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The Promise of Prosperity

List of contributors

Bernardo Almeida is a development and legal professional, with a special focus on land-related legislation. His main country of work is Timor-Leste, where he lectured on property rights at the National University of East Timor and worked as a legal adviser to the Ministry of Justice for five years, specialising in the land sector. Almeida has also worked in Afghanistan, with the United Nations Development Programme and UN Habitat. Currently, he is preparing his PhD thesis at the Van Vollenhoven Institute of Leiden University Law School (Netherlands), focusing on the development of the formal land tenure system in Timor-Leste.

Susana Barnes received her doctorate in anthropology from Monash University. Her research interests include the anthropology of island Southeast Asia, customary governance and land tenure, intergenerational wellbeing and healing, kinship and exchange, colonial and postcolonial history, and international development. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan.

Judith M. Bovensiepen is a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent, who has been conducting fieldwork in Timor-Leste since 2005. Her research interests span a variety of topics, including political and religious transformations, development and natural resource management, as well as colonial and postcolonial history. She is the author of The land of gold: Post-conflict recovery and cultural revival in independent Timor-Leste, published by Cornell University Press, Southeast Asia Program Publications in 2015. She is also the guest editor of a (2018) special issue of The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology (with Laura S. Meitzner Yoder), entitled ‘Megaprojects and national development models in Timor-Leste’.

Alex Grainger’s current research focuses on the political economy of land acquisition and infrastructure in maritime Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Originally trained as a political scientist at London School of Economics and Political Science, he has also taught politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and most recently has been a postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Kent.

Douglas Kammen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on the military, political violence and history in Timor-Leste and Indonesia, and he is the author of Three centuries of violence in East Timor, published by Rutgers University Press in 2015.

Andrew McWilliam is Professor of Anthropology at Western Sydney University. He has active research projects in Indonesia and Timor-Leste and has published widely on customary resource tenures, community economies and the anthropology of governance. He is the author of several monographs and edited volumes, including Land and life in Timor-Leste: Ethnographic essays, (co-edited with E. G. Traube) (ANU Press, 2011); and A new era? Timor-Leste after the UN, (co-edited with S. Ingram and L. Kent) (ANU Press, 2015).

Laura S. Meitzner Yoder is Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Human Needs and Global Resources Program, Wheaton College, Illinois, USA. Her work centres on the environmental history and political ecology of Southeast Asia.

Guteriano Neves is an independent policy analyst based in Dili. He earned a Master’s degree in public policy from the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University. Previously, he has worked as an adviser on political economy and regional integration at the Office of the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. He has been writing on petroleum-related issues for over 10 years and has contributed several book chapters on petroleum-related issues in Timor-Leste.

Lisa Palmer is an Associate Professor in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. Since 2004, she has conducted fieldwork in Timor-Leste and has published widely on the ongoing importance of its customary land and resource management practices and the influence of these processes on nation-building and development. She is author of Water politics and spiritual ecology: Custom, environmental governance and development, published by Routledge Explorations in Environmental Studies in 2015.

Kate Roll is a Lecturer in politics at Somerville College, Oxford University, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Saïd Business School, Oxford. She completed her doctorate in politics at Department of Politics and International Relations, Oxford, in 2014, writing her thesis on the reintegration of former guerrillas in Timor-Leste. Her work focuses on the political economy of post-conflict transitions and policymaking.

Chris Shepherd is an independent researcher affiliated with the Department of Anthropology at The Australian National University. He does research on rural development processes in Latin America and Southeast Asia. He is also interested in the history of anthropology. Shepherd has two books on East Timor: Development and environmental politics unmasked: Authority, participation and equality in East Timor (Routledge, 2014) and Haunted houses and ghostly encounters: Ethnography and animism and in East Timor, 1860–1975 (Nias Press, 2019).

Kelly Silva is Associate Professor in social anthropology at Universidade de Brasília and has been carrying out fieldwork in Timor-Leste since 2002. Her main research interests relate to the transposition, subversion and invention of modernity. She has published widely on politics, kinship and religion in Timor-Leste, including a single-authored monograph As nações desunidas. Práticas da ONU e a estruturação do Estado em Timor-Leste, published in 2012.

Josh Trindade is a former adviser on Research and Analysis to the Office of the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. He has been researching and working on numerous projects relating to national solidarity, youth, nationalism and Timorese culture and has been writing on ritual practice, customary renewal and East Timorese spiritual values.

Susana de Matos Viegas is a tenured Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon. Her research interests include personhood, kinship and place, identity, territorial belonging, indigenous transformations and historicity, both among the Amerindian peoples of lowland South America and, since 2012, also among the Fataluku-speaking people in Timor-Leste.


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