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Accepted Paper:

Historicities as modes of becoming in Ambonwari, Papua New Guinea  
Borut Telban (Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts)

Paper short abstract:

Historicities among the Ambonwari of Papua New Guinea connect past, present and future and are experienced as lived realities. Being focused on somebody or something, however, they are driven by the future. Embedded in beings and things and doings and sayings, they are modes of becoming.

Paper long abstract:

Historicities among the Karawari-speaking Ambonwari of Papua New Guinea are highly selective, emphasising connection between past, present and future. Without this connection, which is experienced as lived reality, historicities would not exist. They need temporal thickness, which is best exemplified in group, person and gender specific ways of doing things. In my paper I look at a practice of a woman giving food to her brothers and fathers, and a man to his wife. The practice has its origin in a debt, called kunaypa 'a splinter of sago leaf's stem' that sticks out, which came about as a consequence of ancient wrongdoings. As a 'concept' kunaypa refers to a story and a practice, to thinking, feeling and doing, and is as a rule filled with social and moral connotation. Although experienced as cosmological identification and authentication in the present, I argue, historicities need to be oriented towards somebody or something and are driven by the future. Therefore, historicities, embedded in beings and things and doings and sayings, are modes of becoming. When a radically different future is desired, however, certain beings, things, doings and sayings need to be abandoned, supressed or modified, as if a desired 'novelty' has already been part of people's own mode of becoming.

Panel P024
History as lived reality and the future of anthropology
  Session 1