Dr. Gaynor Macdonald
PhD University of Sydney
International Student Co-ordinator
+61 2 9351 3351
I work within two main fields of Anthropology: the Anthropology of the Nation State and Ethno-historical research. Both are at the cutting edge of the discipline, and of strategic national and global importance, engaging with core elements of the discipline.
My contribution to Australian Aboriginal anthropology has been in reinscribing recognition of the distinctive cultural practices, characterising Aboriginal peoples’ lives in southeast Australia. I challenge the long-held view that difference reflects failed processes of incorporation. I have pioneered ethnographic study with Wiradjuri communities in central NSW in particular. My field research is combined with policy-oriented and historical enquiry, producing an analysis of a people who have shared their continuously changing self-definitions over time, reshaping their worlds of meaning and practice within the ever-changing constraints of the Australian nation-state. My current work brings together themes of culture, conflict and governance in an ethnographically informed analysis of Wiradjuri experience over two centuries. I am developing a model of Aboriginal-state engagement , addressing the complexities within specific Aboriginal historical experiences which produce the particular cultural configurations through which they have negotiated their lives. I aim to invite new perspectives on the possibilities of living with difference in a multi-ethnic nation state. Further, I have an interest in indigenous peoples in Japan.
Recent post-graduate supervision has included critical medical anthropology, domestic violence, the cultural constructions of identity in the legal contexts of native title, race relations in rural Australia, the experiences of Aboriginal youth, as well as the situation of Canadian indigenous peoples within the state.