New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project Papers

Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
Copyright 2013
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175

Descriptive Summary

Languages: English
Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0436
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 archives box)
Date (inclusive): 1959-1994
Abstract: Papers related to the New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project, led by James B. Watson. Also included are papers written for an American Anthropological Association conference session looking back at the study and its impact on the discipline. Papers range in date from 1959-1994, and include reports, meeting minutes, working papers, and conference papers.

Historical Background

The Committee on New Guinea Studies (CONGS), formed in the United States in 1956, consisted of anthropologists from six Pacific Coast universities. Concerned with the rapid disappearance of native populations untouched by Western influence, the group planned a long term study of populations in interior New Guinea. Beginning in early 1959, a cooperative study began in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Led by James Watson and supported by the National Science Foundation, the project examined the languages, cultures, psychological traits, racial characteristics, and ecological adaptations of the native populations in Gadsup, Tairora, Auyana, and Awa. Along with Watson, researchers included Howard McKaughan, Brian du Toit, Madeleine Leininger, Robert Littlewood, K.J. Pataki, and Robert Welsch.

Preferred Citation

New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project Papers, MSS 436. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Publication Rights

Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

Acquisition Information

Acquired 2013.

Scope and Contents of Collection

Papers related to the Micro-Evolution Study in New Guinea, led my James B. Watson, as well as its impact on the discipline of anthropology. The collection has been arranged in two series: 1) PROJECT PAPERS and 2) CONFERENCE MATERIAL.
The series PROJECT PAPERS includes copies of documents related to the Micro-Evolution Study. These papers include meeting notes, a grant proposal to extend the study, memos documenting the project, and project reports written by James Watson.
The second series, CONFERENCE MATERIAL, contains papers, notes, and planning documents for a session at the 1994 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting. The session - Sartor Resartus: The New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project, 1959-1983 and After - examined the Micro-Evolution Project's impact on research methods, interests, and anthropology in general. Speakers included David Boyd, David Cole, Brian Du Toit, Paula Brown Glick, Terence Hays, Madeleine Leininger, Robert Littlewood, Howard McKaughan, Donald Tuzin, Robert Welsch, and George Westermark. Many of the presenters were participants in the project. The series contains planning documents and notes from the session, as well as many of the participant's papers - both early drafts and finished works.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Gadsup (Papua New Guinea people)
Eastern Highlands Province (Papua New Guinea)
Auyana (Papua New Guinea people)
Tairora (Papua New Guinea people)
Ethnology -- Papua New Guinea -- Eastern Highlands Province -- Archives
Awa (Papua New Guinea people)
New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project
McKaughan, Howard, 1922-
Du Toit, Brian M., 1935-
Welsch, Robert Louis, 1950-
Pataki-Schweizer, K. J.
Littlewood, R. A. (Robert A.), 1930-
Leininger, Madeleine M.
Committee of New Guinea Studies



Box 1, Folder 1

Committee on New Guinea Studies (CONGS) - Meeting notes August 28-29, 1959

Box 1, Folder 2

New Guinea Micro-evolution Studies "Memorandum Series," #1-17 1961 - 1966

Box 1, Folder 3

The Dynamics of Micro-evolution of a Human Community: An Interdisciplinary Study in Behavioral, Environmental, and Biological Variation - National Science Foundation grant proposal ca. 1963


Watson, James B

Box 1, Folder 4

Micro-Evolution Studies (New Guinea Project) - Work papers 1962

Box 1, Folder 5

Various reports & notes 1966, 1968



Box 1, Folder 6

Session proposal, schedule, planning materials, and meeting notes ca. 1994


Session papers

Box 1, Folder 7

Boyd, David J. - The Irakia Awa: Historical Continuity, Change, and the "Jones Effect," 1964-1993 undated

Box 1, Folder 8

Cole, David - Function and Development in the East New Guinea Highlands undated

Box 1, Folder 9

Du Toit, Brian M. - A New Guinea Research Experience: Looking Back After Thirty Years ca. 1994

Box 1, Folder 10

Hays, Terence E. - Micro-Evolution Project Bibliography undated

Box 1, Folder 11

Littlewood, Robert - The Microevolution Project and a "Science" of Anthropology 1994

Box 1, Folder 12

McKaughan, Howard P. - An Overview from Linguistic Micro-Evolution Studies of the Eastern Family of the East New Guinea Highlands 1994

Box 1, Folder 13

Welsch, Robert L. - Regional Research in Melanesia: From the New Guinea Micro-Evolution Project to the A.B. Lewis Project and Beyond 1994

Box 1, Folder 14

Westermark, George - Colonial Ethnography: The Micro-Evolution of Kiap Cultural Analysis undated