Eminent social anthropologist named 2018 Stout Research Centre JD Stout Fellow

Eminent social anthropologist Associate Professor Jacqueline Leckie has been appointed as the Victoria University of Wellington Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies JD Stout Fellow for 2018.

Associate Professor Leckie brings to the Stout Research Centre several years of interdisciplinary research and publications on the history and anthropology of New Zealand and the Pacific, in particular health, gender, migration and diaspora, ethnicity, colonialism, development, and labour.

As the 2018 JD Stout Fellow she will work on a new project, “Mental Notes: Illness and Wellness in New Zealand’s Former Pacific Territories”, which will examine the entanglement of indigenous Pacific cultures and New Zealand colonial health practices, policy and discourse. It will explore the development of colonial psychiatry in former New Zealand Pacific territories, and biomedical and indigenous treatments of Pacific peoples with mental disorders. This historical research will unravel changing concepts of mental illness, stigma, and the connections between health policy and practice in New Zealand and the Pacific.  

Associate Professor Leckie’s research builds on a book she is completing, Colonizing Madness: Asylum and Community in Fiji, which will be published by University of Hawai’i Press. While at the Stout Research Centre, she will also complete a book for the 50th Anniversary of the University of the South Pacific, which she describes as an enduring and successful regional institution, in which New Zealand continues to play a pivotal role.

Director of the Stout Research Centre Kate Hunter says, “We are very fortunate to have Associate Professor Leckie joining us for 2018. She is a scholar with an international reputation and substantial publishing record embarking on an important project that will inform both historical knowledge of New Zealand’s involvement in the Pacific region and current policy development. Her research connects with that of many of Victoria’s academics and we look forward to a year of enriching conversations.”

Associate Professor Leckie says, “This fellowship will enable me to undertake archival research in Wellington, but most importantly to engage with other scholars at Victoria University in a Centre that is renowned for being conducive to lively debate and is supportive of research and writing relevant to New Zealand. I hope that my time there will open up new enquiry into the complex history of New Zealand and Pacific communities, especially in the neglected area of mental health.”  

Dr Leckie takes up her appointment at the Stout Research Centre on 1 March 2018.