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Personal profile


An obsession with history

Professor Lynette Russell's focus is on developing an anthropological approach to the story of the past. While her historical interests are far ranging - across the 18th to the 20th centuries, from Aboriginal people in the maritime industry, the Gunditjmara and Wurundjeri people of Victoria to the Smoki people in Prescott, Arizona - one of her major concerns is with the history of anthropology itself.

One thing Lynette enjoys most about her position is her engagement with other disciplines - she has co-authored two books with Monash archaeologist Associate Professor Ian J McNiven - and she is eager to help facilitate interdisciplinary opportunities for her graduate students as well.

'As a historian, and anthropological historian, I like working with the archaeologists. I like having the opportunity to work with the anthropologists we have in Geography, and the environmental scientists. I think it's great for students to be able to bounce idea off two different schools of thought. That works really well for me.'

She also takes her engagement with other communities and cultures very seriously.

'One of those things in the area we work in is that you have to remind yourself that it's an absolute privilege to work on, and with, indigenous groups and artefacts. It's really important that you actually take it with a high standard of personal ethics. That includes engaging with the communities that are appropriate, talking to the appropriate people - just being a decent human being.'

Lynette is a strong believer in the importance of Indigenous studies as part of the curriculum.

'I'm very keen to see as many students as possible undertake Aboriginal studies units. Frankly, I think such subjects should be essential for every undergraduate, particularly arts graduates. People need to understand what it means to be living in a continent that had over 600 different tribal groups and 250 different languages.'

One of her most challenging projects has been attempting to learn one of those languages herself.

'It's important to me, but frankly, it's really, really hard to learn an Aboriginal language. My tongue does not seem to want to do what I want it to do. It dances in the wrong places, and it trips. So I would love to learn an Aboriginal language, but I think I'm going to have to content myself with maybe two sentences.'

Lynette held an Australian Research Council Professorial fellowship between 2011-2016.

Monash teaching commitment

I teach on the following unit:


Supervision interests

Postgraduate supervision

I am very serious about the importance of supervision and the postgraduate research process. I currently supervise a number of PhD and masters students in a range of areas. These include: Indigenous knowledge systems, Aboriginal History, Torres Strait islands settlement history, Australian archaeology and ethics of research and Indigenous education.

As a guiding principal I believe that it is a privilege to be allowed to work with ATSI people and materials. It is for that reason that I believe it is important to disseminate information in both the popular and academic arenas. I am also committed to the production of non-jargon research reports for Aboriginal communities.


Current Research Interests and Areas of Supervision

  • Nineteenth Century ‘race’ relations in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Historical Anthropology.
  • Appropriation and identity.
  • Comparative epistemologies, and cultural constructions of knowledge and knowledge production.
  • Gender and the relationship between gender and ‘race’.
  • Interdisciplinary Research, especially the nexus between anthropology, archaeology and history.
  • Partnership Approaches to research.
  • Indigenous Oral History and narrative construction.
  • Museums, material culture, museum collections and exhibitions.

Research area keywords

  • Indigenous
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • Colonial
  • Agency and Subjectivity
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Race Relations
  • Material Culture
  • Gender and Race Relations
  • Epistemologiy
  • Cultural Knowledge
  • Indigenous Mobility
  • Australian Race Relations and Cultural History
  • Landscape
  • Reconciliation
  • Hyrbid Identities
  • Aboriginality
  • Cultural Archaeology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2001 2023

ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

Roberts, R. G., O'Connor, S., Lawson, J., Jacobs, Z., Cohen, T., Haberle, S., Bird, M., Ulm, S., Turney, C. S. M., Nakata, N., Curnoe, D., Cooper, A., Bradshaw, C. J. A., Weyrich, L., David, B., Russell, L., Brook, B. W., Johnson, C. N., Asmussen, B., Knowles, C., Torrence, R., Slack, M., Delannoy, J., Leavesley, M., Miller, G., Schiffels, S., Storey, M. & McNiven, I.

Monash University – Internal University Contribution, Monash University – Internal Faculty Contribution


Project: Research

MCLA animations: Teaching and Learning Website

Russell, L., Bradley, J., Faulkhead, S., Chandler, T. & McKee, B.


Project: Research

Research Output 1997 2019

An Afterword

Russell, L., 2019, Labour Lines and Colonial Power Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia. Stead, V. & Altman, J. (eds.). Acton ACT Australia: ANU E Press, p. 309-312 4 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

Australia's First Naturalists: Indigenous Peoples' Contribution to Early Zoology

Olsen, P. & Russell, L., 2019, Canberra ACT Australia: National Library of Australia. 223 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

Aboriginal Australians as Southern Oceans Mariners: They that go down to the sea in ships

Russell, L., 2018, Historical Antarctic Sealing Industry. Headland, R. K. (ed.). Cambridge UK: Scott Polar Research Institute, p. 73-78 5 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review

Affect in the archive: trauma, grief, delight and texts. Some personal reflections

Russell, L., 2018, (Accepted/In press) In : Archives & Manuscripts. p. 1-8 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

Dancing Identity: The Annual Smoki "Ceremonial Dances" of Prescott, Arizona

Russell, L., 2018, Perspectives on American Dance: The Twentieth Century. Atkins, J., Sommer, S. R. & Henry Young, T. (eds.). Gainesville FL USA: University Press of Florida, p. 13-29 17 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


2018 Monash University Honour Roll ‘Recognising Academic Leadership.’

Lynette Russell (Recipient), 28 Nov 2018

Prize: National/international honour

2019 Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship

Lynette Russell (Recipient), 10 Oct 2019

Prize: Competitive Fellowships

2019 Whitley Award for Contributions made to Early Zoology

Lynette Russell (Recipient) & Penny Olsen (Recipient), 2 Oct 2019

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Activities 1996 2019

AHA Conference 2019: Local Communities, Global Networks

Lynette Russell (Invited speaker)
8 Jul 201912 Jul 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to conference

Law Chambers Sorry Day event

Lynette Russell (Invited speaker)
30 May 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course

Wunungu Awara: Digital Humanities and Animating Indigenous Knowledge

Lynette Russell (Keynote/plenary speaker)
10 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course

Indigenous Faunal Knowledge and Contemporary Land Management in Northern Australia

Lynette Russell (Keynote/plenary speaker)
13 Sep 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesContribution to workshop, seminar, course

Ontario College of Art and Design University (External organisation)

James Oliver (Member), Brian Martin (Member), Lynette Russell (Member), Jason Baerg (Member), Howard Munroe (Member)
2019 → …

Activity: Industry, Government and Philanthropy Engagement and PartnershipsMembership of networks of excellence

Press / Media

"Elephant Man" BBC radio interview

Lynette Russell


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Profile/Interview

"Australia's First Naturalists" RTR FM radio interview

Lynette Russell


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Profile/Interview