Please note that this is a hybrid event and will be recorded

Title: Trying to model the history of Mian speakers (Telefomin District, PNG) without the skyhooks of social science: some preliminaries


The Mian-speaking population of Telefomin district occupies the northern fall of the central ranges, at a range of altitudes and, consequently, across distinguishable ecological zones. Their distribution (as of the late 20th century) reflects complex socio-historical movements (over the last 4-5 generations) that have produced significant social heterogeneity within the population as a whole, without entirely extinguishing something like a common Mian identity. But the expansion into lower altitudes has had other obvious effects: on horticultural and hunting productivity, and in the malariometric, demographic and morbidity profiles of local groups. This paper is a preliminary (yet belated) attempt to map out the parameters of Mian history while attending to the profile of socio-political contingencies that are also integral to it.

About the speaker

Don Gardner is a research fellow at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland. The ethnographic focus of his research is New Guinea and his principle interests centre on social theory (including the philosophy of the social and biological sciences), Melanesian histories, and the cultural encompassment of changes in material conditions of human populations.