Dr Matthew Allen

BA, Grad Dip, MSc, PhD (ANU)
Adjunct Associate Professor
College of Asia & the Pacific

Areas of expertise

  • Human Geography 1604

Research interests

Natural resource governance, political ecology, political economy, extractive resource industries, rural development, agrarian change, local-level governance, state-society relations, and conflict, interventionism and state formation, with a focus on the Western Pacific (Melanesia).


Matthew works at the interstices of geography, political science and anthropology. The unifying theme for his scholarly and policy work in the Western Pacific over the past 20 years has been the relationships between social, political and environmental change. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Vanuatu (1997) and Solomon Islands (2005-2006), shorter periods of fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (including in the Autonomus Region of Bougainville), and consultancy work in Papua New Guinea (including as an AusAID adviser in Eastern Highlands, 1999-2001) and Solomon Islands.

Matthew’s research interests include resource conflict and extractive resource industries, agrarian change and rural development, local-level governance, and state-society relations. He has published around 50 peer reviewed book chapters, journal articles and reports stemming from this work, and is an author of Pillars and Shadows: Statebuilding as Peacebuilding in Solomon Islands (ANU Press, 2010). His doctoral research on the conflict in Solomon Islands resulted in his first single authored book, Greed and Grievance:Ex-militants’ Perspectives on the Conflict in Solomon Islands, 1998-2003, (University of Hawaii Press, 2013); and his ARC DECRA Fellowship (2014 to 2017) resulted in his second, Resource Extraction and Contentious States: Mining and the Politics of Scale in the Pacific Islands (Palgrave, 2018).

Matthew is currently Professor of Development Studies at The University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.


Career highlights

  • Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow (2014-2016)
  • Fellow, State, Society and Governance Program, ANU (2013-2017)
  • Research Fellow, Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program, ANU (2011-2012)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program, ANU (2008-2010)
  • Doctoral candidate, Crawford School of Economics and Government, ANU
  • Research Officer, Department of Human Geography, ANU (2003-2004)
  • Regional Development Coordinator, Hassall and Associates (2002-2003)
  • Young Professional Officer, ACNARS Project (AusAID), PNG (1999-2001)
  • Masters candidate, Department of Geography, ANU (1997-1999)


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Updated:  26 January 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers