ECDI Update: January 2023 activities

This is a monthly update about the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative (ECDI) activities and upcoming events.


ECDI PhD student Anna Naupa’s TPR seminar: 

Title: Opening roads through kastom: vernacular diplomacies in Vanuatu
When: Friday 10 Feb, 9.30-11am
Location: online via zoom (Meeting ID 8757886 7864; Password 487950) 

Abstract: The metaphor of ‘kastom roads’ is a common feature in the description of many Melanesian cultural systems. The ways in which ‘roads’ signal allegiances, facilitate connections and broker negotiations between political communities offer insights into vernacular diplomacies that have endured from periods prior to European contact through to contemporary practice. However, the reproduction of vernacular diplomacies in state-led diplomatic settings and spaces for kastom ways of engaging between different groups across boundaries – from local to international arenas – are little understood. This thesis proposes to challenge the state-centric definition of diplomacy in Pacific and Melanesian contexts, using multicultural, pluralistic Vanuatu as a research focus. Through the development of case studies, the thesis aims to understand conceptualisations of kastom at scale, and its practice across boundaries, to identify models of vernacular diplomacies.  

Upcoming field school:

The archaeology and cultural heritage field school run by Ben Shaw is taking place on the Mornington Peninsula over 2 weeks from the 5th to the 19th of February. After the success of the first offering in 2022 this is the 2nd year it will be running, with a student enrolment at capacity. The fieldschool is run in collaboration with leading Melbourne based cultural heritage consultancy, Heritage Insight, and the Indigenous landowners of the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. It is aimed at providing undergraduate and postgraduate students with training in archaeological method while working On Country with the Traditional Owners, and with ECDIs Nick Evans and Simon Haberle introducing linguistic and palaeoecological approaches to studying past people. Partner organisations involved in the fieldschool span all aspects of cultural heritage management in Victoria and include Heritage Victoria, First Peoples-State Relations, Parks Victoria, and Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. Ben Shaw will be providing daily updates on Twitter: @Archaeoben10



Upcoming SYNAPSE Seminars:

  • Understanding human history from ancient & modern genomes – Joao Teixiera – Monday 27 Feb, 2pm AEDT – register via Eventbrite
  • The global variability and recurrence of kinship terminology – Sam Passmore – Monday 27 Mar, 2pm AEDT – register via Eventbrite

The seminar series will be held monthly in-person and via zoom. 

Please also share our upcoming seminars with your networks.


Seminars, Workshops, Conferences

2023 International Symposium on Communication in Healthcare 
14-15 February 2023 
The 2023 International Symposium on Communication in Healthcare: Communicating for Patient Safety: Translating Health Communication Research into Clinical Practice, Education & Training will be hosted by the ANU Institute for Communication in Health Care and co-hosted with QUT Health Research Network and the International Consortium for Communication in Healthcare

Find more information here and register to attend here

International Symposium on Bilingualism 14 – Diversity Now 
26-30 June 2023

The 14th International Symposium on Bilingualism will take place on 26-30 June 2023 at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. The theme of the conference is Diversity Now. The United Nations General Assembly has declared the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to draw attention to the critical status of many Indigenous languages across the world and to encourage action for their preservation, revitalisation, and promotion. ISB14 especially encourages submissions of work involving lesser-studied bilingual communities and interdisciplinary work examining bilingualism across cultures, societies, and the life-span. 

We invite abstracts for two categories of submissions: individual papers and posters. Find more information here 

2023 LSA Institute – Linguistics as Cognitive Science: Universality and Variation
19 June-14 July 2023

The Institute will offer 88 courses, including introductory and advanced courses. The theme for this Institute is “Linguistics as Cognitive Science: Universality and Variation”. It will be hosted by the Department of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from June 19 to July 14. It will be a great opportunity for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students to deepen their expertise, explore new topics, and interact with an amazing community of students and professors from many colleges and universities. You can find information about the 2023 Institute and the courses here.  

2023 Vanuatu Languages Conference 
Abstract deadline: 14 February 2023 
The Comparative Oceanic Linguistics group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre are pleased to announce the third Vanuatu Languages Conference, which will take place on July 10-13, 2023 at the Vanuatu Cultural Centre in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The focus will be on current and emerging areas of linguistic research in Vanuatu. 
Find more information here


Job/Funding Opportunities

Linguistics sessional roles, CASS ANU 
Deadline: 6 February 2023 
CASS are looking to (potentially) fill two sessional positions in S1 2023. See details attached. To apply send your expression of interest and CV to Ksenia Gnevsheva, Convenor of Linguistics: by 6 February 2023.  



Frieman, C. 2022. NFTS as skeuomorphs: Weaponized sameness and fascist utopias. American Anthropologist.

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