1996 …2022

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in culture change, the experience of time, and political theology. My regional interest is in the Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia, with particular emphasis on Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, West Papua, Maluku, and Kalimantan. I am the author of Living with Intricate Futures (2000), a monograph on knowledge and religion among the Imyan of West Papua. Recently, I have begun to focus on historicity, Christianity, and lost tribes in Solomon Islands, and Islamic historiography versus Christian theocracy in West Papua. 


I studied anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and obtained my PhD from Radboud University Nijmegen in 2000. I have held postdoctoral positions at Leiden University, Radboud University, and the Australian National University. I have also been engaged in conflict resolution and emergency aid in the Malukus, environmental assessments in the Pacific, and a number of other consultancies. I came to Macquarie University in 2010. 

Career highlights

  • A prestigious 18-month fellowship at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) from November 2021 to early 2023. During this fellowship, I will study 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 will result in a book and a number of articles on anthropology and historicity. I will also organise a conference on perceptions of time and foster 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. 


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

ANTH3023 - Development Studies: The Anthropology of International Aid

ANTH3000 - Pacific Cultures: Kings, Cannibals and Other Mysteries

ANTH3003 - Anthropology of the City (with Chris Houston)

ANTH3030 - Anthropology and Law 

ANTH7002 - Core Issues in Anthropological Theory II (Ontology, Wonder and Religion)

ANTH8015 - Development Theory and Practice

ANTH800 - Why Culture Matters (Applied Anthropology)

PhD Supervision

Marlon Arthur Huwae, since 2020. Cultures of Fear in West Papua (Indonesia): An Ethnographic Study of Papuan Responses to Covid-19 and Special Autonomy (Principal Supervisor).

Graeme Friedman, since 2019. Self-perpetuating Cycles of Shame and Terror: Racism, Toxic Masculinity and the Psychology of Oppression and Liberation in South Africa. Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University. (Associate Supervisor, Principal Supervisor: Kate Rossmanith).

Daniel Tranter, since 2018. The Temporality of Climate Change among Bajo Laut in Indonesia. (Principal Supervisor)

A Sudiana Sasmita, since 2017. 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)

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)


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