Associate Professor Tess Lea

ARC QEII Fellow

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +612 9351 6777
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> Karrabing: Keeping Country Live

Biographical details

Associate Professor Tess Lea joined the Department in July 2011 after working at Charles Darwin University where she inaugurated the School for Social Policy Research (now The Northern Institute). As an ARC Queen Elizabeth II Fellow, she is currently pursuing ethnographic research across housing, infrastructure, community development and education domains to explore the question ?can there be good social policy in regional and remote Australia?? She has previously worked as a senior bureaucrat in the Northern Territory Departments of Health and Education, and operated as a ministerial advisor.

Her work focuses on conditions of enduring racial inequality in Australia and the material and affective dimensions of how these conditions are reproduced and inhabited.

Research interests

Tess’s research interests include human/other animal relations; conceptualizations of the anthropocene; cultures of audit and the anthropology policy; development theory and the will to improve (across housing, education, health, infrastructure and other social policy fields); the tactics of post-colonial power and liberal settler governance; institutional ethnography; urban and regional research.

Teaching and supervision

Tess is available to supervise in subjects matching her interests above, including organizational or policy studies; developmentalism ; the materiality of inequality; the built environment; the workings of contemporary capital; the statisticalisation of everyday life; and human/other animal relations. Any GCS project which involves ethnographic fieldwork will also be of interest.

Current projects

Other current ARC-funded linkage projects focus on the trials and tribulations of the Housing for Health program; Indigenous parental engagement with schools; and implementation of the first randomised control trial of a literacy software program, ABRACADABRA, in collaboration with the Centre for Studies in Learning and Performance, Montreal.

Awards and honours

Editorial Board, OCEANIA and Anthropology in Action

Karrabing Indigenous Corporation, Honorary Member; The Hawke Research Institute, UniSA; Advisory Board Member Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research; Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies; Fellow, Australian Anthropology Society; Member, Australian Cultural Studies Association; Member, European Association of Social Anthropology; Member, American Anthropological Association; Member, American Cultural Anthropology Association; Member, Association for the Anthropology of Policy

In the media

Short film produced by Tess - Povinelli, E. and L. Johnson (2012). Karrabing! Low Tide Turning. Australia, Karrabing Indigenous Corporation: read news story here.

Selected grants

2013

  • Human Animal Research Network; Probyn-Rapsey F, Belov K, Black C, Degeling C, Fawcett (Quain) A, Irvine R, Johnston J, Lea T, Kindt J, Michael M, McGreevy P, McManus P, Raubenheimer D, Schlosberg D, Spurr B, Shine R, Wadiwel D; DVC Research/Research Network Scheme (SyReNS).

2011

  • Can there be good policy? Tracing the paths between policy intent, evidence and practical benefit in regional and remote Australia.; Lea T; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Books

  • Lea, T. (2014). Darwin. Sydney: NewSouth Publishing.
  • Lea, T. (2008). Bureaucrats and Bleeding Hearts: Indigenous health in northern Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales (UNSW) Press.

Edited Books

  • Lea, T., Kowal, E., Cowlishaw, G. (2006). Moving Anthropology: Critical Indigenous Studies. Australia: Charles Darwin University Press.

Book Chapters

  • Lea, T., Kowal, E., Cowlishaw, G. (2006). Double Binds. In Tess Lea, Emma Kowal, Gillian Cowlishaw (Eds.), Moving Anthropology: Critical Indigenous Studies, (pp. 1-15). Australia: Charles Darwin University Press.

Journals

  • Helmer, J., Harper, H., Lea, T., Wolgemuth, J., Chalkiti, K. (2014). Challenges of conducting systematic research in Australia's Northern Territory. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 34(1), 36-48. [More Information]
  • Wolgemuth, J., Abrami, P., Helmer, J., Savage, R., Harper, H., Lea, T. (2014). Examining the Impact of ABRACADABRA on Early Literacy in Northern Australia: An Implementation Fidelity Analysis. The Journal of Educational Research, 107(4). [More Information]
  • Wolgemuth, J., Savage, R., Helmer, J., Harper, H., Lea, T., Abrami, P., Kirby, A., Chalkiti, K., Morris, P., Carapetis, J., et al (2013). ABRACADABRA aids Indigenous and non-Indigenous early literacy in Australia: Evidence from a multisite randomized controlled trial. Computers and Education, 67, 250-264. [More Information]
  • Pholeros, P., Lea, T., Rainow, S., Sowerbutts, T., Torzillo, P. (2013). Improving the state of health hardware in Australian Indigenous housing: building more houses is not the only answer. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72(Supplement 1), 1-6. [More Information]
  • Harper, H., Helmer, J., Lea, T., Chalkiti, K., Emmett, S., Wolgemuth, J. (2012). ABRACADABRA for magic under which conditions? Case studies of a web-based literacy intervention in the Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 35(1), 33-50.
  • Lea, T., Young, M., Markham, F., Holmes, C., Doran, B. (2012). Being Moved (On): The Biopolitics of Walking in Australia's Frontier Towns. Radical History Review, Fall (114), 139-163. [More Information]
  • Lea, T. (2012). Contemporary Anthropologies of Indigenous Australia. Annual Review of Anthropology, 41, 187-202. [More Information]
  • Lea, T. (2012). Ecologies of Development on Groote Eylandt. Australian Humanities Review, 53, 1-11.
  • Lea, T. (2012). When looking for anarchy, look to the state: Fantasies of regulation in forcing disorder within the Australian Indigenous estate. Critique of Anthropology, 32(2), 109-124. [More Information]
  • Cowlishaw, G., Lea, T. (2010). Development, heroism and the indigenous life project. Dialectical Anthropology, 34(2), 223-234. [More Information]

2014

  • Helmer, J., Harper, H., Lea, T., Wolgemuth, J., Chalkiti, K. (2014). Challenges of conducting systematic research in Australia's Northern Territory. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 34(1), 36-48. [More Information]
  • Lea, T. (2014). Darwin. Sydney: NewSouth Publishing.
  • Wolgemuth, J., Abrami, P., Helmer, J., Savage, R., Harper, H., Lea, T. (2014). Examining the Impact of ABRACADABRA on Early Literacy in Northern Australia: An Implementation Fidelity Analysis. The Journal of Educational Research, 107(4). [More Information]

2013

  • Wolgemuth, J., Savage, R., Helmer, J., Harper, H., Lea, T., Abrami, P., Kirby, A., Chalkiti, K., Morris, P., Carapetis, J., et al (2013). ABRACADABRA aids Indigenous and non-Indigenous early literacy in Australia: Evidence from a multisite randomized controlled trial. Computers and Education, 67, 250-264. [More Information]
  • Pholeros, P., Lea, T., Rainow, S., Sowerbutts, T., Torzillo, P. (2013). Improving the state of health hardware in Australian Indigenous housing: building more houses is not the only answer. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 72(Supplement 1), 1-6. [More Information]

2012

  • Harper, H., Helmer, J., Lea, T., Chalkiti, K., Emmett, S., Wolgemuth, J. (2012). ABRACADABRA for magic under which conditions? Case studies of a web-based literacy intervention in the Northern Territory. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 35(1), 33-50.
  • Lea, T., Young, M., Markham, F., Holmes, C., Doran, B. (2012). Being Moved (On): The Biopolitics of Walking in Australia's Frontier Towns. Radical History Review, Fall (114), 139-163. [More Information]
  • Lea, T. (2012). Contemporary Anthropologies of Indigenous Australia. Annual Review of Anthropology, 41, 187-202. [More Information]
  • Lea, T. (2012). Ecologies of Development on Groote Eylandt. Australian Humanities Review, 53, 1-11.
  • Lea, T., Driscoll, C. (2012), Evaluation of The Smith Family's Girls at the Centre Program Centralian Middle School, Alice Springs. , , , 1-60.
  • Lea, T. (2012). When looking for anarchy, look to the state: Fantasies of regulation in forcing disorder within the Australian Indigenous estate. Critique of Anthropology, 32(2), 109-124. [More Information]

2010

  • Cowlishaw, G., Lea, T. (2010). Development, heroism and the indigenous life project. Dialectical Anthropology, 34(2), 223-234. [More Information]

2008

  • Lea, T. (2008). Bureaucrats and Bleeding Hearts: Indigenous health in northern Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales (UNSW) Press.

2006

  • Lea, T., Kowal, E., Cowlishaw, G. (2006). Double Binds. In Tess Lea, Emma Kowal, Gillian Cowlishaw (Eds.), Moving Anthropology: Critical Indigenous Studies, (pp. 1-15). Australia: Charles Darwin University Press.
  • Lea, T., Kowal, E., Cowlishaw, G. (2006). Moving Anthropology: Critical Indigenous Studies. Australia: Charles Darwin University Press.

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