Stephen Muecke

Stephen Muecke

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I am a cultural theorist and writer. Much of my ethnographic work has been in the West Kimberley with the Goolarabooloo people. My collaboration with Bruno Latour has resulted in a special edition of New Literary History (“Recomposing the Humanities—with Bruno Latour”), 2016. I have translated two books by Isabelle Stengers: Another Science is Possible, and (Stengers with Tobie Nathan), Doctors and Healers (both with Polity, 2018).

My most recent book is The Mother’s Day Protest and Other Fictocritical Essays (RLI, 2016). I also work on cultural theory, with I have a long record of work with Indigenous people (a new edition of Paddy Roe’s Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley appeared with UWA Publishing, 2016), and current research involves ethnographic documentation of Goolaraboolo country north of Broome.

I welcome inquiries from Masters and PhD candidates interested in fictocritical writing, cultural theory and Indigenous Australian studies.

My current projects include:

  • Goolarabooloo Culture of the Western Kimberley (ARC Discovery Project funded from 2014)

With the prospect of new industries, starting with a major gas plant, the Indigenous population of Broome finds itself under pressure and internally divided. The group to be studied here, Goolarabooloo, is opposed to mining on their Dreaming. Their struggle has had the effect of reviving forms of culture, that take
contemporary shape, but are always strongly linked to the traditional culture. With national and international attention focussed on Goolarabooloo, this study will analyse the transformation of this confederacy of language groups in the context of industrialisation and tourism. The output will be a first in ethnographic
documentation of this culture, first recorded by Daisy Bates in 1901.

  • Translocal Reading: Southern Site-specific Literary and Cultural Analysis (Discovery application for ARC funding starting in 2020, with 4 colleagues)

This project aims to elaborate a theoretical framework for translocal literary and cultural analysis with innovative methods. The translocal proposes a way of reading that is a potent alternative to northern hemisphere models of  analysis, opening up new pathways among literatures and cultures from southern regions in relation to Australia. Our research aims to demonstrate that understanding the contexts and forms of poetry and fiction requires
networks of site-specific knowledges. Expected outcomes of the project include the exploration of new literary regions, new interpretive techniques, and a model of translocal reading that enables contemporary and traditional texts from the south to constructively dialogue with each other.

  • Cultivating the Arts of Paying (Discovery application for ARC funding starting in 2020, with 4 colleagues)

The Project aims to discover new modes of paying attention. It argues that the dominant cognitive or communicative paradigm for the analysis of attention can be superseded by an ecological analysis not founded on a subject/object binary. Paying attention is not just a human capacity as modes of attention are distributed in a plurality of multi-species environments. Some are regulated and commodified and others are aesthetically innovative. The study will generate new knowledge across three strands: paying attention to Indigenous country, literary close-reading and social media. We expect these empirical studies to test and describe practical techniques for paying attention as valuable skills structured in human-environment interactions.

  • Interpreting Australia’s Indigenous Heritage Trails (Linkage application for ARC funding starting in 2019, with one colleague and industry partners)

This project will carry out a national survey of Indigenous heritage trails in Australia, documenting this growing phenomenon, then carrying out research into the best ways of enhancing their performance as tourism products. Preliminary research on one of the pioneering trails (the Lurujarri Heritage Trail, W.A.) indicates that they are multi-functional: they provide an immersive tourism experience; they are implicitly pedagogical (for all participants) and explicitly so if students are participating as part of their course-work; they sustain Aboriginal heritage and enhance inter-generational knowledge transfer and well-being; and they are small business ventures for the organisers.

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2019 Muecke, S. (2019). Knowledge valves. Or, keeping cultural studies going.. Cultural Studies Review, 25(2), 244-246.
    2019 Muecke, S. (2019). Rebooting the idea of ‘civilisation’ for Australian soil. The Conversation.
    2019 Muecke, S. (2019). Externalising the Symptom: Radicalised Youth and The Membrane. Cordite Poetry Review.
    2018 Healy, C., Schlunke, K., Black, P., Muecke, S., & Driscoll, C. (2018). Meaghan. Cultural Studies Review, 24(1), 1-4.
    2018 Muecke, S. (2018). Politics now, now. Cultural Studies Review, 24(1), 34-38.
    2018 Muecke, S. (2018). Love and the demos. Journal of Language, Literature and Culture, 65(2), 96-101.
    2017 Muecke, S. (2017). Wolfe Creek meteorite crater — Indigenous science queers Western science. Ctrl-Z: New Media Philosophy, (7).
    2017 Muecke, S. (2017). Attachment. Environmental Humanities, 9(1), 167-170.
    2017 Muecke, S. (2017). Earthbound law: the force of an Indigenous Australian institution. Law and Critique, 28(2), 135-143.
    DOI Scopus1
    2016 Muecke, S. (2016). An ecology of institutions: recomposing the humanities. New Literary History, 47(2-3), 231-248.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS3
    2016 Muecke, S. (2016). Remembering the Future: Warlpiri life through the Prism of Drawing. OCEANIA, 86(1), 110-111.
    2016 Muecke, S. (2016). Writing the Indian Ocean: immersion in seven waves. Performance Research, 21(2), 85-89.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1
    2015 Despret, V., Porcher, J., & Muecke, S. (2015). The pragmatics of expertise. Angelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 20(2), 91-99.
    DOI Scopus1
    2014 Muecke, S., Wergin, C., & Muecke, S. (2014). Materialities of tourism in the twenty-first century: A very brief introduction. Tourist Studies, 14(3), 227-230.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS2
    2014 Muecke, S., & Wergin, C. (2014). Intensifying the tourist experience: ‘survenirs’ at Daly Waters Pub. Tourist Studies, 14(3), 231-245.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS4
    2013 Muecke, S. (2013). An experiment with truth and beauty in cultural studies. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 14(3), 453-457.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS2
    2013 Muecke, S. (2013). The Composition and Decomposition of Commodities: The Colonial Careers of Coal and Ivory. Text, (20), 77-87.
    2012 Muecke, S. (2012). Motorcycles, snails, Latour: criticism without judgement. Cultural Studies Review, 18(1), 40-58.
    2012 Muecke, S. (2012). Créolité and Reunionnese Maloya: from ‘in-between’ to ‘moorings’. PORTAL : Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 9(1), 1-9.
    2012 Muecke, S. (2012). Questions of Value: Mining and Tourism in Remote Australia. Australian Humanities Review, 53.
    2011 Muecke, S. (2011). Australian Indigenous philosophy. CLCWeb : Comparative Literature and Culture, 13(2), 1-7.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS2
    2011 Muecke, S. (2011). Speculating with history. Wasafiri, 26(2), 37-40.
    2011 Muecke, S. (2011). EXPERIMENT NO. 1 IN ANIMAL TOURISM. OVERLAND, (205), 33-37.
    2011 Muecke, S. (2011). Speculating with history: the wreck of the Sydney Cove. Wasafiri, 26(2), 37-40.
    2010 Muecke, S. (2010). On the road with Manuel. Television and New Media, 11(6), 474-476.
    2010 Muecke, S. (2010). Action in Madagascar: The World Bank, Ravalomanana and leadership. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 11(2), 248-254.
    2009 Muecke, S. (2009). The writing laboratory. Angelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 14(2), 15-20.
    DOI Scopus3 WoS3
    2009 Muecke, S. (2009). Cultural science? The ecological critique of modernity and the conceptual habitat of the humanities. Cultural Studies, 23(3), 404-416.
    DOI Scopus7 WoS8
    2007 Muecke, S. (2007). Running out of time. Meanjin, 66(2), 48-51.
    2007 Muecke, S. (2007). Gulaga story. Studies in Travel Writing, 11(1), 83-91.
    DOI Scopus1
    2006 Foster, R. (2006). Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines. Pacifica, 232 pages.
    2006 Muecke, S. (2006). The birth of physics. POLITICAL THEORY, 34(2), 279-281.
    2005 Muecke, S. (2005). 'Jerome's happy hour'. WESTERLY, 50, 208-210.
    2004 Muecke, S. (2004). "i don't think they invented the wheel": The case for aboriginal modernity. Angelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, 9(2), 155-163.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS2
    2003 Muecke, S. (2003). A landscape of variability (Cultural representation of Australia). KENYON REVIEW, 25(3-4), 282-300.
    2003 Muecke, S. (2003). Choreomanias: Movements Through our body. Performance Research, 8(4), 6-10.
    DOI Scopus1
    2003 Muecke, S. (2003). A landscape of variability. Kenyon Review, 25(3-4), 283-300.
    2002 Muecke, S. (2002). The fall: Fictocritical writing. Parallax, 8(4), 108-112.
    DOI Scopus18
    2001 Muecke, S. (2001). Over the land. Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, 21(1), 11-18.
    DOI Scopus2
    2001 Muecke, S. (2001). Being centred. Performance Research, 6(3), 15-22.
    2001 Muecke, S. (2001). Over the land (Aboriginal perceptions of Australian landscapes). STUDIES IN THE HISTORY OF GARDENS & DESIGNED LANDSCAPES, 21(1), 11-18.
    2000 Muecke, S. (2000). Over the land. Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, 20(2), 11-18.
    1999 Muecke, S. (1999). Travelling the Subterranean river of blood: Philosophy and magic in cultural studies. Cultural Studies, 13(1), 1-17.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS6
    1999 Muecke, S. (1999). Postcolonial nation uncanny Australia: Sacredness and identity in a postcolonial nation. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, 34(3), 477.
    1998 Muecke, S. (1998). Better seats than they paid for. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 9(3), 291-294.
    1997 Muecke, S. (1997). Signs in society: Studies in semiotic anthropology - Parmentier,RJ. OCEANIA, 68(1), 72.
    1996 Muecke, S. (1996). Oceania - Toussaint,S. OCEANIA, 66(3), 252-254.
    DOI WoS1
    1996 Muecke, S. (1996). Outback. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 14(4), 407-420.
    DOI Scopus9 WoS4
    1994 Muecke, S. (1994). Narrative and Intervention in Aboriginal Filmmaking and Policy. Continuum, 8(2), 248-257.
    DOI Scopus5
    1993 Muecke, S. (1993). Studying the other: A dialogue with a postgrad. Cultural Studies, 7(2), 324-329.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS2
    1992 Muecke, S. (1992). Lonely Representations: Aboriginality and Cultural Studies. Journal of Australian Studies, 16(35), 32-44.
    DOI Scopus11
    1990 Muecke, S. (1990). no Road (Vague Directions for the Study of Tourism). Continuum, 3(1), 127-136.
    DOI Scopus2
    1990 MUECKE, S. (1990). NO ROAD, (VAGUE DIRECTIONS FOR THE STUDY OF TOURISM) .1.. MEANJIN, 49(3), 402-409.
    1988 Muecke, S. (1988). THE CHILDREN'S COUNTRY: ETHICAL STATEMENTS / USEFUL INSTRUCTIONS. Oceania, 59(2), 143-158.
    1986 Muecke, S. (1986). REVIEW. Oceania, 57(1), 75-76.
  • Books

    Year Citation
    2019 Nathan, T. (2019). Wandering Souls. Polity.
    2018 Nathan, T., & Stengers, I. (2018). Doctors and Healers. Polity.
    2018 Stengers, I. (2018). Another Science is Possible: A Manifesto for Slow Science. London: Wiley.
    2016 Muecke, S. (2016). The Mother's Day Protest and Other Fictocritical Essays. London, United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield International.
    2016 Roe, P. (2016). Gularabulu: Stories from the West Kimberley (2nd ed.). S. Muecke (Ed.), Perth: University of Western Australia.
    2015 Onfray, M. (2015). Appetites for Thought Philosophers and Food. Reaktion Books.
    2014 Roe, P., Benterrak, K., & Muecke, S. (2014). Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Re.Press.
    2012 Muecke, S., & Pam, M. (2012). Contingency in Madagascar. Intellect Books.
    2011 Muecke, S. (2011). Butcher Joe. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag.
    2006 Unaipon, D. (2006). Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines.
    2004 Iwabuchi, K., Muecke, S., & Thomas, M. (2004). Introduction: Siting Asian cultural flows.
    2004 Iwabuchi, K., Muecke, S., & Thomas, M. (2004). Rogue flows: Trans-Asian cultural traffic.
    1998 Gil, J. (1998). Metamorphoses of the Body. U of Minnesota Press.
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2018 Muecke, S. (2018). How Many Countries?. In C. Healy, & P. Morrissey (Eds.), Reading the Country: 30 Years On (pp. 21-40). University of Technology Sydney; Australia: UTS ePRESS.
    2018 Muecke, S. (2018). Goolarabooloo futures: Mining and aborigines in northwest Australia. In J. K. Watson, & G. Wilder (Eds.), The Postcolonial Contemporary: Political Imaginaries for the Global Present (pp. 208-223). USA: Fordham University Press.
    2018 Muecke, S. (2018). The Composition and Decomposition of Commodities: The Colonial Careers of Coal and Ivory. In S. Chaudhuri, & J. McDonagh (Eds.), Commodities and Cultures in the Colonial World (pp. 77-87). Abingdon, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Routledge.
    2017 Muecke, S. (2017). Broome's economy: Renaturalising neoliberalism?. In C. Driscoll, K. Darian-Smith, & D. Nichols (Eds.), Cultural Sustainability in Rural Communities: Rethinking Australian Country Towns (pp. 171-185). London: Routledge.
    2016 Muecke, S. (2016). Recomposing the humanities. In B. Latour (Ed.), Reset Modernity! (pp. 224-229). Karlsruhe, Germany: MIT Press.
    2016 Muecke, S. (2016). Indigenous-Green Knowledge Collaborations and the James Price Point Dispute. In E. Vincent, & T. Neale (Eds.), Unstable Relations: Indigenous people and environmentalism in contemporary Australia (pp. 252-272). Perth: UWA Publishing.
    2014 Muecke, S. (2014). The Great Tradition: Translating Durrudiya’s songs. In B. Neumeier, & K. Schaffer (Eds.), Decolonizing the Landscape: Indigenous Cultures in Australia (pp. 23-36). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
    2014 Muecke, S. (2014). Reproductive aesthetics: Multiple realities in a Seamus Heaney poem. In H. Groth, & C. Danta (Eds.), Mindful Aesthetics: Literature and the Science of Mind (pp. 161-172). New York: Bloomsbury.
    2013 Muecke, S. (2013). On magical language: Multimodality and the power to change things. In M. Bock, & N. Pachler (Eds.), Multimodality and Social Semiosis: Communication, Meaning-Making, and Learning in the Work of Gunther Kress (pp. 93-102). New York: Routledge.
    2010 Black, P., & Muecke, S. (2010). Antipodean Modernisms: Australia and New Zealand. In The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms.
    2009 Muecke, S. (2009). Fabulation: Flying carpets and artful politics in the Indian Ocean. In Indian Ocean Studies: Cultural, Social, and Political Perspectives (pp. 32-44).
    2004 Muecke, S., & Ghosh, D. (2004). Commerce and culture in the pre-colonial Indian ocean. In Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic (pp. 13-30).
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2016 Muecke, S., & Dibley, B. (2016). Five theses for reinstituting economics: Anthropological lessons from Broome. In W. Sanders (Ed.), ENGAGING INDIGENOUS ECONOMY: DEBATING DIVERSE APPROACHES (pp. 143-152). Australian Natl Univ, Canberra, AUSTRALIA: AUSTRALIAN NATL UNIV.
  • Original Creative Works

    Year Citation
    2019 Publication status: Published
    Title: Untitled
    Authors: Muecke S
    Editors: Berlant L, Stewart K
    ISBN-13: 9781478002888
    ISBN-10: 1478002883
    Publisher: Duke University Press
    Place of publication: Durham, London
    Publication date: 2019
    Pagination: 153-154
    Title of Outlet: The Hundreds
    Extent: 100
    Abstract: The Hundreds includes four indexes in which Andrew Causey, Susan Lepselter, Fred Moten, and Stephen Muecke each respond with their own compositional, conceptual, and formal staging of the worlds of the book.
    Source URL:
    Keywords: Social Science
    Other output evidence: file:///
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 16 April 2019
    2015 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: 3 Written work
    Title: A Diplomat for the History Wars
    Authors: Muecke S
    Author affiliation: A1223528
    Place of publication: Brisbane
    Publication date: 2015
    Journal: Text
    Title of Outlet: Text : Special Issue website series
    ISSN: 1327-9556
    Issue: Special Issue 28
    Extent: 8 pages
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: Fictocritical piece exploring the 'history wars' using Indigenous oral literary style
    Source URL:
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 5 September 2017
    2010 Publication status: Published
    NTRO sub category: Book Review, Review, Journal
    Title: Waiting
    Authors: Muecke S
    Publication date: 1 January 2010
    Pagination: 333-335
    DOI: 10.1080/10304310903477730
    ISSN: 1030-4312
    eISSN: 1469-3666
    Volume: 24
    Issue: 2
    Language: English
    Author URL:
    Verification-status: Not verified

  • Recorded/Rendered Creative Works

    Year Citation
    2014 Publication status: Published online
    NTRO sub category: 1 Audio/Visual Recording
    Title: Sunset Ethnography
    Authors: Burton A
    Publisher: Kurrajong Films
    Place of publication: Sydney
    Publication date: 2014
    Extent: 52 mins
    ERA Research Statement - 2000 character limit: Important exploration of 'experimental ethnography' with Michael Taussig, taking place in Broome, W.A.
    Source URL:
    Other output evidence:
    Verification-status: Verified
    Record created at source: 5 September 2017
Date Project Number Investigators Funding Body Amount
2014 - 2016 DP140101459 Stephen Muecke and PI Carsten Wergin ARC $264,511
2013 - 2015 DP130104571 Prof S Muecke, Dr. Erin Brannigan, Prof Edward Scheer ARC $210,000


  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Board Member Communication and Culture Academy of the Humanities Australia
    2018 - ongoing Chair School of Humanities Research Committee University of Adelaide Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2018 - ongoing Australian Research Council na Scientific research Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Board Member Book Series: Indigenous Nations and Collaborative Futures Rowman & Littlefield United Kingdom
    2016 - ongoing Board Member Jounral of Australian Studies Routledge Australia
    2016 - ongoing Board Member International Journal of Cultural Studies Routledge United Kingdom
    2000 - ongoing Board Member Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Routledge United Kingdom
    1991 - ongoing Board Member Cultural Studies Routledge United States
  • Expert Witness

    Date Case Institution Country
    2017 - 2017 Manado (on behalf of the Bindunbur Native Title Claim Group) v State of Western Australia [2017] FCA 1367 Federal Court Australia

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