Emeritus Associate Professor Jeremy Beckett


Jeremy Beckett taught anthropology at the University of Sydney from 1966 to 1994, with periods as a Visiting Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center (between 1968 – 1988), ANU (1977 and 1993), New York University (1988), and the University of Texas at Austin in 1991.

He has carried out long term field research with both Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. This work has focussed on Indigenous disadvantage in rural Australia, native title recognition and autonomy in Torres Strait, and the contextualisation of Indigenous identities in the postcolonial world. In the 1970s he undertook research with with Magindanaon, a Muslim minority in the Philippines. This project was terminated by the continuing insurgency. He has also spent periods in Mexico and Scandinavia, reading the work of local anthropologists on their Indigenous minorities. In addition he has made a study of the emerging Pan-Indigenous movement, and has contributed to ethnomusicological research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island groups.

Jeremy Beckett was an expert witness at the Supreme Court hearings in the Mabo case, and has recently been an expert witness in the ongoing Torres Strait sea rights case.

Selected publications

Torres Strait Islanders, Custom and Colonialism. Cambridge Unversity Press. 1987, reprinted 1988.

Past and Present: the Construction of Aboriginality. Edited volume. Aboriginal Studies Press. 1988; reprinted 1991.

Wherever I Go; Myles Lalor's 'Oral History'. Edited, and with an introduction and afterword by Jeremy Beckett. Melbourne University Press, 2000.

An Appreciation of Difference: W.E.H.Stanner: and Aboriginal Australia. Editors, Melinda Hinkson and Jeremy Beckett. Aboriginal Studies Press, 2008.

Recent articles:

'Going more than half way to meet them': On the Life and Legacy of W. E. H. Stanner' (with Melinda Hinkson), in An Appreciation of Difference (above): pp 1-26.

'Frontier Encounter: Stanner's Durmugam',' in An Appreciation of Difference (above),pp 89-101.

'Laughing at, laughing with, among Torres Strait Islanders', in Anthropological Forum 2008.