Jane Anderson

Associate Professor


PhD (Law), 2004, University of New South Wales, Sydney; BA Honors (First Class), 1998, University of Sydney, Sydney; BA (Cultural Studies and Philosophy), 1997, University of Sydney, Sydney

Areas of Research/Interest

Property law (spec. intellectual property) and the cultural life of law; coloniality and colonial governance; critical indigenous studies; Indigenous rights and sovereignty; museum studies; repatriation and digital return; cultural property; heritage studies; international organizations; institutional policy; cultural protocols; applied anthropology; transformative practice and ethical frameworks for social change. Americas, South East Asia, Pacific.

External Affiliations

Expert Consultant, World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva.
Research Associate, Intellectual Property in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH), SSHRC Project, Canada http://www.sfu.ca/ipinch/.
Research Scholar, Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, School of Law, Howard University www.iipsj.org.


2013: Merit Award, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.
2012: Lilly Teaching Fellowship, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.
2012: Interdisciplinary Seminar in the Humanities and Fine Arts (ISHA) Fellowship, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.
2011: Crossroads in the Study of the Americas (CISA) Fellowship, Five Colleges Program, Amherst, Massachusetts.
2007: Postdoctoral Fellowship, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
2007: Fellowship, The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
2006: Centre Fellowship, International Center For Advanced Studies, New York University, New York.
2005: Award for Excellence, Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, Australia.
2005: Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Institution.

Selected Publications

2013. ‘‘Chuck a Copyright on it’: Dilemmas of Digital Return and the Possibilities for Traditional Knowledge Licenses and Labels’ with Kim Christen. Museum Anthropology Review 7, (1-2) Spring-Fall; pp 105-126.

2013. ‘Anxieties of Authorship in Colonial Archives’ in Media Authorship C. Chris and D. Gerstner (ed), Routledge Press, pp 229-246.

2012. ‘Options for the Future Protection of GRTKTCES: The Traditional Knowledge License and Labels Initiative’ Journal of the World Intellectual Property Organization 4(1); pp 73-82.

2011. ‘On Resolution | Intellectual Property and Indigenous Knowledge Disputes | Prologue’ Landscapes of Violence, 2(1), Art 4; pp 1-14.

2010. Intellectual Property and Indigenous/Traditional Knowledge: Issues Paper Centre for the Study of the Public Domain, Law Faculty, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, pp 1-70.

2010. ‘Intellectual Property Issues in Heritage Management Part Two: Legal Dimensions, Ethical Considerations, and Collaborative Research Practices’ with George Nicholas, John Welch, Joe Watkins, Rosemary Coombe, Catherine Bell, Brain Noble and Kelly Banister. Heritage Management 3(1)pp 117-147.

2010. Safeguarding Cultural Heritage and Protecting Traditional Cultural Expressions: The Management of Intellectual Property Issues and Options – A Compendium for Museums, Archives and Libraries with Molly Torsen, World Intellectual Property Organization: Geneva, Switzerland.

2009. Law, Knowledge, Culture: The Production of Indigenous Knowledge in Intellectual Property Law Edward Elgar Press: Cheltenham, United Kingdom.

2009. ‘The Politics of Global Information Sharing’ with Kathy Bowrey. Social and Legal Studies 18(4); pp 479-504.

2009. ‘(Colonial) Archives and (Copyright) Law’ Nomorepotlucks 1(4), July.

2009. ‘Intellectual Property Issues in Heritage Management: Part One – Challenges and Opportunities Relating to Appropriation, Information Access, Bioarchaeology and Cultural Tourism’ with George Nicholas, Catherine Bell, Kelly Bannister, Sven Ouzman. Heritage Management 2(2) Fall; pp 261-286.

2008. Framework for Indigenous Community Protocols, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, Australia, pp 1-37.

2006. Intellectual Property and Indigenous Knowledge: Access, Ownership and Control of Cultural Materials – Final Report with Recommendations Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, Australia, pp 1-365.

2005. Access and Control of Indigenous Knowledge in Libraries and Archives: Ownership and Future Use, The MacArthur Foundation and the American Library Association, pp 1-36.

2005. ‘The Making of Indigenous Knowledge in Intellectual Property Law in Australia’ International Journal of Cultural Property 12(3); pp 345-371.

2005. ‘Access, Authority and Ownership: Traditional Indigenous Biodiversity-related Knowledge’ Australian Indigenous Knowledge and Libraries, Martin Nakata and Marcia Langton (ed), Canberra: Australian Academic & Research Libraries, pp 72-82.

2004. ‘The Politics of Indigenous Knowledge: Australia’s Proposed Communal Moral Rights Bill’ University of New South Wales Law Journal 27(3); pp 585-605.


WIPO Briefing Paper: Resolving Intellectual Property Disputes in Relation to Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Traditional Cultural Expressions Geneva, Switzerland: World Intellectual Property Organization (In Press).

‘Intellectual Property and Indigenous Knowledge’ in International Encyclopedia for Social and Behavioral Sciences, J. Wright (ed), (2nd Edition), Elsevier Press (In Press).

‘Cultural Heritage, Traditional Cultural Expressions and Colonial Conditions of Authorship’ in Copyrighting Creativity: Creative Values, Cultural Heritage Institutions and Systems of Intellectual Property Helle Porsdam (ed) Ashgate Press (Expected in 2015).

Routledge Reader in Cultural Property Edited with Haidy Geismar, Routledge Press (December 2015)

The Memory of Property: Dispossession and Decolonial Futures (proposal and manuscript in preparation).

Current News/Projects

Updated August 2014

Local Contexts: Traditional Knowledge Licenses and Labels
This is a collaborative project with Associate Professor Kim Christen at Washington State University and Michael Ashley, Director, Centre for Digital Archaeology, Berkley.

Based on nearly ten years of research with Indigenous communities on access, ownership and control of materials produced through extensive colonial collecting encounters, the Local Contexts: TK License and Label initiative seeks to fill a void left by current intellectual property regimes that fail to address the particular needs of Indigenous peoples in relation to their cultural heritage materials. This is a project to develop a standalone platform for the delivery of a new set of legal licenses and educational labels to help in the management, governance and sharing of Indigenous cultural heritage materials. It entails creating an innovative new infrastructure for legal licenses, writing licenses that have legal standing in multiple jurisdictions, developing an online generator for the delivery of the licenses and labels, testing the functionality of these across media and within different user communities, and establishing the licenses interoperability with already existing copyright and Creative Commons licensing options. It is an intervention to help communities, cultural institutions, researchers and other third parties understand that there can be different rules and obligations in the use and re-use of Indigenous cultural heritage materials. This project has gained wide international support and was initially funded by the UN agency, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Canadian SSHRC Project Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage. We are entering Phase Two of this project which involves extensive testing with Indigenous communities and cultural institutions globally.

Penobscot Nation Language Materials and Intellectual Property

This project is one part of a larger three year Penobscot Nation ANA grant focused on the preservation and maintenance of language materials. The intellectual property component has three discrete phases – the determination of the current legal status of all language materials including the Penobscot language dictionary; research on the legal implications and rights established through digitization of these materials; and the development of legal framework for future management of Penobscot Nation language materials in digital and analogue form by the Penobscot Nation. This research has been developed in collaboration with the Penobscot Nation and is directly addressing needs identified through ongoing meetings and consultations.

Laboratory for Transformative Practice in Anthropology
In collaboration with Professors Sonya Atalay, Jackie Urla and Whitney Battle Baptiste, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The Laboratory for Transformative Practice in Anthropology is a mentoring initiative to address challenges experienced by junior faculty doing activist and engaged scholarship in Anthropology. The Laboratory is a non-physical site of exchange, dialogue and collaboration for faculty and graduate students from various institutions. The aims of this initiative include: expanding conversations about the implications of this research within larger disciplinary contexts; building capacity for students and faculty to undertake this kind of research; creating new training initiatives for transformative scholarship; and to contribute to the recognition and evaluation of this work within the university administrations. This project is about to enter its second year.

The Utility and Life of Cultural Protocols | Bridging Historical Exclusions and Building Future Relationships
In collaboration with Julie Woods, PhD student, UMASS, Amherst. 

Protocols are one of the most interesting modern developments in intellectual property law and policy. This is because they are increasingly being used as alternative means for managing access and control of knowledge in contexts where the limits of intellectual property law have been reached. For Indigenous and marginalized communities who have been subject to the extensive knowledge exploration and expropriation endeavors of others, protocols have come to offer themselves as practical strategies that protect local knowledge resources, whilst simultaneously addressing the social and cultural frameworks that enabled the exploitation of these resources without appropriate acknowledgement, consent or respect to begin with. Protocols offer the capacity for both renegotiating unequal knowledge-sharing practices, as well as establishing new relationships between custodians of valuable cultural resources and the multiple external users of these same resources. This research seeks to fill a substantial gap in understanding the recent proliferation of cultural protocols as well as what kinds of new relationships around knowledge use they make possible