Staff profile - Victoria Stead

Dr Victoria Stead

Position: Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts and Education
Department: Alfred Deakin Institute
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 522 78917 +61 3 522 78917



Dr Victoria Stead is a researcher working across the disciplines of anthropology, social theory and political studies. Her research interests are in the social transformations generated by globalisation, state- and nation-buildling processes. She has a particular interest in changing forms of social connection to land, and transforming relationships of power, in the context of the processes of change. Victoria's work has a strong Pacific focus, and she has conducted fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu, as well as in Australia.


Victoria's PhD research explored the entanglements of customary and modern forms of connection to land in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. At present, she is developing a new research project which will involve a political anthropological mapping of the relationships between Papua New Guineans and asylum seekers resettled in the country under the Australian Government's new PNG Solution policy. Another project is examining relationships between Pacific Islanders and Chinese migrant workers travelling to the region to work on resource extractive projects.


  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), La Trobe University, 2007
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Melb Inst. of Technology, 2013

Professional activities

Member, Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University

External colleague, Globalism Research Centre, RMIT University


Subjects and units currently teaching

Victoria has worked as a lecturer, tutor and course coordinator teaching a range of subjects including: research methodologies for development projects; the anthropology of kinship and family; the anthropology of nature; globalisation studies; power and justice in international relations; international political economy; global criminology.

Knowledge areas

Pacific Island studies


The anthropology of state and nation-building

Land tenure and social connection to land


Conferences and seminars

2013. ‘Spatial Justice in Timor-Leste’, part of Occupy: A Panel Discussion, organised by Architects for Peace and the Centre for Cultural Partnerships, Victorian College of the Arts, 4 April.

2013. ‘Activists, advocates and voices for the people: The growth of civil society and new forms of leadership in PNG’, presented at the PNG Symposium—Leadership for the Next Generation, Deakin University, Geelong, 4-5 April.

2012. ‘Entanglements of Custom and Modernity: Land and Power in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste’, Global Studies Seminar Series, RMIT University, 15 November.

2012. ‘State-building in a globalizing world: reimagining sovereignty through Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste’, presented at the European Association of Social Anthropologists Conference, Université Paris Nanterre, Paris, 10-13 July.

2012. ‘The Price of Fish: Problematising discourses of prosperity at PNG’s Pacific Marine Industrial Zone’, presented at PNG: Securing A Prosperous Future Conference, Deakin University, Melbourne, 12-13 April.

2011. ‘Embedded in the land: customary social relations and connection to land in an East Timorese community’, presented at the Timor-Leste Studies Association Conference, Dili, 30 June-1 July.

2011. ‘“There Never Was A Government Here”: Ambivalent performances of custom and modernity on the Rai Coast of Papua New Guinea’, presented at the Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Perth, 4-7 July.

2010. ‘Land, Power and Change: Transformations to Customary Land Tenure in the Pacific’, paper presented at the ANU Asia Pacific Week conference, Canberra, 8 February 2010

2009. ‘Creative Friction: Beyond ‘Art’ and ‘Community Art’’, paper presented at the ReGenerating Community Conference, Melbourne, 4 September 2009

Media appearances

2013. ‘Rudd’s hard-line approach will be disastrous’. The Age, Comment section. 22 July. 

2013.  Interview on The 7pm Project, Channel Ten, Australia’s new ‘Pacific Solution’ asylum seeker policy, 22 July.

2013. Interview with The Wire community radio news network, Australia’s new ‘Pacific Solution’ asylum seeker policy, 22 July.

2012. ‘RMIT's Victoria Stead speaks to Pacific Beat about the PMIZ project’. Interview with Radio Australia, 24 October. 


Research interests

Globalisation, state- and nation-building processes

Social and political change in the Pacific Islands

Social connection to land

Migration and insider-outsider relationships in the Pacific region




Paul James, Yaso Nadarajah, Karen Haive and Victoria Stead. 2012. Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development: Other Paths for Papua New Guinea, Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press.

Book chapters

Victoria Stead. 2013. ‘The Price of Fish: Problematising Discourses of Prosperity at the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone’. In Jonathan Ritchie & Michelle Verso, eds. Securing a Prosperous Future: Papers from the second annual Alfred Deakin Research Institute Papua New Guinea Symposium, 2012.  Goolwa: Crawford House Publishing (in press).

Journal articles

Victoria Stead. 2013. ‘Greeting the State: Entanglements of Custom and Modernity on Papua New Guinea’s Rai Coast’. Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology 23(1): 16-35.

Victoria Stead. 2012. ‘Embedded in the Land: Customary Social Relations and Practices of Resilience in an East Timorese Community'. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 23(2): 229-247.

Paul James, Victoria Stead, Yaso Nadarajah and Karen Haive. 2009. ‘Urban and Peri-urban Communities’. Local-Global 5 (special edition, Papua New Guinea: Projecting Community-Life): 17-62

Paul James, Victoria Stead, Yaso Nadarajah and Karen Haive. 2009. ‘Hinterland Communities’. Local-Global 5 (special edition, Papua New Guinea: Projecting Community-Life): 64-114

Paul James, Victoria Stead, Yaso Nadarajah and Karen Haive. 2009. ‘Remote Communities’. Local-Global 5 (special edition, Papua New Guinea: Projecting Community-Life): 115-154

Other publications

Victoria Stead. 2012. ‘Book Review: Light Intervention: Lessons from Bougainville, by Anthony J. Regan’, Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology 22(3): 320-322. 

Victoria Stead. 2010.Mayra Walsh, Damian Grenfell, Janurio Soares, Sofie Anselmi, Annie Sloman, Victoria Stead and Anna Trembath (eds). Nation-Building Across the Urban and Rural in Timor-Leste: Conference Report. Melbourne: RMIT University with Australian Volunteers International.

Victoria Stead and James Oliver. 2010. Polyglot @ Furlong Park: An evaluation of the Extended School Residency Program at Furlong Park School for Deaf Children, July-December 2009. Melbourne: Polyglot Theatre.

Victoria Stead. 2008. ‘Engaging With Change: Culture, Community and the Arts: A Cultural Impact Statement on the Importance of the Preston Market’. Melbourne: Trax Arts.

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