Associate Professor Sharyn Graham Davies

profile image

Associate Professor

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 8467


Physical Address:

Level 14, Room WT1403, AUT Tower, corner of Wakefield and Rutland streets, Auckland Central.


  • Postgraduate: PhD at the University of Western Australia, fully funded through an Australian Postgraduate Award. PhD: Tombois, Wedding Mothers, and Androgynous Priests: Conceptualising Gender Among Bugis in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Supervisors: Dr Lyn Parker and Dr Greg Acciaioli.
  • Undergraduate: BA University of Tasmania (1994-1996); BA First Class Honours, University of Tasmania and the Australian National University (1997).


After growing up in Tasmania, Australia, I lived in Girard, Ohio for a year as a Rotary Exchange student. I then completed a BA with first class honours at the University of Tasmania before doing my PhD at the University of Western Australia, with stints at the Australian National University and Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Since first traveling there in 1994, Indonesia has been the primary location of my research, which was originally about gender and sexuality but more recently has incorporated surveillance, social media, and policing. In 2015, I graded to Black Belt in Goju Ryu Karate. When not working, my partner and I like dragging our kids out tramping and to far away locations.

I am AUT Fullbright Campus Advisor along with Ineke Crezee.

Research Summary:

As an Asian Studies scholar and anthropologist my most significant contribution to knowledge revolves around rethinking ways in which gender operates in the Indonesian archipelago.

I have published two monographs on this topic. One text is a theoretical exploration of gender and sexuality and the other is an ethnographic case study on the ways individuals negotiate gendered selves from adolescence onwards. I have also published Sex and Sexualities in Contemporary Indonesia with Linda Bennett. This book was the 2015 winner of the Ruth Benedict prize for best edited collection, awarded by the American Anthropology Association and the 2016 International Convention of Asian Scholars book prize.

In 2018, I took up a two month visiting scholar position at the Southeast Asian Studies Center at Sydney University. I also presented talks at Witwaterstrand University and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. In 2017, I was visiting scholar at Peking University. In 2014/2015, I took up a Fulbright award to visit the US and a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship at the University of Cambridge, hosted by Social Anthropology. In addition to research and writing I enjoy lecturing and in 2010 I was co-recipient of an AUT Vice Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching. I was the 2015 winner of the Faculty of Culture and Society Research Excellence award and the 2018 winner of the VC Research Impact Award.

I have supervised PhD students on such topics as: HIV prevention among pregnant mothers; surf tourism; transgender in Bangladesh; Steiner education; children's voice within the law; Southeast Asian migration; and social media communities. 

From 2019, I have been working with Rhonda Shaw and Elizabeth Kerekere on a Marsden-funded project exploring assisted reproduction and Kiwi kinship in Aotearoa. 

Publication highlights: see Research Gate and for a full list.

  • 2018 Davies, S. G. 'Skins of Morality: Bio-borders, Ephemeral Citizenship and Policing Women in Indonesia', Asian Studies Review,
  • 2018 Davies, S. G. Gender and Sexual Plurality in Indonesia: Past and Present. In R. Hefner (Ed), Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia (pp. 281-311). London: Routledge.
  • 2018 Platt, M., Davies, S. G., Bennett, L. R. 'Introduction. Contestations of Gender, Sexuality and Morality in Contemporary Indonesia.' Asian Studies Review,
  • 2017 Pringle, Judith; Davies, Sharyn; Giddings, Lynne; McGregor, Judy
    'Gender pay equity and wellbeing: An intersectional study of engineering and caring occupations'. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 42(3): 29-45.
  • 2017 Hartono, H., Davies, S. G. and MacRae, G. 'You Can't Avoid Sex and Cigarettes: How Indonesian Muslim mothers teach their children to read Billboards'. Pacific Journalism Review, 23(2), pp. 146-163.
  • 2017 Davies, Sharyn Graham, McGregor, J. Giddings, L. S. Pringle, Judith 'Rationalising Pay Inequity: Women Engineers, Pervasive Patriarchy and the Neoliberal Mystique in New Zealand', Journal of Gender Studies.
  • 2017 Najmah, Sharyn Davies & Sari Andajani. 'HIV-Positive Mothers left behind.' Inside Indonesia. July.
  • 2017 Listiorini, Dina and Davies, S. G. Online Dating Apps Blocked. Inside Indonesia, April:
  • 2016 Davies, S. G. What we can learn from an Indonesian ethnicity that recognizes five genders. The Conversation, Invited This has been translated for GAYa Nusantara:
  • 2016 Davies, S. G. Indonesia's Anti-LGBT Panic, East Asia Forum, April-June, 8(2), pp. 8-11. Invited contribution.
  • 2016 Davies, S. G. Indonesian 'Tolerance' Under Strain as Anti-LGBT Furore Grows. Asian Currents (March) Invited contribution. This has been translated for GAYA Nusantara
  • 2015 Davies, S. G. Performing Selves: The Trope of Authenticity and Robert Wilson's Stage Production of I La Galigo. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 2015. 46(3): 417-443.
  • 2015 Davies, S. G. 'Surveilling Sexuality in Indonesia,' in Sex and Sexuality in Indonesia: Sexual Politics, Diversity and Representations in the Reformasi Era. L. R. Bennett and S. G. Davies (Eds.). London, Routledge: 30-61.
  • 2015 Davies, S. G. and Vitri Hardjono. 'The Pretty Imperative: Handcuffing Policewomen in Indonesia.' Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, issue 37, available at:
  • 2015 Davies, S. G., Meliala, A., & Buttle, J. 'Gangnam Style versus Eye of the Tiger: People, Police and Procedural Justice in Indonesia'. Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, doi: 10.1080/10439463.2014.949712.
  • 2015 Davies, S. G., Buttle, J. W., Meliala, A. 'If You Lose Your Goat: Public Perceptions of Police in Indonesia'. Journal of Social Science Research, 6(2): 22-41.
  • 2015 Aguirre, A. and Davies, S. G. ‘Imperfect Strangers: Picturing Place, Family, and Migrant Identity in Facebook,’ Discourse, Context and Media. doi:10.1016/j.dcm.2014.12.001
  • 2015 Davies, S. G., & Bennett, L. (2015). 'Sexuality, Continuity and Change in the Reformasi era' in L. R. Bennett & S. G. Davies (Eds.), Sex and Sexualities in Contemporary Indonesia: Sexual Politics, Health, Diversity and Representations (pp. 1-25). London: Routledge.
  • 2015 Buttle, J. W., Davies, S. G., & Meliala, A. 'A Cultural Constraints Theory of Police Corruption: Understanding the Persistence of Police Corruption in Contemporary Indonesia.’ Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, available at:
  • 2011 Davies, S. D. Gender Diversity in Indonesia, Sexuality, Islam and Queer Selves, London: Routledge.
  • 2007 Davies, S. D. Challenging Gender Norms: Five Genders among Bugis in Indonesia. Boston: Thompson Wadsworth.

Selected keynote addresses

  • 2017 Peking University New Zealand Centre Public lecture on Policing and the State.
  • 2015 University of Cambridge Leverhulme Public Lecture series, including 'You're Doing it: Performance, I La Galigo and Authenticity in Indonesia', available at:
  • 2015 School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS) public lecture on 'Reporting Police in Indonesia'.
  • 2015 London School of Economics (LSE) public lecture on 'Sexing Gender: Queer Islam in Indonesia'.
  • 2015 Cambridge Masterclass for anthropology postgraduate students on 'Kinships of Shame: Sexuality and Moral Connectivity in Contemporary Indonesia'.
  • 2014 Yale University Fulbright-funded public lecture on 'Performance and Tropes of Authenticity'.