Our Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students undertake research under the supervision of our research staff and members, investigating issues related to ADI’s core themes of citizenship, diversity, inclusion and globalisation. A selection of our HDR students’ research topics and agendas can be found below.
The Bundy Family and the rise of radicalism in rural America
My research aims to understand how radical anti-government action and activism challenges political opinion. It also seeks to establish what impact these changes have had upon politics at a state level in Nevada. I will do so by investigating my case study, the Bundy family, whose standoffs in Oregon and Nevada has caused them to become celebrities of the far right in America. My research is a qualitative, thematic analysis using both interviews and media of politicians and journalists from Nevada and Oregon, to discern their reactions, views and the Bundy’s influence.
D'Arcy William Molan
The Wimmera Speaks: on place-based interventions and community capacity (Creative work and exegesis, SCCA)
This project is based in the Wimmera region of western Victoria, Australia, using a postcolonial theoretical lens. My non-Indigenous matrilineal connection to the Wimmera is an entry point. The Wimmera region is generally under-represented in terms of research and many Wimmera towns are struggling with declining populations and economic instability. Research on the regeneration of communities through artistic and placed-based interventions could help identify and strengthen regional opportunities. The creative artefact will present as a poetic nonlinear memoir addressing my grandmother's community building through music and place-making in the Wimmera.
Peter John McDermott
The History and Development of the Defence and Security relationship between Australia and Japan and its implications for future regional and global security: a practitioner’s perspective
My thesis describes and critically analyses the history and development of the Australia-Japan defence and security relationship (A-JDSR) since its tentative beginnings in the 1960s. As a previous practitioner in the A-JDSR I am writing In an autoethnographic approach. My analysis rests on: personal experience; a comprehensive literature search of public and private government and academic records; and an extensive interview program. It will provide a comprehensive, prospective and eclectic view of the contribution of the A-JDSR to Australia’s national security and will do so primarily from a practitioner’s perspective at a time of great tension between regional powers.
Towards Democratic Constraint: A Foreign Policy Analysis of Australia, Canada, and the UK's Decision to Fight the Islamic State
This project studies the foreign policy/domestic politics nexus as it looks for sources of ‘democratic constraint’ in decisions to go to war. Specifically, it compares the political norms, parliamentary debate, and media coverage of the decisions to fight the Islamic State in 2014 made by Australia, Canada, and the UK. It is based on the normative assumption that decisions as significant as going to war should be subject to thorough democratic deliberation. This includes transparent political discourse, independent media coverage, and political norms which allow elected representatives to be responsive to public opinion. Early findings from this project have been published in the International Journal of Press/Politics, Australian Journal of International Affairs, and the Australian Journal of Political Science.
Church and Development in PNG
My case research topic “Church and Development in PNG” investigates the role of the various Christian Churches in state-building prior to and since its Independence from Australia in 1975. These Churches include Catholic, Anglicans, United and Lutheran among others. First, a case study analysis of both the historical and contemporary role the Churches have played in the development of PNG will be presented. This review will consider the impact of both key Church leaders who played central roles in PNG’s Independence. Secondly, the research will consider the contemporary role Christian Churches play in the provision of social service in the country.
Preventing premature mortality from natural disasters
The deterioration of earth’s physical environment and natural ecosystems caused by human activity has not only increased the risk of human morbidity across entire planet but also increased the risk of mortality from exposure to natural hazard disasters which are growing in frequency, intensity and magnitude. This research project focuses on evidenced based health systems response necessary to prevent catastrophic levels of pre-mature mortality in communities exposed to evolving natural hazard disaster events.
One or two Armies? Ready or not? Relevant or not? - An analytical history of institional reviews of the Australian Army Reserve since 1999
This thesis will utilise a qualitative historical methodology to develop an analytical history of the recent reviews and strategic guidance pertinent to the Australian Army Reserve (a part-time element). The research aims to develop an analytical history of recent reviews into the ARES; compare them with similar contemporary US, UK and Canadian reviews; enhance understanding of the value proposition of the ARES in the context of workforce trends/future warfare and to inform ARES strategic guidance/force structure.
Lorayma So'otuli Taula
Tama’ita’i Samoa: The transnational place-making and experiences of young Samoan women in Australia and Samoa
My study focuses on how young Samoan women experience place and identity in the context of transnationalism in Melbourne, Shepparton and Apia, Samoa. The research takes an intersectional and interdisciplinary Pacific Studies approach, centring indigenous theory frameworks from Samoa in method and analysis. This research aims to unpack the ways in which these women recognise, carry or challenge what it means to be a ‘Tama’ita’i Samoa’ in different places. Exploring their transnational action embodies the symbolic connection between gender, movement and place-making.
Narratives of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in Australia
Tori is a late-phase PhD candidate at the Alfred Deakin Institute. The objective of her research is to better understand the motivations, experiences and viewpoints of unaccompanied children who arrive in Australia to seek asylum. Tori’s project explores the proposition that though situated at points of vulnerability during their journey to Australia, time in immigration detention and early settlement, young people seeking asylum are engaged in a complex negotiation between forces that act upon them and their ability to enact agency within those situations. Tori’s project uses an innovative narrative based methodology and narrative discourse analysis.
Exploring the impact of big data for national security intelligence production and use in Australia
My research explores the impact of the phenomenon ‘big data’ in Australian national security intelligence production and decision-making. Big data has become a ubiquitous feature in commercial enterprise however there is limited research globally on its current or potential impact in the national security environment. I spoke with senior and operational decision-makers in the Australian National Intelligence Community and independent experts. This research explores how the complex dynamics of these emerging and transformational technologies are confronting our existing ethics, laws, values and social norms.
Critical Spiritual (Progressive) Politics: Auroville and the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change
A variety of progressive scholars and public figures have argued that a ‘spiritual revolution’ is needed to deal with the challenges of our times. However there are recurring issues with many of these arguments, such as their reliance on an ahistorical ‘essence’ of spirituality, the re-inscription of colonialist discourses, and the failure to see the ways that ‘spirituality’ is deployed in the service of capitalism. My project is the development of a ‘critical spiritual politics’. I am exploring the ways that politically progressive people have engaged with spirituality, and the impact different spiritualities have on political beliefs and action.
Ghollam Abbas Farasoo
The impacts of proxy war on civil war dynamics: Afghanistan case from 2001 to 2014
Abbas Farasoo is PhD Candidate at Deakin University. He has BA in Journalism from Kabul University and an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in Japan. Abbas Farasoo’s research examines the impacts of proxy war on the dynamics of civil war” He investigates how regional and international levels of rivalries and contention impact internal conflicts and how different layers of proxy relations shape the dynamics of civil wars. Moreover, he is interested in Afghanistan and Pakistan history, ethnic conflict, nomad-sedentary conflict, social movements, counterterrorism, regionalism, and diplomacy. He is also interested in International Relations theories and meta-theories in social sciences such as critical realism and post-structuralist philosophy. Previously, he has worked as Chargé d'Affaires and Deputy Ambassador at Afghanistan Embassy in Australia (2014-2017) and as the Deputy Director-General for Regional Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan (2013-2014). He has taught at Gawharshad Institute of Higher Education (2013-2014) and Institution of Diplomacy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan (2013-2014). He is a frequent contributor to different newspapers on socio-political and current affairs.
What's the point? Program evaluation in small community development NGOs
Evaluation is axiomatically considered good and worthwhile. However, probing this assumption more closely uncovers numerous issues of concern, particularly in relation to complex social programs. This research investigates evaluation and its purpose, meaningfulness, and utility to small community development NGOs by examining evaluation in twenty such organisations through document analysis, interviews, and observation.
Sarah Al-Sheikh Cheikh-Husain
Countering Islamophobia: Muslim Community Organisations as Active Agents in a Dynamic Context
Sara Cheikh is the recipient of PhD Scholarship from the UNESCO Chair for Comparative Research on Cultural Diversity and Social Justice. She examines the Muslim Community Organisations in Victoria to understand their perception of Islamophobia and the ways by which they mobilise and engage to respond to the problem however with great attention to their context as agents operating within a field of power relations. To capture the dynamics of this agent-structure relations, she deploys Stones’ ‘Strong Structuration theory’ as a conceptual and an analytical tool.
Thoughts of the forest: An ethnographic study of Val Plumwood’s environmental philosophy
Zoë’s research focuses on the life and work of the Australian environmental philosopher Val Plumwood, examining the practices and relations – human and more-than-human - that shaped her thinking and asking what has come of this today. Taking seriously the influence of the forest in her work, the primary site of ethnographic research is at Plumwood Mountain in south-eastern NSW where she lived from 1975 until her death in 2008. The project will attend to questions about heritage and conservation; modes of knowing, relating, and being that emerge from place; and settler colonial relations to land.
Benjamin James Freeman
Australian Foreign Policy in the Context of US-China Rivalry
Australia recognises the geopolitical change occurring in the Asia-Pacific, with the most recent foreign policy white paper describing the region as “increasingly competitive and contested.” The relationship between Australia’s largest trading partner, China, and most significant security ally, the United States, is one of rivalry and oftentimes tension. As such, managing its key relationships as the world transitions from the existing international order is one of the most critical challenges facing Australian foreign policy. This thesis interrogates the options for Australia’s future international relations, arguing that a form of political non-alignment could best prepare Australia to navigate a path forward.
Comparing Policy Change: Perspectives and Evidence from Australia and the United States
This project will investigate times of change and stability in policy agendas in Australia and the United States by analysing the Comparative Policy Agenda Project datasets. Contemporary policy change theories – historical institutional and rational comprehensive frameworks – will be drawn upon to explain this project’s findings. Case study analysis will also be used to complement the data analysis. The project aims to expand the current Australian dataset to include budgetary data and update existing datasets to 2019. This updated dataset will capture recent events like the 2016 plebiscite and the 2019 Federal election which are expected to uncover important trends.