Research Advisor

+386 (0)1 4706 492
Research interests

Borut Telban received his PhD in anthropology from The Australian National University in 1994. He is Head of Anthropology Department at the Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) and a member of the Research Council at ZRC SAZU. He is also a convenor of Anthropology module and a member of the Senate at the Postgraduate School ZRC SAZU. He held several visiting positions such as, for example, Leach/RAI Fellow at the University of Manchester (1995-96), Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna (2003),  Fulbright Scholar at the University of California, San Diego (2006-07), Research Scholar at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University (2010-11, 2012), The Royal Society of Edinburgh Visiting Research Fellow at the University of St. Andrews (2014-15), several visiting fellowships at The Australian National University (the most recent one 2016-17), and EHESS Visiting Professor at the Aix-Marseille University and CREDO (2014, 2017). His first 18 months’ research conducted among Melpa and Hagahai groups in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea between 1986 and 1987 focused on medical ethnobotany. His anthropological research among the Karawari-speaking people of the East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, has spanned more than twenty-five years (fieldwork: 1990-1992, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010-2011, 2017 and 2019). In his published books, articles and chapters he has explored in detail Ambonwari cosmology, cultural construction of space and time, kinship and social organisation, ritual, death, poetics, language, and socio-cultural change pertaining to the impact of the Catholic charismatic movement. He has served as a member of the board of the European Society for Oceanists for many years, including the present term. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Anthropological Notebooks, the journal of Slovenian Anthropological Society.

Selected publications
  • TELBAN, Borut, 2019, Places and Paths in Melanesian Landscapes. In: Eric Hirsch and Will Rollason (eds.), The Melanesian World (Routledge Worlds). London and New York: Routledge, pp. 487-500.
  • –––––, 2018, Karawari carved crocodiles: From spirit-beings to museum artefacts. Journal de la Société des Océanistes 146(1): 45-54.
  • –––––, 2017, Commands as a form of intimacy among the Karawari of Papua New Guinea. In: Aleksandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon (eds.), Commands: A Cross-linguistic Typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 266-282.
  • –––––, 2017, Seeing and holding time: Karawari perceptions of temporalities, calendars and clocks. Time and Society 26(2):182-202.
  • –––––, 2017, The intoxicating intimacy of drum strokes, sung verses and dancing steps in the all-night ceremonies of Ambonwari (Papua New Guinea). In: Chrysagis, Evangelos and Panagiotis Karampampas (eds.), Collaborative Intimacies in Music and Dance: Anthropologies in/of Sound and Movement. Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 234-257.
  • –––––, 2016, Places and Times in a New Guinean Landscape (in Slovenian). Ljubljana: Založba ZRC.
  • –––––, 2014, Saying, seeing and knowing among the Karawari of Papua New Guinea. In: Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon (eds.), The Grammar of Knowledge: A Cross-linguistic Typology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 260-277.
  • TELBAN, Borut – VÁVROVÁ, Daniela, 2014, Ringing the living and the dead: Mobile phones in a Sepik society. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 25(2):223-238.
  • TELBAN, Borut, 2014, The poetics of the flute: Fading imagery in a Sepik society. Folklore 125(1):92-112.
  • –––––, 2000, Andaypa: Essays on Death in a New Guinea Community (in Slovenian). Maribor: Založba Obzorja.
  • –––––, 1998, Dancing through Time: A Sepik Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
All publications (COBISS) >>
Selected projects

Anthropological and Spatial Studies (research programme • 1 January 201531 December 2021)

Ethnographies of Land and Water Routes: A Comparative Approach to (Im)mobility (research project • 1 July 201430 June 2017)

Curriculum Vitae

BSc in Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, 1983
MSc in Botany, University of Zagreb (Croatia), 1989
PhD in Social Anthropology, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 1994


social and cultural anthropology • cosmologies • space and time • birth and death • rituals • language and society • poetics • Papua New Guinea • Melanesia 

Recognitions & awards

ZRC SAZU gold award, 1999 • Special Commendation for 2009 AAS Best Essay Prize, Australian Anthropological Society