Taro in the Indo-Pacific

The 19th Congress of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association is going to take place 29 Nov.-5 Dec. 2009 at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences Conference Centre, Hanoi, Vietnam. One of the suggested sessions is on taro:

Wet Cultivation of Colocasia esculenta in the Indo-Pacific: Archaeological, Technological, Social, and Biological Perspectives.

David Addison (American Samoa Community College) and Matthew Spriggs (Australian National University)
add1ison(at)gmail.com; matthew.spriggs(at)anu.edu.au

Wet cultivation of taro (Colocasia esculenta) is among the most productive traditional agricultural techniques in the world, rivaled only by the homologous systems based on rice (Oryza sativa). Some of the largest stone constructions in the Pacific relate to wet taro cultivation. Research on wet taro in Oceania has focused on: the role of agricultural intensification in development of political and social complexity; aggression and territoriality; risk management; and initial island colonization. This session seeks to bring together researchers from across the Indo-Pacific region to discuss the wet cultivation of Colocasia esculenta from diverse perspectives. Participants will be asked to have papers ready for posting to a website by 1 October 2009. This will give everyone a chance to read each other’s ideas in detail. The IPPA session will then consist of short presentations and ample time for discussion. Selected participants will be asked to revise their papers immediately after the conference for publication in an edited volume scheduled for early 2010.

Thanks to Lois Englberger for the tip.

Featured comment: Taro

From Penny:

The task force was created at the urging of taro farmers. It’s job is to help focus local research, policy and agency support where it is reallly needed in order to revitalize taro as a crop, revive cultivar diversity in the field, and increase education and understanding of taro and farmers needs in Hawaii.