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A Faraway, Familiar PlaceAn Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea$
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Michael French Smith

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836863

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836863.001.0001

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An Eccentric Longing

An Eccentric Longing

(p.1) Chapter 1 An Eccentric Longing
A Faraway, Familiar Place

Michael French Smith

University of Hawai'i Press

In this chapter, the author narrates his experiences from his first trip to Papua New Guinea (PNG). In 1975, the year PNG gained its independence from Australia, the author went there to do research for a PhD in cultural anthropology. He had been to PNG in 1973 for three months on Manus Island and nearby Baluan Island as an assistant to Ted Schwartz, his professor at the University of California, San Diego. This time, he was with his first wife, who had a BA in anthropology. The author recounts the physical challenges that he and his former wife encountered in PNG, including mishaps and diseases that forced her to go home in a sorry condition within about three months of her arrival. He also met Stephen Umari and Agnes Munbos, a Kragur couple who had taken him me under their wings shortly after his arrival. In 1998, he spent about two months in PNG as a lecturer on an American Museum of Natural History tour of the country. Here he expresses his longing to return to Kragur.

Keywords:   diseases, Papua New Guinea, cultural anthropology, Stephen Umari, Agnes Munbos, Kragur

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