Professor Amanda Kearney


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Personal profile

Research Biography

Amanda is an Australian anthropologist, whose academic career has been informed by interdisciplinary engagements with the disciplines of cultural geography, ethnic and intercultural studies. Her career is distinguished by a 20+ year commitment to ethnographic fieldwork and collaborative research with Aboriginal communities in northern Australia and New South Wales. The particularity of her theoretical innovations around contemporary race relations, interculturalism and Indigenous lived experiences in Australia, born of collaborative fieldwork, defines her professional standing as a leader of praxis based and applied Australian and Indigenous Studies, and Anthropology. Her research is addressing themes of Indigenous experience, ways of knowing, land rights and the prevailing impact of settler colonial violence on Indigenous lives and lands and waters. Her research has developed with the kind support of Yanyuwa families, the Indigenous owners of land and sea in the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Since 2008 Amanda has extended her community engagement by undertaking research with African Brazilian communities and organisations in Brazil, exploring the rise of affirmative action movements, racial quotas, and African Brazilian cultural expressions.


Amanda's forthcoming book (arriving Nov 2021) Keeping Company: An anthropology of being in relation (Routledge, London), offers up a study of relational modalities in a moment of increasingly vexed identity politics. It takes inspiration from the art of keeping company, a relational habit derived on a kincentric ontology and praxis of interconnected life among the Yanyuwa, Indigenous owners of lands and waters in northern Australia. Diving deep into this multidimensional art of relating the book critically engages with the counter habit of reductive identity politics and the flattening qualities that come with exceptionalism, individuated rights, limited empathic reach and a lack of enchantment in the other. Moving between ethnographic insights, conceptual analysis, and personal reflection Keeping Company offers an accessible engagement with some of the tricky aspects of identity politics as navigated in the present moment across sites of cultural difference.  It will interest scholars and students from anthropology, sociology, philosophy and Indigenous studies, and others who are driven to be in better relationship with the world, with their neighbours, with strangers and with themselves.

Reconciling and respecting cultural differences and harnessing them in the creation of a distinctly intercultural vision that thrives on an ethical and equitable practice of ‘keeping better company’ across sites of difference, are my driving interventions as a researcher.

Research Interests

  • Socio Cultural Anthropology
  • Indigenous Cultures
  • Land Rights
  • Place and violence
  • Brazil and African Brazilian rights
  • Land Activism and youth
  • Interculturalism
  • Future Security



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