Adam Reed: "Character is Fruit': Sincerity, Opacity and Pentecostal Spiritualizations of Attributes among Papua New Guineans Migrants in Western Australia"

Welcome to a departmental seminar featuring Adam Douglas Evelyn Reed, Head of Department-Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

After the seminar, coffee and snacks are served in our lunch room. The event is open to all, no registration required.

Copyright: University of St. Andrews


This paper will focus on the migration experience of Papua New Guineans living in Western Australia, their engagement with Pentecostalism and the high valuation placed by many on the Christian concept of character (a concept which many claim to have 'discovered' in Australia). I explore how the appeal of character may connect to the way migrants envisage their relationship to home, and their future in Australia. Finally, I discuss what this material has to say about the manner in which Melanesian anthropology has debated the opacity doctrine and the way the anthropology of Christianity has figured sincerity as a central value of Christian practice.

Research profile

Senior lecturer, Dr. Adam Douglas Evelyn Reed conducts research in Papua New Guinea and Britain, and ranges between legal anthropology, anthropology of ethics, anthropology of the city and anthropology and literature.

Reed has completed a pilot project working with Papua New Guinean migrants to Western Australian. This project focuses on concepts of 'skill', innovations in death ritual and on the influence of Pentecostalism in the migrant experience. Reed conducted his original research (1994-1995) in Papua New Guinea, in a maximum-security prison just outside the capital Port Moresby. What kind of experience is incarceration? How should one define its constraints? Adam Reed seeks to address these questions in his ethnographic study “Papua New Guinea’s Last Place: Experiences of Constraint in a Postcolonial Prison" (Berghahn books, 2004). Publications

Published July 23, 2017 3:12 PM - Last modified Oct. 17, 2017 9:47 AM