Associate Professor Rebecca Monson

BA(Hons I) (Geography) (Monash), LLB (Hons I) (Monash), PhD (ANU)
Associate Professor
ANU College of Law
T: (02) 6125 8271

Areas of expertise

  • Access To Justice 180102
  • Environmental And Natural Resources Law 180111
  • Law And Society 180119
  • Social And Cultural Geography 160403
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Pacific History (Excl. New Zealand And Maori) 210313
  • Anthropology Of Development 160101


Rebecca is a lawyer and geographer with a strong record of transdisciplinary research and practice focusing on law, social inequality, and development, particularly in Australia and the southwest Pacific. She draws on critical and feminist approaches across law, geography, anthropology, history and Pacific Studies to explore questions of regulatory pluralism, environmental change and social inequality that are of interest to researchers, policy makers and practitioners working in a variety of contexts. 

Rebecca has conducted fieldwork in rural and urban communities in Australia and Solomon Islands in particular, and to a lesser extent in Fiji and Vanuatu. She regularly undertakes professional consultancies relating to justice systems, gender and development for governments, major development institutions (eg The World Bank, ADB, IDLO) and NGOs. This has included experience in teams advising on projects in Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.

Rebecca's current work revolves around three key themes:

(1) gender, legal pluralities and land relations

(2) climate change and adaptive property systems in the Pacific

(3) gender, customary and informal justice, and rule of law programming

Rebecca is currently finalising a monograph under contract with Cambridge University Press, on gender, property and politics in Solomon Islands. 

Rebecca has led law, governance and development teaching in the ANU College of Law, and is a member of the board of the ANU Pacific Institute, and the ANU Disaster Risk Science Institute. Rebecca co-founded and co-convenes the Australian Critical Development Studies Network and is a member of the board of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. 

Prior to joining the ANU, Rebecca was a lawyer specialising in the emergency management sector in Australia and the Pacific. She was also a researcher at RMIT's Centre for Risk and Community Safety, which included projects for the Bushfire CRC and Emergency Management Australia. She has worked in the planning and environment groups at several major Australian law firms and at an international NGO specialising in housing, land and property rights. 

Rebecca received her PhD from the ANU in 2012, for a thesis examining transformations in gendered land relations associated with colonisation, missionisation and the commodification of natural resources in Solomon Islands. She undertook her undergraduate studies at Monash University, where she graduated with first class honours in Law, the Supreme Court Prize for Best Honours Thesis, and first class honours in Geography and Environmental Science. Rebecca has two young children and works part time. 

Researcher's projects

Rebecca has published in the field of housing, land and property rights; natural resource management; disaster and emergency management; and the intersection of local and state-based forms of dispute resolution.

Rebecca is currently working on a book manuscript, under contract with Cambridge University Press, examining transformations in gender relations and land relations in Solomon Islands, and the ways in which local contests over the 'ownership' of land are entwined with state formation. She is also working on an edited volume publishing the results of research examining the capacity of customary tenure systems to respond to climate-induced displacement.



Available student projects

Law and development

Law and 'natural' disasters

Legal geography

Postcolonial legal theory

Feminist theory, particularly as it relates to the themes above

Current student projects

Bianca Hennessey (panel) "Pedagogy in Pacific Studies"

Daniel Evans (panel) "Beyond Next Tomorrow: An Examination of Urban Male Youth in Solomon Islands" 






Past student projects

Caroline Compton (panel) 'Institutional resilience and incentives in post-disaster recovery', PhD Candidate in ANU College of Law

Brad Jessup (panel) 'Concepts of Justice in Australian Environmental Law’ 

Joseph D. Foukona (panel) 'Why Land Reform Continues to Fail in Melanesia', PhD Candidate in School of Culture, History and Languages, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Bal Kama (supervisor) 'An Ingenious Judiciary in an Autochthonous Constitution: A Necessity or Nuisance? The Case of Papua New Guinea' ANU College of Law



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:  26 January 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers