Professor Emeritus Diane Austin-Broos

Diane Austin-Broos picture

I took my doctorate in anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1974 and soon thereafter returned to teach in Australia. My two major research areas have been in the Caribbean (principally Jamaica) and in Central Australia (among Western Arrernte people at Ntaria/Hermannsburg). I have a longstanding interest in the relation between culture and economy which includes an interest in fundamentalism. Methodologically, I am committed both to ethnography and to ethno-historical research.

My current project bears the working title, The Individual and Capitalism. It concerns how best to portray the historical subjects that capitalism has produced in its different major periods. The research involves a critical look at the manner in which anthropology currently deploys the term ‘neo-liberal’. It also involves a critical appraisal of other writers’ work on capitalism’s human subject. These writers include some early and later political and neo-classical economists, Louis Dumont, C. B. Macpherson and Charles Taylor among others.

I am an elected fellow of the Australian Social Science Academy and a past president both of the Australian Anthropological Society and the Australian Caribbean Scholars Association. I have received numerous grants for my research and also served on humanities and social science panels of the Australian Research Council. I have held numerous visiting positions, especially in the USA and in the Caribbean. My most recent book, A Different Inequality was a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Award for Literature (non-fiction)

Recent Publications


  • 2011 A Different Inequality: The Politics of Debate about Remote Aboriginal Australia. Sydney and London: Allen & Unwin.
  • 2009 Arrernte Present, Arrernte Past: Invasion, Violence and Imagination in Indigenous Central Australia. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
  • 2005 (with Gaynor Macdonald eds.) Culture, Economy and Governance in Aboriginal Australia. Sydney: University of Sydney Press.
  • 1997 Jamaica Genesis: Religion and the Politics of Moral Order. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
  • 1997 (with Paul Patten eds.) Transformations in Australian Society. Sydney: RIHSS
  • 1987 (ed.) Creating Culture: Profiles in the Study of Culture. Sydney and London: Allen & Unwin
  • 1984 Urban Life in Kingston Jamaica: The Culture and Class Ideology of Two Neighbourhoods. New York: Gordon and Breach
  • 1984 Australian Sociologies. Sydney and London: Allen & Unwin

Selected Recent Articles and Chapters

  • 2012 (forthcoming) Review comment: M.G. Smith and Social Theory in the Caribbean. Nieuwe West-Indische Gids, Vol. 86.
  • 2012 (forthcoming) Economy, Change and Self-Determination: A Central Australian Case. In T. Rowse and L. Ford (eds.) Between Indigenous and Settler Governance. London and New York: Routledge.
  • 2012 Keeping Faith with Self-Determination: Cultural Difference and Economy. Indigenous Law Bulletin, Vol. 7, March/April, Issue 29:19-23.
  • 2011 The Politics of Difference and Equality: Remote Aboriginal Communities, Public Discourse and Australian Anthropology. Transforming Anthropology 19. Issue 2, 139-145.
  • 2011 Peterson’s Imparja: a short appreciation. In Y. Musharbash and M. Barber (eds.) Ethnography and the Production of Anthropological Knowledge, pp. 217-222. Canberra: ANU EPress.
  • 2010 Quarantining Violence: How Anthropology does it. In J. Altman and M. Hinkson (eds.) Culture Crisis: Anthropology and Politics in Aboriginal Australia, pp.136-149. Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • 2010 Translating Christianity: some keywords, events and sites in Western Arrernte Conversion. The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA). 21: 14-32.
  • 2009 Capitalism as Culture, and Economy. TAJA. 20:301-317.
  • 2008 Jamaica, the Caribbean, Africa: Some Oppositions and their Politics. In H. Levy (ed.) The African-Caribbean Worldview and the Making of Caribbean Society. pp. 10-25. Kingston: University of West Indies Press.
  • 2008 Comment: Neoliberal Stories of Racial Redemption. Dialectical Anthropology. 32:249-251
  • 2007 Comment: Creolization, Optimism and Agency. Current Anthropology. 48: 653-655.
  • 2006 Working for and Working among Western Arrernte. Oceania. 76:1-15