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Climate Change Institute

Paul ("Jim") Roscoe

Professor of Anthropology and Cooperating Professor of Climate Change Studies

Paul ("Jim") Roscoe

Contact Information



Department of Anthropology
228B South Stevens Hall 
Orono, ME  04401


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.


  • Roscoe, Paul and David Lipset (eds), 2011. Echoes of the Tambaran. The Australian National University.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 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.
  • Roscoe, Paul and David Lipset, 2011. Introduction: Donald F. Tuzin, An Anthropologist's Anthropologist. In Echoes of the Tambaran, David Lipset and Paul Roscoe, eds. The Australian National University, pp.1-21.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2009. Selected Publications: 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.
  • Roscoe, Paul, and Claas, Ulrike, 2009. Hot Air and the Colonialist 'Other': The German-English-Dutch Airship Expedition to New Guinea. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 15:131-150.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2008. Settlement Fortification in Village and 'Tribal' Society: Evidence from Contact-era New Guinea. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27: 507-519.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2008. Catastrophe and the Emergence of Political Complexity: Some Models from Social Anthropology. In: Climate and Catastrophe, Jeffrey Quilter and Daniel Sandweiss, eds. Pp.77-100. Washington, DC: Dumbarton Oaks.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2008. A New Guinea Culture-Bound Syndrome Revisited: Vayda, Humility, and Monological Authority in Anthropology. In: Against the Tides: The Vayda Tradition in Human Ecology and Ecological Anthropology. Bradley Walters, Bonnie J. McCay, Paige West, and Susan Lees, eds. Pp.145-158. Lantham, MD: Lexington Books.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2007. Intelligence, Coalitional Killing, and the Antecedents of War. American Anthropologist 109:485-495.
  • Roscoe,Paul, Bragge, Laurie, and Claas, Ulrike, 2006. On the Edge of Empire: Military Brokerage in the Sepik Tribal Zone. American Ethnologist 33:100-113.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 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.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2005. Foraging, Ethnographic Analogy, and Papuan Pasts. In: Papuan Pasts: Cultural, Linguistic, and Biological Histories of Papuan-speaking Peoples. Andrew Pawley, Robert Attenborough, Jack Golson, and Robin Hide, eds. Pp.555-584. Pacific Linguistics, Vol. 572. Canberra, Australia: Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2004. Latitudinal Trends in Hunter-Gatherer Diets and the 'Tropical Exception'. Before Farming. Online Journal: Issue 3; Article 4.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Roscoe, Paul and Telban, Borut, 2004. The People of the Lower Arafundi: Tropical Foragers of the New Guinea Rainforest. Ethnology 43:93-115.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2004. The Problem with Polities: Some Problems in Forecasting Global Political Integration. Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal of Comparative Social Science 38:102-118.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2004. The Evolution of Revitalization Movements among the Yangoru Boiken, Papua New Guinea. In: Reassessing Revitalization Movements: Perspectives from North America and the Pacific Islands. Michael Harkin (ed.). Pp.162-182. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2003. Margaret Mead, Reo Fortune, and Mountain Arapesh Warfare. American Anthropologist, 105:581-591.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2002. The Hunters and Gatherers of New Guinea. Current Anthropology 43:153-162.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2002. Culture. In: Darwin and Archaeology: A Handbook of Key Concepts, John P. Hart and John Edward Terrell, eds. Pp.107-124. Wesport, CT: Bargin and Garvey.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2001. `Strength' and Sexuality: Sexual Avoidance and Masculinity in New Guinea and Amazonia. In: Comparative Perspectives on Gender in Amazonia and Melanesia. Tom Gregor and Donald Tuzin, eds. Pp.279-308. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2000. New Guinea Leadership as Ethnographic Analogy: A Critical Review. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 7:79-126.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 2000. Costs, Benefits, Typologies, and Power: The Evolution of Political Hierarchy. In: Hierarchies in Action: Cui Bono? Michael W. Diehl, ed. Pp.113-133. Center for Archaeological Investigations. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1996. War and Society in Sepik New Guinea. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2:645-666.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1995. Familiar Partners? The Mountain Arapesh and the Westermarck Effect. The Journal of Anthropological Research 51:347-362.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1995. The Perils of `Positivism' in Cultural Anthropology. American Anthropologist 97:492-504.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1995. Of Power and Menace: Sepik Art as an Affecting Presence. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 1:1-22.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1995. `Initiation' in Cross-Cultural Perspective. In: Gender Rituals: Female Initiation in Melanesia. N.C. Lutkehaus and P.B. Roscoe, eds. Pp.219-238. Routledge, London and New York.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1994. Settlement and Sociality Among the Mountain Arapesh. Ethnology 33:193-210.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1994. Amity and Aggression: A Symbolic Theory of Incest. Man (N.S.) 28:49-76.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1993. The Brokers of the Lord: The Ministration of a Christian Faith in a Sepik Society. In: Contemporary Pacific Society: Studies in Development and Change. T. Harding, V. Lockwood, and B. Wallace, eds. Pp.289-303. Prentice Hall, Englewood Ciffs, NJ.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1993. Practice and Political Centralisation: A New Approach to Political Evolution. Current Anthropology 34(2):111-124, 133-140.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1992. Warfare, Terrain, and Political Expansion. Human Ecology 20(1):1-20.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1990. The Bow and the Spreadnet: Ecological Origins of Hunting Technology. American Anthropologist 92(3):45-55.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1988. The Far Side of Hurun: The Management of Melanesian Millenarian Movements. American Ethnologist 15(3):515-529.
  • Roscoe, Paul, 1987. Of Canoes and Castaways: Reassessing the Population of Tongareva (Penrhyn Island) at Contact. Pacific Studies 11(1):43-61.

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