1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences


Since the completion of my field research in New Ireland I have been interested in the objective basis of subjective phenomena like thought, imagery, representation, and symbolism. It is the difference between the objectivity of the event or encounter and the way it gets to be represented later in thought, reflection, and writing that turns real or pragmatic happening into an empirical copy of itself, into an "experience" of self and other. My interest in teaching anthropology to graduate students is to involve them and their interests as much as possible in the positive side of this, the pragmatic objectivity of cultural and conceptual phenomena. The "down side" of graduate study would have to do with making the difference between objectivity and its subjective copy as abstract, dry, and austere as possible, turning it into "anthrospeak." The brighter, or "up" side involves taking responsibility for the invention of culture, understanding if not collapsing the differences between reality and its representation. I join my colleagues in not insisting on a specific canon for how this is to be done.

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Brooks Hall, 302


Ph.D. University of Chicago 1966

Sub Discipline/s: 

Indigenous conceptual systems, especially involving kin relations; ritual, myth and worldview in Melanesia, Australia, and North America; pragmatics of cultural representation (imagery, writing, and speech) as a basis for symbolism; shamanism and curing techniques exclusive of psychological, political, or "ethnic" perspectives; studies involving the human element in technology and power concepts.

Selected Publications: 

2001 - An Anthropology of the Subject: Holographic Worldview in New Guinea and Its Meaning and Significance for the World of Anthropology. University of California Press.

2000 - The Reprojective Basis of Human Society. Soumen Antropologi, Journal of the Finish Anthropological Society.

1986 - Asiwinarong: Ethos, Image, and Social Power among the Usen Barok of New Ireland. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

1986 - Symbols That Stand for Themselves. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

1981 - Lethal Speech: Daribi Myth as Symbolic Obviation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

1981 - Habu: The Innovation of Meaning in Daribi Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

1981 - The Invention of Culture. University of Chicago Press.