MA (Western Australia), PhD (British Columbia)


Professor Emeritus Bob Tonkinson is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Social Anthropology at The University of Western Australia, where he edits the international anthropological journal, Anthropological Forum, and pursues his regional interests in Aboriginal Australia and insular Melanesia. His recent research relates to issues of change and development in relation to government policies, resource development, land rights, identity, the politics of tradition and religion. In several recent papers he has explored the role of comparison using data from both his regions of interest.

  • Member of Council, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

  • Tonkinson, R. & M. Tonkinson (2010) The Cultural Dynamics of Adaptation in Remote Aboriginal Communities: Policy, Values and the State’s Unmet Expectations. Anthropologica 52:67-75.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2007 The Mardu Aborigines: On the road to somewhere. In G. Spindler & J.E. Stockard (eds) Globalization and Change in Fifteen Cultures: Born in One World, Living in Another. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. Pp. 225-255.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2007 Homo Anthropologicus in Aboriginal Australia: ‘Secular missionaries,’ Christians and Morality in the Field. In J. Barker (ed) The Anthropology of Morality in Melanesia and Beyond. Aldershot: Ashgate. Pp. 171-189.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2005 Individual creativity and property-power disjunction in an Australian desert society. In T. Widlok & W. Tadesse (eds) Property and Equality, Vol. 1: Ritualization, Sharing, Egalitarianism. Oxford: Berghahn. Pp. 32-46.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2004 Encountering the Other: millenarianism and the permeability of indigenous domains in Melanesia and Australia. In H. Jebens (ed) Cargo, Cult and Culture Critique. University of Hawaii Press. Pp. 137-156.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2004 Resolving Conflict within the Law: the Mardu Aborigines of Australia. In Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Societies around the World., eds. G. Kemp & D. P. Fry. London: Routledge. Pp. 89-104.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2003 Ambrymese Dreams and the Mardu Dreaming. In R. Lohmann (ed) Dream Travelers of the Western Pacific: Sleep Experiences and Culture in Australian Aboriginal, Melanesian and Indonesian societies. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Pp. 87-105.
  • Tonkinson, R. (1991/2002) The Mardu Aborigines: Living the Dream in Australia's Desert, pp.204. Belmont, CA: ThomsonWadsworth.
  • Tonkinson, R. 2001 Through a cultural lens: ‘the humane’ and the absolutist-relativist dilemma. In J. McCalman (ed) Humane Societies. Australian Academy of the Humanities, Canberra. Pp. 1-13.