Professor Rosita Henry is an anthropologist whose research concerns the political economy of public performances, cultural festivals, heritage claims and disputes, land tenure conflict and the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state. In that regard, she has worked, and continues to work, on a number of related research projects, with particular ethnographic focus on peoples and societies in the tropical north of Australia and in Papua New Guinea.

  • AN1001: Anthropology: Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective (Level 1; TSV)
  • AN2004: Medical Anthropology: Health, Science and Biopolitics (Level 2; TSV)
  • AN2106: Anthropology of Violence: The State, Politics and Citizens (Level 2; TSV)
  • AN2114: Australia through Time and Place (Level 2; TSV)
  • AN3008: Myth, Ritual and Religion (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • AN4006: Anthropological Theory (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • AN4007: Ethnographic Research Methods (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narrative and the Making of Place (Level 1; CNS)
  • Cultural festivals in Australia and the Pacific: I collaborated with Barbara Glowczewski (CNRS) and Marcia Langton (University of Melbourne), to establish in 2003 a French/Australian network: Strategies of Communication: Cultural festivals and New Technologies. The key outcome of this collaboration was the book Le Défi Indigène, Entre Spectacle et Politique (2007), which has since been updated and published in English by Bardwell Press, Oxford as The Challenge of Indigenous People: Spectacle or Politics? (2011). I was a member of Pacific Alternatives, a major research programme involving an international network of researchers working on political innovation and heritage in Oceania, led by Professor Edvard Hviding and funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the University of Bergen. My project within this programme was entitled Intangible cultural heritage and the innovative politics of cultural festivals in Australia and the Pacific. I have a continuing research interest Festivals (although currently unfunded).
  • Objects of Possession: Artefact Transactions in the Wet Tropics of North Queensland: I was the team leader of this ARC Discovery project, conducted in collaboration with Associate Professor Russell McGregor, Dr Michael Wood, Dr Shelley Greer, Professor Ton Otto and Dr Maureen Fuary. The project concerned ethnographic collecting in the Wet Tropics of North Queensland and contemporary Indigenous engagement with the ‘artefacts’ collected. We sought to explore the diverse ways in which Aboriginal peoples, collectors and museums have expressed their interests and property rights and values in the collected artefacts. Further research in this area is planned.
  • Place Value, Agency and Social Change in Western Highlands, PNG: I have completed researching and writing a biographical ethnography on politics and changing values of land in Papua New Guinea, focusing on the life of a woman of the Western Highlands, Maggie Wilson. This has been accepted for publication by MacFarland Press in 2019.
  • Cosmo-Political Landscapes (Cape York-Torres Strait): I am collaborating on a project (currently unfunded) led by Dr Shelley Greer and Dr Susan McIntyre- Tamwoy aiming to understand historical cosmo-political landscapes in the borderlands between Australia and Papua New Guinea. We are focusing on mainland (Australian Aboriginal) contributions to networks of trade and exchange through Cape York-Torres Strait, and how these have changed as a result of colonization processes and climate change.
  • Planning for Later Life among Papua New Guineans in North Queensland. ARC Discovery project. This continuing study is being conducted with Dr Michael Wood, James Cook University, and Professor Karen Sykes, University of Manchester, England. The study will contribute to our understanding of the importance of intergenerational kinship relations in the care of the elderly.
  • 1992 to present - Anthropologist, James Cook University (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute
  • Fellow, Australian Anthropological Society
  • 2018 - Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute
  • Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES)
  • 2015 - Australian Association of Pacific Studies
  • Chair of the Ethics Taskforce of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (WCAA)
  • 2013 - President Emerita, Australian Anthropological Society
  • 2011 to 2012 - President, Australian Anthropological Society

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 45+ research outputs authored by Prof Rosita Henry from 2000 onwards.


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.

  • Dreaming Story Way: A practice-based exploration of the creative Voice as a mode of healing grounded in Wik and Wikway ontology (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Deaths out of Custody (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Kuku Yalanji Artefacts and Traditional Knowledge in the Past and the Present (PhD , Associate Advisor)
  • The Movement of Things - The Lives and Relationships of Eighteenth Century Polynesian Artifacts from HMS Pandora (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • We are made with water: an ontological exploration of water in the Dry Tropics of Northern Queensland. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Contemplating Camel: Exploring Ecological sustainability in Inland Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Spirit, Story, Symbol: Indigenous Curating in the Queensland Rainforest (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The functions and contents of the Spindle Whorls in Thai Prehistory with the particular reference to the site of Ban Non Wat (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Re-casting the Past: Modern Cultural Heirs of Ancient Civilizations a Study of Esoteric Belief & Practice, Sacred Landscapes & the Power of Place through the Lens of Egyptian World Heritage Sites Karnak, Philae & Giza an Archaeological & Anthropological I (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Designing Regenerative Cultures for Sustainable Futures: Living-in-Place in Costa Rica (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Warriors Helping Warriors: A mixed methods analysis of the 'Kapani Warrior" program in remote Indigenous Communities (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Community development in villages of PNG: Evaluating empowerment of young, educated women for community development and social change. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

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