Professor Alan Rumsey

BA, MA, PhD (Chicago)
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Chief Investigator, Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, School of Culture, History & Language
College of Asia & the Pacific

Areas of expertise

  • Linguistic Anthropology 160103
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104

Research interests

Melanesia; Aboriginal Australia; linguistic anthropology; intersubjectivity, child language socialization, sign languages, multimodal communication, comparative poetics


I am currently involved in a major collaborative research project on 'Children's Language Learning and the Development of Intersubjectivity'. Other recent projects include an interdisciplinary comparative one on verbal art which resulted in the volume Sung Tales from the Papua New Guinea Highlands. (For further details including a CV and most of my publications in downloadable form, search me on

Career highlights

Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Sydney, 1978-1995; Co-editor, review editor and editorial board member, Oceania 1985-; Advisory Editor, Current Anthropology 2000-2002; Editorial board member, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 1999-2015, The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA), 2008-, American Ethnologist, 2016-2019; Anthropological Consultant to Northern Land Council, 1980-1993, and to the Kimberley, Kamali and Yamatji Land Councils, 1998-2002, 2010; elected to Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2004; Vice President of Australian Anthropology Society, 2007-9, President 2010-11


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:  09 May 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers