Dolly Kikon

Dolly Kikon's picture
Visiting scholar and Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Melbourne

Dolly Kikon is an associate professor in the Anthropology and Development Studies program. Her work focuses on the political economy of extractive resources, militarization, migration, development initiatives, gender relations, food cultures, and human rights in India.

Before coming to the University of Melbourne, Dr. Kikon led an interdisciplinary research project at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. Her work focused on the increasing trend of outmigration among upland societies in Northeast India. Prior to obtaining her doctoral degree in Anthropology from Stanford University, Dr. Kikon worked as a human rights lawyer and a community rights based activist in India. Focusing on land rights among tribal communities in Northeast India, her advocacy works extensively dealt with constitutional provision Article 371 (A) with regard to land and resource ownership, as well as the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution that deals with autonomy arrangements for securing ethnic rights and guarantees in Northeast India. Her human right advocacy work continues to focus on repealing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (1958), an extra Constitutional regulation that provides impunity to armed forces in India.

Dr. Kikon is an Associate Fellow at the Asian Law Centre (Melbourne Law School), and a Research Affiliate at the Initiative for Peacebuilding (Faculty of Arts). In 2022, Dr. Kikon was honoured as a Locavore Champion for her work on indigenous food practices in India.

Currently, Dr. Kikon is heading a multi-country research project funded by the Swedish Research Council Grant (2021-2023) titled “practicing Food Sovereignty: Indigenous Peoples and Agroecological Relationships in the Eastern Himalayas”. Her current writing projects include an ongoing book manuscript on fermenting cultures, and a report on the impact of the 2020 Baghjan oil spill in Assam. She also directed and produced an ethnographic film titled, “Seasons of Life: Foraging and Fermenting Bambooshoot during Ceasefire”. The film was selected to be screened at the Druk International Film Festival, Thimphu, Bhutan (2020), the Canberra Short Film Festival, Australia (2020), the 2021 Yucatan Congress, Mexico organised by the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, and the South Asia Film Festival (2022).

Dr. Kikon is one of the lead researchers for the Return Recover and Decolonize (RRaD) initiative. This is a community led movement to start dialogues on repatriation of indigenous Naga ancestral human remains from the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford University.

In 2023, Dr. Kikon is the Henry Hart Rice Visiting Associate Professor at the MacMillan Center for International and Areas Studies at Yale University.

For details about her research projects, engagements, and publications, visit her personal website