Researcher biography

I am a cultural anthropologist with strong interests in medical anthropology, critical public health and gender studies. I have conducted research in eastern Indonesia on health care, reproduction, stigma, and racism. Over the past 15 years I have worked with research teams on studies about HIV/AIDS, hospital birth, and health vulnerabilities in Papua/West Papua. My current research interests focus on how technology and medicine are forging new patterns, opportunities, and forms of violence when it comes to reproductive health care, from the perspective of providers and patients. I lead a study on HIV education looking at how education can address gender and marriage in West Papua (with Dr Els Rieke Katmo, Universitas Papua).

A recently completed study focuses on contemporary understandings and experiences of pregnancy and childbirth in urban Papua and the acceptability of hospital childbirth (forthcoming, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology). Another recent multi-sited study looks at vulnerabilities in Indonesia with Professor Lyn Parker (University of Western Australia) and others from the UK and Indonesia. The study used ethnography and surveys to understand who is vulnerable, how and why. Forthcoming publications look at education in Papua's frontier economy, older women's narratives of economic agency and survivance, and the challenges faced by newlyweds.

I am developing new research on obstetrics and c-sections to understand the impact of new medical expertise and procedures on health and childbirth.

Current and Previous Research

  • Frontier obstetrics - Indigenous Papuan experiences of antenatal care and hospital delivery, especially caesarean births (funded by UQ).
  • Engaging customary leaders in HIV prevention in West Papua, Indonesia (DFAT-Australia Indonesia Institute, in collaboration with Dr Els Rieke Katmo, Universitas Negeri Papua)
  • Health, social and economic vulnerabilities in Indonesia (an ARC Discovery Project with colleagues from UWA and Oxford)
  • Papuan experiences of education
  • Preventing vertical HIV transmission in West Papua
  • Violence, gender and alcohol in Papua
  • Newlyweds in Indonesia
  • Urban settlements in the Solomon Islands
  • Sexual violence and the limits of consent (UQ HASS led by A/Prof Lisa Featherstone)

Some Publications:

I am an experienced PhD supervisor in medical anthropology and gender studies. I am interested in supervising research on health and healthcare in Indonesia or the Pacific region. Research topics I supervise include:

  • Intersectionality in Australian domestic violence services
  • Changing masculinities in Uzbekistan
  • Gender and education in Enga province, Papua New Guinea
  • Australian spiritual healing
  • Household meat practices in Indonesia and Australia
  • Women's empowerment and energy in South Africa
  • Health of Pacific seasonal workers in Queensland Australia
  • Carers' experiences with medicinal cannabis
  • Apitherapy in Australia

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses on medical anthropology (ANTH2250/7250) and Pacific anthropology (ANTH2020). I also supervise Honours students and co-coordinate HHSS6002 (Honours coursework).

Areas of research