About

Aloha! This is the website of Alex Golub. I’m an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

I have three different research interests. First, I am a Melanesianist with an interest in the history and anthropology of Papua New Guinea. Secondly, I am a political anthropologist with a focus on mining, extractive industry, and the corporation. Finally, I am interested in the history of anthropology and ‘meta’ questions about how our discipline works. These include issues of theory formation as well as the political economy of our discipline and especially publishing — I am an advocate of open access publishing.

Over the years these research interests have combined to produce a long-term study of social change and the mining industry in Papua New Guinea with a focus on the Porgera gold mine in Enga province. But I have also studied the on-line video game World of Warcraft and how players bring the culture of their actual lives into virtual worlds. In both of these areas, I study how the politics of small group interaction are shaped by the cultural expectations of political actors.

A prolific blogger with over a decade worth of experience online, I’m one of the co-founders of savage minds, formerly the most popular cultural anthropology blog on the Internet. I’m also a long-time advocate for open access publishing and I’ve examined its effect on scholarly communication. I’ve written popular pieces on mana in video games and being kosher for passover in Hawai‘i.

In addition to articles and popular pieces, my book on the mining industry in Papua New Guinea, Leviathans at the Gold Mine, was published by Duke University Press and won the 2015 book prize of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology. A also edited a volume of essays in honor of my teacher Marshall Sahlins.

You can read more about my work at my Google Scholar site.

I have a CV I (try) to keep updated as well.

3 thoughts on “About”

  1. Alex: A minor & friendly editorial comment: Something doesn’t read right in the following phrase of yours in “About” Alex Golub: “I study the politics of small group interaction are shaped by the cultural expectations of political actors.” Should the “are” be “as”?

  2. Alex,

    I enjoyed Leviathans — especially the Melanesian Way section. I work with the Hewa and am now working with Ipili, Enga and Wake speakers to conserve the Kaijende Highlands (the grasslands around Wiley Creek). Here’s some more info on the projects: newguineaconservation.org
    If you have a minute and any interest, drop me a line and I will be happy to reciprocate.
    Cheers,
    Bill

  3. Hi Alex – came across your reviews of Diamond’s works – good fun!! I have some personal anecdotes about him and about the USA academics who tried to rope me into various court cases etc etc. Unfortunately having met him and talked somewhat at length about PNG it was difficult to don the executioner’s mask despite his transgressions! Absolutely the ‘coffee’ between pages of TND accurate – maybe the ‘otherwise boring’ judgement does not follow inferentially otherwise I’d like to be at the party of those anthers who read Einstein”s theory of relativity!! Hope all well with you.

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