Patrick McConvell

Patrick McConvell is a linguistic anthropologist with special interests in kinship and linguistic prehistory. He has taught anthropology at Charles Darwin and Griffith universities, and now is an adjunct associate professor at The Australian National University and Western Sydney University. He has worked with Australian Aboriginal people especially in the north-central region of the Northern Territory, and the Kimberley and Pilbara of Western Australia. A recent publication is Southern Anthropology – A History of Fison and Howitt’s Kamilaroi and Kurnai (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2015) with historian Helen Gardner.

Skin, Kin and Clan »

The dynamics of social categories in Indigenous Australia

Publication date: April 2018
Australia is unique in the world for its diverse and interlocking systems of Indigenous social organisation. On no other continent do we see such an array of complex and contrasting social arrangements, coordinated through a principle of ‘universal kinship’ whereby two strangers meeting for the first time can recognise one another as kin. For some time, Australian kinship studies suffered from poor theorisation and insufficient aggregation of data. The large-scale AustKin project sought to redress these problems through the careful compilation of kinship information. Arising from the project, this book presents recent original research by a range of authors in the field on the kinship and social category systems in Australia. A number of the contributions focus on reconstructing how these systems originated and developed over time. Others are concerned with the relationship between kinship and land, the semantics of kin terms and the dynamics of kin interactions.