Dr Gaynor Macdonald

Senior Lecturer
International Student Co-ordinator

A26 - R.C. Mills Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 3351

Website Contact details

Research interests

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.

Selected grants

2013

  • Anthropological report for the Neath land title claim; Macdonald G; Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation/Research Support.

2012

  • Compilation and analysis of historical and anthropological materials concerning the Aboriginal peoples in the study areas of Gwydir River Basin; Macintyre and Weir River Basin; and Moonie River Basin; Macdonald G; Just Us Lawyers/Research Support.
  • Wonnarua native title; Macdonald G; Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation/Research Support.
  • Law and Society; Beem B, Crofts T, Hendrischke H, Howard-Wagner D, Humphrey M, Lambourne W, Lee M, Macdonald G, Martin G, O'Brien K, O'Malley P, Park S, Piper N, Scott Bray R, Van Krieken R, Winter B; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

2011

  • Anthropology for native title in 'settled' Australia project.; Macdonald G; Attorney Generals Department/Native Title Anthropologist Grants Program.

2009

  • Promises and lies: Australian Aboriginal experiences of modernity; Macdonald G; DVC Research/Thompson Fellowships.

2008

  • Turrbal Native Title Claim - Identification of practices associated with claimed rights and interest; Macdonald G, Baramba M; Turrbal Association/Research Support.
  • Internecine conflict and violence in NSW Aboriginal communities: an historicised assessment of governance and social control; Macdonald G, Grieves V, Atkinson V; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Australian Laureate Fellowships (FL).
  • Restoring the Past to Build the Future: Indigenous Culture, Heritage and Economy in Rural NSW; Macdonald G, Clarke A, Campbell S, Comber J; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

2006

  • University of Sydney - Near Miss Scheme; Macdonald G; University of Sydney (CHASS)/Bridging Support.
  • Connection Report for the Kabi Kabi Region; Macdonald G, Ashton-Lomax G; 4-D I.P. Pty Ltd/BLO Project.

2005

  • Research the genealogy to establish group descent from apical ancestors in each group with particular reference to the possible relationships between the Widjabul Applicants and the indigenous Respondent Parties; Drake D, Macdonald G; Commonwealth through the Native Title Register/BLO Project.
  • Cultural historical research for the Malera kin network of the Bundjalung-speaking peoples of northern New South Wales; Currey N, Macdonald G; AurionGold Limited on behalf of Malera Native Title Claimants/BLO Project.

2004

  • NSW systems of land tenure, 2004; Macdonald G; NSW Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA)/Consultancy.
  • Social hope as analytical category and an object of research; Macdonald G, Martin J; DVC Research/Research and Development Scheme: Research and Development (R&D).
  • Culture and Economy in Aboriginal Australia; Austin-Broos D, Macdonald G; Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia/Workshop Grant.

2003

  • Flows and Fences project; Macdonald G, Austin-Broos D; DVC Research/Research and Development Scheme: Research and Development (R&D).

2002

  • Ten Hours in a Lifetime; Macdonald G; AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies)/AIATSIS Research Grants.
  • Working lives: Aboriginal engagements with work and welfare; Macdonald G; DVC Research/Research and Development Scheme: Research and Development (R&D).
  • Kinship & politics in the making of Erambie Aboriginal Station, Cowra.; Macdonald G; DVC Research/Research and Development Scheme: Newly Appointed Staff (NAS).

Selected publications

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Books

  • Macdonald, G., Mears, J., Nettheim, A., de Vries, N., Reid, J. (2005). Ten Hours in a Lifetime: Nancy de Vries' Journey Home. Sydney, Australia: University of Western Sydney.
  • Macdonald, G. (2004). Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back. A Wiradjuri Land Rights Journey. Canada Bay, NSW: LhR Press.
  • Macdonald, G. (2001). Keeping that good name: How Fred Powell of the Bogan river Wiradjuri built a cultural heritage. Canada Bay NSW Australia: Let Her Rip Press.

Edited Books

  • Bauman, T., Macdonald, G. (2011). Unsettling Anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives. Canberra, Australia: AIATSIS.

Book Chapters

  • Macdonald, G., Bauman, T. (2011). Concepts, hegemony, and analysis: Unsettling native title anthropology. In Toni Bauman and Gaynor Macdonald (Eds.), Unsettling Anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives, (pp. 1-20). Canberra, Australia: AIATSIS.
  • Macdonald, G., Boulton, T. (2011). Reconceptualising Mothering: Mothers and Infants in Crisis in the Kimberley, Western Australia. In Michelle Walks and Naomi McPherson (Eds.), An Anthropology of Mothering, (pp. 133-148). Ontario: Demeter Press.
  • Macdonald, G. (2011). Territorial boundaries and society in the New South Wales Riverine: A Wiradjuri analysis. In Toni Bauman and Gaynor Macdonald (Eds.), Unsettling Anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives, (pp. 62-81). Canberra, Australia: AIATSIS.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). 'Promise Me You'll Come to My Funeral': Putting a Value on Wiradjuri Life Through Death. In Katie Glaskin, Myrna Tonkinson, Yasmine Mushabarash, Victoria Burbank (Eds.), Mortality, Mourning and Mortuary Practices in Indigenous Australia, (pp. 121-136). United Kingdom: Ashgate.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). 'Make a light' Aboriginal economic contributions to the emerging nation. In Gretchen Poiner and Sybil Jack (Eds.), Limits of location : creating a colony, (pp. 129-152). Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). Silent Histories, Famous Names. In Gretchen Poiner (Eds.), Beyond Locations: Shaping thoughts, weaving histories, (pp. 37-46). NSW: NSW Chapter, Independent Scholars Association Inc.
  • Macdonald, G. (2005). Contradictory visions: the closure of Bulgandramine Mission. In Rowse, T (Eds.), Contesting Assimilation, (pp. 187-200). Perth: API Network.

Journals

  • Macdonald, G. (2013). Autonomous Selves in a Bureaucratised World: Challenges for Mardu and Wiradjuri. Anthropological Forum, 23(4), 399-413. [More Information]
  • MacLean, N., Macdonald, G. (2013). Human Rights in Context: Culture, Power and Personhood. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 19(1), 1-9.
  • Macdonald, G. (2013). Who is the 'human' in 'human rights'? Australian Journal of Human Rights, 19(1), 107-131.
  • Macdonald, G. (2011). The Secularisation of Riverine Law in South-East Australia. Anthropological Forum, 21(3), 307-328. [More Information]
  • Macdonald, G. (2010). Colonizing Processes, the Reach of the State and Ontological Violence: Historicizing Aboriginal Australian Experience. Anthropologica, 52(1), 49-66.
  • Heil, D., Macdonald, G. (2008). 'Tomorrow comes when tomorrow comes': Managing Aboriginal Health within an Ontology of Life-as-Contingent. Oceania, 78(3), 299-319.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). Colour & Power. Dissent, 28, 13-19.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). Difference or Disappearance: The Politics of Indigenous Inclusion in the Liberal State. Anthropologica, 50(2), 341-358.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). Painting the "Soft Knife": Harry Wedge's Colonial Canvas. Visual Anthropology Review, 21(1-2), 98-115.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). Temporalising the Indigenous other: The Politics of tradition in nation-building. Re-public: re-imaging democracy, on line.
  • Macdonald, G. (2005). Painting 'the Soft Knife': Harry Wedge's Colonial Canvas. Visual Anthropology Review, 21(1 and 2), 98-115.
  • Macdonald, G. (2003). Photos in Wiradjuri biscuit tins: negotiating relatedness and validating Colonial histories. Oceania, 73(4), 225-242.
  • Macdonald, G. (2002). Book Review Article: Ethnography, Advocacy and Feminism: A Volatile Mix. A view from a reading of Diane Bell's Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 13, 88-110.
  • Macdonald, G. (2002). Does 'culture' have 'history'? Aboriginal History, , 176-199.

Conferences

  • Macdonald, G. (2010). Death as the end of a future. Anthropology and the Ends of Worlds, Sydney: WordPress.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). When heritage gets hard to handle: confronting dissonance and disconnection. Interpretation Australia Association Conference: Building Blocks, online: Interpretation Australia Association.
  • Macdonald, G. (2005). Adversarial Law and Native Title: How Legal Models Reconstitute Persons and Socialities. 2005 ISAA Annual Conference - The Adversarial Society, Canberra, Australia: Independent Scholars Association of Australia.
  • Austin-Broos, D., Macdonald, G. (2005). Culture, Economy and Governance in Aboriginal Australia. Workshop of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Australia: Sydney University Press.

Magazine / Newspaper Articles

  • Macdonald, G. (2006). "Adversarial law and native title: How legal models reconstitute persons and socialities". D!ssent, 21.

2013

  • Macdonald, G. (2013). Autonomous Selves in a Bureaucratised World: Challenges for Mardu and Wiradjuri. Anthropological Forum, 23(4), 399-413. [More Information]
  • MacLean, N., Macdonald, G. (2013). Human Rights in Context: Culture, Power and Personhood. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 19(1), 1-9.
  • Macdonald, G. (2013). Who is the 'human' in 'human rights'? Australian Journal of Human Rights, 19(1), 107-131.

2011

  • Macdonald, G., Bauman, T. (2011). Concepts, hegemony, and analysis: Unsettling native title anthropology. In Toni Bauman and Gaynor Macdonald (Eds.), Unsettling Anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives, (pp. 1-20). Canberra, Australia: AIATSIS.
  • Macdonald, G., Boulton, T. (2011). Reconceptualising Mothering: Mothers and Infants in Crisis in the Kimberley, Western Australia. In Michelle Walks and Naomi McPherson (Eds.), An Anthropology of Mothering, (pp. 133-148). Ontario: Demeter Press.
  • Macdonald, G. (2011). Territorial boundaries and society in the New South Wales Riverine: A Wiradjuri analysis. In Toni Bauman and Gaynor Macdonald (Eds.), Unsettling Anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives, (pp. 62-81). Canberra, Australia: AIATSIS.
  • Macdonald, G. (2011). The Secularisation of Riverine Law in South-East Australia. Anthropological Forum, 21(3), 307-328. [More Information]
  • Bauman, T., Macdonald, G. (2011). Unsettling Anthropology: The demands of native title on worn concepts and changing lives. Canberra, Australia: AIATSIS.

2010

  • Macdonald, G. (2010). Colonizing Processes, the Reach of the State and Ontological Violence: Historicizing Aboriginal Australian Experience. Anthropologica, 52(1), 49-66.
  • Macdonald, G. (2010). Death as the end of a future. Anthropology and the Ends of Worlds, Sydney: WordPress.

2008

  • Macdonald, G. (2008). 'Promise Me You'll Come to My Funeral': Putting a Value on Wiradjuri Life Through Death. In Katie Glaskin, Myrna Tonkinson, Yasmine Mushabarash, Victoria Burbank (Eds.), Mortality, Mourning and Mortuary Practices in Indigenous Australia, (pp. 121-136). United Kingdom: Ashgate.
  • Heil, D., Macdonald, G. (2008). 'Tomorrow comes when tomorrow comes': Managing Aboriginal Health within an Ontology of Life-as-Contingent. Oceania, 78(3), 299-319.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). Colour & Power. Dissent, 28, 13-19.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). Difference or Disappearance: The Politics of Indigenous Inclusion in the Liberal State. Anthropologica, 50(2), 341-358.
  • Macdonald, G. (2008). Painting the "Soft Knife": Harry Wedge's Colonial Canvas. Visual Anthropology Review, 21(1-2), 98-115.

2007

  • Macdonald, G. (2007). 'Make a light' Aboriginal economic contributions to the emerging nation. In Gretchen Poiner and Sybil Jack (Eds.), Limits of location : creating a colony, (pp. 129-152). Sydney: Sydney University Press.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). Silent Histories, Famous Names. In Gretchen Poiner (Eds.), Beyond Locations: Shaping thoughts, weaving histories, (pp. 37-46). NSW: NSW Chapter, Independent Scholars Association Inc.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). Temporalising the Indigenous other: The Politics of tradition in nation-building. Re-public: re-imaging democracy, on line.
  • Macdonald, G. (2007). When heritage gets hard to handle: confronting dissonance and disconnection. Interpretation Australia Association Conference: Building Blocks, online: Interpretation Australia Association.

2006

  • Macdonald, G. (2006). "Adversarial law and native title: How legal models reconstitute persons and socialities". D!ssent, 21.

2005

  • Macdonald, G. (2005). Adversarial Law and Native Title: How Legal Models Reconstitute Persons and Socialities. 2005 ISAA Annual Conference - The Adversarial Society, Canberra, Australia: Independent Scholars Association of Australia.
  • Macdonald, G. (2005). Contradictory visions: the closure of Bulgandramine Mission. In Rowse, T (Eds.), Contesting Assimilation, (pp. 187-200). Perth: API Network.
  • Austin-Broos, D., Macdonald, G. (2005). Culture, Economy and Governance in Aboriginal Australia. Workshop of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Australia: Sydney University Press.
  • Macdonald, G. (2005). Painting 'the Soft Knife': Harry Wedge's Colonial Canvas. Visual Anthropology Review, 21(1 and 2), 98-115.
  • Macdonald, G., Mears, J., Nettheim, A., de Vries, N., Reid, J. (2005). Ten Hours in a Lifetime: Nancy de Vries' Journey Home. Sydney, Australia: University of Western Sydney.

2004

  • Macdonald, G. (2004). Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back. A Wiradjuri Land Rights Journey. Canada Bay, NSW: LhR Press.

2003

  • Macdonald, G. (2003). Photos in Wiradjuri biscuit tins: negotiating relatedness and validating Colonial histories. Oceania, 73(4), 225-242.

2002

  • Macdonald, G. (2002). Book Review Article: Ethnography, Advocacy and Feminism: A Volatile Mix. A view from a reading of Diane Bell's Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 13, 88-110.
  • Macdonald, G. (2002). Does 'culture' have 'history'? Aboriginal History, , 176-199.

2001

  • Macdonald, G. (2001). Keeping that good name: How Fred Powell of the Bogan river Wiradjuri built a cultural heritage. Canada Bay NSW Australia: Let Her Rip Press.

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