Victoria SteadStaff member
Victoria Stead is a settler scholar whose research critically examines that nature of Australian coloniality, both within the settler state and across the Pacific region. She is an anthropologist with a strong interest in history, and combines ethnography, archival research, oral history, and political-economic analysis to examine the reverberations of colonial relations in the present. Currently, Victoria is leading two major projects: the first examines race, labour relations, and belonging in the Australian horticultural industry, including in relation to the temporary labour migrations of Pacific Islander seasonal workers; the second project explores postcolonial relationships between Australians and Papua New Guineans in the context of Kokoda and the war tourism industry in Oro Province, PNG. From 2015-2018, Victoria led the project ‘Women Remember the War’, with Oro women Margaret Embahe and Mavis Manuda Tongia, as part of the PNG Oral History Project. Victoria is currently a DECRA Senior Research Fellow based in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. She is Secretary of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies, and a member of the board of directors of the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania. Her most recent book is Labour Lines and Colonial Power: Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia (co-edited with Jon Altman, ANU Press, 2019).
- Labour, Race and Belonging: Strengthening Rural Workforces and Communities, 2018-21.
This project explores race and labour relations in the Australian horticultural industry, combining anthropological and historical methods, with fieldwork in the Victorian regional centre of Shepparton. The project asks: how does race structure and inform labour relations, practices, and discourses in the horticultural industry? How, and for whom, does horticultural labour generate belonging (and inversely, exclusion)? How do the contested histories of labour practices, relations, and discourses inform contemporary attitudes and understandings of labour within the horticulture sector and the rural communities dependent on it? This project is funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA).
- Beyond Recognition: Postcolonial Relationality Across Difference, 2018-21.
This international, comparative project examines the intersections of recognition politics and coloniality, and possibilities for more just and equitable forms of postcolonial relationships in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Kenya. Victoria runs the Papua New Guinea case study, based on Australian-PNG relationships in the war tourism industry at and around Kokoda. This project is funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery (chief investigators Prof Yin Paradies, Dr Victoria Stead, Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes).
- The Visitants Project, 2019.
This pilot project investigated local impacts and experiences of the cruise ship industry in Milne Bay Province, PNG, including the ways in which the WWII Battle for Milne Bay is, and could be, memorialised. Funded through the Major Grants Funding Scheme, Deakin University. With Dr Jonathan Ritchie, A/Prof Helen Gardner, and Prof Matthew Clarke.
- Mobile Labour and the Meaning of Land: The Australian Farm as a Site of Encounter, 2016-18.
This project investigated seasonal labour, migration, and race relations in rural Australia. Funded through an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Deakin University.
- Labour Migration, Transnational Farm Ownership, and the Transformation of Global Agriculture: Identifying Pathways to Intercultural Connection and Shared Belonging in Changing Rural Spaces, 2016-17.
Funded through the Toyota Foundation Research Grants Program.
- Women Remember the War, 2015-18.
This project was run as part of the PNG Oral History Project, funded through the DFAT Strongim Pipol, Strongim Nesen program. It involved documenting oral histories about Oro people’s wartime experience, with a particular focus on the experiences of Oro women. Local collaborators: Margaret Embahe, Mavis Manuda Tongia.
- War Memories: Papua New Guineans, Australians, and the Taim Pait, 2015.
This pilot project investigated the contemporary significance of wartime memories in Oro Province, PNG, and informed the subsequent PNG Oral History Project. Funded through the Central Research Grants Scheme, Deakin University, with Jonathan Ritchie and Kirstie Close.
- 2019. Victoria Stead and Jon Altman (eds), Labour Lines and Colonial Power: Indigenous and Pacific Islander Labour Mobility in Australia. Canberra: ANU Press.
- 2018. Victoria Stead, ‘History as Resource: Moral Reckonings with Place and with the Wartime Past’, Anthropological Forum 28(1): 16-31 (special issue edited by Victoria Stead and Michèle Dominy).
- 2017. Victoria Stead, Becoming Landowners: Entanglements of Custom and Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
- 2017. Victoria Stead, ‘Violent Histories and the Ambivalences of Recognition in Postcolonial Papua New Guinea’, Postcolonial Studies 20(1): 68-85.
- 2017. Samantha Balaton-Chrimes and Victoria Stead, ‘Recognition, Power and Coloniality’, Postcolonial Studies 20(1): 1-17.
- 2017. Victoria Stead, ‘Doing “Social Cohesion”: Cultural Policy and Practice in Outer Metropolitan Melbourne’, Critical Social Policy 37(3): 405-424.
- 2015. Victoria Stead, ‘Homeland, Territory, Property: Contesting Land, State and Nation in Urban Timor-Leste’, Political Geography 45: 79-89.
- 2013. Victoria Stead, ‘Greeting the State: Entanglements of Custom and Modernity on Papua New Guinea’s Rai Coast’, Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology 23(1): 16-35.
- 2012. Victoria Stead, ‘Embedded in the Land: Customary Social Relations and Practices of Resilience in an East Timorese Community’, The Australian Journal of Anthropology 23(2): 229-247.
- 2012. Paul James, Yaso Nadarajah, Karen Haive, and Victoria Stead, Sustainable Communities, Sustainable Development: Other Paths for Papua New Guinea, Honolulu, University of Hawai’i Press.
Victoria is available to supervise Honours, Masters, and PhD projects in the areas of Pacific studies, historical anthropology, Pacific colonial histories, Australian and Pacific postcolonial relations, labour studies, and Australian and Pacific race relations.
- Lorayma So’otuli Taula, PhD in Sociology. Tama’ita’i Samoa: Transnational Place-making and Experiences of Young Samoan Women in Australia and Samoa (co-supervisor, with Vince Marotta)
- Zoe Coombe, PhD in Anthropology. Thoughts of the Forest: An Ethnographic Study of Val Plumwood’s Environmental Philosophy (executive co-supervisor, with Eben Kirksey)
- Bronwyn Shepherd, PhD in History and Anthropology. The Unfolding Mission Space at Milingimbi: 1923-1943 (associate supervisor, with Emma Kowal, Joanna Cruikshank, and Helen Gardner)
- Martin Korokan, PhD in Development Studies and History. Church and Development in Papua New Guinea: Health Services Delivery in Enga Province from 1947-Present (associate supervisor, with Helen Gardner, Matthew Clarke, and Jonathan Ritchie)
- Alice Bellette, PhD. ‘Beyond Recognition’ in Indigenous Literature (associate supervisor, with Yin Paradies, Emily Potter, and Cameo Dalley)
Naba Rubaie, Honours in Sociology. Gender Quotas and Postcolonial Development in Papua New Guinea. 2016.
Awards, fellowships, and honours
- 2018. Faculty of Arts and Education, Early Career Researcher Award, Deakin University
Media and public events
- 24 March 2020. ‘Australia’s Food Supply Relies on Migrant Workers Who Are Facing Coronavirus Limbo’, The Guardian.
- 2020. ‘Borders, Im/mobilities, and Pandemic Nations’, part four of the Thinking and Organising Beyond the Pandemic: A Relational Poverty Toolkit webinar series. (Victoria hosted this international live-streamed webinar, hosted by Verso Books and the Relational Poverty Network).
- 2019. ‘Voices From the War’, a digital oral history archive containing interviews from the PNG Oral History Project, managed by Deakin University and the PNG National Museum and Art Gallery.
- 18 August 2019. ‘Picking Fruit is Work, Not Benevolence, and it Doesn’t Absolve Australia of Climate Responsibility’. The Guardian. (This article was also printed in the globally-distributed Guardian Weekly.)
- 2018. Victoria Stead, Margaret Embahe, and Mavis Manuda Tongia (eds), Remembering the War in Oro: Oral Histories from the ‘Women Remember the War’ Project, 2016-2018. Melbourne. (This publication of oral history transcripts, photos, archival material, and narrative text was produced for distribution to individuals and communities across Oro, PNG, who participated in the Women Remember the War project.)
- 2018. Victoria Stead, Oro Women in the Second World War: Stories from the ‘Women Remember the War’ Project, 2016-2018, Melbourne. (This school resource was produced for secondary school students in Oro Province, with 500 copies distributed for free in 2019.)
- 14 May 2018. ‘Episode #11: Monica Minnegal and Victoria Stead’, Conversations in Anthropology@Deakin podcast, published SoundCloud.
- 3 November 2017. ‘PNG Women’s Wartime Memories Cast New Light on Kokoda and the Pacific War’. The Conversation.
- 25 April 2016. Interview on ABC 774 Evenings Program, with Jonathan Ritchie, on the PNG Oral History Project.
- 2015. Interview on 2SER Drive Program, ‘Women Remember the War’ and the PNG Oral History Project.
- 2015. ‘Remembering Australia’s Wars: Hangings of Papua New Guineans by Australian Soldiers in WWII Complicate Our National Narratives’ (co-authored with Kirstie Close-Barry). Australian Policy and History (online).
- 20 February 2014. ‘“PNG Solution” Turns to Nightmare on Manus Island’. The Age, Comment section.
- 2014. Interviewed for ‘The Cloak of Kinship: Spotlight Papua New Guinea’ (author, Phil Mercer), on Global: The International Briefing.
- 22 July 2013. Interview on The 7pm Project, Channel Ten, the ‘PNG Solution’ asylum seeker policy.
- 22 July 2013. ‘Rudd’s Hard-line Approach will be Disastrous’. The Age, Comment section.