last 6000 years, Southeastern China has been the dividing line between what became the Austronesian world on the one hand and East Asia on the other. Over this period southeastern China has been perhaps the region’s most dynamic (at least this is what some of its inhabitants and scholars have told Damon!), generating and exporting people, ideas, and products. Damon hopes to learn something about that process by focusing on dynamics concerning forest, horticultural and marine systems, the same triad of domains his environmental research in Papua New Guinea led him to explore. With some luck this will be the first of several returns to China spanning the remainder of his professional career. For his Sesqui time he will be doing his best to gain competence in Chinese, begin investigating one community devoted to porcelain production and another devoted to boat building, and experiencing an important set of calendrical rituals beginning with the Chinese New Year of 2013.

Thursday, 23 February 2012