Date of Award
Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Just as a word in a foreign language must be interpreted for one who does not speak the language, a cultural artifact alone holds no significance or meaning for an outsider. Thus, for an object to be understood it cannot stand alone, but must be placed in context though time and space, and various layers of cultural meaning must be expounded. The word lagim, from the Kiriwina language, may be roughly translated as meaning "the splashboard of a Kula canoe". This translation may give the proper words from English that denote the object, but it still leaves much to question. For example, what is Kula? What is the function of a splashboard? Just as the concept of DNA may not be fully understood without first studying it's many components, for the importance of lagim to be comprehended, it's place of creation, it's function and significance for the culture of origin need to be considered.
Tomlinson, Becky, "Kula and the Trobriand Islands: The Meaning and Power of Objects" (2003). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 839.
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Departmental Honors Advisor