West Papua faces an HIV/AIDS epidemic that is mainly affecting Papuan youth. Recent scholarship on HIV in Melanesia asks us to consider how HIV prevention and treatment agendas are produced, translated and enacted locally at the interface of international models, national capacities, and cultural and religious values. This seminar considers how these forces are intersecting in West Papua based on recent qualitative research projects conducted since 2011.
This paper is concerned with the accommodation of Tolai people, indigenous to the Gazelle Peninsula in the hinterland of Rabaul, to the market economy. 'The market' was introduced to Tolai by German (and later, Australian) colonists from the late nineteenth century. Without pretension to novelty in the historical narrative it asserts the value of viewing these events through the lens of 'informal economy', as constructed by Keith Hart.