Professor Claire Smith

Professor

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Research expertise

Claire Smith is passionate about: conveying the sophistication of Indigenous cultures, past and present; preventing radicalisation through manipulation on social media; Closing the Gap by Bridging the Gap of cultural understandings; enhancing the global impact of scholars from low-income countries; nurturing the next generation of scholars who make a difference.

Research expertise

Claire Smith is passionate about: conveying the sophistication of Indigenous cultures, past and present; preventing radicalisation through manipulation on social media; Closing the Gap by Bridging the Gap of cultural understandings; enhancing the global impact of scholars from low-income countries; nurturing the next generation of scholars who make a difference.

place Humanities Building (238)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Claire Smith is an anthropological archaeologist. She specialises in the decolonisation of archaeological theory and method, Indigenous knowledge systems and epistemologies, and the analysis of symbolic communication. She decodes patterns in human behaviours to interpret the past, understand the present and envisage the future. The materials she analyses range from rock art, statues and monuments to memorials, graves and social media.

Claire Smith has produced 13 books and more than 160 publications in English, Spanish, Catalan, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Japanese. She is editor of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. Of 804 books, this is the 2nd most highly cited work in Springer’s Humanities, Social Sciences and Law collections for 2014. It has had over 300,000 downloads.

In 2018, the Royal Anthropological Institute awarded Claire Smith the Lucy Mair Medal and Marsh Award, for sustained research with Australian Aboriginal communities that has contributed to human dignity. She is a University Medalist and former Fulbright PostDoctoral Fellow with the American University and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Claire Smith has held one-year visiting posts at Columbia University in New York and at the University of Newcastle. In addition, she has been a short-term visiting scholar at Cape Town University, the University of Denver, Lock Haven University, Kyushu University and the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar.

As the twice-elected President of the World Archaeological Congress (2003-2014) Claire Smith is committed to intellectually enriching academia by strengthening the global impact of research by scholars from low-income countries.

Claire has raised over $4 million in funding for humanities research projects, including two Fulbright awards and seven grants from the Australian Research Council. Her areas of specialist expertise include culturally informed sustainable development in Indigenouos communities, decolonisation, Indigenous archaeology, rock art, gender, ethics, globalisation and socially mediated terrorism.

Qualifications

1996 Doctor of Philosophy. University of New England, Australia.
Title of thesis: Situating Style: an ethno-archaeological study of social and material context in an Australian Aboriginal artistic system. Supervisors: Jane Balme, Betty Meehan and Mike Morwood.

1990 Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours, University Medal, University of New England, Australia.
Title of thesis: Designed Dreaming: assessing the relationship between style, social structure and environment in Aboriginal Australia. Supervisors: Jane Balme and Mike Morwood.

Honours, awards and grants

2018 Lucy Mair Medal and Marsh Award, Royal Anthropological Institute, London.

2018 Commemorative Medal, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, World Archaeological Congress.

2014 Elected Life Member of Flinders Archaeology Society.

2010 Elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

2006 National Carrick Award for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Team Category (with H. Burke).

2004 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching, Flinders University, Team Category (with H. Burke).

2003 White Bequest for an Archaeological Publication, Australian Academy of Humanities.

2000 Australian Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship (two awards given nationally across all disciplines at this level). One year.

1999 Prince of Wales Award, Queen's Trust for Young Australians. With Lester Rigney, Yunggorendi First Nations Centre, Flinders.

1994 Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship. Three years.

1996 David Phillips Memorial Award for a postgraduate thesis in Aboriginal studies, University of New England.

1994 Northern Territory History Award.

1993 Judy Ewing Memorial Prize (shared) for personal contribution by a student to the university and wider community, University of New England.

1990 University Medal, University of New England.

Key responsibilities

Flinders University
Claire Smith's key responsibilities at Flinders University are to engage in high-quality and innovative research and teaching; to advise postgraduate students so that they produce high quality research theses in a timely manner whilst simultaneously becoming well positioned for post-study employment in an ever-changing world; and to encourage her colleageagues in this endeavour. She is a member of Flinders University's College of Distinguished Educators.

World Archaeological Congress
Claire Smith is the immediate past president of the World Archaeological Congress

Membership of Expert Committees
2019— Fulbright SA Selection Committee, Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

2018—Dental Health Service Expert Advisory Committee, Royal Flying Doctor Service.

2015—2018 Science & Research Committee, South Australian Museum.

2009—2011 Humanities & Creative Arts Panel, College of Experts, Australian Research Council.

2009—2010 Reference Group, Australian World Heritage Committee.

2010 World Commission of Anthropologies, American Anthropological Association.

2003—2009 Public Education Committee, Society for American Archaeology.

2007 Humanities Assessment Panel, Research Quality Framework, Australian Research Council.

Research expertise
Anthropology
Archaeology
Art theory and criticism
Communication and media studies
Culture
Gender Studies
Globalisation
Indigenous health
Indigenous identities
Learning and teaching
Religious and religious studies
Visual Art
Research interests

Claire Smith has a broad intellectual vision and an inter-disciplinary approach to research, teaching and engagement. While she conducts occasional fieldwork with Indigenous groups in Asia and North America, her primary research is with Indigenous Australia. Her theoretical focus is symbolic communication. She has undertaken collaborative projects with scholars from cultural studies, history, Indigenous studies, Indonesian studies, philosophy, anthropology and theology.

Since 1990, Claire has worked annually with Aboriginal communities in the Barunga region, Northern Territory, Australia. In 2019, her fieldwork is focusing on 1) identifying unmarked graves and 2) developing culturally sustainable health care services. She is working in partnership with Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Her research draws on generative and ground-up methods in which change is generated by collaborative research that engages Aboriginal knowledge practices. It takes a family-centred, culturally-informed, strengths-based approach that foregrounds cultural leadership, Aboriginal family values and individual aspirations. The research team aims to Bridge the Gap of cultural knowledge between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in order to Close the Gap in health, longivity, education and employment.

Claire has supervised the completion of 36 research theses: eleven Doctoral, five Masters and twenty Honours. She has examined 28 Masters and Doctoral theses for universities in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the USA. Her former students, postdoctoral researchers and formal mentees have established high level careers in government, museums, research organizations, and archaeological consulting companies. A significant number have launched academic careers, at Griffith University, Charles Darwin University, and Flinders University in Australia; the University of Valencia and the University of Barcelona in Spain; and the University of Cologne, Germany.

Her current book, with Koji Mizoguchi, is Global Social Archaeologies: Making a Difference in a World of Strangers (Routlege 2019). 

Teaching interests

Books on—or for—Teaching
2017 H. Burke, M. Morrison and C. Smith. The Archaeologist's Field Handbook. 2nd ed. Sydney: Allen and Unwin. 536 pages.

2007 H. Burke and C. Smith Archaeology to Delight and Instruct. Active Learning in the University Classroom. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. ISBN-13: 978 1 59874-256-5 (hc) & 978 1 59874-257-2 (pb). 288 pp.

2000 C. Smith Teaching Archaeology in Cyberspace. Adelaide: Southern Archaeology. ISBN 1 876675 24.

Teaching Awards
2006 $25000 Carrick National Award for Teaching, Team Category (with H. Burke).

2004 $5000 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching, Flinders University, Team Category (with H. Burke).

Conference Sessions on Teaching

Aug 2016 C. Smith, and Neel Kamap Chapagain, Nepal. Education: Learning and unlearning. Eighth World Archaeology Congress Congress (WAC-8), Kyoto, Japan.

July 2005 C. Smith and H. Burke 'Mortimer Wheeler, Lewis Binford, Ian Hodder ... and you. Active Learning in Archaeology'. Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australiasia, Sydney.

June 2003 H. Burke and C. Smith 'Teaching archaeology for fun'. WAC-5, Washington, D.C.

Conference Papers on Teaching

Aug 2016 A. Hennessey, J. Willika, J. Ralph, C. Smith and G. Jackson Teaching for an engaged archaeology. Social and research outputs from a long-held Aboriginal archaeology field school. WAC-8, Kyoto, Japan.

June 2003 C. Smith and H. Burke Becoming Binford: Role-playing as a way of teaching archaeological theory and method. Washington, DC.

June 2003 C. Smith, A. Warner and S. Ford 'We are family: Teaching 'skin' to mununga'. Washington, DC.

Jan 1999 C. Smith Teaching archaeology in cyberspace. Cape Town, South Africa.

Jan 1999 C. Smith 'Skills for cyberia: using the internet to teach archaeology students. Cape Town, South Africa.

Dec 1998 C. Smith 'Engendering power through the web. Australian Archaeological Association, Valla.

Community Archaeology Field School

Barunga community, Northern Territory

Topic coordinator
ARCH1001 Discovering Archaeology
ARCH8810 Community Archaeology Field School
ARCH2207 The Archaeological Imagination
ARCH3107 History of Archaeology
ARCH2208 The Museum
ARCH2209 Archaeology of Art
Topic lecturer
ARCH1002 From the Palaeolithic to Pompeii
Supervisory interests
Aboriginal art
Cultural heritage
Gender
Globalisation and indigenous peoples
Indigenous archaeology
Sustainable development
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: Indigenous archaeology (1), Social archaeology (2), Cultural heritage managenent (1), Sustainable Development Goals (1)
Completion
Principal supervisor: Modern material culture (1), Indigenous archaeology (2), Colonialism and contact (2), Social archaeology (1), Gender archaeology (1)
Associate supervisor: Gender archaeology (1), Aboriginal art (1), Historical archaeology (2)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Christopher Wilson

The first Aboriginal man with a PhD in archaeology - APR 2017

Kellie Pollard

The first Aboriginal woman with a PhD in archaeology - APR 2019

Publications
Expert for media contact
Aboriginal Issues
Archaeology
Gender studies
Globalisation
Indigenous Australia
Internet
Museums
Race relations
Terrorism
Visual arts
Aboriginal Studies
Gender Issues
Globalisation and Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Australian Archaeology
Internet
Rock art, especially in Australia and in terms of women's roles
Socially mediated terrorism
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Aboriginal Issues
  • Archaeology
  • Gender studies
  • Globalisation
  • Indigenous Australia
  • Internet
  • Museums
  • Race relations
  • Terrorism
  • Visual arts
Interests
  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Gender Issues
  • Globalisation and Indigenous Peoples
  • Indigenous Australian Archaeology
  • Internet
  • Rock art, especially in Australia and in terms of women's roles
  • Socially mediated terrorism
Further information
The Conversation

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