Andrew McWilliam

Andrew McWilliam is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University. He is a specialist in the anthropology of Insular Southeast Asia with ethnographic interests in eastern Indonesia and Timor‑Leste as well as Northern Australia. Recent publications include Post-Conflict Social and Economic Recovery in Timor-Leste: Redemptive Legacies (2020) and a co‑edited volume, The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Timor-Leste (2019). He is editor of The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA).

orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5245-0685

Forts and fortification in Wallacea »

Archaeological and ethnohistoric investigations

Publication date: 2020
‘This volume presents ground-breaking research on fortified sites in three parts of Wallacea by a highly regarded group of scholars from Australia, Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. In addition to surveying and dating defensive sites in often remote and difficult terrain, the chapters provide an important and scholarly set of archaeological and ethnohistoric studies that investigate the origin of forts in Wallacea. Socio-political instability from climate events, the materialisation of indigenous belief systems, and the substantial impact of imperial expansion and European colonialism are examined and comprise a significant addition to our knowledge of conflict and warfare in an under-studied part of the Indo-Pacific. The archaeological record for past conflict is frequently ambiguous and the contribution of warfare to social development is mired in debate and paradox. Authors demonstrate that forts and other defensive constructions are costly and complicated structures that, while designed and built to protect a community from a threat of imminent violence, had (and have) complicated life histories as a result of their architectural permanence, strategic locations and traditional cultural and political significance. Understanding why conflict outbreaks – like human colonisation – often appear in the past as a punctuated event can best be approached through long-term records of conflict and violence involving archaeology and allied historical disciplines, as has been successfully done here. The volume is essential reading for archaeologists, cultural heritage managers and those with an interest in conflict studies.’ — Professor Geoffrey Clark, College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra.

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A New Era? »

Timor-Leste after the UN

Edited by: Sue Ingram, Lia Kent, Andrew McWilliam
Publication date: September 2015
Timor-Leste has made impressive progress since its historic achievement of independence in 2002. From the instability that blighted its early years, the fledgling democratic country has achieved strong economic growth and a gradual reinstatement of essential social services. A decade on in 2012, Presidential and Parliamentary elections produced smooth political transitions and the extended UN peacekeeping presence in the country came to an end. But significant challenges remain. This book, a product of the inaugural Timor-Leste Update held at The Australian National University in 2013 to mark the end of Timor-Leste’s first decade as a new nation, brings together a vibrant collection of papers from leading and emerging scholars and policy analysts. Collectively, the chapters provide a set of critical reflections on recent political, economic and social developments in Timor-Leste. The volume also looks to the future, highlighting a range of transitions, prospects and undoubted challenges facing the nation over the next 5–10 years. Key themes that inform the collection include nation-building in the shadow of history, trends in economic development, stability and social cohesion, and citizenship, democracy and social inclusion. The book is an indispensable guide to contemporary Timor-Leste.

Land and Life in Timor-Leste »

Ethnographic Essays

Edited by: Andrew McWilliam, Elizabeth G. Traube
Publication date: December 2011
Following the historic 1999 popular referendum, East Timor emerged as the first independent sovereign nation of the 21st Century. The years since these momentous events have seen an efflorescence of social research across the country drawn by shared interests in the aftermath of the resistance struggle, the processes of social recovery and the historic opportunity to pursue field-based ethnography following the hiatus of research during 24 years of Indonesian rule (1975-99). This volume brings together a collection of papers from a diverse field of international scholars exploring the multiple ways that East Timorese communities are making and remaking their connections to land and places of ancestral significance. The work is explicitly comparative and highlights the different ways Timorese language communities negotiate access and transactions in land, disputes and inheritance especially in areas subject to historical displacement and resettlement. Consideration is extended to the role of ritual performance and social alliance for inscribing connection and entitlement. Emerging through analysis is an appreciation of how relations to land, articulated in origin discourses, are implicated in the construction of national culture and differential contributions to the struggle for independence. The volume is informed by a range of Austronesian cultural themes and highlights the continuing vitality of customary governance and landed attachment in Timor-Leste.