Howitt & Fison’s anthropology: using new methods to reveal hidden riches



This project will systematically analyse nineteenth-century anthropologists Lorimer Fison and A.W. Howitt’s accounts of Indigenous kinship, social organisation, and local languages, as well as historical encounters between settlers and Indigenous Australians.

We will assemble Fison and Howitt’s meticulous records and put them into best-practice digital formats with widely accessible interactive data interfaces, thereby bringing these extraordinary records to the broadest possible community.

By integrating anthropology, history and linguistics, this research is anticipated to open up new dimensions in Australian history, anthropological theory and Australian linguistics.

This collaborative research project is led by Dr Helen Gardner, Associate Professor (Deakin University), with other Chief Investigators: Dr Stephen Morey (La Trobe University), Dr Rachel Hendery (University of Western Sydney), and Dr Patrick McConvell (Australian National University). Our Partner Investigators are: Dr Timothy Pilbrow (Native Title Services Victoria), Mr Paul Paton (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages), Dr Christina Eira (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages), Dr Philip Batty (Museum Victoria), and Ms Mary Morris (Museum Victoria). It is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Project LP160100192 2016–2019)