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.

Theme Leader: Dr Kristian Ruming

Stream: Environmental Humanities

Stream Leaders: Dr Donna Houston, Dr Emily O'Gorman and Dr Rebecca Giggs

Environmental Humanities is an interdisciplinary field that both serves as an umbrella for environmental subfields in the social sciences and humanities and promotes the productive cross-fertilisation of ideas between them. This stream brings together scholars from multiple disciplines from across the Faculty who research in this and related fields, broadly addressing the social and cultural dimensions of environmental consciousness and change. Researchers in this stream have strengths in the following areas: animal and multispecies studies; environment and law; more-than-human geography and political ecology; environmental history; big history, deep time and the Anthropocene; environmental philosophy; environmental anthropology; biosemiotics and bioarts; history and philosophy of science; eco-poetics and literary eco-criticism; Indigenous people’s relationships with environments; place-making; and other interdisciplinary studies, including practice-led creative research and interpretations of the Anthropocene.

Associated Departments: 

Geography and Planning, Anthropology, English, Law, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Philosophy, Sociology

Associated Research Centres: 

Stream: Intimate life and lived experience

Stream Leaders: Dr Harry Blatterer, 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: 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, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Sociology

Associated Research Centres: 

Stream: Pacific Research

Stream Leaders: Dr Kate Fullagar, Dr Denis Crowdy

Pacific Researchers at MQ focus on social, political, linguistic, environmental, and cultural topics related to the Pacific in both contemporary and historical frames. This stream includes scholars from Modern History, Politics, Media, Music, Anthropology, Geography, and French Studies within the Faculty of Arts. Researchers in this stream have particular strengths in: tracing changes in contemporary music in Papua New Guinea; exploring the shifting contemporary politics of Fiji; investigating the cultural role of literature in Francophone Pacific Islands; engaging with Pacific indigenous communities in Australia; analysing the anthropology of religion, material culture, and law in Melanesia; making documentary films in the Pacific and interrogating the history of war, diplomacy, and the environment throughout Polynesia.  The stream builds on a group first brought together in 2015. Since that time, we have met for informal presentations, an HDR workshop, a film screening, and the hosting of a major national annual lecture. As a stream, we will continue to gather and grow as a research community and to convene local events that encourage public engagement with Pacific-centred work.

Associated Departments:

Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Geography and Planning, Anthropology, International Studies

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: 

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.

Theme Leader: A/Prof Andrew Gillett

Stream: Cognitive Humanities

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

Cognitive Humanities explores how the Humanities and Cognitive Sciences can beneficially and productively engage more fully with each other’s ideas and methods.  Researchers on literature, film, history, philosophy, and linguistics join with colleagues in Cognitive Science to explore the interactions between mental operations and human expression.  Through this collaboration, we consider how an analysis of the functioning of the human mind can expand our understanding of linguistic and textual production and reception, and how engaging in these transdisciplinary inquiries expands the critical resources and opportunities for analysing human expression and interpretative processes.

Associated Departments: 

English, Ancient History, Cognitive Science, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Linguistics

Associated Research Centre:

Stream: Creative Documentary Research

Stream Leaders: Prof Kathryn Millard, Dr Tom Murray, Dr Ilona Hongisto

New digital technologies and mindsets have led to a proliferation of non-fiction work that has been described as a ‘golden age of documentary’: creative works that ‘engage with the real.’ As new platforms evolve, boundaries between previously separate genres, art-forms, conceptualisations, and stages blur, and documentary works are migrating to mobile screens, art galleries and online environments, in addition to more established broadcast environments. At the same time, creative practice is increasingly accepted as a way of knowing about the world and has taken on increased significance in our research environment.  Documentary is inherently interdisciplinary, combining perspectives from media, writing, ethnography, geography, performance and the digital humanities.  This research cluster brings together researchers and researcher-practitioners with a commitment to produce and analyse creative documentary.

Associated Departments: 

Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Modern History Politics and International Relations, Philosophy, Anthropology, English, International Studies

Stream: Creative Writing Research

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Jane Messer, Dr Kate Rossmanith

Researchers in the Creative Writing Cluster work across both creative practice and traditional modes of research.  The cluster seeks to develop a research-informed approach to shared creative practice approaches and methodologies, including creative nonfiction writing, ethnography, cultural history, studies in everyday life and life writing, memoir, and narrative studies.  Collaborative research activities involve trans-disciplinary researcher-practitioners in the examination of issues such as the development of strategies to negotiate the complex relationship between ‘self’ and ‘the world’ in their writing, an ongoing issue for scholars and writers working in the humanities, creative writing, and creative practice research.

Associated Departments: 

English, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Sociology, Anthropology

Stream: Markers of Authenticity

Stream Leaders: A/Prof Malcolm Choat, Dr Rachel Yuen-Collingridge

How do we distinguish the real from the fake? How can we trust what we perceive? How stable is our hold on the truth? This cross-disciplinary research network seeks to understand why authenticity matters so much and to look at the ways in which it has been used to construct our relationship with the past, with ourselves and one another, with objects, animals, and the environment. The research program takes on issues as diverse as authorial and creative practice; memory and cognition; cultural heritage; looting and the antiquities trade; forgery; the relationship between the academy and the public; the expert and the amateur; technique and motivation; performance and experience; natural and artificial environments; virtual worlds and the augmentation of the body and our senses.  These issues are examined in the Markers of Authenticity research cluster, and addressed from various perspectives in the seminar series.

Associated Departments: 

Ancient History, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Modern History Politics and International Relations, Security Studies and Criminology, Philosophy, English, International Studies

Associated Research Centre:

Stream: World Literatures and Cultures

Stream Leaders: Dr Alys Moody, A/Prof Ulrike Garde, Dr Jumana Bayeh

The World Literatures and Cultures Research will focus on how texts and cultural artefacts engage with transnationalism, globalisation, and other forms of mobility. We conceive of this rubric as incorporating research into both how texts, artworks, performances and media circulate globally or transnationally, and how they record and represent other forms of mobility, such as the refugee, the migrant, and the global nomad. We welcome all researchers whose work fits within this broad remit. We are keen to involve colleagues whose work focuses on any period, from antiquity to the contemporary, and any genre or medium,  including literature, visual cultures, film, media, popular culture,  music, performance, and so forth.

Associated Departments: 

English, International Studies, Modern History Politics and International Relations, Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Ancient History

Emerging Research Cluster: AI and Robotics: Ethics and Communication

Cluster Leaders: Dr Yuji Sone, Prof Joseph Pugliese, Dr Wade Marynowsky

This research cluster explores non-traditional research collaboration opportunities involving Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.  It explores the ethical, social, and political issues generated by the increasing integration of robots and AI within contemporary culture.  It also addresses the new modes of human/robot communication under development and the creative practices that shape these modes of interaction and engagement.

Associated Departments: 

Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Philosophy, Engineering, Computing

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.

Theme Leader: A/Prof Therese MacDermott

Stream: Ethics in theory and practice

Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE)

Stream Leaders: Prof Catriona Mackenzie, 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: Governance, institutions and social policy

Stream Leaders: A/ Prof Therese MacDermott

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: 

Stream: Human rights and social justice

Macquarie University Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE)

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: 
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