The Second Informal INPAC speakers' presentation Forum: Identity, Environment, and Change

October 21, 2015 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

The Second Informal INPAC Speaker's Presentation Forum: Identity, Environment, and Change

October 21, 2015, 4:30-6:00 pm, Anthropology Lounge (3106 WWPH)

All are welcome


First Speaker: Dr. Lipika Mazumdar, Department of Anthropology, Greensburg Campus, University of Pittsburgh

"What the Earthquake Did: Renegotiating worship and meaning in the central Himalaya."

Abstract: An earthquake in a village in the Central Himalaya precipitated a crisis in which renegotiations over the role of an oracular deity played a prominent part in changing concepts of identity.


Second Speaker Speaker: Dr. Hao-li Lin, Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh

"Fijian Vanua (Land) and the Dynamic Austronesian Environment"


The Fijian word vanua is often translated as "land" but includes ideas such as custom, community, and identity. Since British colonialism, this multivalent concept has been gradually rigidified into a timeless, bounded "Fijian-ness" with its own cultural order. Using examples of migration histories and cultural landscapes of a Fijian community, I argue here that when viewed as an open environment through which different waves of people enter and establish relationships with the autochthons, the seemingly stable vanua is actually permeable and always incorporating and negotiating new ideas and things. This dynamic aspect can also be found in the cognates of vanua prevalent in Island Southeast Asia and the Pacific with which Fiji shares a common Austronesian linguistic and cultural heritage. Although having a multitude of meanings, taken together, all these vanua-related terms refer to a flexible environment embedded with mobility and diversity, which must be constantly stabilized through symbolically complete imagery or ritualistic actions.

For more information, please contact Prof. Andrew J. Strathern or Dr. Pamela J. Stewart (Strathern) 




Location and Address

Anthropology Lounge - 3106 WWP