Engendering objects: dynamics of barkcloth and gender among the Maisin of Papua New Guinea

Presenter/s: ARC Laureate Project Engendering Persons, Transforming Things

Event type: Book launch

Event date: Tuesday, 5 November 2013 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Event venue: Hedley Bull Atrium, Hedley Bull Centre [Building 130], Garran Road.

Further information: Contact Nicholas Mortimer

Acclaimed author Drusilla Modjeska will launch Dr Anna-Karina Hermken’s book, Engendering Objects, and discuss her own engagement with women’s textile art in PNG and her novel The Mountain (Random House Australia, 2012).

Engendering objects (Sidestone Press, 2013) explores social and cultural dynamics among Maisin people in Collingwood Bay (Papua New Guinea) through the lens of material culture. Focusing upon the visually stimulating decorated barkcloths that are used as male and female garments, gifts, and commodities, it explores the relationships between these cloths and Maisin people. The main question is how barkcloth, as an object made by women, engenders people’s identities, including gendered personhood, clan and tribe, through its manufacturing and use.

ANU Gender Institute member Anna-Karina Hermkens is a cultural anthropologist working as an ARC postdoctoral fellow at the School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific. She has been doing research in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands, focusing on material culture, gender issues and, since 2005, the interplay between religion, conflict and peace-building. She coedited a volume on Marian pilgrimages Moved by Mary (Ashgate, 2009) and has published several book chapters and articles on the Bougainville conflict in terms of gender, religion and customary beliefs (in amongst others: Intersections; Culture and Religion; and Anthropology Today).

Light refreshments will be served.



Updated:  7 November 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute