Past events

RAI Research Webinar: James Rose
Thursday 06 May 2021, 10:00am - 12:00pm
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Thursday 6 May 2021 at 10am-12pm (BST)  

Forensic Social Anthropology

Dr James Rose (University of Melbourne)

This webinar will be held on Zoom, to register go here: 

If forensic physical anthropology is the science of biological processes with causal links to death, then forensic social anthropology is the science of cultural processes with causal links to death. This paper sets out the terms, definitions and practical applications of forensic social anthropology as it is practiced in Australia. The objective of this exercise is to equip both physical and social anthropologists with a consilient model for the joint engagement of their parent discipline in legal proceedings where cultural processes are deemed relevant by a court. As demonstrated in Australia, the potential applications of forensic social anthropology range beyond inquiries into death, to other matters of both civil and criminal investigation. These include systematic land expropriation, child removal, forced population movement, modern-day slavery, unlawful detention and other important social phenomena. The questionable legality of these kinds of phenomena is not isolated to Australia but is rather a matter of international significance.


Dr James Rose is Senior Research Fellow with the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in forensic social anthropology with a methodological focus on network-based population dynamics, social and kinship network analysis, geographic information systems, and data governance. Dr Rose holds two decades' experience working with Indigenous communities across Australia on issues of culturally oriented legal restitution and compensation.