Faculty research themes

Faculty research themes

Theme: Societal Transformation

Cross-disciplinary research teams undertake analysis, measurement and critique of social, political, economic, religious and environmental change from ancient to contemporary societies. The theme seeks to understand the impact of transformation on societies at global, national and local levels while also exploring the impacts of societal transformation on people’s identities, intimate and family lives, and their perceptions of their place and role in society.

Stream: Migration, mobility and diversity

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Amanda Wise, A/Prof Chris Lyttleton

This stream brings together researchers from multiple disciplines with expertise on migration and mobility. It encompasses analyses of formations, experiences and social fields created by migration in diverse global settings. Specifically, our research examines transnational communities, intercultural relations and dynamics of integration and exclusion, movement of ideas and identities and attendant cultural and religious diversity, migrant health, economic and social remittances, impact on families and communities. We also address forces prompting increased mobility including labour supply-chains, economic and social aspirations, involuntary migration and resettlement, as well as mechanisms to control, channel and curtail people movement at national, regional and global levels.

Associated Departments:

Politics and International Relations, Anthropology, International Studies, MMCCS, Anthropology, Sociology

Associated Research Centres: 

Stream: Religions and society

Stream Leaders: Prof Marion Maddox, Dr Jaap Timmer

Research in Religions and Society brings together discipline specialists from across the Faculty to study the constellation of historical, social, cultural, legal and political phenomena related to religion. We analyse religions’ constantly-changing ideas, practices, discourses, institutions and social expressions, with particular attention to how such understanding illuminates the social and political changes of societies past and present, and the part that religion, broadly construed, might play in future societies. 

Associated Departments: 

Anthropology, Politics and International Relations, Sociology, Law, Cultural Studies, and Ancient History

Associated Research Centre: 

Stream: Social impacts of economic and organisational change

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Jean-Philippe Deranty, Dr Shaun Wilson

This stream applies the critical knowledge of philosophy, law and the social sciences to the study of economic and organisational change. Its premise is that changes to the regulatory framework, economic reforms, shifting organisational modes, and technical change have social impacts that reshape and complicate human interactions and generate new tensions and points of conflict. Major topics for analysis include: the shifting meanings of work, labour, the work ethic and employment; the emotional impact of financialisation and money relations; the significance of management ideas and philosophy in cultures of work and social organisation; the institutions to support a low-carbon economy; the social significance of employment precarity; and the shifting opportunities and resources for democratic challenges to organisational forms and economic ideas. 

Associated Departments: 

Sociology, Law, Philosophy, Modern History

Associated Research Centres: 

Stream: Intimate life and lived experience

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Robert Reynolds, Dr Shirleene Robinson

This research stream investigates the intricacies and dynamics of everyday experience with a particular emphasis on studying the history and contemporary formation of intimate human relationships. Crossing the disciplines of Anthropology, Sociology, Law, and History, researchers in this stream consider how intimate practices constitute individual and collective experience, from the local to the national and transnational. Our key research projects encompass the lived experience and politics of reproduction, the family, romantic love, friendship and sexuality, in settings as diverse as Australia, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific Region. 

Associated Departments:

Anthropology, Sociology, Law, Modern History

Stream: Cultural transformations of mind and self

Stream Leaders: Dr Richard Menary, A/Prof Greg Downey

How do cultural, social and technological environments transform us as human agents? This stream conducts philosophical, anthropological and psychological research into the ways that the sense of self and mental capacities can be augmented or diminished by the impact of the cultural environment. Researchers in the stream conduct high quality research on pressing questions such as: How did culture and mind co-evolve? How does the influence of culture on mental capacities lead to cognitive diversity? How does technological innovation affect embodied minds? How do social relations inhibit or enhance personal autonomy? How does culture influence fundamental cognitive capacities such as memory and belief formation, and does it play a role in the formation of disordered psychological states such as delusions?

Associated Departments: 

Anthropology, Philosophy, English

Associated Research Centres: 

Stream: Dynamics of the human environment

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Ken Sheedy, Dr Yann Tristant

This Stream examines interactions between landscape and humanity, and the anthropic transformation of the environment, over time. Its multidisciplinary research connects the Sciences and the Humanities: research programs on cultural interactions with the landscape, the built environment, and artefacts exploit developing technologies to understand material culture of past societies through fieldwork (e.g. GIS) and laboratory analysis (e.g. chemical and molecular analysis of artefacts).

Associated Departments:

Ancient History

Associated Research Centres:

Theme: Modes of Communication

Cross-disciplinary research teams undertake linguistic and historical research on ancient to contemporary languages, and the oral, written and material transmission and interpretation of cultural traditions. Researchers also investigate how people generate, interact and engage with creative writing and performance in contemporary environments, and undertake research on changing media technologies and their social and economic impact.

Stream: Language: oral and written cultures

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Malcolm Choat, Prof Martina Möllering, Prof Antonina Harbus

Focusing on the nexus between language and culture, this research theme comprises synchronic and diachronic analysis of language structure, including its development in the ancient world, and the use of language within and across cultures as a tool of communication and expression in oral and written forms. The exploration of language in intercultural interactions encompasses second language acquisition and educational linguistics, besides linguistic aspects of identity construction. Research on textual production, transmission and interpretation includes a focus on changing modes of communication and their cultural impacts, scribal and philological study of texts, and the artistic uses of language.

Associated Departments: 

Ancient History, International Studies, MMCCS, English

Associated Research Centre:

Stream: Media and performance Cultures

Stream Leaders: Prof Catharine Lumby, Prof Bridget Griffen-Foley

The Media and Performance Cultures Research Stream draws together researchers working across media, future journalism, social and online media and performance cultures. In the media field, the stream has key research strengths in social and online media production and use, gaming, media and journalism futures, media history, international and intercultural communication and media law and ethics. In the performance cultures area, key researchers are focused on theoretical work in popular music, dance and performance, music industry cultures and Asian and Oceanic music cultures. This stream includes researchers across media and performance cultures with significant and demonstrated national and international impact and a record of securing large competitive grants.

Associated Departments: 

MMCCS, Modern History, Sociology

Associated Research Centre:

Stream: Creative practice and creative industries

Stream Leaders: Prof Kathryn Millard, Prof Julian Knowles

The Creative Practice Research Stream brings together practice-based researchers across screen, performance, music, creative writing, and electronic arts. Its research tests and models new forms of creative practice and collaboration in order to contribute to a more robust and diverse creative arts sector. Creative Practice research at Macquarie coalesces around the following programmatic themes.

  • Non-fiction (screen, writing, audio)
  • Mediatized performance (live, recorded)
  • Fiction (writing and screen)
  • The creative and expressive potential of new technologies, platforms and media

Research outputs consist of creative works and publications that emerge from process-driven investigations into and through creative practice via a range of presentation contexts and platforms.

Associated Departments: 

MMCCS, English

Associated Research Group: 

Theme: Ethics, Governance and Justice

Cross-disciplinary research teams explore the normative and practical foundations of ethics, the law, governance and regulatory structures, including human rights regimes and other mechanisms of global governance, together with the impact of scientific, technological and environmental change on ethical and legal norms, practices and institutions. The theme also seeks to inform and analyse public and social policy and responsible business practices, and to investigate how institutions can support the empowerment of disenfranchised individuals and social groups.

Stream: Ethics in theory and practice

Stream Leaders: Prof Jeanette Kennett, Prof Wendy Rogers

This stream focuses on the connections between ethical theory and practice, leading to new conceptualisations of existing problems, and the development of theoretically robust responses to novel challenges. We explore ideas about human nature, agency and identity, and the responsibility and autonomy of individuals in the context of new technologies and scientific advances. The stream also encompasses questions raised by innovative technologies and scientific advances for professional responsibility and practice in the areas of research, health care and the law.

This cross cutting stream, with a strong foundation in ethical theory and accounts of human agency, has potential links and synergies with all of the other streams in the Ethics, Governance and Justice Faculty of Arts research theme. It also has potential for fruitful collaborations with additional research themes in this and other Faculties, especially the Faculty of Human Sciences. 

Associated Departments: 

Philosophy, Law, MMCCS, Law, Anthropology

Associated Research Centres: 

Stream: Human rights and social justice

Stream Leaders: Prof Denise Meyerson, A/Prof Joseph Pugliese

This stream encompasses multidisciplinary research on human rights and social justice from philosophical, legal and critical cultural studies perspectives. Research in this stream addresses social, institutional and legal mechanisms for achieving equality and enhancing access to justice, especially in so far as vulnerable individuals and disenfranchised social groups are concerned. We also undertake research that investigates histories of subjugation and regimes of disenfranchisement and the attendant progressive social movements that they have generated. This stream understands social justice in the larger sense of the word, so that it encompasses human, animal and environmental relations.

Associated Departments: 

Law, Philosophy, Anthropology, Modern History, Sociology, Geography and Planning, International Studies

Associated Research Centre: 

Stream: Governance, institutions and social policy

Stream Leaders: Prof Brian Opeskin, Prof Stephanie Lawson

This stream focuses on aspects of governance from the local to the global with reference to both formal and informal structures and institutions as well as the norms, values and ideologies underpinning these. Research in this stream includes regional governance; climate governance; the role of culture, religion and ethnicity; the regulation of human mobility; the way in which judicial systems underpin the rule of law; and the legal/philosophical underpinnings of governance and institutions.

Associated Departments: 

Law, Anthropology, Sociology, Philosophy, Modern History

Associated Research Centre: 

Theme: Health and Resilience

Cross-disciplinary research teams seek to identify the genetic, physiological, psychological, environmental, social and economic basis of human health and resilience in our complex world. The theme seeks to identify markers of poor emotional and physical health and to develop and evaluate targeted interventions to promote and sustain emotional and physical wellbeing across the lifespan. Researchers also seek to enhance the productivity and sustainability of health care systems to support national wellbeing and improve resource allocation.

Stream: Social dimensions of health

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Lisa Wynn, A/Prof Sonia Allan

This multidisciplinary research stream brings together a variety of perspectives concerning the social underpinnings to health. Specific research focuses include the global political economy of disparate health conditions; sociocultural and environmental determinants of health; distribution of health resources; access to health resources; bioethics; legal frameworks and regulation of health practices and technologies; and community and individualised perceptions of risk. Researchers have particular expertise in sexual and reproductive health, children’s health, mental health, disabilities, addiction, global health, infectious disease, new health technologies and commodities, ethics, law and health policy and promotion.

Associated Departments: 

Law, Modern History, Politics and International Relations, MMCCS, Sociology, Anthropology

Associated Research Centres:
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