Melanie G. Wiber (Professor & Director of Graduate Studies)

Melanie Wiber

Journal of Legal Pluralism

Dr. Melanie G. Wiber is an economic and legal anthropologist.  She joined the University of New Brunswick in 1987 and has been Full Professor of Anthropology since 1995.

She conducted her doctoral research on water, land and gold mining property rights among an upland minority group in the Philippines (see Politics, Property and Law in the Philippine Uplands, WLU Press, 1994).  

After joining UNB, Dr. Wiber completed a study of gender in human evolution imagery (see Erect Men/Undulating Women: The Visual Imagery of Gender, Race and Progress in Reconstructive Illustrations of Human Evolution, WLU Press, 1997).  She then did research in the dairy industry, examining the impact of supply management and dairy quota. This led to an interest in the property aspects of fisheries quota, and for the past fifteen years, Dr. Wiber has conducted participatory, community-based, fisheries research in the Maritime Provinces. This research has focused on natural resource management, community-based management, local ecological knowledge and property rights.

From 2006-2012, Dr. Wiber was co-applicant on the Coastal CURA (Community and University Research Alliance), funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), where she collaborated with Dr. Tony Charles (SMU) and other team members, on integrated coastal management (see Among other responsibilities on this project, Dr. Wiber supervised both MA and PhD students funded by the CURA. She also led a Working Group on the Socio-Economics of Integrated Management for the Oceans Management Research Network (OMRN) that was collaboratively funded by SSHRC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Her current research is conducted under Project 1.1 of the Canadian Fisheries Research Network, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Her many publications have focused on property theory, including new forms of property rights in dairy and fishing quota, in genetics, and in cultural property, as well as community-based management and local ecological knowledge in the fisheries, and gender issues in human evolution imagery (see Publications below).

UNB has granted her two Merit Awards (1998, 2006) and a Research Professorship (2003). Since 1999, she has served as an executive member for the International Commission on Legal Pluralism (see, and has served as Commission Secretariat (2001-2006). She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Legal Pluralism (see For the past ten years she has been a regular visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. She has received numerous national and international research grants, including SSHRC standard research, conference and workshop grants, Max Planck funding, and visiting scholar grants from Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Courses Taught:

  • ANTH 1001  The Human Experience: Socio-Cultural Approaches
  • ANTH 2114  Human Systems of Exchange: Nature & Culture
  • ANTH 3114 Gender, Sex and Culture
  • ANTH 3284 Rules, Social Order and Conflict
  • ANTH 4024 Anthropology and Ethics
  • ANTH 4114 Culture and Environment
  • ANTH 4204 Gender, Kinship and Marriage
  • ANTH 5701 Doing Anthropology: Method and Theory

Curriculum Vitae 


List of Publications

Contact Information:

Melanie G. Wiber

Office: Annex C, Rm. 32
Phone: (506) 458-7995
Fax: (506) 453-5071