Peter Toner


Peter Toner is a social anthropologist and ethnomusicologist specializing in music and social identity. Since 1995 he has conducted two years’ worth of fieldwork among the Yolngu of northeast Arnhem Land, Australia. For his PhD research at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University, he lived in the Aboriginal community of Gapuwiyak, N.T., studying traditional ritual music of the manikay genre and its relation to sociality, cosmology, and connection to place. His postdoctoral research centred around the repatriation of digitized archival recordings of Yolngu music back to their communities of origin, and examined issues of intangible cultural heritage, cultural property, and the social life of repatriated music. Since 2005 he has extended his research interests to folk music and Irish cultural identity in New Brunswick.


2018. Yolngu Music, Indigenous “Knowledge Centres,” and the Emergence of Archives as Contact Zones. In The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation. (eds) Frank Gunderson, Robert C. Lancefield, and Bret Woods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2017. Form and Performance: The Relations of Melody, Poetics, and Rhythm in Dhalwangu Manikay. In A Distinctive Voice in the Antipodes: Essays in Honour of Stephen A. Wild. (eds) Kirsty Gillespie, Sally Treloyn, and Don Niles. Canberra: ANU Press.

2017. Review of Anna Kearney Guigné, The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports: As Taken from Kenneth Peacock’s Newfoundland Field Collection, 1951-1961. Acadiensis Blog.

2016. Review of Sherry Johnson, Beverley Diamond, and C.K. Szego (producers), Bellows & Bows: Historic Recordings of Traditional Fiddle & Accordion Music from Across Canada. Yearbook for Traditional Music 48: 220-221.

2015. Strings of Connectedness: Essays in Honour of Ian Keen. (ed.) P.G. Toner. Canberra: ANU Press.

2015. Introduction: Strings of Connectedness in Ian Keen’s Scholarship. In Strings of Connectedness: Essays in Honour of Ian Keen. (ed.) P.G. Toner. Canberra: ANU Press.

2015. Bakhtin’s Theory of the Utterance and Dhalwangu Manikay. In Strings of Connectedness: Essays in Honour of Ian Keen. (ed.) P.G. Toner. Canberra: ANU Press.

2015. Public Property and the Public Trust in New Brunswick. In Journal of New Brunswick Studies Reader. (eds) Tony Tremblay and James Kerr. Fredericton: Centre for Digital Scholarship, UNB.

2014. Public Property and the Public Trust in New Brunswick. Journal of New Brunswick Studies 5 (2014): 9-14.

2011. Lawrence Gorman. In New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia. (ed.) Tony Tremblay. Fredericton: St. Thomas University.

2011. Joseph W. Scott. In New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia. (ed.) Tony Tremblay. Fredericton: St. Thomas University.

2009. (co-edited with Michael Boudreau and Tony Tremblay) Exploring the Dimensions of Self-Sufficiency for New Brunswick. Fredericton: New Brunswick and Atlantic Studies Research and Development Centre.

2009. Review of Putting a Song on Top of It: Expression and Identity on the San Carlos Apache Reservation by David W. Samuels. Journal of American Folklore 122 (484): 229-30.

2008. Nine Sites for the Study of Irish-New Brunswick Folk Music: Some Theoretical and Methodological Considerations. In Post-Colonial Distances: The Study of Popular Music in Canada and Australia. (eds.) Beverley Diamond, Denis Crowdy, and Daniel Downes.  Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2008. Review of Wurrurrumi Kun-Borrk: Songs from Western Arnhem Land by Kevin Djimarr. The World of Music 50(3).

2008. Cultural Property.  Critical World: Thinking Globalisation Through Popular Culture. (website)

2008. Review of Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle: Reflections on the Disciplining of Anthropology by Daniel A. Segal and Sylvia J. Yanagisako (eds.). Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences 44(2): 193-4.

2007. Review of Songs, Dreamings, and Ghosts: The Wangga of North Australia by Allan Marett. The Australian Journal of Anthropology 18(3): 361-2.

2007. The Gestation of Cross-Cultural Music Research and the Birth of Ethnomusicology. Humanities Research 14(1): 85-110.

2007. Sing a Country of the Mind: The Articulation of Place in Dhalwangu Song. In The Soundscapes of Australia: Music, Place and Spirituality. (ed.) Fiona Richards. Aldershot: Ashgate.

2005. Tropes of Longing and Belonging: Nostalgia and Musical Instruments in Northeast Arnhem Land. Yearbook for Traditional Music 37: 1-24.

2005. Home Among the Gum Trees: An Ethnography of Yolngu Musical Performance in Mainstream Contexts. In Landscapes of Indigenous Performance: Music, Song and Dance of the Torres Strait and Arnhem Land. (eds.) Fiona Magowan and Karl Neuenfeldt. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press.

2004. (co-edited with Karl Neuenfeldt and Stephen A. Wild) “World Music: Politics, Production, and Pedagogy”, special thematic issue of The Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology 5(2).

2004. (with Stephen A. Wild) Introduction – World Music: Politics, Production, and Pedagogy. The Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology 5(2): 95-112.

2004. Music is Good to Listen To and Good to Think (Review of Bosavi: Rainforest Music from Papua New Guinea (CD anthology), recorded and annotated by Steven Feld). The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 5(1): 71-7. [review article]

2003. History, Memory and Music: The Repatriation of Digital Audio to Yolngu Communities, or, Memory as Metadata. In Researchers, Communities, Institutions, Sound Recordings. (eds.) Linda Barwick, Jane Simpson and Amanda Harris. Sydney: University of Sydney.

2003. Melody and the Musical Articulation of Yolngu Identities. Yearbook for Traditional Music 35: 69-95.

2002. Review of People of the Rivermouth: The Joborr Texts of Frank Gurrmanamana by Les Hiatt, Kim McKenzie, Betty Ngurrabangurraba, Betty Meehan, and Rhys Jones. Australian Aboriginal Studies 2002 (number 2): 91-3.

2000. Ideology, Influence and Innovation: The Impact of Macassan Contact on Yolngu Music. Perfect Beat – The Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture 5(1): 22-41.