James Leach

Status: Director of Research

Institution: CNRS 

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Also see: jamesleach.net

Maison Asie Pacifique
Université d'Aix-Marseille
3, place Victor Hugo
13003 Marseille - FRANCE

tel : 33(0)4 13 55 07 32


James Leach was trained at Manchester University under the supervision of Tim Ingold and Marilyn Strathern. He first went to Madang province in Papua New Guinea in 1993 to undertake PhD fieldwork, and has spent more than three years living in the village of Reite, on the Rai Coast since then.

James’s research interests have developed out of a close concern with kinship, personhood, and place in Reite into considerations of creativity, art and artefact production, knowledge, ownership and intellectual property. His monograph about Reite (Creative Land, Berghahn 2003) has been supplemented with many journal articles, and two edited collections (on ownership, with Lawrence Kalinoe 2004) and kinship (with Sandra Bamford 2009).

James also undertakes comparative research on creativity, knowledge production, intellectual property and new technologies in other parts of the world resulting in papers about intellectual property, contemporary dance, Free/Open Source software and an edited collection about cross cultural knowledge encounter and the politics of technology design (MIT Press 2014).

He has held research and teaching appointments in Manchester (1998), Cambridge (1998-2003), King’s College, Cambridge (2003-7) and Aberdeen (2007-13) where he took a Personal Chair in 2010 and was Head of Dept from 2008-11. He is currently funded by the Australian Research Council for a project about contemporary forms of knowledge.

James was awarded the Royal Anthropological Institute JB Donne Essay Prize in the Anthropology of Art (for the paper ‘Drum and Voice’ about slit-gongs in Reite) in 1999, and the Philip Leverhulme Prize for research achievement in 2004.

More about James Leach’s current projects, and access to many of his writings can be found here: jamesleach.net