Anthropology Seminar - 6 August 2020

Date Thursday 6 August 2020
Time 3:10pm
Where University of Waikato - K.G.06 or via Zoom (Zoom Meeting ID: 719 684 2758 / Password: @nthr0 )
Presenter Alice Te Punga Somerville
Contact Rachel Gosnell-Maddock
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

“It won’t be here:” Proximity, connections, anthropologists and me.

As a Masters student at Auckland University, I enrolled in a Māori Studies paper called ‘Māori Identity’ taught by the amazing Sir Hugh Kawharu who, unsurprisingly, took an anthropological approach to the topic. This was my first encounter with ‘Anthro,’ and about halfway through semester, Sir Hugh peered at me after I’d asked yet another apparently-strange question and said “I don’t know where you’ll find the answers you’re looking for, but it won’t be here.” He was right. I have spent the two decades since working at the intersections of literary, historical, Pacific, Indigenous and cultural studies. And yet in this paper I trace unexpected connections with two very different anthropologists: Te Rangihiroa and William Geddes. In particular, I will foreground the circumstances of my proximity to their bookshelves in order to think about the way that sometimes connections are where you least expect them.

Alice Te Punga Somerville (Te Ātiawa, Taranaki) writes and teaches at the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, University of Waikato. Her first book was Once Were Pacific: Maori Connections to Oceania (Minnesota 2012); her current Marsden-funded project is called ‘Writing the new world: Indigenous texts 1900-1975’ and focuses on New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Hawai’i. She also writes the occasional poem.