Prof. Borut Telban, Ph.D.

Coordinator of Anthropology Module. Research Adviser, Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Office: ZRC SAZU, Novi trg 2/II, No. 301
Tel.: 01 4706 492
Office hours: Wednesday 10 – 12


B.Sc. Pharmacy (University of Ljubljana, 1983)

M.Sc. Biology (University of Zagreb, 1989)

Ph.D. Social Anthropology (The Australian National University, 1994)



  • Papua New Guinea, Hagahai and Melpa people, 18 months (1986–1987);
  • Vanuatu, Epi Island, 3 weeks (1990);
  • Papua New Guinea, Ambonwari village, East Sepik Province, 18 months (1990-1992), 2 months (1997), 2 months (2001);
  • Russia, north-eastern Siberia, Yakutia, 1 month (2003);
  • Papua New Guinea, Ambonwari village, East Sepik Province: 1 month (2005), 2 months (2007–2008), 1.5 months (2008), 10 months (2010–2011), 3 months (2017). 


Research interests:

  • Melanesian life worlds;
  • Cosmologies and religions;
  • Social organization and kinship;
  • Cultural construction of space and time;
  • Ritual and other practices surrounding birth, growth and death;
  • Language, poetics and society;
  • Relationship between visual and auditory perception and expression;
  • Decolonization of practices and thoughts in small-scale non-European societies;
  • Comparative ethnographic studies (Melanesia, Amazonia, Aboriginal Australia);
  • History of anthropological thought and theoretical approaches;
  • Phenomenology, existentialism, American pragmatism.

  • Research Student, Biology Department, University of Papua New Guinea (1986–1987);
  • Leach/RAI Fellow, University of Manchester (1995–1996);
  • Visiting Professor, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Vienna (2003);
  • Fulbright Scholar, University of California, San Diego (2006–2007);
  • Research Scholar, The Cairns Institute, School of Arts and Social Sciences, James Cook University (2010–2011, 2012);
  • Visiting Professor, École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), CREDO, Université Aix Marseille (2014);
  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh Visiting Research Fellow, University of St. Andrews (2014–2015). 
  • Visiting Fellow, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University (many times, the last affiliation 2016-17);
  • Visiting Professor, École de Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Université Aix Marseille, CREDO (2017).

  • Editor-in-chief, Anthropological Notebooks, the journal of Slovenian Anthropological Society;
  • Member of the Board of the European Society for Oceanists;
  • Member of Editorial Board of a book series Thought, Society, Culture: Slovenian and South Eastern European Perspectives. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang;
  • Member of Editorial Board of a book series Studies of the European Society for Oceanists. Oxford: Berghahn Books;
  • Member of Advisory Board: Ethnos, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien. 

  • Telban, B. 2017. Commands as a form of intimacy among the Karawari of Papua New Guinea. In: Aleksandra Y. Aikhenvald and Robert M. W. Dixon (eds.). Commands: A Cross-linguistic Typology (Explorations in linguistic typology). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 266-282.
  • Telban, B. 2017. Seeing and holding time: Karawari perceptions of temporalities, calendars and clocks. Time and Society 26(2):182-202.
  • Telban, B. 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.
  • Telban, B. 2016. Places and Times in a New Guinean Landscape (in Slovenian). Ljubljana: ZRC.
  • Telban, B. and D. Vávrová. 2014. Ringing the living and the dead: Mobile phones in a Sepik society. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 25(2): 223–238.
  • Telban, B. 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, B. 2014. The poetics of the flute: Fading imagery in a Sepik society. Folklore 125(1): 92–112.
  • Telban, B. 2013. The power of place: Spatio-temporality of a Melanesian religious movement. Anthropological Notebooks 19(3): 81–100.
  • Telban, B. and D. Vávrová. 2010. Places and spirits in a Sepik society. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 11(1): 17–33.
  • Telban, B. 2009. A struggle with spirits: hierarchy, rituals and charismatic movement in a Sepik community. In: Pamela J. Stewart and Andrew Strathern (eds.). Religious and Ritual Change: Cosmologies and Histories (Ritual Studies Monograph Series). Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, pp. 133–158 (translated and published in 2010 in Chinese, Taipei, Taiwan: Linking Publishing, pp.187–220).
  • Telban, B. 2008. The poetics of the crocodile: changing cultural perspectives in Ambonwari. Oceania 78(2): 217-235 (Special Commendation for 2009 AAS Best Essay Prize, Awarded at The Australian Anthropological Society Annual Conference 2009, Macquarie University, Sydney, 9 – 11/12/2009).
  • Telban, B. 2004. Fear, shame and the power of the gaze in Ambonwari, Papua New Guinea. Anthropological Notebooks 10(1): 5–5.
  • Roscoe, P. and B. Telban. 2004. The people of the lower Arafundi: tropical foragers of the New Guinea rainforest. Ethnology XLIII (2): 93–115.
  • Telban, B. 2001. Temporality of post-mortem divination and divination of post-mortem temporality. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 12(1): 67–79.
  • Telban, B. 2000. Andaypa: Essays on Death in a New Guinea Community (in Slovenian). Maribor: Obzorja.
  • Telban, B. 1998. Body, being and identity in Ambonwari, Papua New Guinea. In: V. Keck (ed.) Common worlds and single lives: constituting knowledge in Pacific societies. Oxford: Berg Publishers, pp. 55–70.
  • Telban, B. 1998. Dancing through Time: A Sepik Cosmology. Oxford: Oxford University Press (Gold Award for excellence in research for the year 1999, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts).
  • Telban, B. 1997. Being and ‘non-being’ in Ambonwari (Papua New Guinea) ritual. Oceania 67(4): 308–325.


Anthropology of consciousness and practices of awareness

Asst. Prof. Maja Petrović Šteger, Ph. D.,


Anthropology of Fertility

Assoc. Prof. Duška Kneževič Hočevar, Ph.D.,


Cosmology of Mesoamerican Societies

Prof. Ivan Šprajc, Ph.D.,


Epistemological pluralism and “decolonizing” methods in ethnographic research

Assoc. Prof. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Ph.D.,


Laughing politically: toward the anthropology of humor

Prof. Tanja Petrović, Ph.D.,


Public anthropology, social engagement and activism

Assoc. Prof. Ana Hofman, Ph.D.,


Research Methodology in Anthropological Linguistics

Prof. Borut Telban, Ph.D.,

Karmen Kenda-Jež, Ph.D.,


Space and movement: towards anthropology of locations and migrations

Asst. Prof. Nataša Gregorič Bon, Ph.D.,