Jamon Halvaksz, PhD
Environmental and Cultural Anthropologist
My research combines attention to resource management, environmental change, and questions of inequality in global resource development practices. As the son of a coal miner’s daughter and a state Conservation Officer, I am very interested in how extractive industries impact the environment, while increasing inequalities. At the same time, my father’s work instilled in me the importance of protecting our relationships with the environment. In my work, I follow these pursuits in Papua New Guinea where I have conducted research since 1998 alongside Biangai communities around the historical gold mining town of Wau. This work has been supported by a variety of national (NSF DDIG), international (Wenner-Gren Doctoral Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research grants, Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies Post-Doctoral Fellowship) and local sources (University of Minnesota and University of Texas at San Antonio). Based upon this research I have published a number of articles on mining, conservation, agriculture, history, photographic methodology, illicit drugs and national media, tourism, taste, music, and climate change, in addition to the broader issues of resource management.
My recent book, Gardens of Gold: Place Making in Papua New Guinea (2020), reflects multiple years of this research, using mixed methods including GIS and detailed agricultural surveys alongside conventional ethnographic techniques. In this, I examined local conceptualization of place in mining and conservation projects.