Chapter 1: The World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea
1. An international border bisects New Guinea, the third-largest island in
the world. The western half of the island is a colony of Indonesia known
as West Papua. The eastern half of the island is the nation-state of Papua
New Guinea. In this book New Guinea refers to the island as a whole
and Papua New Guinea to only the eastern half of the island, the
independent nation-state of Papua New Guinea. The island of New
Guinea is located in Oceania, a region which includes American Samoa,
the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Hawai‘i,
New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Island, Rapa
Nui, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu,
and Wallis and Futuna, and which has traditionally been divided into
three subregions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. These sub-
regions are made up of hundreds of islands and include numerous
nations, states, and protectorates. New Guinea is in Melanesia.
2. In studying commodity production, distribution, and consumption,
contemporary readers often seem to desire narratives with good guys
and bad guys. As with economic development (Mosse 2005) and en-
vironmental conservation (West 2006), many people want easy an-
swers to complex questions. Much of the often-read popular literature
on coffee provides these good and bad actors and easy answers. Careful
ethnography shows that people and their roles in the trade of any
global commodity are complicated and messy and deserve more nu-
anced analysis (Tsing 2004).
3. There is evidence that coffee seeds were exported for cultivation from
Ethiopia to Yemen as early as 800 bce (see Um 2009), and many
Previous Page Next Page