Emeritus Professor David Trigger

Emeritus Professor

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


David Trigger works on the different meanings attributed to land and nature across diverse sectors of society and in different countries. His research encompasses academic studies of how land and sense of place inform the cultural identities of citizens with diverse ancestries. His research is mostly focused on Australian society. In Australian Aboriginal Studies, Professor Trigger has carried out more than 35 years of anthropological study on Indigenous systems of land tenure, including applied research on resource development negotiations and native title claims. In collaboration with colleagues he has in recent years sought understanding of the overlaps and divergences of senses of place among those with Euro-Australian, Asian and Aboriginal ancestries. This work includes projects focused on a comparison of pro-development, environmentalist and Aboriginal perspectives on land and nature. Of particular interest are the issues of ‘nativeness’ and ‘invasiveness’ as understood in both nature and society, with implications for issues of land, cultural identity and environmental management.

Research Interests

  • Land, identity, indigeneity and cultural change
    Professor Trigger's interests encompass the relationship between land and cultural identity. His applied research focuses on negotiations over the legacy of colonialism in Australian society.

Research Impacts

Professor Trigger is a leading scholar in applied anthropological research on Indigenous land negotiations in Australian society. His impact is made directly through participation as an expert witness and researcher in native title claims, heritage matters and agreement making between Aboriginal groups and other land users. This work involves collaborations with legal practitioners and other professionals in the area of economic development and environmental management. Indirectly the impact of his work is through publishing the results of research and teaching students. He has a large number of research higher degree scholars for whom he provides supervision.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Arts, The University of Queensland


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Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision