Our research

Our research

There are two main streams of research in the department.

Research in Modern History covers the fields of Australian, Aboriginal, European and world history. Research strengths in the discipline include the history of gender and sexuality; biographic and oral histories; the history of ideas in everyday life; and public and popular history.

Research in Politics and International Relations covers the broad fields of Australian, comparative and international politics, political (including international) theory, foreign policy and public policy.

Specific research projects include: US foreign policy; nationalism and the state; secessionism Europe and Eurasian national and international politics; Middle East and North African politics; North/South relations, the history of ideas; religion and politics; environmental politics; regionalism in the Southwest Pacific; the politics of Indigenous identity; the politics of sexuality, and the politics of the family.

Research clusters

Biographic and Oral History

Historians in this cluster investigate how individuals have experienced, challenged and even produced social, political and cultural change. In particular, we are interested in how historical circumstances produce ways of feeling, being and seeing the world, how these subjectivities made it possible to both make and resist change, and how the study of personal, familial and intimate life can differently explain the cause and effect of these historical transformations. We both investigate and unsettle the relationship between the individual and the social, the emotional and the cultural, the familial and the political, and even question whether Western conceptions of the autonomous self should be employed to tell stories about Europe's historical others. Modern History staff in this research concentration include:

Leigh Boucher, Matthew Bailey, Sean Brawley, Tanya Evans, Kate Fullagar, Mark Hearn, Alison Holland, Robert Reynolds, Shirleene Robinson.

History of Ideas in Everyday Life

Historians in this cluster investigate how ideas have worked in everyday life, from the public sphere to popular culture. We trace not only how ideas circulated in these realms but also how everyday practices altered and even constituted them. Our localised histories of 'big' ideas challenge understandings of their origins, trajectories, and effects. Modern History staff in this research concentration include:

Kate Fullagar, Leigh Boucher, Mark Hearn, Michelle Arrow, Alison Holland, Nicholas Scott Baker, Matthew Baile

Public and Popular History

Historians in this cluster investigate the ways that history is understood in public life and popular culture, including analyses of historical fiction, film and television and the work of community groups. These historians produce original analyses of these forms of history, but they also work in partnership with community groups and media organizations to create history in a variety of forms and to communicate history to diverse audiences. Historians in this cluster include:

Michelle Arrow, Matthew Bailey, David Christian, Tanya Evans, Mark Hearn,  Shirleene Robinson

Histories of Gender and Sexuality

Historians in this cluster explore the ways gender and sexuality have impacted on individual and collective experiences and the ways that individuals, groups and societies have understood, negotiated and challenged these concepts. Research in this field locates gender and sexuality as forces of historical change. Researchers are interested in the emergence and transformation of gender identities and gender movements, sexual subcultures and intimate life, as well as the way societies respond to these challenges and changes. Historians in this cluster investigate:

Michelle Arrow, Nicholas Baker, Tanya Evans, Alison Holland, Clare Monagle, Robert Reynolds, Shirleene Robinson,  Leigh Boucher

Nationalism, Supranationalism and the State

This research cluster examines the phenomena of nationalism, supranationalism, and the state, and interactions between them. Members include Sasa Pavkovic, Steve Wood, Geoffrey Hawker, Lloyd Cox, Conor Keane and Glenn Diesen. Since its formation in March 2014, the cluster has produced 3 books, 11 academic journal articles, 6 book chapters, 2 encyclopaedia entries, and five PhD completions. Several other scholarly works are under review or nearing completion. Members of the cluster have also presented at conferences, organized discussion fora, and engaged with national and international media.

Regional and national specializations include Russia and the former Soviet Space, the former Yugoslavia, the European Union, Germany, Turkey, the United States, and Africa. Themes and issues explored include international security, secession, image and prestige, revenge as political motivation, nationalism and emotion, anthems, democratization, and regional conflict.

In Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as in the UK and Spain, discourses emphasizing national and sub-national identities and interests came to dominate public spaces and new conflicts have erupted.  The project of a supranational European polity embedded in the EU has come under increasing strain. Many challenges also confront the project of democracy in Africa. The adjoining states of Zimbabwe and South Africa were the last in Africa to come to majority rule and independence, and each has been governed by a hegemonic party since those transitions.  New political parties and social formations now challenge the hegemons. African nations are different in their history and capacity but their fortunes are also linked through ideology, economics and dependency on international capital.

Politics and Religion

This research cluster caters for staff and HDR students from Politics and International Relations and other departments interested in the intersections of politics, religion, secularism and related themes. Through fortnightly reading groups and occasional longer workshops and seminars, cluster members discuss emerging work from a range of disciplines that relate to the theme of politics and religion and share methodological approaches.

Recent international guests hosted by the cluster have included Professors Michael Minkenberg (Berlin) and Manon Tremblay (Ottawa), both now engaged in collaborative work with Macquarie cluster members. Cluster member Sean Durbin was recently awarded the annual PhD thesis prize by the Australian Political Studies Association for his work on Christian Zionism. Cluster leaders Marion Maddox and Ian Tregenza both hold ARC grants.

Global, Regional and Transnational Governance

Members of this research cluster work on a variety of topics related to the theme of transnational, regional and global governance.

Current projects include regionalism and sub-regionalism, governance of energy innovation, issues in international political economy and postcolonial theory, nuclear proliferation and South Asian security, militarism and gender representations, and culture and politics in the Middle East.

A joint workshop between the Global and Transnational Governance and the Politics and Religion clusters on the topic of Conservative Religion and Neoliberalism, supported by a Faculty grant, is planned for 2015. Cluster leader Stephanie Lawson holds an ARC grant on regional politics in the Southwest Pacific.

The Centre for Research into Global Power, Inequality and Conflict

The Centre for Research into Global Power, Inequality and Conflict is a Macquarie University Faculty of Arts Research Centre primarily focused on studying the myriad challenges resulting from the historical and contemporary structural and symbolic inequalities that continue to define the contemporary world.


Recent staff publications

  • Aleksandar Pavkovic (2016) Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans: Anthems and the Making of Nation States in Southeast Europe. A. Pavkovic and Christopher Kelen. London, I.B. Tauris
  • Jonathan Symons (forthcoming, 2016) Altman, Dennis & Jonathan Symons, Queer Wars: The New Global Polarization over Gay Rights, Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Jumana Bayeh 2015 The Literature of the Lebanese Diaspora: Representations of Place and Transnational Identity (London: I.B. Tauris)
  • Tanya Evans, Fractured Families: Life On The Margins in Colonial New South Wales (University of New South Wales Press Ltd, 2015)
  • Ashley Lavelle (2015) Radical Challenges to the Family: From the Sixties to Same-Sex Marriage, Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Morris Morley (2015) Reagan and Pinochet: The Struggle over US policy towards Chile. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Marion Maddox (2014) Taking God to School: The End of Australia's Egalitarian Education? Sydney: Allen & Unwin
  • Clare Monagle, Orthodoxy and Controversy in Twelfth-Century Religious Discourse: Peter Lombard's 'Sentences' and the Development of Theology, 1050-1215 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013)
  • Nicholas Scott Baker, The Fruit of Liberty: Political Culture in the Florentine Renaissance, 1480-1550 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013)
  • Noah Bassil, N.R. (2013) The Crisis of the Post-Colonial Sudanese State: Origins of the Conflict in Darfur, London: I.B. Tauris and Co
  • Ashley Lavelle (2013) The Politics of Betrayal: Renegades and Ex-Radicals from Mussolini to Christopher Hitchens, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Stephanie Lawson (2013) Introduction to Politics, Canadian edn, Oxford, Oxford University Press (co-authored with John Garner, Peter Ferdinand and David. B.MacDonald).
  • Tanya Evans, with Pat Thane, Sinners, Scroungers, Saints: Unmarried Motherhood in Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • Brawley SS; Dixon C, 2012, Hollywood's South Seas and the Pacific War: Searching for Dorothy Lamour, First, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012
  • Kate Fullagar, The Savage Visit: New World People and Popular Imperial Culture in Britain, 1710-1795 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)
  • Kate Fullagar, The Atlantic World in the Antipodes: Effects and Transformations since the Eighteenth Century (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012)
  • Jonathan Symons (2012) Anceschi, Luca and Jonathan Symons (eds), Energy Security in the Era of Climate Change: The Asia-Pacific Experience, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
  • David Christian, Big History a set of 48 lectures for the Teaching Company, 2008.
  • David Christian, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. Foreword by W.H. McNeill, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Content owner: Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations Last updated: 30 May 2019 12:20pm

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