I am a social anthropologist with wide ranging interests in visual culture. I co-ordinate the Centre for Visual Anthropology at the ANU, and convene the Master of Liberal Arts postgraduate program in Visual Culture Research. I teach courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in visual anthropology methods, visual culture research, media anthropology and the history of anthropological theory.
My teaching is informed by and helps shape my research interests. Much of my ethnographic research has been undertaken with Warlpiri people in central Australia, where I have worked since the mid-1990s on various local and regional media projects.
I am currently working on a project (with ethnomusicologist Stephen Wild) based around a collection of drawings produced by Warlpiri people in the 1950s. The drawings, made for anthropologist Mervyn Meggitt, cover diverse themes. The project involves returning the drawings to the descendents of the men and women who produced them nearly sixty years on and establishes a series of contexts for comprehending their significance. Taking the drawings as a prism for considering the ways in which a community of people remember who they were and how they see themselves in the present, as well as a springboard for examining continuities and changes in image making, the project will result in an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in 2013.
I am interested in the complex intersections between ethnographic research and analysis of the wider public cultural environment in which social life occurs in the present. To this end I have undertaken some early research towards a new project on the relations between persons and images in contemporary Australian society under the working title ‘Living Images’. The aim of the project is to flesh out through a series of case studies the kinds of cultural attitudes to images that accompany the expanding reach of screen-based visual culture and digital image-making and distribution processes.
In recent years I have also been preoccupied with the processes at work in the federal government’s Northern Territory Emergency Response Intervention and with the debates among activists, anthropologists and commentators around the past, present and future circumstances of remote Aboriginal communities. Other projects include biographical research on aspects of the lifework of Australian anthropologist WEH Stanner who worked across the fields of Aboriginal affairs and anthropology in Australia and abroad from the 1930s until his death in 1981; work with Aboriginal communities in and around metropolitan Sydney regarding their historical and abiding relationships to place; and with Kuninjku people of north-west Arnhem Land on their contemporary harvesting practices, art production and gender relations.
Recent and main publications
Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. (eds) 2010 Culture Crisis: Anthropology and Politics in Aboriginal Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney. (Winner of the 2011 Australian Publisher's Association award for Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Scholarly Reference)
Hinkson, M. & Beckett, J. (eds) 2008 An Appreciation of Difference: WEH Stanner and Aboriginal Australia, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra. (Reprinted 2009)
Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. (eds) 2007 Coercive Reconciliation: Stabilise, Normalise, Exit Aboriginal Australia, Arena Publications, Melbourne. (Reprinted 2009)
Hinkson, M. 2001 Aboriginal Sydney: A Guide to Important Places of the Past and Present, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra. (2nd edition published 2010)
Hinkson, M. & Smith, B. (eds) 2005. Figuring the Intercultural in Aboriginal Australia, special issue of Oceania vol. 75, no. 3.
Hinkson, M. 2011 Image-encounters with the techno-mediated other: Regarding post-election Iran via YouTube, Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 16(4) (view full text as PDF).
Hinkson, M. 2010 Seeing more than black and white: picturing Aboriginality at Australia's National Portrait Gallery, Australian Humanities Review, issue 49 (View full text as PDF).
Hinkson, M. 2010 Thinking with Stanner in the present, Key Thinkers and their Contemporary Legacy, special issue of Humanities Research 26 (2):75-92 (View full text as PDF)
Hinkson, M. 2009 Australia's Bill Henson scandal: notes on the new cultural attitude to images, Visual Studies 24 (3): 202-13. (View full text as pdf)
Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. 2007 Mobility and modernity in Arnhem Land: The social universe of Kuninjku trucks, Journal of Material Culture vol. 12 issue 2. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. and Smith, B. 2005 Conceptual moves toward an intercultural analysis, Oceania 75 (3): 157-66.
Hinkson, M. 2005 The intercultural challenge of W.E.H. Stanner’s first fieldwork, Oceania 75 (3): 195-208.(View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2004 Rebranding Australia — In a different light? Arena Journal 22: 37-44.
Hinkson, M. 2004 What’s in a dedication? On being a Warlpiri DJ. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 15 (2): 143-162. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2003 Encounters with Aboriginal sites in Sydney: A broadening horizon for cultural tourism? Journal of Sustainable Tourism 11 (4): 295-306. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2002. Exploring ‘Aboriginal’ sites in Sydney: a shifting politics of place? Aboriginal History 26: 62-77. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2002 New media projects at Yuendumu: Inter-cultural engagement and self-determination in an era of accelerated globalization. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 16 (2): 201-220. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. [in press] The cultural politics of radio: Two views from the Warlpiri public sphere. In Bressire, L and Fischer, D (eds) Radio Fields, New York University Press.
Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. 2010 Very risky business: the quest to normalize remote Aboriginal Australia. In Marston, G., Moss, J. and Quiggin, J. (eds) Risk, Responsibility and the Welfare State, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press. pp. 185-211. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2010 Media images and the politics of hope. In Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. (eds) Culture Crisis: Anthropology and Politics in Remote Aboriginal Australia, Sydney, UNSW Press, pp. 229-47. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2010 Anthropology and the culture wars. In Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. (eds) Culture Crisis: Anthropology and Politics in Remote Aboriginal Australia, Sydney, UNSW Press, pp. 1-14. (View full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. and Barber, K. 2009. Following Kanamkek: WEH Stanner, Aboriginal Religion and the art of Port Keats. In Chubb, C. and Sever, N. (eds) Indigenous Art at the Australian National University, Melbourne, Macmillan.
Beckett, J. and Hinkson, M. 2008. ‘Going more than half-way to meet them’ On the life and legacy of W.E.H. Stanner. In Hinkson, M. & Beckett, J. (eds) An Appreciation of Difference, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
Hinkson, M. 2008. Stanner and Makerere: on the ‘insuperable’ challenges of practical anthropology in post-war East Africa. In Hinkson, M. & Beckett, J. (eds) An Appreciation of Difference, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
Hinkson, M. 2008. Journey to the source: In pursuit of Fitzmaurice rock art and the High Culture. In Hinkson, M. & Beckett, J. (eds) An Appreciation of Difference, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
Hinkson, M. 2007 In the name of the child. In Altman, J. and Hinkson, M. (eds) Coercive Reconciliation: Stabilise, Normalise, Exit Aboriginal Australia, Arena Publications: Melbourne, pp. 1-12.
Hinkson, M. 2005 New media projects at Yuendumu: towards a history and analysis of intercultural engagement. In Taylor, L., Ward, G. Henderson, G., Davis, R. and Wallis, L (eds) The Power of Knowledge, the Resonance of Tradition, Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, pp. 157-68.
Select other publications
Altman, Jon and Hinkson, Melinda 2012 Hope-less futures? Arena Magazine no. 118 (view full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2011 Ethnomania: The search for RH Mathews [review of Martin Thomas, The Many Worlds of RH Mathews: In Search of an Anthropologist, Allen and Unwin], Arena Magazine, no. 115, pp. 50-51. (view full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2011 Micky Allan CCAS, Art Monthly Australia, no. 241, pp. 37-39. (view full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2011 [review of] Anthropological Futures, by Michael Fischer. Experimental Futures: Technological Lives, Scientific Arts, Anthropological Voices Series, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2009. Anthropological Forum 21 (1): 89-91.
Hinkson, M. 2010 For Love and Money. Aboriginal art in 2010: a different way of seeing, Arena Magazine no. 109, pp. 17-21. (view full text as pdf)
Hinkson, M. 2009 The trouble with suffering [review of Peter Sutton's The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of Liberal Consensus] Arena Magazine, no. 101, pp. 54-57.
Hinkson, M. 2008. Image culture, art and sex: notes on the Bill Henson scandal, Arena Magazine no. 95: 47-49
Hinkson, M. 2008. On looking at and feeling Aboriginal art [review of Biddle, J. 2006. Breasts, Bodies Canvas (UNSW Press) and Papunya Painting: Out of the Desert, exhibition at National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 28 November 2007 – 3 February 2008], Arena Magazine no. 93, pp. 48-51.
Hinkson, M. 2006. The reality of TV, Arena Magazine, no. 83, pp. 32-34.
Hinkson, M. 2005. Rarrk — John Mawurndjul: A journal through time in northern Australia, Art Monthly Australia, no. 185, November, pp. 14-19.
Hinkson, M. 2005. On Papunya’s place in history [Review essay on Bardon, G. & Bardon, J. Papunya: A Place Made After The Story: The Beginnings of the Western Desert Art Movement, Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2004], Arena Magazine 76, pp. 51-53.
Hinkson, M. 2005 Stanner, W.E.H. Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd Edition, Macmillan: Farmington Hills, MI, pp. 8729-8730.
Hinkson, M. 2000. Aboriginal Media Associations, Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, p. 643.
Hinkson, M. 2000. Television, Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 710–712.
Hinkson, M. 2000 Aboriginal Media Associations, Television, entries in Keinert, S. & Neale, M. (eds) The Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pps. 643, 710-712.
1998 Yanardilyi - Cockatoo Creek, a CD-Rom co-produced with Dennis Jupurrurla Nelson and Glenn James for Tanami Network, Yuendumu.
Courses currently taught
ANTH8017 History of Anthropological Theory
ANTH2128 Media and Modernity
ANTH8035 Topics in the History of Anthropology
VISC8001 Visual Culture Research: Key Concepts
VISC8012 Framing the World: Mediating Relations