Associate Professor M. Anne Brown is a Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Global Research in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.Anne teaches in the International Development programme of the School.
Anne works in the field of peace and conflict studies and critical international studies. Her work has a strong focus on research and practice in the areas of dialogue processes, cross-cultural interchange and building political community, particularly across historically difficult boundaries and around issues of violence. This work engages questions of what social inclusion and participation, security and justice, human rights, peace and conflict transformation might mean in different cultural contexts, how they can be addressed across significant cultural and other boundaries, and how they might be configured in different social institutional arrangements.
Anne has been engaged in key debates around peacebuilding and state formation in both theoretical and policy-related arenas. Pursuing these commitments, Anne led the Australian involvement in the Vanuatu Kastom Governance Partnership with the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs (Vanuatu) and AusAID from 2005 to 2012. She has also led funded research and research/practice projects within Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands and West Africa. She has worked as an Australian diplomat and in conflict prevention and peace-building projects in Asia and the Pacific Island region.
Working with the University of Pretoria (S.A.) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Anne co-led and taught diplomacy, conflict resolution and international studies to African diplomats from many countries across Africa in programmes supported by DFAT. She is a director of PaCSIA, an NGO working on conflict resolution and dialogue processes, cross-cultural and settler-Indigenous relations in Australia and abroad. Along with Associate Professor Mary Graham, Dr Morgan Brigg and others, she is a member of an independent Indigenous Political Studies Working Group.
Anne works to bring her research, practice and teaching into conversation with each other. Over the past several years her research and practice interests have focussed on exploring societal sources of governance, security, peace, justice and welfare in post-colonial states. This work has endeavoured to both bring a range of sources of social order more clearly into view, and to support processes of more reflective exchange and dialogue among different government and societal 'providers' of social order. Partnerships and projects have been undertaken in Vanuatu, Timor-Leste, Ghana, Liberia and the Solomon Islands. Some are set out below.
Anne is active in debates on peacebuilding and state formation. She is a significant contributor to debates concerning 'hybridity', as a way of addressing the challenges of state formation and political community in deeply divided or heterogeneous societies.
Anne enjoys an active teaching career. She has taught in universities across a wide range of subjects from critical security and terrorism to peacebuilding and gender in development. She has also taught intensive DFAT-funded programmes for African diplomats at a number of African centres.
She has supervised 14 PhDs to completion and currently has two PhD students.
Key funded research/ practice activities
- Language and Family Relationships in Vanuatu. (2015-16; 2017-18.)
This project aims to contribute to social and ecological resilience by increasing inter-generational transmission of ni-Vanuatu vernacular languages in the home and raising awareness of the value of kastom kin-terms. It is a practice & research project, offered as a pilot but standing on its own.
The importance of vernacular in cultural and social resilience is well established. According to recent language profiles of Vanuatu, 10 languages are beyond restoration & over 50 are 'in trouble', although renewal efforts in the home 'could restore transmission'. Vernacular revitalisation can positively support community relationships, socio-ecological resilience, positive identity and cultural expression.
The Anglican Church of Melanesia, Vanuatu Diocese is a partner in this project, which is funded by The Christensen Fund.
- Working with Local Sources of Peace, Security and Justice in West Africa (2013-2015). Competitive research grant, Australian Development Research Awards.
I initiated and lead this research project, with colleagues from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana and Australian universities, including CGR colleague, Dr Charles Hunt. An edited book is forthcoming from this project, as well as articles. This project was also designed to help spark a regional conversation about local community-based sources of social peace and order, and their interaction with national and international bodies, and to engage regional and international development exchanges.
- Phase 1, 2 & 3, Vanuatu Kastom Governance Partnership (2005-2012). AusAID.
This work was a partnership between the Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs, AusAID, and a team which I led from the University of Queensland. The partnership grew out of conversations I had with the Council of Chiefs across 2004. I initiated and led the university arm of this practice and research exchange over the eight years and three phases of its operation. The partnership involved workshops, run as facilitated conversations among community members and leaders and government bodies across districts and villages around Vanuatu. The quality of work was described by AusAID's consultant at the time, Deborah Rhodes, in a review of the partnership, as "exceptionally high", showing an ability "to successfully negotiate ... complex topics (such as violence, gender inequalities and conflict over land issues) in respectful and trusting ways" thus demonstrating an approach described as "rare, exemplary and ... highly commended".
- Conflict-Sensitive Democratisation – East Timor (2009-2012). Competitive research grant, ADRA.
I initiated and led this this investigation of the impact of electoral competition at the local level on social cohesion in East Timor, working with colleagues from the National University of Timor-Leste (UNTL). This project enabled 7 East Timorese colleagues to for the first time undertake their own research, analysis and writing with support from Drs Boege, Cummins and myself. Articles from the team were published in 2012 in RMIT's Local/Global: Identity, Security, Community and are also available in Tetum. This experience enables the UNTL team to introduce these issues, based on their own research, more directly into their teaching and to students.
- Working with Local Strengths (2009-2012). Competitive research grant, R2P Centre/ AusAID.
Working with Dr Morgan Brigg and Dr Volker Boege, I initiated and co-led this research project. Focussing on the Solomon Islands but also drawing on research in East Timor, Vanuatu and Bougainville, this work aimed (1) to strengthen collaboration among international interveners, state agencies and local actors working to prevent and manage violent conflict by drawing upon local societal practices and capacities and (2) to increase understanding amongst international policymakers and practitioners of the significance of local mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution, including the potential for local practice to contribute to the Responsibility to Protect agenda. As well as research outputs, findings from this project were written into an Australian Army training manual.
- Addressing legitimacy in post-conflict situations (2010-2012). Competitive research grant, Berghof Foundation.
This research focused on the concept and operation of legitimacy in selected post-conflict or emerging states in the Global South. It built on previous work on 'hybridity' by focussing on one critical but often undervalued aspect of political community. The study brought together case studies including Timor-Leste, Bougainville and Somaliland. I was a Chief Investigator in this research project initiated and led by Dr Volker Boege.
- Towards Effective and Legitimate Governance: States as Hybrid Political Orders (2007-2008). AusAID.
In collaboration with Volker Boege and Kevin Clements, this project explored state formation, legitimacy and the interaction of different logics of governance in the Pacific Islands and East Timor. I undertook the reports on Vanuatu (with Anna Nolan) and Timor-Leste for AusAID in this project.
- Governance for Peace – East Timor. Partners: Brisbane City Council, Caritas Australia, Brisbane East Timor Association for Development Cooperation. 2004-2008 (with interruption for illness.) ARC Linkage.
This project studied local peacebuilding efforts within East Timor. As well as research outcomes, this project produced a manual on international community linkages with East Timor for the Brisbane City Council, and other interested councils (prepared by Dr Rebecca Spence). I was the lead investigator and author of this project, undertaken with Dr Rebecca Spence.
- Development and Security in the Pacific Island Region (2004-2006). International Peace Institute grant.
This project brought together a range of Pacific scholars for workshops and was part of the IPI's focus on the 'development/security nexus'. We collaborated on a book project, which I led and edited.
- PhD (International Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies)
- M International Relations
- B Arts (Philosophy, Literature, Politics)(Hons)
Anne worked as an Australian diplomat (with a posting in China) for 10 years.
She has extensive experience leading or being engaged in projects for the Australian Government (see Key activities above for major examples). As a result of these activities, she has extensive experience of working in Vanuatu, Timor-Leste, China and Ghana, with some experience in a range of other regions. Most of these projects have addressed questions of governance, security, peace and social order.
She is currently a member of DFAT's Community of Practice for Law and Justice as well as a member of the Victorian Government's Research Institute on Social Cohesion.
Anne is a director of the NGO PaCSIA, which undertakes practice, research and training projects in conflict resolution, dialogue processes, cross-cultural relations and settler-Indigenous relations.
Anne is deeply interested in the intersections of practice and theory, and endeavours to bring some practice element into research projects where feasible.
- Brown, M. (2017). Hybridity and dialogue - approaches to the hybrid turn In: Third World Thematics, 2, 446 - 463
- Brown, M.,Grenfell, D. (2017). An ecology of governance: rethinking the state and political community In: Transformations in Independent Timor-Leste, Routledge/City University of Hong Kong Southeast Asia Series, Abingdon, Oxon, UK
- Brown, M. (2014). Formacao do Estado e da comunidade politica em Timor-L'este - A centralidade do local In: Revista Critica de Ciencias Socias, 104, 101 - 122
- Brown, M. (2013). Anthropology and peacebuilding In: Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding, Routledge, London, United Kingdom
- Brown, M. (2012). Entangled worlds: Villages and political community in Timor Leste In: Local-Global: Identity, Security, Community, 11, 54 - 71
- Brown, M. (2012). Hybrid governance: Hybrid governance and democratization - village governance in Timor-Leste In: Local-Global: Identity, Security, Community, 11, 156 - 164
- Brown, M.,Gusmao, A. (2012). Looking for the owner of the house - who is making peace in rural East Timor? In: Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism, Springer, Basingstoke, England
- Brown, M. (2012). Trajectories of state transformation - political community in East Timor In: Rethinking the Foundations of the State, an Analysis of Post-Crisis Situations, Emile Bruylant, Brussels
- Brown, M. (2012). La "construcci�n del Estado", la "construcci�n de la Naci�n" y la comunidad pol�tica en Timor Oriental In: Construcci�n de la Paz, Seguridad y Desarrollo. Visiones, Pol�ticas y Actores, Editorial Complutense, Madrid, Spain
- Brown, M. (2011). The nation-building agenda in Timor-Leste In: Security, Development and Nation-Building in Timor-Leste: A Cross-sectoral Assessment, Taylor and Francis, New York, USA
2 PhD Current Supervisions