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Staff Profile

Prof Paul Sillitoe, Sc.D., F.B.A.

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Paul Sillitoe has a background in both anthropology and agricultural science. His research interests focus on tropical farming systems and indigenous natural resource management strategies. He specialises in development and social change, subsistence and technology, land issues, human ecology and ethno-science. His regional interests focus on the Pacific in particular.

He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, where he first championed the competitive sociability of institutionalised exchange individualism, and he is currently involved in projects in South Asia, researching local agricultural knowledge and development programmes. He seeks to further the incorporation of indigenous knowledge in development, particularly in the context of sustainable livelihood initiatives and appropriate technologies.


See a full list of Prof Sillitoe's publications below.

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Projects

Department of Anthropology

  • Contextual instantiation of indigenous domain knowledge: An e-science approach
  • Indigenous knowledge methodologies for natural resource research
  • Negotiations and mining in PNG
  • Towards an engaged anthropology: Advancing methodological approaches to indigenous knowledge research and community well-being
  • What is traditional about Piaroa traditional knowledge?

Research Interests

  • Development and social change
  • Economic anthropology and tribal socio-political orders
  • Environmental anthropology and natural resources management
  • Human ecology and ethnosciences
  • Indigenous knowledge and participating development
  • Livelihood and technology
  • Melanesia and South Asia

Selected Publications

Authored book

  • Sillitoe, Paul (2017). Built in Niugini:Constructions in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Sean Kingston Publishing.
  • Sillitoe, P. (ed.) (2017). Indigenous knowledge:enhancing its contribution to natural resources management. CABI.
  • Sillitoe, Paul (2017). Made in Niugini: Technology in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Sean Kingston Publishing.
  • Sillitoe, P. (2010). From land to mouth: the agricultural "economy" of the Wola of the New Guinea highlands. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
  • Sillitoe, P. & Sillitoe, J. (2009). Grass-clearing man a factional ethnography of life in the New Guinea Highlands. Waveland Press.
  • Sillitoe, P. (2003). Managing animals in New Guinea: Preying the Game in the Highlands. London: Routledge.
  • Sillitoe, P. , Stewart, P.J. & Strathern, A. (2002). Horticulture in Papua New Guinea: Case Studies from the Southern and Western Highlands. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh.
  • Sillitoe, P. (1996). A place against time: land and environment in the Papua New Guinea highlands. Amsterdam: Harwood Academic (Gordon & Breach).

Chapter in book

  • Sillitoe, Paul (2016). The Knowing in Indigenous Knowledge: Alternative Ways to View Development, Largely from a New Guinea Highlands’ Perspective. In Ethnic and Cultural Dimensions of Knowledge. Springer. 8: 129-163.
  • Sillitoe, Paul (2015). Indigenous Knowledge. In The Ashgate Research Companion to Anthropology. Strathern, A & Stewart, P. (eds) Ashgate Publishing. 343-368.
  • Sillitoe, P. (2000). Indigenous knowledge development in Bangladesh: Present and future. In London: Intermediate Technology Publications & Dhaka: University Press. 3-20, 145-60, 161-177, 179-195.

Edited book

  • Sillitoe, P. , Bicker, A. & Pottier, J. (2002). Participating in development: approaches to indigenous knowledge. ASA Monographs; 39. London: Routledge.

Journal Article

  • Sillitoe, P. (2018). Durham anthropology: a provincial history of a provisional discipline. History and Anthropology 29(2): 233-274.
  • Sillitoe, P., Alshawi, A.A. & Al-Amir Hassan, A.K. (2010). Challenges to conservation: land use change and local participation in the Al Reem Biosphere Reserve, West Qatar. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 6(1): 28.
  • Sillitoe, P. (2010). Trust in development: some implications of knowing in indigenous knowledge. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16(1): 12-30.
  • Sillitoe, P. (1998). The development of indigenous knowledge: a new applied anthropology. Current Anthropology 39(2): 223-252.

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Anthropology: Tribal peoples.
  • Anthropology: International development, esp natural resources
  • International development: International development, esp natural resources
  • Anthropology: Oceania - esp. New Guinea
  • Anthropology: Subsistence farming
  • Environment: Natural resources management
  • Plants & agriculture: Natural resources management
  • Environment: Sustainable development
  • Geography: Sustainable development
  • European & other international expertise:
  • Australasia & the Pacific:
  • Science & Technology:
  • People: Civilisation & land use: