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Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh, new postdoc at the Heart Openings project

New face at IMC

Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh

I am a social anthropologist, with a background in Social Policy, Political Economy and Development studies. 

During my PhD I developed a theory of the emotional, affective and aesthetic economies of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea in which food is critical to ceremonial gift exchange, where people make and maintain their social relations through giving and receiving particular types of food, within public events and displays. Through this I examined gender relations and argued for the importance of women’s efforts in this affective economy.

Subsequently I have formally studied emotions in Papua New Guinea (and informally in English and in Iranian culture) and delved into the social and cultural construction of emotions and their role in political, economic and institutional structures. I have used this work on emotions as the basis for research and teaching on matters of race and racism within universities. 

I have most recently been working at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health as a post-doc researching colonial histories, sugar plantations and diabetes in Jamaica. I was also teaching post-colonial theory and global cultures at Goldsmiths university and work with concepts of care, reciprocity, recognition, relationality, mutuality and moral economies whilst working on grief/death, birth, marriage, aging, gardens, climate change and mutual relationships with plants. 

I am excited to join the IMC especially for the interdisciplinary perspectives people are taking on related issues, and really excited to be part of the Heart Openings project which will try to explore love across religious and cultural contexts using micro phenomenology. I will try to see what this brings to my research with women and men in Papua New Guinea across religious denominations and also in their gardens and households.