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Kathryn Robinson

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Visiting period: June 2012
Department: Social and Cultural Anthropology
Affiliation: College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University


Kathryn Robinson is an anthropologist whose research has been focused on Indonesia, especially the provinces of South and Southeast Sulawesi. The local impacts of the Sorowako nickel project have been a particular focus (working on publications include Stepchildren of progress: The political economy of development in an Indonesian mining town, SUNY Press 1986) and she has also written extensively on gender relations in Indonesia (most recently Gender, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia, Routledge 2010). She is leading a research team funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant focusing on expressions and practice of Islam in eastern Indonesia. Other research grants in the last decade have focused on internet mediated transnational marriage, and the experience of adolescence in Sorowako. Currently, Prof. Kathryn Robinson works for the Department of Anthropology of the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. At the University of Freiburg, she is working on „Methodology in Anthropology and Southeast Asian Studies“.

Her research interests include local practices of Indonesian Islam; Islamic organisations and networks; Southeast Asian women (particularly Indonesia) encompassing labour and marriage migration, adolescence, sexuality and reproduction, politics and production, Islam and women’s rights; local level development, development assistance - in particular mining and water supply;  ethnographic studies of Islamic peoples of Indonesia (especially in Sulawesi).


Selected publications

  • 2011. Sawerigading vs. Sharia: Identities and Political Contestation in Decentralised Indonesia, Asian Journal of Social Science 39(2): 219-237.
  • 2011. Indonesian youth looking towards the future. Journal of Youth Studies 14( 6): 709-728. ( joint authored with Pam Nilan, Lyn  Parker, and Linda Bennett)
  • 2009. Anthropology of Indonesia in Australia: The Politics of Knowledge, Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs 43(1): 7-33
  • 2009. Gender, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia, RoutledgeCurzon.
  • 2007. Asian and Pacific Cosmopolitans: Self and Subject in Motion. London: Palgrave.
  • 2006. 'Idioms of Vernacular Humanism: The West and the East'. In 'East Indies, West Indies: Comparative Archipelagos'. Special issue. Anthropological Forum 16 (3):241-55.
  • 2002. Women in Indonesia : Gender Equity and Development. Indonesia Assessment Series. Singapore: ISEAS Press (ed. with Sharon Bessell).
  • 2004 . 'Chandra Jayawardena and the Ethical "Turn" in Australian Anthropology'. Critique of Anthropology 24(4):381-404.
  • 1986. Stepchildren of Progress: The Political Economy of Development in an Indonesian Mining Town. Albany NY: State University of New York Press.
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