Through annual ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (PNG), I ask how places like the deep sea that are out of sight to humans are imagined, explored, represented, and claimed by indigenous peoples, scientists, tourists, and multinational corporations.
My purpose in this work is to contribute to locally-generated and sustainable strategies for the conservation of biocultural diversity and the preservation of indigenous sovereignty. To this end, my local collaborators and I are developing a new method of sensing ecological change in the deep sea through a closer understanding of cultural expressions. Among the most remarkable of these expressions are the Malagan mortuary complex of New Ireland, PNG and the unique practice of sharkcalling on the island’s western shore.
This and other projects have been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Columbia University’s Department of Anthropology and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and The Explorer’s Club, where I have been a Fellow since 2015. This website is a source of news, essays, and various other artworks related to my research and teaching.