Dr Ian Keen

BSc (anthropology) University College London; PhD (anthropology) Australian National University
Honorary Associate Professor, School of Archaeology and Anthropology
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Studies Of Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Society 169902
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies 200201
  • Other Language, Communication And Culture 2099


After training and working in the visual arts, Ian Keen gained a BSc in anthropology at University College London (1973) and a PhD in anthropology at the Australian National University (1979). He has conducted anthropological fieldwork in northeast Arnhem Land, the Alligator Rivers region, and McLaren Creek in the Northern Territory of Australia, and in Gippsland, Victoria. He is the author of Knowledge and Secrecy in an Aboriginal Religion (Clarendon Press 1994), and Aboriginal Economy and Society  (Oxford 2004) as well as many articles in journals and edited books, and he edited Being Black: Aboriginal Cultures in ‘Settled’ Australia and other collections of essays. His research interests have included Yolngu kinship and religion, Aboriginal land rights, Aboriginal economy, Aboriginal kinship systems, and language and culture. His current research includes the diversity, typology and evolution of Aboriginal kinship systems. He has lectured and supervised postgraduate students at the University of Queensland and the Australian National University, where he is currently Honorary Associate Professor.


Researcher's projects

The evolution of Australian Aboriginal kinship terminologies.


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Updated:  11 June 2023 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers