Faculty Profiles

Ravi de Costa

Associate Professor
Interim Dean
BA Hons (Government & Public Administration) - Sydney
PhD (Politics) - Swinburne University of Technology

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Indigenous politics and policy; Indigenous-settler relations and reconciliation

  • Globalization and Indigenous rights

  • Environmental/Indigenous conflicts and alliances


I originally came to Canada from Australia to take up a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University. Prior to joining FES in 2007, I also taught at Trent University in the Department of Political Studies.

My research and teaching interests are in comparative and global approaches to the legacies of colonialism and Indigenous politics. My PhD dissertation was a comparative study of treaty-making in Canada and reconciliation in Australia. During my postdoctoral work I broadened my research to include Indigenous politics beyond the nation-state and to examine Indigenous peoples’ activism both in transnational networks and in global institutions. My current projects include collaborative work on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as research that examines the conflicts and alliances between Indigenous communities and environmental actors.

Major research projects

The non-Indigenous responsibility to engage -- Scoping reconciliation and its alternatives (SSHRC Connection Grant 2016)

Reconciling Canada: Non-Aboriginal discourses and the truth and reconciliation commission (SSHRC Standard Research Grant 2011-2015)

Discourse and obligation: Truth, reconciliation and Non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada (SSHRC Standard Research Grant 2010-2011)

Selected Publications

2015 “States’ definitions of Indigenous peoples: A survey of practices”. In Indigenous Politics: Institutions, Representation, Mobilisation. Mikkel Berg-Nordlie, JoSaglie & Ann Sullivan (eds) (ECPR Press, 2015).

2014 “50 Years of Indigeneity: Legacies and Possibilities”. In Indigenous Networks: Mobility, Connections and Exchange. Jane Carey and Jane Lydon (eds) (Routledge), 273-285.

2014 ‘Descent, culture and self-determination: States and the definition of Indigenous peoples’, Aboriginal Policy Studies (Vol 3.3).

2013 “Testimonial textures: Examining the poetics of non-Indigenous stories about reconciliation”. Co-written with Tom Clark. In Storytelling: Critical and Creative Approaches. Jan Shaw et al (eds) (Palgrave, 2013).

2011 ‘Exploring non-Aboriginal attitudes towards Reconciliation in Canada’. Co-written with Tom Clark. In Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation through the lens of cultural diversity. Ashok Mathur and Jonathan Dewar eds. (Ottawa, Aboriginal Healing Foundation), 327-339.

2011 ‘Implementing UNDRIP: Developments and possibilities’, Prairie Forum (Special Issue on Indigenous Rights, Vol. 36, Fall), 55-77.

2011 ‘Asymmetric encounters in Native Canada’, American Review of Canadian Studies. Co-authored with Tristan Knight. Vol. 41 No. 3 (September), 212-27.

2010 Indigenous peoples and autonomy: Insights for a global age. Co-edited with Mario Blaser, Deborah McGregor and Will Coleman (Vancouver, UBC Press).

2010 ‘Reconfiguring the web of life: Indigenous peoples, relationality and globalization’. Co-written with Mario Blaser, Deborah McGregor and Will Coleman. In Indigenous peoples and autonomy: Insights for a global age. Co-edited with Mario Blaser, Deborah McGregor and Will Coleman. Globalization and Autonomy Series. (Vancouver, UBC Press), 241-249.

2010 ‘Afterword’. In Indigenous peoples and autonomy: Insights for a global age. Coedited with Mario Blaser, Deborah McGregor and Will Coleman (Vancouver, UBC Press), 241-249.

2009 ‘Snakes that are Rainbows: Indigenous Worldviews and the Constitution of Autonomy’. In William Coleman, Steve Streeter and John Weaver (eds) Empires and Autonomy: Moments in the History of Globalization. Globalization and Autonomy Series (Vancouver, UBC Press).

2007 ‘Cosmology, mobility and exchange: Indigenous diplomacies beyond the nationstate’, Canadian Foreign Policy Vol. 13 No. 1 (Spring 2007), 13-28.

2006 ‘Identity, authority and the moral worlds of Indigenous petitions’, Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 48 No. 3 (July 2006), 669-98.