I am a specialist in the ethnographic study of gender and sexuality, with a focus on Indonesia. Before taking up a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellowship, I was visiting assistant researcher in anthropology (University of California, Irvine) and research fellow in gender and sexuality studies (Deakin University).
Trained in anthropology (PhD, Australian National University), Asian studies and critical theory (MA, Monash University), I am interested in cross-cultural perspectives on the meanings of ‘citizenship’ as a concept that is inseparable from gender, sexuality, class and race. As an anthropologist, I am most excited by innovative interdisciplinary research that draws on long term fieldwork to comprehend enduring forms of social inequality globally. My research addresses these concerns in the broad domains of health and visual culture, the subject of two related research projects.
My first research project was an ethnographic history of the transnational circulation of the category ‘transgender’ in Indonesia. It appears in field-defining journals such as Transgender Studies Quarterly, the Journal of the History of Sexuality, and Medicine Anthropology Theory. This research is also the basis for my first book manuscript, Making Up Waria, which addresses the emergence and transformation of gender presentation as a boundary for participation in public life in postcolonial Indonesia. In the book, I pursue new ways of thinking about ‘citizenship’ by considering gender and sexual minorities as a lens to think about broader processes of state-led development and its afterlife. This research also forms the basis for a second book about the ‘face’ as a political symbol in Indonesian politics, which uses photography and other public visual culture.
My second project lies at the intersection of anthropology, health, and media studies. It builds on several funded projects on sexuality and HIV care in Jakarta, undertaken in collaboration with Indonesian physicians and epidemiologists. This project problematises inherent rationalities of the ‘responsible citizen’ through ethnographic research on the management of information about health and disease during epidemics. Since commencing at the University of Melbourne, I have been fortunate to draw on significant network of specialists in the study of Indonesia and support to build on my existing collaborative research efforts. In 2020, I hosted a Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative visiting scholar Dr Ignatius Praptoraharjo (Atma Jaya University) and received an Indonesian Democracy and Human Rights Hallmark Initiative grant to host Dr Sandeep Nanwani (UNFPA). This research is ongoing.
In addition to my research, I teach and supervise students at the PhD and honours level in both the anthropology and gender studies programs at the University of Melbourne. I enjoy immensely learning from student research projects and interests.
Find out more about Benjamin Hegarty's experience
Benjamin Hegarty's highlights
Benjamin Hegarty's selected work
Liminal Masculinity: Narratives of Class and Sexuality in Post-authoritarian Indonesia
The Perfect Woman: Transgender Femininity and National Modernity in New Order Indonesia, 1..
Under the Lights, Onto the Stage: Becoming Waria through National Glamour in New Order Ind..
Displaying the 12 most recent scholarly works by Benjamin Hegarty.
The Perfect Woman: Transgender Femininity and National Modernity in New Order Indonesia, 1968–1978
Journal article | 2019 | Journal of the History of Sexuality
The decade between 1968 and 1978 was a period of remarkable activity in the state’s use of scientific knowledge about sex, gender,..
Under the Lights, Onto the Stage: Becoming Waria through National Glamour in New Order Indonesia
Journal article | 2018 | TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly
Indonesia's waria commonly assert that the bodily transformations they undertake on a temporary but daily basis, which they call d..
Honours, Awards and Fellowships
Field research and internship at Gadjah Madah University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
PhD research at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the ANU.
Fellow of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (New School for Social Research)
Mckenzie Postdoctoral Fellow
Social And Political Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy
Australian National University
Master of Asian Studies
Bachelor of Arts