My life in the world of Social Anthropology started at the University of Sydney where I received an honours degree, later completing my doctorate at the University of Cambridge. Before returning to the University of Sydney, I held the position of Associate Researcher in Anthropology at Columbia University. For the most part I carry out my ethnographic fieldwork with the Mehinaku people of the Upper Xingu area in the Brazilian Amazon but I have an abiding interest in comparative field research.
My work is generally concerned with people’s actual experience of their lives, as Malinowski, a founder of anthropology describes it, the “outlook on life… the breath of life and reality” of the people concerned (1999:517). I have focused on developing an anthropology of ‘ordinary reality’, of people’s sense of their moment-to-moment existence. A lot of this research has been done with the help of the philosophies of pragmatism and existentialism and phenomenology. I am also interested in events of consciousness such as those of ritual, mystical experience and the experience of landscape, as well as the intricacies of writing about such things. The field of comparative environmental ethics is another abiding concern. Recently I launched my first book, 'A Walk to the River in Amazonia: Ordinary Reality for the Mehinaku Indians', published by Berghahn Press.