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The Australian National University

Jon Altman - CAEPR Foundation Director, Visiting Fellow

BA, University of Auckland
MA (Hons), University of Auckland
PhD (Anthropology), Australian National University

Building:   HC Coombs Extension #8, room: 2.40
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In residence until 31 December 2015.

Jon Altman has a disciplinary background in economics and anthropology. From 1983­-90 he was a postdoctoral fellow, research fellow and senior research fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change in the HC Coombs Building.  From 1990-2010 he was Foundation Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR) when it was a university centre and then a research professor there till 2015. Since 2001 he has also been an adjunct Professorial Fellow at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Darwin.

In 2003, Professor Altman was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He held an ARC Australian Professorial Fellowship between 2008 and 2013 focusing his research efforts on the project 'Hybrid Economic Futures for Remote Indigenous Australia'. In October 2012, Professor Altman was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand; and in 2013 took up a Visiting Research Fellowship with the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, where he has been a member since 1978.

In 1979 and 1980 he undertook fieldwork for his doctorate in the Maningrida region, central Arnhem Land. Since then, Professor Altman has maintained vibrant and diverse research relations with people in this region that he has visited on over 50 occasions. He has also undertaken field research in north Queensland, the Torres Strait, the Kimberleys and Central Australia.

Jon Altman has a disciplinary background in economics and anthropology, and was the Foundation Director of CAEPR from April 1990 to April 2010. Since 2001 he has also been an adjunct Professorial Fellow at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Darwin. In 2003, Professor Altman was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. He held an ARC Australian Professorial Fellowship between 2008 and 2013 focusing his research efforts on the project 'Hybrid Economic Futures for Remote Indigenous Australia'. In October 2012, Professor Altman was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand; and in 2013 took up a Visiting Research Fellowship with the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, where he has been a member since 1978.  

From 2007-2012 he led the major project 'People on Country, Healthy Landscapes, and Indigenous Economic Futures' funded by the Sidney Myer Trust.

Professor Altman maintains strong research linkages, especially with AIATSIS and the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. He also regularly collaborates with Aboriginal land councils in the Northern Territory, the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in Maningrida, and the Laynhapuy Homelands Association in Yirrkala. He is currently a director and trustee of Karrkad-Kanjdji Ltd and the Jimmy Little Foundation and is the Chair of the Research Committee of the Australia Institute.

(02) 6125 2858

Research interests:

At the broadest level Professor Altman's research focuses on social justice and human rights for minority groups globally. More particularly, appropriate economic development and associated policy for Indigenous Australia; hybrid economy theory and practice; the economic engagement of Indigenous people with the Australian and global economies (especially in mining, tourism, the arts and emerging industries like carbon farming); commercial utilisation of wildlife and fisheries; the Indigenous customary economy and its articulations with market capitalism; land rights, native title and Indigenous land and sea management; and theoretical issues in economic and development anthropology.

Empirical focus:

Alternate development; Indigenous cultural and natural resource management; Indigenous economies, Indigenous policies, critical theory, neo-liberalism and the state in relation to marginalised groups; property rights, intercultural governance and the limits of western governance in cross-cultural settings.

Methodological interest:

Hybrid forms of development and governance and empirical means to document such alternatives in the face of neoliberal hegemony; empirical measures of input