The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
Prof Roy Ellen
Professor of Anthropology and Human Ecology
Retired; Emeritus Professor
- - R.F.Ellen@kent.ac.uk
- - 01227 (82)3421
I was trained at the London School of Economics as a social anthropologist, though have long been committed to an anthropology that addresses the 'big issues.' My fieldwork has, over a period of 40 years, focussed mainly on the Nuaulu of Seram and other peoples of the Moluccan islands of eastern Indonesia. I have also worked in Sulawesi, Java and Brunei.
Throughout this period I have had a continuous professional interest in the anthropology of the environment and in ethnobiology (especially in relation to cultural cognition), and inaugurated the Kent teaching programmes in these subjects. I have also worked on the ecological and social dynamics of inter-island trading systems.
My current interests are focussed on the applications of cognitive anthropology to the history of science, the reproduction of Nuaulu ritual cycles, and understanding the management and significance of cultivar diversity amongst home gardeners and farmers in the British Isles and in the Moluccas.back to top
Ellen, R and H. L. Soselisa 2012. Cassava diversity and toxicity in relation to environmental degradation: a feature of food security in the Moluccas, Indonesia. In Environmetal uncertainty and local knowledge: Southeast Asia as a laboratory of global ecological change, eds. A.-K. Hornidge and C. Antweiler. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, pp. 215-242.
Ellen, R., H. L. Soselisa and A. P. Wulandari 2012. The biocultural history of Manihot esculenta in the Moluccan islands of eastern Indonesia: assessing the evidence for the movement and selection of cassava germplasm. Journal of Ethnobiology 32(2): 157–184
2011. (with S. J. Platten) The social life of seeds: the role of networks of relationships in the dispersal and cultural selection of plant germplasm. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 17, 563-584
2011. The place of the eolithic controversy in the anthropology of Alfred Russel Wallace. The Linnean 27 (1), 22-33.
2010. Theories in anthropology and 'anthropological theory'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16, 387-404
2010. (with R. Soemarwoto) Gold mining and changing perceptions of risk in West Java. Human Organization 69 (3), 233-41.
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My main current research and writing commitments arise from three recent grants:
Leverhulme Trust, 2007-2010: The Ethnobotany of British Homegardens: diversity, knowledge and exchange (with Simon Platten).
British Academy, 2007-8: The eolithic controversy as a problem in the history of science, and of archaeology in particular: an approach from cognitive anthropology
British Academy (South East Asia Committee), 2009-2010: A comparative study of the sociocultural concomitants of cassava diversity in four eastern Indonesian populations in relation to environmental security.
I am also completing, for KITLV Press, a monograph on ‘Frequency, periodicity and ritual reproduction’, and co-editing with Stephen Lycett and Sarah Johns a collection of essays on ‘Understanding cultural transmission’.back to top
- Yoshimi OSAWA: The perception and representation of umami: a study of the relationship between taste sensation, food types and cultural categories. Submitted.
- Graciela ALCÁNTARA-SALINAS: A comparative study of Cuicatec and Zapotec ornithology, with particular reference to contextual variation in a time of environmental and social change in Oaxaca, Mexico. Submitted.
- Bernadette MONTANARI A critical analysis of the introduction of essential oil distillation in the High Atlas of Morocco, with reference to the role of gendered traditional knowledge.
- Calum BLAIKIE: The commodification of materia medica and the practice of Tibetan medicine in Ladakh.
- Rory McBURNEY: Diet, resource management and agro-biodiversity of a farming community in Western Kenya.
- Lisa FENTON: 'Bushcraft' and 'indigenous knowledge': transformations of a concept in the modern world.
- Petra BAKEWELL-STONE: The role of indigenous foods in climate change adaptation in coastal Tanzania.
- Nicola PILKINGTON: Local knowledge of seaweed harvesting in the Western Isles of Scotland: an ethnobotanical analysis of knowledge transfer and its relevance in reinvigorating community resilience.
I am Chair of the School of Anthropology and Conservation Ethics Committee, and a member of the University Committee for Research Ethics and Governance.
Nationally, I am a member of the Anthropology and Development Subpanel for the forthcoming 2014 Research Excellence Framework, a Fellow and Council Member of the British Academy, and President of the Royal Anthropological Institute (2007-2011).back to top