Polly Wiessner

Polly Wiessner

Distinguished Professor - Department of Anthropology, University of Utah

Polly Wiessner received her PhD in Anthropology and Archaeology from the University of Michigan in 1977. She is currently is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah. Over the past forty years, she has conducted research among the !Kung (Ju/’hoansi) Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert on social networks to reduce risk, and style and social information in material culture.

She is currently studying conversations and activities that take place after dark to understand how extending the day with firelight enhanced human sociality. For the past thirty years, she has carried out ethnohistorical studies among the Enga of highland New Guinea, tracing developments in warfare, ritual, and exchange that occurred from the time from the introduction of the sweet potato some four hundred years ago until present. She has recently studied changes in warfare after the breakdown in many Enga traditions that contained war and the replacement of bows and arrows with high-powered weapons.

Contributions to Humans & Nature:

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