Professor Andrew McWilliam

B.Arts, B.Litt, Phd (ANU)
Senior Fellow
College of Asia & the Pacific

Areas of expertise

  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104

Research interests

Timor ethnography, minorities and governance in Indonesia and East Timor, customary land and resource tenures, forms of religious practice in eastern Indonesia, mining and development, applied anthropology in economic development, Australian Aboriginal customary land interests and cultural heritage.


Over the last 10 years I have been pursuing a number of research projects in Indonesia and East Timor. They include completion of an ARC Discovery Project in collaboration with Daniel Fitzpatrick (Faculty of Law, ANU), Waiting for Law: Land, Custom and Legal Regulation in East Timor; an ARC Discovery project with Kathy Robinson (Anthropology, CHL) entitled, Being Muslim in Eastern Indonesia: practice, politics and cultural diversity; and research on an ARC Discovery project with Sue O'Connor (ANH, CHL) exploring cultural and environmental shifts in late holocene settlement patterns of East Timor. In 2014 I began new research with John McCarthy (Crawford, ANU) and Carol Warren (Murdoch, WA) on an ARC Discovery Project entitled, 'Household vulnerability and the politics of social protection in Indonesia'. In 2016 I am initiating a new ARC Discovery project in Timor-Leste with Lisa Palmer (Uni Melb) entitled, Spiritual Ecologies and Customary Governance in Post-Conflict East Timor.  

Building on previous cooperation with colleagues from Charles Darwin University, I am also collaborating on an applied research project in eastern Indonesia on social and environmental impacts of artisanal and small scale mining, especially manganese and gold. The project is funded through a DFAT (GPFD) Project (2014-2017) in collaboration with Indonesian partners from regional government, universities and the private sector.

Career highlights

Research anthropologist, Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (1995-2000); Technical advisor, Australian Agency for International Development (1997-2004); Research Fellow, Resource Management in the Asia Pacific Project (1999-2001);  Visiting Affiliations, International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), University of Leiden 1998 & 2005; Kahin Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, Cornell University 2007; Agrarian Studies Program, Fall Term, Yale University, 2010; COMPAS, Michaelmas Term, Oxford University 2014.  


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  02 March 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers