"In this vivid ethnography, Paige West tracks coffee as it moves from producers in Papua New Guinea to consumers around the world. She illuminates the social lives of the people who produce coffee, and those who process, distribute, market, and consume it. The Gimi peoples, who grow coffee in Papua New Guinea's highlands, are eager to expand their business and social relationships with the buyers who come to their highland villages, as well as with the people working in Goroka, where much of Papua New Guinea's coffee is processed; at the port of Lae, where it is exported; and in Hamburg, Sydney, and London, where it is distributed and consumed. This rich social world is disrupted by neoliberal development strategies, which impose prescriptive regimes of governmentality that are often at odds with Melanesian ways of being in, and relating to, the world. The Gimi are misrepresented in the specialty coffee market, which relies on images of primitivity and poverty to sell coffee. By implying that the backwardness of Papua New Guineans impedes economic development, these images obscure the structural relations and global political economy that actually cause poverty in Papua New Guinea.
Professor Paige West is an associate professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University. Dr. West is also a member of the Columbia University Graduate Faculties in Anthropology and Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology. Dr. West is the president of the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association and the co-founder and co-editor of the journal Environment and Society."
This event will take place at Book Culture's location on West 112th Street.