Prof Alan Rumsey

  • Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Chief Investigator, Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, School of Culture, History & Language, School of Culture, History & Language

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

Melanesia; Aboriginal Australia; linguistic anthropology; intersubjectivity, child language socialization, sign languages, multimodal communication, comparative poetics


BA, MA, PhD (Chicago)


I am currently involved in a major collaborative research project on 'Children's Language Learning and the Development of Intersubjectivity'. Other recent projects include an interdisciplinary comparative one on verbal art which resulted in the volume Sung Tales from the Papua New Guinea Highlands. (For further details including a CV and most of my publications in downloadable form, search me on

Career highlights

Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Sydney, 1978-1995; Co-editor, review editor and editorial board member, Oceania 1985-; Advisory Editor, Current Anthropology 2000-2002; Editorial board member, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 1999-2015, The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA), 2008-, American Ethnologist, 2016-2019; Anthropological Consultant to Northern Land Council, 1980-1993, and to the Kimberley, Kamali and Yamatji Land Councils, 1998-2002, 2010; elected to Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2004; Vice President of Australian Anthropology Society, 2007-9, President 2010-11

Researcher's projects

DP220100971 - Body, Language and Socialisation across Cultures

Em/Prof Alan Rumsey, Prof Francesca Merlan,Dr Jennifer Green, Prof Aliyah Morgenstern, Prof Lourdes de León, Prof Elinor Ochs,Prof John Haviland


Expertise Areas

  • Linguistic Anthropology
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology


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Network (past 5 years)

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