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Dr Victoria Stead

STAFF PROFILE

Position

DECRA Senior Research Fellow

Faculty

Faculty of Arts and Education

Department

Alfred Deakin Institute

Campus

Melbourne Burwood Campus

Qualifications

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

Biography

I am an anthropologist whose work also has an interdisciplinary focus, engaging cognate areas of politics, geography, development studies, history, and postcolonial studies. My current research coheres around two key areas of interest and activity. The first of these engages themes of conflict, memory, landscape and development in relation to the legacies of the Second World War in Papua New Guinea, including the growth of war tourism in the region surrounding the Kokoda Track. The second focuses on labour in the Australian horticultural industry, with a geographical focus on the Shepparton region in northern Victoria. Discourses and practices relating to horticultural labour are strongly inflected with considerations of race and class, and have complex histories that are also bound up with Australia’s colonial history. Pacific Islanders and East Timorese are amongst those who travel to the area to work as fruit pickers, and their experiences intersect with the labour experiences of Indigenous communities, as well as migrants and refugees from Asia and the Middle East, European backpackers, and an increasingly marginalized White local underclass. Connecting these two strands of research activity is a focus on the Australia-Pacific region, a concern with contemporary postcolonialism and the reverberations of the past in the present, and an empirical and theoretical attention to land and landscape.

My most recent book, Labour Lines and Colonial Power: Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia (ANU Press, 2019, co-edited with Jon Altman), brings together an innovative collaboration of geographers, historians, anthropologists, and cultural studies scholars in order to re-evaluate labour mobility practices in both historical and contemporary contexts. My 2017 monograph, Becoming Landowners: Entanglements of Custom and Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste (University of Hawaii Press) examines the relationship of customary and modern forms of connection to land in contemporary Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, elaborating the concept of ‘entanglement’ as a means of theorizing this shifting social, cultural and political landscape.

At Deakin, I am Chair of the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (DUHREC), and Co-Convenor of the People, Place and Heritage Research Stream in the Alfred Deakin Institute.

I am available to supervise Higher Degree by Research students across the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, and Pacific studies.

Read more on Victoria's profile

Research interests

Agricultural labour relations

Colonialism and (post)colonialism

Human-environment relations, landscape and place-making

Migration and mobility

Socio-cultural anthropology

Pacific studies

Ethnographic methodology

Affiliations

Fellow, Australian Anthropological Society

Member, Australian Association for Pacific Studies

Member, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania

Knowledge areas

Pacific Island studies
Migration and mobility
Labour
Land, landscape and place-making
Colonialism and (post)colonialism
The anthropology of state and nation-building
The anthropology of development
Ethnographic methodology

Conferences

SELECTED RECENT CONFERENCE PAPERS

2021. ‘Documentation as Relation’, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, online, 4-7 February.

2020. ‘“This Was the Place”: Uneven Geographies of Affect and (Post)colonial Territorialization Along the Kokoda Trail’, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, Hilo, Hawai’i, 22-25 January.

2019. ‘“The New Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels”: Recognition, Redistribution, and Reckonings with Coloniality in Papua New Guinea’s War Tourism Industry’, Australian Anthropological Society, Australian National University, 2-5 December.

2019. ‘Colonial Returns’, American Anthropological Association, Vancouver, 20-24 November.

2019. ‘Place, affect and the (post)colonial: Affective economies and colonial power in Papua New Guinea’s war tourism industry’, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, Auckland University, 13-16 February.

2018. ‘Will Big Data Feed the World? Neo-colonial Futures and Capitalist Reconfigurations in Global Food Systems’ (with David Boarder Giles), Society for Social Studies of Science, University of Sydney, 1 September.

2018. ‘Money trees and Pasifika place-making in the Shepparton fruit bowl’, Australian Association for Pacific Studies, University of Adelaide, 4-8 April.

2018. ‘Women’s Wartime Memories and Gendered Relations of Remembrance in Oro, PNG’, Australian Association for Pacific Studies, University of Adelaide, 4-8 April.

2017. ‘Horticultural labour and precarious belonging: Complexes of race and mobility in the Greater Shepparton food bowl’, Australia Anthropological Society, University of Adelaide, 11-15 December.

2017. ‘In defence of customary land: Land activism, custom, and emerging discourses of indigeneity in Melanesia’, Association of Social Anthropologists of Oceania, Hawai’i, 8-11 February.

2016. ‘Seasonal Labour, Assessments Of Value, And Social Relations In Precarious Times’, Australian Anthropological Society conference, Sydney University, 12-15 December.

SELECTED RECENT SEMINARS

2021. ‘Putting the crisis to work: (Re)valuing seasonal farm labour amid the COVID-19 pandemic’, Global Food Supply Chains in a World on the Edge, Academy for the Social Sciences in Australia workshop, 15-16 June.

2020. ’Women’s practices of care and survival in wartime PNG’, Health and Labour after the Pacific War: Pacific Islanders, Medical Infrastructure and Decolonization workshop, Flinders University, 20-21 February.

2019. ‘Labour, mobility, and the making of futures and places in an Australian horticultural region’, EASA AnthroMob workshop, Mobility and the Future of Work, Universitat de Barcelona, 6-8 November.

2019. ‘Who feeds (on) whom? Labour and the porosity of environments and (classed and racialized) bodies’, Metabolism(s) Roundtable, Deakin University, 15 August.

2019. ‘Postcolonial relationships and the politics of recognition along the Kokoda Track’, PNG National Museum and Art Gallery seminar series, Port Moresby, 21 March.

2018. ‘“Local’s don’t want to do that work anymore”: Race, Nostalgia, and Belonging in an Australian fruit-growing region’, Forum on Migrant Workers in Agriculture, University of Sydney, 15 November.

2018. ‘Postcolonial reckonings and the politics of recognition along the Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea’, SSPS Seminar Series, University of Melbourne, 21 September.

2018. ‘Mobility under constraint: Race and Precarity in the Pacific Islander Seasonal Worker Program’, Sydney Pacific Studies Seminar Series, University of Sydney, 6 June.

Professional activities

Chair, Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee (DUHREC)

Co-Convenor, People, Place and Heritage Research Stream, Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University

Editor, Postcolonial Studies

Co-convenor, Alfred Deakin Institute Flagship Conference, November 2021

Co-convenor, Australian Association for Pacific Studies conference, April 2021

Media appearances

SELECTED AUTHORED COMMENTARY

2020. ‘Australia’s Food Supply Relies on Migrant Workers Who Are Facing Coronavirus Limbo’. The Guardian, 24 March.

2019. ‘Picking Fruit is Work, Not Benevolence, and it Doesn’t Absolve Australia of Climate Responsibility’. The Guardian, 18 August. (Also published in the globally-distributed Guardian Weekly)

2017. ‘PNG Women’s Wartime Memories Cast New Light on Kokoda and the Pacific War’. The Conversation, 3 November. 

2015. ‘Remembering Australia’s Wars: Hangings of Papua New Guineans by Australian Soldiers in WWII Complicate Our National Narratives’ (co-authored with Kirstie Close-Barry). Australian Policy and History.

2014. ‘“PNG Solution” turns to nightmare on Manus Island’. The Age, 20 Feb. 

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

RECENT INTERVIEWS AND PODCASTS

2021. 'Beyond Kokoda', part of the Welcome? podcast series.

2020. ‘Borders, im/mobilities, and pandemic nations’, part four of the Thinking and Organising Beyond the Pandemic: A Relational Poverty Toolkit webinar series.

2018. ‘Episode #11: Monica Minnegal and Victoria Stead’, Conversations in Anthropology@Deakin podcast, 14 May. 

2016. Interview on ABC 774 Evenings Program, with Jonathan Ritchie, on the PNG Oral History Project, 25 April.

2013. Interview on The 7pm Project, Channel Ten, the ‘PNG Solution’ asylum seeker policy, 22 July.

RECENT MEDIA MENTIONS

2020. ‘Vital Migrant Workers at Risk’, Geelong Advertiser, 24 April.

2020. ‘Feeding a COVID-19 Nation: Protecting All Workers’ Rights in a Time of Crisis’, disruptr, 24 April.

2019. ‘Oro Women Tell War Stories’, Post-Courier, 22 March (Papua New Guinea).

2018. ‘PNG Hears its War History’, Geelong Advertiser, 27 April.

2018. ‘Papua New Guineans to Hear Their Own Stories of WW2’, Invenio, 26 April. 

2018. ‘Memorialising Tragedy in Papua New Guinea’, Invenio, 23 March.

2017. ‘Time to Rethink “Development” in Melanesia’. Deakin Research News, 17 August. 

Awards

2017. Awarded the Faculty of Arts and Education Faculty Early Career Researcher Award

Projects

‘Global Food Supply Chains in a World on the Edge’, Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) Workshop Grant, 2020-2021, AU$9,000.

Labour, Race and Belonging: Strengthening Rural Workforces and Communities’, Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA), Australian Research Council, 2018-2012, AU$351,996

Beyond Recognition: Postcolonial Relationality Across Difference’, Discovery Indigenous, Australian Research Council, 2018-21, AU$497,807

Mobile Labour and the Meaning of Land: The Australian Farm as a Site of Encounter’, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Deakin University, 2016-18, AU$200,000

Labour Migration, Transnational Farm Ownership, and the Transformation of Global Agriculture: Identifying Pathways to Intercultural Connection and Shared Belonging in Changing Rural Spaces’, Toyota Foundation Research Grants Program, 2016-17, AU$8,300

Women Remember the War: Investigating Papua New Guinean Women’s Experiences of the Second World War’, part of the PNG Oral History Project, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the PNG Strongim Pipol, Strongim Nesen program, 2015-18, AU$120,000

War Memories: Papua New Guineans, Australians, and the Taim Pait’, Central Research Grants Scheme, Deakin University, 2015, AU$15,000

Publications

Filter by

2021

Precarity's reach: intersections of history, life, and labour in the Australian horticultural industry

Victoria Stead

(2021), Vol. 27, pp. 303-320, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Unfree Labour and Australia's Obscured Pacific Histories: Towards a New Genealogy of Modern Slavery

V Stead, L Davies

(2021), Vol. 45, pp. 400-416, Journal of Australian Studies, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Big Data won't feed the world: global agribusiness, digital imperialism, and the contested promises of a new Green Revolution

D Giles, V Stead

(2021), Dialectical Anthropology, C1

journal article
2019

Labour lines and colonial power

Victoria Stead, Jon Altman

(2019), pp. 1-26, Labour lines and colonial power : Indigenous and Pacific Islander labour mobility in Australia, Canberra, A.C.T., B1

book chapter

Money trees, development dreams and colonial legacies in contemporary Pasifika horticultural labour

Victoria Stead

(2019), pp. 133-157, Labour lines and colonial power : Indigenous and Pacific Islander labour mobility in Australia, Canberra, A.C.T., B1

book chapter
2018

History as resource: moral reckonings with place and with the wartime past in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea

V Stead

(2018), Vol. 28, pp. 16-31, Anthropological forum, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Moral horizons of land and place

V Stead, M Dominy

(2018), Vol. 28, pp. 1-15, Anthropological forum, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Remembering the war in Oro: Interviews from the 'Women Remember the War' Project 2016-2018. Part of the PNG Oral History Project.

V Stead, M Embahe, M Tongia

(2018), A7

edited book
2017

Becoming landowners: entanglements of custom and modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste

V Stead

(2017), Honolulu, T.H., A1

book

Landownership as exclusion

V Stead

(2017), pp. 357-381, Kastom, property and ideology: land transformations in Melanesia, Acton, A.C.T., B1

book chapter

Doing 'social cohesion': cultural policy and practice in outer metropolitan Melbourne

V Stead

(2017), Vol. 37, pp. 405-424, Critical social policy, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Violent histories and the ambivalences of recognition in postcolonial Papua New Guinea

V Stead

(2017), Vol. 20, pp. 68-85, Postcolonial studies, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Recognition, power and coloniality

S Balaton-Chrimes, V Stead

(2017), Vol. 20, pp. 1-17, Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal article
2016

Mobility and emplacement in north coast Papua New Guinea: worlding the Pacific marine industrial zone

V Stead

(2016), Vol. 27, pp. 30-48, Australian journal of anthropology, London, Eng., C1

journal article
2015

Homeland, territory, property: contesting land, state, and nation in urban Timor-Leste

V Stead

(2015), Vol. 45, pp. 79-89, Political geography, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal article
2014

The price of fish: problematising discourses of prosperity at the Pacific marine industrial zone

V Stead

(2014), pp. 197-230, Securing a prosperous future: Papua New Guinea. Papers from the second annual Alfred Deakin Research Institute Papua New Guinea Symposium, 2012, Goolwa, Adelaide, B1-1

book chapter
2012

Sustainable communities, sustainable development: Other paths for Papua New Guinea

P James, Y Nadarajah, K Haive, V Stead

(2012), pp. 1-462, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development: Other Paths for Papua New Guinea, A1-1

book

Greeting the state: entanglements of custom and modernity on Papua New Guinea's Rai Coast

V Stead

(2012), Vol. 23, pp. 16-35, Anthropological forum, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Embedded in the land: Customary social relations and practices of resilience in an East Timorese community

V Stead

(2012), Vol. 23, pp. 229-247, Australian Journal of Anthropology (The), C1-1

journal article
2010

Polyglot @ Furlong Park: An evaluation of the extended school residency program at Furlong Park school for deaf children

V Stead, J Oliver

(2010), Melbourne, Vic., A6-1

research report/technical paper
2009

Urban and peri-urban communities

P James, V Stead, Y Nadarajah, K Haive

(2009), Vol. 5, pp. 17-62, Local-Global Journal, Melbourne, Vic., C1-1

journal article

Hinterland communities

P James, V Stead, Y Nadarajah, K Haive

(2009), Vol. 5, pp. 64-114, Local-Global Journal, Melbourne, Vic., C1-1

journal article

Remote communities

P James, V Stead, Y Nadarajah, K Haive

(2009), Vol. 5, pp. 116-154, Local-Global Journal, Melbourne, Vic., C1-1

journal article
2008

Engaging with change: culture, community and the arts: a cultural impact statement on the importance of the Preston market

V Stead

(2008), Melbourne, Vic., A6-1

research report/technical paper

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Beyond Recognition: Postcolonial Relationality Across Difference

Prof Yin Paradies, Dr Victoria Stead, Dr Sam Balaton-Chrimes

ARC Discovery Indigenous

  • 2021: $88,562
  • 2020: $140,565
  • 2019: $136,064
  • 2018: $124,013

Labour, Race and Belonging: Strengthening Rural Workforces and Communities

Dr Victoria Stead

ARC DECRA - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2020: $126,105
  • 2019: $122,295
  • 2018: $148,614

Other Public Sector Funding

PNG Oral History Project

Dr Jonathan Ritchie, Dr Ceridwen Spark, Dr Victoria Stead

  • 2018: $105,724
  • 2017: $566,591
  • 2016: $67,492
  • 2015: $186,686

Industry and Other Funding

Intergenerational Relations in New Arrival Communities in Victoria

Prof Fethi Mansouri, A/Prof Danny Ben-Moshe, Dr Victoria Stead

  • 2014: $10,000

Evaluation of the Social Cohesion, Young People and Multiculturalism project

Prof Fethi Mansouri, A/Prof Danny Ben-Moshe, Dr Victoria Stead

  • 2014: $15,000
  • 2013: $15,000

Labour Migration, Transnational Farm Ownership, and the Transformation of Global Agriculture: Identifying Pathways to Intercultural Connection and Shared Belonging in Changing Rural Spaces

Dr Victoria Stead

  • 2017: $2,276
  • 2016: $5,908

Other Funding Sources

Feeding the Crisis: Global Food Supply Chains in a World on the Edge

Dr Victoria Stead, A/Prof Melinda Hinkson, Prof Jon Altman

  • 2021: $9,000

Supervisions

Associate Supervisor
2021

Bronwyn Shepherd

Thesis entitled: Making a mission space: Milingimbi Methodist Mission, 1923-1943

Doctor of Philosophy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences