Dr Jenny Munro

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Science
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 52204


I am a cultural anthropologist with expertise in gender, racism, medical anthropology, and critical global health. I have conducted extensive ethnographic research in Indonesia on health care, gendered violence, education, and racial stigma. The main focus of my research is Papua/West Papua, where my work has tried to document and understand evolving forms of racism and violence, including how people resist and create change. Over the past 15 years I have worked with local Papuan and international research teams on studies of violence, older women's life stories, HIV/AIDS, hospital birth, and health vulnerabilities. My research aims to develop knowledge of the nuances and complexities of conditions and experiences in West Papua, while also working with Papuan scholars and community members to address pressing health and social problems.

I recently completed a study with Els Tieneke Rieke Katmo and Meki Wetipo on how urban Papuans today understand and experience pregnancy and childbirth and how hospital childbirth may be creating more distrust in the health system rather than improving maternal health (2023, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology), published as part of a special issue on 'Reproducing Life in Conditions of Abandonment in Oceania', edited with Sandra Widmer. Another recent multi-sited study looks at vulnerabilities in Indonesia with Professor Lyn Parker (University of Western Australia) and others from the UK and Indonesia. The study used ethnography and surveys to develop a deeper, contextual understanding of who is vulnerable, how and why, and thus shed light on the concept of vulnerability and what it means. Forthcoming publications look at education in Indonesia's frontier economy, older women’s narratives of economic agency and survivance (co-authored with Yohana Baransano), and the challenges faced by newlyweds.

I am expanding my research with older Papuan women on their experiences of the late Dutch and early Indonesian era and their narratives of survivance to include Papuan women from different cultural backgrounds and urban/rural locations. Papuan women's stories and historical experiences are largely missing from public view but are needed to understand their important contributions to society and their roles in creating the future. I am also expanding my research on obstetrics and c-sections to understand the cultures of maternity care in Indonesia, both in terms of local cultural needs and preferences, and in relation to the cultures of medicine and obstetrics that exist in hospitals and birth centres. This will help us to understand how to create respectful maternity care in different cultural contexts, including in Australia. Related to this, I recently completed an action research project funded by the Australia Indonesia Institute (with Els Katmo) on co-designing cultural approaches to sexual and reproductive health, including HIV prevention, in West Papua.

Some recent publications that illustrate key themes of my research:

Jenny Munro, Els Tieneke Rieke Katmo & Meki Wetipo (2022) Hospital Births and Frontier Obstetrics in Urban West Papua, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 23:4-5, 388-406, DOI: 10.1080/14442213.2022.211512

Jenny Munro & Yohana Baransano (2023), From saving to survivance: Rethinking Indigenous Papuan women's vulnerabilities in Jayapura, Indonesia. Asia Pacific Viewpoint https://doi.org/10.1111/apv.12367

Jenny Munro, Lyn Parker, and Yohana Baransano. "There's Money but No Work": Diploma Disruptions in Urban Papua. The Contemporary Pacific 33, no. 2 (2021): 364-384.

Jenny Munro (2020) Global HIV Interventions and Technocratic Racism in a West Papuan NGO, Medical Anthropology, 39:8, 704-719, DOI: 10.1080/01459740.2020.1739036

Jenny Munro. (2020), ‘Saving our people’: health workers, medical citizenship, and vernacular sovereignties in West Papua. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 26: 633-651. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13318

I am an experienced PhD supervisor in medical anthropology and gender studies. I am particularly interested in working with candidates who wish to study gender, health, or racism in (or in relation to) West Papua using anthropological, ethnographic and qualitative approaches. Research projects I have supervised include:

  • Intersectionality in Australian domestic violence services
  • Changing masculinities in Uzbekistan
  • Gender and education in Enga province, Papua New Guinea
  • Australian spiritual healing
  • Household meat practices in Indonesia and Australia
  • Women’s empowerment and energy in South Africa
  • Health of Pacific seasonal workers in Queensland Australia
  • Carers’ experiences with medicinal cannabis
  • Apitherapy in Australia

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses on medical anthropology (ANTH2250/7250) and Pacific anthropology (ANTH2020). I also supervise Honours students and co-coordinate HHSS6002 (Honours coursework).


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University


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Featured Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Munro, Jenny (2016). Home-brewed alcohol, gender and violence in Wamena, Papua. International Conference on Social Science and Biodiversity of Papua and Papua New Guinea (ICSBP 2015), Jayapura, Indonesia, 16–17 November 2015. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Knowledge E. doi: 10.18502/kss.v1i1.428

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision