Sophie Chao

Sophie Chao
The University of Sydney · Department of Anthropology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

47
Publications
9,085
Reads
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459
Citations
Citations since 2016
41 Research Items
426 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022020406080100120
Introduction
My research explores the impacts of agribusiness on human-environment relations in Asia-Pacific and Melanesia. For more information, please visit www.morethanhumanworlds.com.
Additional affiliations
March 2022 - present
University of Sydney
Position
  • Lecturer
March 2019 - December 2021
University of Sydney
Position
  • PostDoc Position
February 2015 - December 2019
Macquarie University
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
February 2015 - June 2019
Macquarie University
Field of study
  • Anthropology
May 2009 - June 2010
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Anthropology
May 2009 - May 2010
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Social Anthropology

Publications

Publications (47)
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the ambivalent relations of indigenous Marind to domesticated animals in Merauke District, West Papua. Marind pity village animals because they lose their ‘wildness’ and behave like human settlers, whom Marind consider alien because of their ‘modern’ lifestyle and non-Papuan origins. These transformations evoke to Marind their...
Article
Full-text available
P atricius, an Indigenous Marind elder, is teaching me how to listen to plantations. 1 We are standing in a 50,000-hectare oil palm concession in the Indonesian-controlled region of West Papua. Before oil palm, this land was home to many of Patricius's kin-cassowaries, possums, birds of paradise, sago palms. Now, an uncanny silence presides in the...
Book
Sophie Chao examines the multispecies entanglements of oil palm plantations in West Papua, Indonesia, showing how Indigenous Marind communities understand and navigate the social, political, and environmental demands of the oil palm plant.
Article
This article explores how tropical plantation lifeworlds are made and unmade through more-than-human forms of extraction, extinction, and emergence. Taking the palm oil sector as my primary focus of inquiry, I trace the extractions of substance, land, and labour undergirding the historical transformation of oil palm from West African subsistence pl...
Article
This article explores the cultural, political, and affective significance of mourning among the Indigenous Marind communities of rural Merauke West Papua, whose intimate and ancestral relations to native plants, animals, and ecosystems are increasingly threatened by mass deforestation and monocrop oil palm expansion. Cross-pollinating Indigenous mo...
Article
This article explores how human and animal agencies shape the socio-ecological lifeworlds of kangaroos as cultural icons, native wildlife, problematic pests, and commercial meat in contemporary Australia. Kangaroos’ resistance to Western, colonial ways of knowing and ordering the world fundamentally challenged the classificatory logic and foundatio...
Article
Full-text available
This article calls for transdisciplinary, experimental, and decolonial imaginations of climate change and Pacific futures in an age of great planetary undoing. Drawing from our personal and academic knowledge of the Pacific from West Papua to Samoa, we highlight the need for radical forms of imagination that are grounded in an ethos of inclusivity,...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores how racial discrimination and agro-industrial development undermine the right to food of Indigenous communities in the West Papuan district of Merauke. Traditional forest foodways express the cultural and territorial identity of Marind and affirm their intimate and ancestral relations with each other and with the sentient forest...
Article
In 2019 anti‐racism protests erupted across the Indonesian‐controlled region of West Papua. Organized largely by Papuan students, the protests expressed Papuans’ frustration with their oppression at the hands of the Indonesian state. During the protests, Papuan demonstrators repurposed the racialized figure of the monkey—a species routinely deploye...
Article
This article examines how Indigenous Marind communities in West Papua conceptualize interspecies relations in monocrop oil palm ecologies. Many villagers identify with native species that, like Marind, are displaced or dispossessed to make way for plantations and their primarily non‐Papuan labor force and operators. On the other hand, parasites tha...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I explore how Marind communities in West Papua experience and interpret hunger. Drawing from Indigenous discourse and practice, I examine how agro-industrial expansion and commodified foodways provoke multiple, conflicting hungers among Marind - for sago, "plastic" foods, money, and human flesh. In tandem, Marind themselves are sub...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
This article explores how ecological change transforms children and child‐rearing among Indigenous Marind in West Papua. Marind children become ‘anim' (persons) by immersing themselves within the ecology of sago palms and their suckers, or ‘sago children’. Conversely, deforestation and oil palm expansion – the defining traits of the place, period,...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the intersecting forms of social and environmental injustice shaping the lifeworld of Indigenous Marind communities and their more-than-human ecologies in the Indonesian-controlled province of West Papua. Over the last decade, large-scale deforestation and monocrop oil palm expansion have radically undermined Marinds' intimate...
Article
Full-text available
Review of Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds, by María Puig de la Bellacasa (University of Minnesota Press, 2017)
Research
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Research
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Research
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Article
Anthropological studies of ritual ‘failure’ challenge the assumed efficacy of ritual in affirming the social order. Drawing from fieldwork in West Papua, I examine the ‘failure’ and ‘success’ of two rain‐making ceremonies – one hosted by an indigenous Marind expert, the other by an Indonesian oil palm corporation. Participants conceived the failure...
Article
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Article
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This article explores how indigenous Marind of West Papua conceptualize the radical socio-environmental transformations wrought by large-scale deforestation and oil palm expansion on their customary lands and forests. Within the ecology of the Marind lifeworld, oil palm constitutes a particular kind of person, endowed with particular agencies and a...
Technical Report
Full-text available

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