I have particular expertise and interest in the development arena and customary land ownership issues. I also have experience in Native Title, the politics of Deep Sea Mining, Tourism, and World Heritage issues.

My Phd research involved a social and historical analysis of the largest tropical timber corporation globally.  The RimbunanHijau Group of Malaysia is a heavily diversified, multi-industry conglomerate with economic interests in every continent of the world. The thesis examines the clustered and globalised aspects of identity and power which circulate in an out of the realm of the economy through the corporation. 

I am currently the Research Coordinator of a multi-disciplinary ARC Linkage research project examining the cultural values of the Nakanai Ranges tentative world heritage area in East New Britain (PNG). A significant output from my role on this ARC project is the procurement of funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Jacquinot Bay Conservation Group (Community Based Organization) to document local knowledge of sustainable food production practices.

Our community engagement has also directly contributed to the heritage preservation of a cave art site of cultural and national significance. In November 2017, the Marana Kepate Cave Art Site was approved for PNG National Cultural Property Listing. Marana Kapate Cave, which has rare cave art etchings in limestone is afforded the highest level of protection through the enactment of National Cultural Property. 

  • 2018 to present - Project Manager - The Twinning Project, The Cairns Institute (Cairns)
  • 2017 to 2020 - Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute (Cairns)
  • 2017 to 2020 - Adjunct Research Associate, College of Arts, Society and Education (Cairns)
  • 2014 to 2018 - Research Coordinator - The Nakanai Caves Cultural Values Project, College of Arts, Society and Education (Cairns)
  • 2017 - Sessional Lecturer - - ‘Arts Edge’ - BA Capstone, College of Arts, Society and Education (Cairns)
  • 2017 - Chief Investigator - Native Title Workshops for Mid-Career Anthropologists, The Cairns Institute (Cairns)
  • 2011 to 2017 - Project Manager / Casual Research Officer, The Cairns Institute (Cairns)
  • 2006 to 2017 - Sessional Tutor, College of Arts, Society and Education (Cairns)
  • 2015 to 2016 - Research Consultancy on Deep Sea Mining in PNG, College of Arts, Society and Education (Cairns)
  • 2015 - Sessional Lecturer - Anthropology: Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective’, College of Arts, Society and Education (Cairns)
  • 2014 to 2015 - Sessional Lecturer - ‘Critical Literacy’, School of Indigenous Studies (Cairns)
  • 2014 to 2015 - Sessional Lecturer - Introduction to Academic Learning’, School of Indigenous Studies (Cairns)
  • 2014 to 2015 - Research Consultancy - Desktop Reivew of PNGs Seven Tentative World Heritage Sites, UNESCO / PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cairns)
  • 2009 - Consultant Anthropologist, North Queensland Land Council (Cairns)
  • 2007 - Casual Research Officer, Marine and Tropical Research Facility (Cairns)
  • 2006 - Consultant Anthropologist, North Queensland Land Council (Cairns)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2016 - Sessional Staff Teaching Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2014 - Jeffrey Clarke Prize in Anthropology

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Other research outputs
Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

United Nation Development Programme - Micro-Capital Grant

Sustainable Livelihoods and Protected Area Planning in PNG

Indicative Funding
$204,000 over 2 years
The Nakanai Ranges have been identified as a Key "Biodiversity Area due to their high density of endemic and range-restricted species of high conservation concern due to pressures of industrial logging and oil palm development. We aim to engage local communities in stewardship of world heritage through tangible conservation and livelihood benefits, acknowledging the causal relationship between heritage, local people and their well-being. Protection of primary rainforest in Nakanai will enable the continued flow of ecosystem services, such as the provision of clean water and the protection of soil resources.
Jennifer Gabriel, Simon Foale and Michael Wood (College of Arts, Society & Education and College of Healthcare Sciences)
sustainable livelihoods; Papua New Guinea; protected area planning; Biodiversity Conservation; World Heritage; Poverty Alleviation

Australian Government - Attorney-Generals Department - Consultancy

Development of Mid-Career Native Title Anthropologists

Indicative Funding
$47,240 over 2 years
The Grant is to fund four workshops to be held over 5 consecutive days (with a Field Trip on the third day) aimed specifically at mid-career anthropologists who are concerned with the increasing shift in Native Title practice, from preparing native title claims to concluding them. The workshops (6 hours each of face-to-face contact) will also provide technical training in establishing and running post-determination institutions and incorporated groups. The workshops will provide targeted training for mid-career anthropologists and mentoring opportunities with senior anthropologists. Workshops 2, 3 and 4 will be run collaboratively in conjunction with the Centre for Native Title Anthropology (CNTA), ANU.
Jennifer Gabriel, Rosita Henry and Michael Wood (Cairns Institute, College of Arts and Society & Education)
Native Title; Mid-career; Anthropologist; Post determination

Ian Potter Foundation - Travel Grant

11th European Society for Oceanists (ESFO) conference attendance and paper presentation

Indicative Funding
The funding will support travel costs to attend the 11th European Society for Oceanists (ESFO) conference and present in the panel "Tourism development and cultural landscapes in Oceania: Critical interdisciplinary responses".
Jennifer Gabriel (Cairns Institute)
cultural landscapes; Tourism; cultural realignment; Papua New Guinea

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Investigating corruption in Papua New Guinea through the patron-client structure: The citizens' perception (Masters , External Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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