Prof Mark Mosko


Research activity per year

Personal profile


BA (Calif), MA, PhD (Minnesota)


I am continuing research of the dynamics of personhood, agency and exchange in North Mekeo (PNG) sociality and history including processes of commodification, Christian conversion, and changing patterns of chiefly leadership. In 2006 with ARC Discovery and Wenner-Gren Foundation support I launched a second major research programme in the Trobriands based at Omarakana – the home of the Paramount Chief and the site of Malinowski's pioneering fieldwork – reexamining key dimensions of sociality (ritual, chieftainship, agency, exchange, Christianity, change). Since 2006 I have conducted twenty-one months of Omarakana fieldwork and seventeen months of Trobriands archival research at the London School of Economics, The Melanesian Archives (UC San Diego), and the Digital Ethnographic Project (CSU Sacramento) with another sabbatical six months conducted during 2013-2014 at UCSD.

Career Highlights

Ethnographic research: North Mekeo (4 years on 13 fieldtrips 1974-2009), Roro (3 months 2005-2006); Trobriands (21 months 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Major research grants: NIGMS (1970-1978), NIH (1993-1994), Wenner-Gren (1994-1995, 2005-2007, 2009-2012), New Zealand Royal Society/Marsden Fund (1999-2004), Australian Research Council/Discovery (2009-2012); Elected Fellow, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (2004); 2008 Curl Prize for Best Essay, Royal Anthropological Institute; 2009 Osmundsen Initiative Award, Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Research interests

Social anthropology; symbolism; kinship; cultural change; leadership; personhood; agency; gift exchange theory; religion; Christianity; chaos theory; Melanesia/Pacific

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