Gardens of Gold
Place-Making in Papua New Guinea
- PUBLISHED: August 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 242 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 4 b&w illus., 7 maps, 5 charts, 8 tables
- SERIES: Culture, Place, and Nature
- ISBN: 9780295747590
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Since the start of colonial gold mining in the early 1920s, the Biangai villagers of Elauru and Winima in Papua New Guinea have moved away from planting yams and other subsistence foods to instead cultivating coffee and other cash crops and dishing for tradable flakes of gold. Decades of industrial gold mining, land development, conservation efforts, and biological research have wrought transformations in the landscape and entwined traditional Biangai gardening practices with Western capital, disrupting the relationship between place and person and the social reproduction of a community.
Drawing from extensive ethnographic research, Jamon Halvaksz examines the role of place in informing indigenous relationships with conservation and development. How do Biangai make meaning with the physical world? Collapsing Western distinctions between self and an earthly other, Halvaksz shows us it is a sense of place—grounded in productive relationships between nature and culture—that connects Biangai to one another as “placepersons” and enables them to navigate global forces amid changing local and regional economies. Centering local responses along the frontiers of resource extraction, Gardens of Gold contributes to our understanding of how neoliberal economic practices intervene in place-based economies and identities.
Authors & Contributors
Jamon Alex Halvaksz is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
This excellent book joins a raft of ethnographic publications from the cohort of contemporaries who all did their first fieldwork from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s in the mining areas of Papua New Guinea, returning frequently up to the present. Perhaps not since the 1960s has there been such a surge of reflection, from different angles, on connected topics in Papua New Guinea.- Pacific Affairs
[A] truly modern, and highly participatory, ethnography.- Pacific Affairs
Makes a powerful statement about people and land's mutuality. The material, the approach, and the analysis make a substantial and important contribution to Pacific environmental anthropology.- Alex Golub, University of Hawai'i
A deeply researched book that combines traditional ethnography with a focus on the effects of wider global trends such as resource extraction, conservation, and neoliberalism on rural areas of the country.- James Leach, Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie, Aix-Marseille Université, and University of Western Australia