Hierarchy and Egalitarianism in Austronesia/Oceania

Dec 2, 2016 | 9:00 AM - Dec 3, 2016 | 5:00 PM

An International Conference organized by Prof. Ku Kun-hui (NTHU), co-sponsored by the Harvard-Yenching Institute and National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

There is a long tradition on the theme of hierarchy and egalitarianism in Austronesia region, and current revived revision of the topic: chief and big man model, great man model, big shot, concept of precedence, recent re-examination of chief in Pacific, and reevaluation of Dumont’s model of hierarchy and its applicability in Pacific societies, and so on. Taiwan has been considered an important point of Austronesian expansion yet few anthropological theorizing on Austronesian social formations takes into consideration of Indigenous Taiwan Austronesian situations. In this workshop, we intend to re-assess these (old and new) models ethnographically, and ask how these models inform our work and how our ethnographic materials contest or enhance these analytical frameworks by interrogating closely the dynamics between theory and field phenomena across the board. This workshop continues with previous informal sessions at ASAO on the theme and intends to combine the expertise from different regions of Austronesian world (Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Oceania and Madagascar) for comparative perspectives to form a fresh contribution to the topic.