BA, University of Auckland
MA (Hons), University of Auckland
PhD (Anthropology), Australian National University
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.
Further information is available from Professor Altman's Curriculum Vitae.
Professor Altman's research interests include: Economic development and associated policy issues 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 the market; land rights, native title and Indigenous land and sea management; and theoretical issues in economic and development anthropology.
Professor Altman undertook fieldwork for his doctorate in the Maningrida region, central Arnhem Land in 1979-81 and has maintained vibrant and diverse research relations with this region for over thirty years. He has also undertaken field research in north Queensland, the Torres Strait, the Kimberleys and Central Australia.
Professor Altman is currently completing two ARC projects including 'Hybrid Economic Futures for Remote Indigenous Australia' and ‘Welfare to work or work to welfare’. He co-leads a project (with Dr Sue Jackson) on Indigenous natural resource management and livelihoods’ as part of the Northern Australian Hub sponsored by the National Environmental Research Program. From 2007–2012 he led a major project largely sponsored by the Sidney Myer Trust 'People On Country, Healthy Landscapes, and Indigenous Economic Futures'.
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, the Jimmy Little Foundation, and Arts Monthly Australia, and is the Chair of the Research Committee of the Australia Institute.
Graduate Teaching and Higher Degree Supervision
Professor Altman does some undergraduate lecturing and honours and internship supervision, but his main focus is on graduate teaching. In 2005 he developed the Graduate Program in Indigenous Policy as a stream of the Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (MAAPD). This followed the successful piloting of the graduate course Development Dilemmas for Indigenous Australians (ANTH 8029) in 2004 and 2005. In 2006 and 2007, he convened the MAAPD (Indigenous Policy). He now provides guest lectures in CAEPR’s MAAPD courses: Indigenous Policy and Indigenous Development as well as in a number of other courses in the MAAPD.
Professor Altman supervises and advises PhD students primarily located at CAEPR, but also in other parts of the ANU and overseas. A number of students supervised by Professor Altman have been associated with ARC Linkage projects and recent graduates he has supervised include Robert Levitus, Katherine Trebeck, Benedict Scambary, Sue Feary, Sally May and Jennifer Koenig. Professor Altman is focusing his current supervision on PhD scholars researching Indigenous economic development issues, with key areas of speciality including the hybrid economy, land rights and native title, and engagement in natural and cultural resource management.
Professor Altman's career highlights, besides establishing CAEPR in 1990, include chairing the review of the Aboriginals Benefit Trust Account in 1984; chairing the national review of the Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Industry in 1989; participating in the review of Native Title Representative Bodies in 1995; participating as independent expert in the Kakadu Regional Social Impact Study in 1996-97; membership of the UNESCO Kakadu Mission in 1998; and developing the Indigenous Arts Strategy for the Northern Territory Government in 2003.
Key publications & research
A full listing (current to October 2011) of Professor Altman's publications and research outputs is available for download. This listing contains links to the actual documents whenever available.
Professor Altman's comprehensive Curriculum Vitae is also available for download.
CAEPR publications & research outputs
Research publications outside the CAEPR publications series, including books, book chapters, journal articles and reports.