Anthropological Knowledge Production in Oceania

And How to Decolonise Anthropology in (Swiss) Academia

  • Juliane Neuhaus University of Zurich
Keywords: anthropological knowledge, indigenous anthropology, Oceania, decolonising academia


In Oceania, as elsewhere, power relations in knowledge production have been highly debated for many decades. Oceanian anthropologists have developed challenging proposals to decolonise anthropology and academia in Oceania at large. Nevertheless, insights from this region do not figure prominently in recent theoretical discussions about coloniality and decolonisation “about the subaltern” (Grosfoguel 2007, 211). By focusing on the long-lasting Oceanian discourse in a Swiss peer-reviewed journal, this article aims to contribute to the decolonisation of Swiss academia by proposing an anthropology “with and from a subaltern perspective” (Grosfoguel 2007, 211). Drawing on recent online research, and experiences with teaching the anthropology of Oceania, this article familiarises a European readership with Indigenous anthropologists from Oceania, and their struggles with our discipline. It looks at Indigenous scholars’ reflections about and propositions for different ways of knowledge production and Indigenous research methods. The article concludes with suggestions to further the decolonisation process within (Swiss) academia.

Author Biography

Juliane Neuhaus, University of Zurich

Juliane Neuhaus is a social anthropologist of Oceania who has conducted ethnographic research in Papua New Guinea in 2002 and 2009. Her research has focused on dispute resolution in a legally plural situation in Morobe Province, with an approach combining the anthropologies of law and of religion, looking at Christian morality, gender relations, and legal consciousness. She is currently working as a senior researcher and lecturer at the ISEK (Department of Social Anthropology) at the University of Zurich. Her regional foci today are Oceania and Switzerland. She teaches reading and writing ethnography, ethnographic methods, the anthropology of law, migration, Christianity, and racism. Together with many colleagues, she is very much interested in decolonising anthropology, and she has put efforts into de-canonising teaching.


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How to Cite
Neuhaus, Juliane. 2023. “Anthropological Knowledge Production in Oceania: And How to Decolonise Anthropology in (Swiss) Academia”. Swiss Journal of Sociocultural Anthropology 28 (February):61–83.