Melanie Wiber   2003 UNB Research Professor

Dr. Wiber joined the University of New Brunswick in 1987 and was promoted to Professor in 1995. Her teaching focuses on economic anthropology, legal studies, gender, and development. Her areas of research interest include critical property studies, legal pluralism, gender, international development, natural resource management and ecological/economic theory. She works with the Centre for Property Studies, and offers courses for both the Women's Studies Program and the Law in Society Program. She has served for many years on the AUNBT executive, and was President of the Association (1999-2000). She has also served as Chair of the Anthropology Department.

Dr. Wiber currently holds a three-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant to investigate community-based management and local knowledge in the offshore fisheries sector of the Scotia-Fundy region. She is a member of the Sustainability Node of the National Oceans Management Research Network, established by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to provide policy advice to the federal government. She also holds a research award from the Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology in Halle/Salle, Germany, where she is collaborating on a major publication project with three other international scholars.

Dr. Wiber has been a member of the Commission of Folk Law and Legal Pluralism since 1988 and currently serves on the Executive Board as well as managing the Secretariat. This international commission is a daughter of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (a UNESCO organization) with a membership of lawyers, judges, anthropologists, sociologists, bureaucrats, and activists from seven regional working groups around the world. The Commission promotes research into the interaction and conflict between multiple legal orders, including local or customary, state, international, transnational religious and business law. Besides her secretariat work, which includes producing the Commission newsletter, Dr. Wiber has participated in the development and production of international courses offered by the Commission in Russia (1999) and in Thailand (2002), and has been on the planning committee for their annual international meetings since 1998.

Dr. Wiber has produced two single authored books and a co-edited volume since 1993. Her book: Erect Men/Undulating Women, on the gender and racial messages embedded in human evolution illustrations for the popular press has generated international media attention, including interviews on the Vicky Gabereau CBC radio show, on the Discovery Channel, and on the BBC. Her book on legal pluralism and property conflict in the Philippine uplands is required reading in a wide variety of development studies programs in areas such as the Philippines (University of the Philippines, Baguio Campus), Thailand (the Regional Centre for Social Sciences and Sustainable Development, Chiang Mai University), and Holland (Wageningen and Rotterdam universities). She has also authored numerous articles published in refereed scholarly journals in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Holland, Austria and Southeast Asia.

Presented by John Rowcroft, Dean of Arts
April 4, 2003