Anthropology

Applications are now closed

Ancient Futures: Late 18th & Early 19th Century Tongan Arts and Their Legacies


Supervisor

Phyllis S. Herda

Discipline

Social Anthropology

Project code: ART001

European explorers visited the Tongan Islands in the late 18th and early 19th centuries where they met and were entertained by the local elite who hosted them with lavish feasting and elaborate gift exchange, which included art and chiefly regalia, and established relationships between host and visitor. When they left the islands these items became artefacts of the encounter and exotic representations of the people who fashioned and gifted them. Ancient Futures: Late 18th and Early 19th Century Tongan Arts and Their Legacies seeks to recover ‘lost’ Tongan arts and knowledge as well as ways of knowing and to make these available to current generations. The project will re-identify and analyse Tongan artefacts detached from their indigenous provenance and, therefore, not included in the received understanding of Tonga’s past. By following the genealogy of each of the objects from their departure from Tonga in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to their present institutional location the project works to enable its ascription to its proper social, cultural and historical context. This will not only allow reconsiderations of their original context, but also a rethinking of the dynamics of cross-cultural encounters and a re-inscription of tradition and its place in current Tongan social understandings and scholarship.

Scholar’s work

The Summer Scholar will be required to search the on-line catalogues of Sotheby’s Auction House for potential Tongan artefacts. The Scholar will conduct follow-up research concerning the history and  location of chosen objects and will submit a report (3,000–4,000 words) on their research. The objects chosen for further consideration will be jointly selected by the Summer Scholar and the Supervisor.  In the follow-up research the Summer Scholar will consider and contextualise the chosen objects in terms of the existing general academic literature on the type of object and, if possible, on the point of collection of the specific chosen artefact.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

An acquaintance with and interest in traditional Tongan art practices.

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.

“Google is My Parents”: How Young People Use Health Apps and the Internet to Understand Health and Mental Wellbeing


Supervisor

Assoc Prof Susanna Trnka

Rm 825, 8th floor, Human Sciences Building, 10 Symonds St

Phone: 923-5316

Discipline

Anthropology

Project code: ART002

This project examines how youth (ages 16-24) across New Zealand use health apps and interactive online forums to maintain or improve health and fitness, with a focus on both physical health and mental or emotional wellbeing. The project’s central aim is to understand the ramifications of using digital avenues, such as Google, for understanding one’s health needs, as based on one young woman’s explanation that “Google is my parents” when it comes to seeking advice on her health and wellbeing. The project involves interviewing medical professionals who work with youth as well as interviewing young New Zealanders about their perspectives and use of digital healthcare technologies. It also includes first-hand research on health apps, internet health sites, chat sites, discussion boards. With the aim of discovering the impact of new technologies on youth health practices, the scholar will examine issues such as: how health apps redefine our ideas about fitness and resilience; whether health app use is effected by age, cultural background, sexual identity or  gender; how youth create new kinds of identities and socialities online; and how the accessibility, anonymity, and privacy of online services are reshaping young New Zealanders’ engagements with GPs and other (face-to-face) medical services.

Scholar’s work

1)    The primary role of the scholar will be to assist in conducting ethnographic research on young people’s use of digital healthcare and its impact on their health and wellbeing. Priority will be placed on organizing, conducting, and transcribing interviews with both medical professionals who work with youth and with young New Zealanders, ages 16-20. Ideally, these interviews will be multi-sited: while it is envisioned that most will be located in Auckland, there will be at least one non-Auckland interview site. The scholar’s activities will include reaching out to potential interview subjects through medical offices, schools, community groups and other sites. Another aspect of the research will be to conduct online research on new health apps, learning how they function and interacting with other users.

2)    As this is envisioned as the final stage of a three-year project, the scholar will also be heavily involved in data analysis, analysing transcripts of his or her interviews as well as earlier interviews to identify common themes.

3)    Another aspect of the scholar’s work will be to update and expand an Endnote database of books and articles that examine both: the use of digital technologies in healthcare; and digital cultures and socialities more broadly.

4)    Finally, the scholar will keep the supervisor up to date on new trends in healthcare apps and interactive web technologies.

Required skills/pre-requisites

  • Previous interview experience is a must
  • Interest in and, ideally, prior knowledge of, digital healthcare technologies
  • Strong inter-personal skills and comfort conducting interviews with teens and adults
  • Transcription Skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Willingness to engage in, and ideally prior experience in, data analysis

Applicants should address these required skills in their application and indicate if they have been in touch with the proposed supervisor.