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Department of Anthropology

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Faculty & Staff - Dr. Paul “Jim” Roscoe

Professor of Anthropology
Cooperating Professor, Climate Change Institute
Cooperating Professor, School of Policy & International Affairs

Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1983

M.A., Manchester University, 1977

M.Sc. Manchester University, 1973

B.Sc., Manchester University, 1971

Professional Interests:

My particular research interests are the anthropology of war, cultural ecology, and political evolution, though I confess to being a closet generalist. My area interests are contact-era Polynesia and Melanesia; I have conducted over two years fieldwork amongst the Yangoru Boiken of the East Sepik, Papua New Guinea and have made a brief research trip to the Mountain Arapesh. My current research projects are: The hunters and gatherers of New Guinea; The anthropology of war in Sepik and Highland New Guinea; and The emergence of political complexity in New Guinea. Recently, I have been researching the human dimensions of climate change. I am particularly interested in how anthropological research can improve the models of human systems currently being used in predicting, mitigating, and adaptating to climate change.

Representative Publications:

2012 with David M. Carballo and Gary M. Feinman, ” Cooperation and Collective Action in the Cultural Evolution of Complex Societies.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. DOI 10.1007/s10816-012-9147-2.

2012 “Before Elites: The Political Capacities of Big-Men.” In Before Elites: Alternatives to Hierarchical Systems in Modelling Social Formations, Vol.1, Tobias L. Kienlein and Andreas Zimmerman, eds. Pp.41-54. Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie, Volume 215. Bonn: Rudolp Habelt. Article pdf

2011″Dead Birds: The ‘Theater’ of War among the Dugum Dani.” American Anthropologist 113 56-70. Article pdf

2011 “The Abelam ‘Invasion’ and the Rise of Ilahita Revisted.” In Echoes of the Tambaran, David Lipset and Paul Roscoe, eds. The Australian National University, pp.25-43. Article pdf

2010 “War, Community, and Environment in the Levantine Neolithic.” Neo-Lithics 1(10): 66-67.

2009 with Ulrike Claas, “A Journey up the Sepik River in 1887.” Journal of Pacific History 44:333-343

2009 “On the ‘Pacification’ of the European Neolithic: Ethnographic Analogy and the Neglect of History.” World Archaeology 41:578-588.

2009 “Social signaling and the Organization of Small-scale Society: The Case of Contact-era New Guinea”. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 16:69-116.

2009 with Ulrike Claas, “Hot Air and the Colonialist ‘Other’.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 15:131-150

2008 “Settlement Fortification in Village and ‘Tribal’ Society: Evidence from Contact-era New Guinea.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27:507-519.

2007 “Intelligence, Coalitional Killing, and the Antecedents of War.” American Anthropologist 109:485-495.

2006 with Laurie Bragge and Ulrike Claas, “On the Edge of Empire: Military Brokerage in the Sepik Tribal Zone.” American Ethnologist 33:100-113.

2006 “Fish, Game, and the Foundations of Complexity in Forager Society: The Evidence from New Guinea.” Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal of Comparative Social Science. 40:29-46.

2004 with Borut Telban, “The People of the Lower Arafundi: Tropical Foragers of the New Guinea Rainforest.” Ethnology 43:93-115.

2003 “Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Mountain Arapesh Warfare.” American Anthropologist, 105:581-591.

2002 “The Hunters and Gatherers of New Guinea.” Current Anthropology 43:153-162.

2000 “New Guinea Leadership as Ethnographic Analogy.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 7(2):79-126.

2000 “Costs, Benefits, Typologies, and Power: The Evolution of Political Hierarchy.” In Michael Diehl (ed.), Hierarchies in Action: Cui Bono?. Pp.113-133. Center for Archaeological Research, University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale.

1996 “War and Society in Sepik New Guinea.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2:645-666.

1995 “Familiar Partners? The Mountain Arapesh and the Westermarck Effect.” The Journal of Anthropological Research 51:347-362.


Telephone: 207.581.1896

Fax: 207.581.1823


Department of Anthropology
University of Maine
5773 S. Stevens Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5773

Additional Links

Anthropology Home
Climate Change Institute
School of Policy & International Affairs (SPIA)

Image Description: Paul Roscoe

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Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
5773 S.Stevens Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5773
Phone: (207) 581-1894 | Fax: (207) 581-1823E-mail:
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System