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Oceania Newsletter 15, March 1995


Jürg Wassmann

From December 15 to 17 1994, the Basel conference of the European Society for Oceanists (ESO) was held at the Institute of Ethnology of the University of Basel, Switzerland.

The general theme of the conference was "Knowing Oceania: Constituting Knowledge and Identities". The topic was discussed in 10 working sessions under the following titles:

-Local and imported knowledges (1), chair: Maurice Godelier
-Common worlds and single lives (2), chairs: Andrew Strathern and Christina Toren
-Cultural practices of identity construction and nation building (3), chairs: Barbara Glowczewski-Barker and Toon van Meijl
-Genealogies, land and titles (4), chair: Ton Otto
-Competing and converging systems of exchange (5), chair Allen Abramson
-Ecological pluralism? (6), chair: Ulla Hasager
-Scrutinizing regional systems and modelling Oceania (7/8), chair: André Iteanu
-Identity of objects - objects of identity (9), chairs: Michael O'Hanlon and Mark Busse
- Ethics and politics of field work (10), chair: Gunter Senft
-Informal audiovisual working session (11), chair: Rolf Husmann.

Around 200 participants from European and overseas countries came together. A total of 90 papers were presented by researchers from different disciplines with an interest in Oceania.

Marilyn Strathern, Robert Tonkinson and Jonathan Friedman were invited to give the keynote speeches elaborating the main theme from the viewpoints of Melanesia, Australia and Polynesia. It was a special honour to have a contribution by Sir Raymond Firth presented by Michael O'Hanlon. The discussants were Maurice Godelier, John Morton, Serge Tcherkézoff, Christine Jourdan, Ton Otto, Meinhard Schuster and Andrew Strathern.

The next conference will be held in 1996.

Jürg Wassmann (Chair)

Verena Keck (deputy)

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