Research in our departments

Research in our departments

The Faculty of Arts Themes and Streams identifies areas of cross- disciplinary research strength within the Faculty.  The Faculty comprises 11 departments and a school, each with its own areas of research strength.

Ancient History

Research in Ancient History includes archaeological, linguistic, and textual studies of the history and society of a range of cultures from early ancient through to medieval times.

Areas of particular research strength include ancient Egypt; the Greek, Hellenistic, and especially Roman Mediterranean periods; Late Antiquity, Coptic Egypt, early medieval Europe, and Byzantium; early Christianity; Archaeology and Artefact studies; and Language studies.

Two research centres, the Macquarie University Ancient Cultures Research Centre (MQACRC) and the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies (ACANS), serve as foci for research.


The Department of Anthropology has research strengths in a number of core areas of socio-cultural anthropology.

Special areas of expertise include medical anthropology covering global health, infectious disease, reproductive and sexual health and psychological anthropology. A second overarching theme of staff research covers religion studies, in particular Islam and new religious formations. A third area of expertise is development studies and the social impact of globalising economic formations, mobility and migration, human rights, and new social movements.

A further area of research interest is phenomenology, embodied experience and the anthropology of emotion.


Research in the Department of English is organised around four clusters: written and visual cultures in Australia; the English literary tradition; children’s literature; and creative writing.

Research in this field includes the study of literature in relation to cultural history and theory, especially the history of ideas; creative writing practice and theory; bibliographical work; and the study of literary theory. Texts studied range from the medieval to the contemporary, from the dramatic to the autobiographical, from the British and the colonial to the postcolonial.

Geography and Planning

Department of Geography and Planning conduct innovative theoretical and policy relevant research on the social, ecological and institutional dimensions of change at multiple scales, addressing some of the major environmental and developmental challenges confronting our world.

It has research strengths in four core areas: Indigenous geographies and critical development studies of Australia and the Asia-Pacific; Urban governance, planning, housing studies and home; Climate change adaptation and mitigation; and Environmental humanities, environmental management and political ecology.

International Studies

Research in the Department of International Studies is focused on the nexus between language and culture, e.g. historical and linguistic description of languages, and literary productions in specific languages and of individual writers and in the context of intercultural interactions.

In addition research includes areas of Applied Linguistics, such as corpus-based approaches to language teaching and computer-mediated communication in second language acquisition, as well as language teaching methodology more generally.

Macquarie Law School

The Macquarie Law School has significant research strength in the areas of environmental law, encompassing both its international and domestic application, and the broad discipline of international law generally.

Its research concentrations also extend to the broad field of public law, with a specific focus on issues of legal governance and regulatory frameworks in a globalized context, philosophical and theoretical approaches to human rights and ethical challenges, and mechanisms for enhancing access to justice and equality. In the private law area, research focuses on the law of obligations governing the interactions of individuals and entities in a range of social and economic contexts.

Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

The research strengths of the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies articulated across five research clusters: Critical Inquiry and Cultural History, which critically examines sociocultural institutions and practices; Creative Ecologies Lab, which focuses on the creative aspects of research, including screen production, performance and writing; Media and Journalism Futures, which examines the role of new media and its impact on the futures of journalism; Music and Sound Cultures, which focuses on music production and performance; and Oceania and Asia, which focuses on the cultures of the Australasian region.

Modern History

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. Modern History is also the ‘birthplace’ and home of Big History which tells the story of the universe from the Big Bang to our complex modern societies by drawing on insights from various scientific disciplines.

Politics and International Relations

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, 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.


The Department of Philosophy has long-standing research strengths in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, social philosophy and European philosophy. More recently it has also developed specialisations in applied ethics, bioethics and moral cognition.

Much of the research undertaken by Philosophy staff is interdisciplinary in character and is guided by the results of empirical enquiry. The Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics serves as a focal point for much of this interdisciplinary research.

A further distinguishing feature of research in Philosophy is a commitment to engaging with major contemporary issues, drawing on a plurality of philosophical traditions (both ‘analytic’ and ‘European’) as well as the scientific literature.

Security Studies and Criminology

Research in the Department of Security Studies and Criminology (formerly Department of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism) is focused within the disciplines of security studies and criminology. PICT researchers are actively involved with the conceptual and empirical exploration of new and emerging criminal and security threats, as well as with the critical examination of governmental policy and strategy, particularly regarding the military, law enforcement and intelligence services.


Sociologists at Macquarie University undertake theoretically informed critical research on social issues within Australia and internationally. Core to our approach is the integration of theory and empirical work, with research strengths in advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Specialist research expertise is organised around five clusters: Political Economy and Social Policy; Public Sphere, Social Movements & Everyday citizenship; Migration & Multiculturalism; Gender, Generations and the Intimate Sphere; and the Sociology of Culture & Everyday Life.

Content owner: Research Last updated: 01 May 2019 11:02am

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