Office of Sustainability

University of Mississippi

Dr. Paige West to Speak on Earth Day

Posted on: April 16th, 2015 by

By Will Bedwell, Green Student Intern | April 16, 2015

OXFORD—On Earth Day, April 22, Dr. Paige West will discuss her research on how the indigenous peoples of New Ireland are struggling to adapt to the present day effects of climate change. The event will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Overby Center on Wednesday, April 22.

New Ireland, a marine province of New Guinea, is home to more than 150,000 people who speak 20 different languages and are dispersed among hundreds of islands.


New Ireland now faces sea level rise, tsunami threats, king tides, beach erosion, coral reef bleaching, and the salinization of the islands’ drinking waters. In an attempt to create a better understanding of the relationships between societies and their environments, West examines how indigenous practices intersect with conservation science, and how international development and environmental conservation are linked.

West holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rutgers University and is the chair of the Barnard College Department of Anthropology at Columbia University, where she has been a faculty member since 2001.

The author of multiple scholarly articles, West has published much of her research in book form. Her most recent work, From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea, was named a runner up for the Julian Steward Award by the American Anthropological Association and was a finalist for the 2014 Society for Economic Anthropology book award.

This event will provide students, faculty, staff, and community members insight into current manifestations of climate change and the actions humans are taking to mitigate those effects.