Departmental Seminars

Anthropology Department Seminars at the University of Sydney


Seminars: Thursdays 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Seminar Room 148, R. C. Mills Building, Level 1, A26

About the seminars and other department events

The anthropology department at the University of Sydney holds regular seminars for staff, students, visiting anthropologists and colleagues from related fields to exchange ideas and discuss new research. On most Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. during the teaching term, an invited speaker presents their work in a seminar, followed by discussion, then usually a light reception and dinner.

For futher information, please contact Terry Woronov, convenor of the symposium.

Semester 1, 2015

Thursday 12 March 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Professor Tamara Jacka
Australian National University
Title: "Village self-government and representation in southwest China"
Abstract: According to recent law, villages in China are “self-governed” by villager committees, whose members are elected by villagers and held accountable to villager assemblies and representative assemblies. Previous studies have focused on the legal institutions of self-government, assuming that, if allowed to operate properly, these will enhance both direct villager participation in governance and the representation of villager interests. In contrast, this paper focuses on local understandings and ideals about political roles and relationships, as constructed and enacted through everyday political claims and practices. The paper draws on recent, qualitative research in four villages in Yunnan, southwest China. During this research, we discovered that neither cadres nor villagers used the word “represent” to characterise the role – or even the ideal role – of members of village government. Furthermore, villagers could not explain what villager representatives do or what “representative” in the title “villager representative” means. This leads us to ask, “How do locals conceive the work-roles and responsibilities of village cadres, and cadres’ relationship with villagers? Is the unfamiliarity with the word “represent” merely a linguistic issue, or does it point to a different conception of the cadre-villager relationship? In addressing these questions, this paper aims both to enrich our understanding of village self-government in China and to contribute to theorising about political representation.

Tamara Jacka is Professor in the Department of Political and Social Change, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU. Her research interests are in socio-political change and gender relations in contemporary China. Her recent publications include Contemporary China: Society and Social Change (co-authored with Andrew Kipnis and Sally Sargeson, Cambridge Uni. Press, 2013), Women, Gender and Development in Rural China (co-edited with Sally Sargeson, Edward Elgar, 2011), and Rural Women in Urban China: Gender, Migration and Social Change (M.E Sharpe, 2006; Winner of Francis Hsu prize for Best Book in East Asian Anthropology, 2007).

Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 19 March 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Dr Neil Maclean
University of Sydney
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 26 March 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Dr Robin Rodd
James Cook University
Title: "Democratization and the politics of dictatorship memory in Argentina and Uruguay"
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 16 April 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Dr Melissa Demian
Australian National University
Title: "The Magic of the Court in Papua New Guinea"
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 23 April 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Professor Nick Enfield
University of Sydney
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 30 April 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Dr Åse Ottosson
University of Sydney
Title: "Anti-social’ behaviour, lived security and indigenous-settler forms of belonging in Alice Springs town"
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 14 May 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Sascha Fuller
University of Sydney
Title: “I want to be superior”: Bahun hill village culture of thulo manche"
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]


Thursday 21 May 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Professor Katherine Gibson
University of Western Sydney
Title: "Rethinking the Economy with Thick Description and Weak Theory"
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]



Thursday 28 May 2015 - 3 - 5pm
Speakers: Professor Brett Neilson
University of Western Sydney
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA
Venue: Room 148 RC Mills Building, A26 [map]