Dr Timothy Heffernan
Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Timothy Heffernan

Ph.D. in Social Science (Anthropology); B. Arts & Social Sciences (Hons, Class 1)

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Built Environment

I am an anthropologist living and working on Gadigal Country. I work with communities in Australia and Europe affected by event-based hardship, such as environmental disasters and political and economic crises. Informed by ethnographic fieldwork, my research examines the connection between a community's experience of crisis or disaster and the ways people set about building recovery pathways, noting this is never straightforward.

Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the UNSW School of Built Environment and a visiting researcher (2022-2024) at the ANU School of Psychology and Medicine. My research has been funded by the Australian and NSW Governments and UACES: University Association for Contemporary European Studies.

Understanding crisis experience:

My current book project, based on my Ph.D. research, is an ethnographic study of the lived experience of crisis and recovery in Iceland in the decade following the 2008 global financial crisis. With reference to contemporary kinship studies, affect studies and the anthropology of politics and social movements, the book examines Icelanders' efforts to recast community belonging after the government "failed" to avoid and adequately address economic crisis. The books looks to the importance of kinship bonds and affective resilience-building strategies after crisis as forms of bridging and bonding capital.

Interrogating Recovery and resilience:

My research also looks at the framing and utility of language as its relates to event-based hardship, particularly "crisis", "recovery" and "resilience". My research asks "How are these terms used", "How are they defined?" by elites and by communities themselves, and "What happens," socio-culturally, when a community labels themselves (or is labeled by others) as resilient?

My forthcoming co-edited volume is The anthropology of ambiguity: Theory, praxis and critique (Manchester UP)

Room 4002, Anita B. Lawrence Centre
  • Book Chapters | 2022
    Heffernan T, 2022, 'Economic Anthropology in View of the Global Financial Crisis', in The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Human Sciences, Springer Nature Singapore, pp. 457 - 481, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-7255-2_14
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Cruwys T; Macleod E; Heffernan T; Walker I; Stanley SK; Kurz T; Greenwood LM; Evans O; Calear AL, 2023, 'Social group connections support mental health following wildfire', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00127-023-02519-8
    Journal articles | 2023
    Macleod E; Heffernan T; Greenwood L-M; Walker I; Lane J; Stanley SK; Evans O; Calear AL; Cruwys T; Christensen BK; Kurz T; Lancsar E; Reynolds J; Harris RR; Sutherland S, 2023, 'Predictors of individual mental health and psychological resilience after Australia’s 2019–2020 bushfires', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00048674231175618
    Journal articles | 2020
    Heffernan T; Pawlak M, 2020, 'Crisis futures: The affects and temporalities of economic collapse in Iceland', History and Anthropology, 31, pp. 314 - 330, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02757206.2020.1762589
    Journal articles | 2020
    Heffernan T, 2020, 'Crisis and belonging: Protest voices and empathic solidarity in post-economic collapse iceland', Religions, 11, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/rel11010022
    Journal articles | 2020
    Heffernan T, 2020, '“Where Is the New Constitution?” Public Protest and Community-Building in Post–Economic Collapse Iceland', Conflict and Society, 6, pp. 236 - 254, http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/arcs.2020.060114
    Journal articles | 2019
    Heffernan T, 2019, 'Messy Europe: crisis, race, and nation-state in a postcolonial world', SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 27, pp. 122 - 124, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12618
    Journal articles | 2019
    Heffernan T, 2019, '“Gambling Debt: Iceland’s Rise and Fall in the Global Economy” E. Paul Durrenberger and Gísli Pálsson Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2014', Student Anthropologist, 6, pp. 82 - 83, https://studentanthropologist.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/heffernan.-book-review.-sa-2019.pdf
  • Reports | 2023
    James Martin Institute for Public Policy ; NSW Education Department ; Heffernan T, 2023, Local links and learning: Resilience in regional, rural and remote schools. Fostering community ties and harnessing learning opportunities to boost resilience, The James Martin Institute for Public Policy, Sydney, http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.22693.68325
    Reports | 2022
    Heffernan T; Macleod E; Greenwood L-M; Walker I; Lane J; Stanley S; Evans O; Calear A; Cruwys T, 2022, Mental health, wellbeing and resilience after the 2019-20 bushfires: The Australian national bushfire health and wellbeing survey—A preliminary report, Research School of Psychology, ANU College of Health and Medicine, Canberra, http://dx.doi.org/10.25911/AG7D-7574, https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/281404
    Reports | 2016
    Kennett R; Tran T; Heffernan T; Strelnikow L, 2016, Livelihood values in Indigenous cultural fishing: Report of a meeting with Indigenous cultural fishers on the south coast of NSW, Canberra, ACT
    Reports | 2015
    Kennett R; Tran T; Talbot L; Heffernan T; Barton M, 2015, Implementing native title: Indigenous leadership in land and water livelihoods, AIATSIS, Canberra, https://aiatsis.gov.au/publication/35072

2020 Fellow, Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies

Professional memberships:

    Australian Anthropological Society, Ordinary Member since 2016

    University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES), Ordinary Member 2019-2022

Other affiliations:

    Visiting Research Fellow (2022-23). College of Health and Medicine, The Australian National University.

University service/UNSW committees:

    Australian Anthropological Society University Representative, 2022-present