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Gene Ammarell

Gene Ammarell, portrait
Associate Professor Emeritus of Anthropology


1994   Ph.D., Anthropology, Yale University; with Distinction

1993   M.Phil., Anthropology, Yale University

1982   M.S., Basic Science, University of Colorado

1968   B.S., Education, University of Colorado


Political Ecology, Cognitive Anthropology, Cultural and Social Change; Malayo-Polynesian Maritime Cultures and Societies, especially the Bugis of South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

My primary research interests include: 1) continuity and change of navigational knowledge and practice as well as ship design and construction among the Bugis of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, along with other Malayo-Polynesian peoples; and 2) the political ecology of subsistence fishing and the impacts of destructive fishing practices and climate change on fisheries and the people who depend upon them for livelihood.

Professional Service and Elected Memberships

Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Hasanuddin University, Makassar, Indonesia: 2017, 2019.

International Scientific Advisory Board Member: International Journal of Agriculture Systems. Hasanuddin University, Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Board Member: American Institute for Indonesian Studies.

Board Member: Indonesia and East Timor Studies Committee, Association for Asian Studies.

Fellow: Association for the Study of Social Anthropology in Oceania.

Full Member: Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

Selected Publications


2016 Navagasi Bugis (2nd edition). Gene Ammarell. Translated by Nurhady Sirimorok. Translation of Bugis Navigation (1999). Makassar: Penerbit Ininnawa.

2009 Navagasi Bugis. Gene Ammarell. Translated by Nurhady Sirimorok. Translation of Bugis Navigation (1999).  Makassar: Hasanuddin University Press.

1999 Bugis Navigation.New Haven: Yale University SE Asia Studies Monograph Series.

Journal Articles

2018 Mindfulness Practice in Socially Engaged Ethnographic Fieldwork. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research (ASSEHR), volume108. Proceedings of Social Sciences, Humanities and Economics Conference (SoSHEC 2017). Universitas Negeri Surabaya, Indonesia. Atlantis Press.

2014 Wither Southeast Asia in the Anthropocene?  The Journal of Asian Studies 73:4:1005-1007. Invited commentary on special section: “JAS at AAS: Asian Studies and Human Engagement with the Environment”   

2014 Shared Space, Conflicting Perceptions, and the Degradation of an Indonesian Fishery. Spatial Representation and Orientation in Oceania and Indonesia. eds. Richard Feinberg and Alexander Mawyer. Special issue of Ethos “Senses of Space: Multiple Models of Spatial Cognition in Oceania and Indonesia” 42:3:352-375.

2002 Bugis Migration and Modes of Adaptation to Local Situations.  Ethnology 41:1:5-67. 

2002 Knowing When to Sail: Practical Knowledge and Simple Heuristics in Bugis Navigational Strategies. Bijdragen tot de Tall- Land- en Volkenkunde 158:2:191-223.

1991 The Planetarium and the Plough: Interpreting Star Calendars of Rural Java. Yale Graduate Journal of Anthropology 3:11-25. Republished in: 1996 Songs from the Sky: Indigenous Astronomical and Cosmological Traditions of the World, ed. Von Del Chamberlain, John B. Carlson and M. Jane Young. Special issue of Archaeoastronomy 12-13:320-335.

1988 Sky Calendars of the Indo-Malay Archipelago: Regional Diversity, Local Knowledge. Indonesia 45:85-104.

Book Chapters

2015 “The Cultural Production of Skylore in Indonesia.” Gene Ammarell and Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. In Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, ed. Clive Ruggles. Heidelberg: Springer. Pp. 2207-2214 (print and e-reference).

2011 “Just Below the Surface: Environmental Destruction and Loss of Livelihood on an Indonesian Atoll.” In Everyday Life in Southeast Asia ed. Kathleen M. Adams and Kathleen Gillogly. Indiana University Press.

2008 “Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge of the Indo-Malay Archipelago.” In Encyclopaedia of the History of Non-Western Science: Natural Sciences, Technology and Medicine, revised edition, ed. Helaine Selin. Heidelberg, Berlin: Springer. N. page.

1995 "Navigation Practices of the Bugis of South Sulawesi, Indonesia." In Seafaring in the Contemporary Pacific Islands, ed. Richard Feinberg. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press. Pp. 196-218.

Documentary Film

2008 Sharing Paradise. A. Hapsari and G. Ammarell. Documentary Educational Resources, Watertown, MA.