Jaap Timmer

Associate Professor

1996 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Jaap's key interests include culture change, the experience of time, and political theology. His regional interest is in the Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia, with particular emphasis on Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, West Papua, Maluku, and Kalimantan. He is the author of Living with Intricate Futures (2000), a monograph on knowledge and religion among the Imyan of West Papua. Following his research on historicity and Christianity in Solomon Islands, Jaap currently explores heritage, religion, and temporality in West Papua.

Biography

I studied anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and earned my PhD from Radboud University Nijmegen in 2000. I held postdoctoral positions at Radboud University and the Australian National University. Additionally, I have been awarded fellowships at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies. My professional engagements extend to conflict resolution and emergency aid in the Malukus, enhancing access to justice in Indonesia, conducting environmental assessments in the Pacific, and various other consultancies. In 2010, I joined Macquarie University.

Career highlights

  • Editor-in-Chief (with Dr Anna-Karina Hermkens) of The Australian Journal of Anthropology
  • A prestigious 16-month fellowship at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) from November 2021 to early 2023. During this fellowship, I studied how new understandings of history emerge as people’s futures change, with a special focus on societies in Solomon Islands and West Papua. The fellowship has resulted in a book and a number of articles on anthropology and historicity. I also organised a conference on perceptions of time, and I fostered future collaborations between Aarhus and Macquarie Universities.
  • An Australian Research Council’s Discovery Projects grant (150102312) awarded in 2015, to further my research on the island of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Within the framework of that project I explored people's wonder about new global geography and historicity and the ways in which this wonder is opening up a space for local state-building by an Evangelical/Pentecostal movement. 
  • Senior Research Fellow and Jakarta-based Project Manager for the Van Vollenhoven Institute (Leiden University) for an Access to Justice project in collaboration with the World Bank and the UNDP, 2007-2010.
  • Writing Fellow at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), Leiden, 2006.
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Research Fellow in the Centre for Pacific and Asian Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen, 2002-2005.
  • Research Fellow in the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia (SSGM) Project, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 2002-2004.
  • Ambon-based Liaison Officer for Development and Emergency Aid in Maluku, Indonesia for CORDAID (Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid) and NOVIB (Oxfam Netherlands), 2000-2002. 

Research student supervision

PhD Supervision

Petar Bojović, since 2024. Examining the Museum of African Art in Belgrade as a Decolonial Space. (Principal Supervisor)

Ben Robin Dean, since 2024. Echoes of the Forest: Exploring Ancestral Memory, Orality, and Historicity in the Formation of Marimba de Chonta Song Traditions along the Pacific Coast of Colombia. (Principal Supervisor)

Syamsul Arif Garib, since 2024. Exploring the Participation and Motivations of Youth in Interfaith Activities in Indonesia. Discipline of Anthropology, Macquarie School of Social Sciences, Macquarie University. (Principal Supervisor)

Louise Decottigny, since 2021. Gender in Motion: Women's Organisations in the Pathway towards Independence in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. (Adjunct Supervisor; Principal Supervisor: Anna-Karina Hermkens).

Rebecca Grunsell, since 2021. iGods: An Ethnographic Study of Transhumanism. (Principal Supervisor).

Marlon Arthur Huwae, since 2020-2023. Cultures of Fear in West Papua (Indonesia): An Ethnographic Study of Papuan Responses to Covid-19 and Special Autonomy (Principal Supervisor). Awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Research Excellence!

Graeme Friedman, 2019-2022. The Weaponised Witness in Apartheid’s Political Trials: Shame, Terror and Storytelling in the Waging of Lawfare. Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University. (Associate Supervisor, Principal Supervisor: Kate Rossmanith). Awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Research Excellence on 12 August 2022.

Daniel Tranter-Santoso, 2018-2024. Lithic Intimacies: A phenomenography of stonework in Sydney's Rookwood Necropolis. (Principal Supervisor)

A Sudiana Sasmita, 2017-2024. Political Transformation in the Aftermath of Special Autonomy in Papua, Indonesia: Between Resistance and Democratisation. (Associate Supervisor; Principal Supervisor: Lloyd Cox)

Lucinda Casbolt, since 2016. Investigating Experiences of the ‘Bicycle Renaissance’ in Contemporary Cities. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Associate Supervisor; Principal Supervisor: Chris Houston)

Roberto Costa, 2016-2020. Material Reconciliations and Power Restoration: Woodcarving, Museums and Prestige among Asmat (Papua, Indonesia). Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Principal Supervisor)

Belinda Lopez, 2015-2019. Finding Papua in Java: Papuans Encounter Stories about the Past and Themselves and Tete (creative component). Department of Anthropology and Department of Media and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University. (Associate Supervisor; Principal Supervisor: Kate Rossmanith). Awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Commendation for Research Excellence on 12 August 2022.

Maarten Lecompte, 2016-2018. The Emerging Story Writer: A study of linguistic and meta-linguistic phenomena in the writing of Cèmuhi, a Melanesian Language of New Caledonia. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Principal Supervisor)

Sophie Chao, 2015-2018. Dispersed Ontologies in Marind, West Papua. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Principal Supervisor). Awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Research Excellence on 6 February 2018.

Mariske Westendorp, 2012-2016. “In the Eye of the Typhoon”: Aspirations of Buddhists and Catholics in Turbulent Hong Kong. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Principal Supervisor)

Charlotte Keskin-Joppien, 2010-2013. Culture of Everyday Politics – Politics of Everyday Culture: An Inquiry into Municipal Politics in Konya and Eskişehir. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Associate Supervisor; Principal Supervisor: Chris Houston)

Anton Piyarathne, 2010-2014. Constructing Commongrounds: Everyday Lifeworlds beyond Politicised Ethnicities in Sri Lanka. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Principle Supervisor)

Sean Durbin, 2010-2013. The Revelation of John (Hagee): American Christian Zionism, “Religion,” “Politics,” and Identity. Department of Modern History, Macquarie University. (Associate Supervisor; Principal Supervisor: Marion Maddox)

Johanes Herlijanto, 2009-2012. Emulating China: Representation of China and the Contemporary Critique of Indonesia. Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University. (Principle Supervisor)

Budi Hernawan, 2008-2012. From the Theatre of Torture to the Theatre of Peace: The Politics of Torture and Re-imagining Peacebuilding in Papua, Indonesia. Australian National University. (Associate Supervisor, Principal Supervisor: John Braithwaite).

Rikardo Simarmata, 2007-2012. Indonesian Law and Reality in the Delta: A Socio-legal Inquiry into Laws, Local Bureaucrats and Natural Resources Management in the Mahakam Delta, East Kalimantan. Department of Law, Leiden University. (Associate Supervisor, Principal Supervisor: J.M. Otto)

Teaching

Teaching

ANTH1007 – Saints, Shamans, Cults and Demons: Religion in the Contemporary World, 2017-2021 

ANTH2008 - Saints, Shamans, Cults and Demons: Religion in the Contemporary World, 2023-2024

ANTH2024 – Mad, Bad, Sad: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Deviance, 2023-2024 

ANTH150 – Identity and Difference: Introduction to Anthropology, 2010-2013 

ANTH221 – Development Studies: The Anthropology of International Aid, 2020 

ANTH223 – Ethnicity, Migration and Nationalism, 2010-2011 

ANTH3000 – Pacific Cultures: Cannibals, Kings, and other Myths, 2015-2018 

ANTH3003 – Anthropology of the City, 2015-2018 (with Chris Houston)

ANTH3030 – Anthropology and Law, 2013-2020 

ANTH7002 – Core Issues in Anthropological Theory, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020 

ANTH800 – Why Culture Matters?, 2010-2017 

ANTH8015 – Development Theory and Practice, 2021 

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