Dr Susan Hemer

 Position Senior Lecturer
 Org Unit Anthropology and Development Studies
 Email susan.hemer@adelaide.edu.au
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5732
 Location Floor/Room 1 34 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Doctor Susan Hemer lectures in the areas of medical and psychological anthropology, and development studies. Dr Hemer's research interests include the social impact of mining and development projects in the Pacific, and expatriate communities associated with development projects. Research interests in psychological anthropology are focused on emotion and grief in both Melanesia and Indigenous Australia.

    Prior to working at the University of Adelaide, Dr Hemer held a research and project implementation position in the Community Relations Department for Lihir Gold in Papua New Guinea.

    Dr Hemer publishes on medical or psychological anthropology, and development studies.

  • Qualifications

    Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) Honours, University of Adelaide.

    PhD (Anthropology), University of Melbourne.

    Graduate Diploma (Aboriginal Studies), University of South Australia.

  • Awards & Achievements

    2016 Barbara Kidman Fellowship, University of Adelaide.

    2014 Australia- Africa Universities Network Partnership Development Grant "Mining for a Healthier community" (with partners from University of Cape Town, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland)

    2012 Papua New Guinea National AIDS Council Secretariat Small Grant "Agents of Change: HIV/AIDS in the Lihir Islands"

    2011 Inaugural HUMSS-Ari White Paper Prize. "Meeting the challenges of healthcare provision in the Lihir Islands".

  • Teaching Interests

    • Life, Death and Culture.
    • Anthropology of Health and Medicine.
    • Anthropology of Emotion, Mind and Person.
    • Emotion, Culture and Medicine.
    • Ethnographic Research.
    • Poverty and Social development.
    • Honours Anthropology.
    • Honours Development Studies.
  • Research Interests

    My research interests

    • Personhood, social relations, emotion, and grief in Melanesia.  
    • The social impact of mining and development projects in the Pacific.
    • Women's wellbeing and health in PNG.
    • HIV in PNG.
    • Death and grief in Australia.

    Current Higher degree by research (PhD/MPhil) projects

    • An Ethnographic study of postnatal mental illness.
    • An ethnographic study of the new genetics, familial cancer, kinship & emotions.
    • Online/offline social interaction among babyboomers and senior Australians.
    • Online memorials & grief in Vietnam.
    • Ethnographic film and collaborative practice.
    • Autism and Acting.
    • Animal ethics processes in Australia.
    • Human:animal relations: guide dogs and assistance animals.
    • Post-humanism and the zoo.
    • Gender and family violence in East Timor.
    • Gender, nationalism and development in East Timor.
    • Food & food security in Cuba.
    • Social harmony and conflict in Papua New Guinea.
  • Publications


    2016 (with Alison Dundon, Eds) Emotions, Senses and Spaces. University of Adelaide Press.

    2013 Tracing the Melanesian Person: Emotions and Relationships in Lihir. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Press. (Available via the following link: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/press/titles/lihir/).


    2015 Emplacement and Resistance: social and political complexities in Development -Induced Displacement in Papua New Guinea. The Australian Journal of AnthropologyDOI: 10.1111/taja.12142 

    2015 Breaking silences and upholding confidences: responding to HIV in the Lihir Islands, Papua New Guinea. Medical Anthropology 34(2):124-138. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01459740.2014.944263

    2014 Finding time for quality teaching: an ethnographic study of academic workloads in the social sciences and their impact on teaching practices. Higher Education Research and development 33 (3): 483-495.

    2012 Informality, power and relationships in postgraduate supervision: supervising PhD candidates over coffee. Higher Education Research and Development 31 (6):827-39.

    2011 Local, regional and worldly interconnections: the Catholic and United churches in Lihir, Papua New Guinea. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 12(1):60-73.

    2010 Grief as social experience: death and bereavement in Lihir, Papua New Guinea. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 21: 281-297. 

    2008 Piot, Personhood, Place and Mobility in Lihir, Papua New Guinea. Oceania 78(1):109-125.

    2005 Healthcare and Illness in Lihir, New Ireland Province, in the context of the development of the Lihir Gold mine. PNG Medical Journal 48(3-4):188-195.

    2002 A Malmalien e Makil: Person, Emotion and Relations in Lihir. PhD Thesis, University of Melbourne.

    Book chapters 

    2016 Sensual Feasting: Transforming spaces and emotions in Lihir. In S. Hemer & A. Dundon (Eds). Emotions, Senses, Spaces. University of Adelaide Press.

    2015 (with A. Gilson, A. Chur-Hansen & S. Crabb) The Right to know or not to know: risk notification and genetic counselling. In Brea L. Perry (ed.) Genetics, Health and Society (Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 16). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.249 - 267. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/book/10.1108/S1057-6290201516 

    Conference Papers

    2015 Non-compliant patients or poor health systems: TB control in PNG. Paper given at the Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Melbourne, 4 December.

    2015 Catholicism, sexuality and rights: negotiating ideals and constraints in Lihir, PNG. Paper given at the Worlding Oceania symposium, Canberra, 15 April.

    2013 Common trauma: experiencing and understanding violence in Lihir, PNG. Paper given at the Australian Anthropological Society Conference, Canberra, 8 November.

    2012 Understanding the changing contexts of death in Lihir, PNG. Paper given at Anthropology Symposium, Adelaide, 3-4 December.

    2012 Silence and confidentiality: responding to HIV in the Lihir Islands, PNG (with Jimmy Peter). Paper given at the Sexualities, Sexual Rights and HIV in the Pacific Symposium, Canberra, 11-13 July 2012.

    2011 Gender and Mining: strategies for governing the development of women in Lihir, PNG. Invited Plenary Paper, Mining and Mining Policy in the Pacific. Noumea, New Caledonia, 22 November 2011.

    2011 Productive uncertainty: reproductive health care choices in Lihir and notions of risk. Paper given at the International Society of Critical Health Psychology 7th Biennial Conference, Adelaide, 20 April 2011.

    2010 Sensual feasting: transforming emotions and spaces in Lihir. Paper given at the Third International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, Adelaide, 7 April 2010.

    2009 "You are not from here": dismembering Kapit village for mining in Papua New Guinea. Paper given at the Australian Anthropological Society conference, Sydney, 11 December 2009.

    2008 Pursuing the good life in Londolovit Township. Paper given at Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth 2008 Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 8 December 2008.

    2008 Localisation and global connections: Catholic and United churches in Lihir, PNG. Paper given at ARC-Asia Pacific Futures Network Conference, Adelaide, Australia, 2 December 2008.

    2008 Death in Society. Invited lecture for Masters of Grief and Palliative Care, University of Adelaide, Australia, 21 August 2008.

    Book reviews

    2014 Review of 'Islands of Love, Islands of Risk: Culture and HIV in the Trobriands.' K. Lepani, Vanderbilt University Press. The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 15(5):484-6.

    2012 Review of 'Out of Place. Madness in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.' M. Goddard, Berghahn Press. Anthropos 107 (2):615-6.

    2011 Review of 'Emotions in the Field: The Psychology and Anthropology of Fieldwork experience.' J. Davies & D. Spencer (eds), Stanford University Press. Anthropological Forum 21(2):204-6.

    Unpublished Reports

    2002 Lihir Education Review report. Report to Lihir Management Company. 122 pp. Jointly authored with Trevor Birney, Chris Stores and Les Roai.

    2002 Tutorme Training and Sewing Centre: A Review of tis History and Issues. Report to Lihir Management Company. 20 pp.

    2002 Maternal Health Report. A Report to Lihir Management Company. 35 pp.

    2001 The Relocation of Kapit Village: A Review. Report to Lihir Management company. 50 pp.

    2001 Illness and Healthcare in the Lihir Islands: A review. A report to Lihir Management Company. 59 pp.


  • Professional Associations

    Fellow of the Australian Anthropological Society

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 9 Aug 2018

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