Our Research Themes

Social change and cultural conflict

Our researchers study the literary and cultural responses to modern war, from the eighteenth century to the present day, in national and transnational frames, and often with national and international collaborators. We specialise in questions of remembrance, reconciliation and identity, the book history of modern war, the history of censorship, the role of journalism in modern conflict, as well as the cultural work of distinct genres such as the military memoir, the war novel and travel writing. Hosting a cluster of researchers from different disciplines and with intersecting expertise in these fields, our School offers a congenial environment in which to investigate the cultural mediation of war, from a range of perspectives and approaches, and with unrivalled library resources.

Culture, literature and media in war

Our researchers study the literary and cultural responses to modern war, from the eighteenth century to the present day, in national and transnational frames, and often with national and international collaborators. We specialise in questions of remembrance, reconciliation and identity, the book history of modern war, the history of censorship, the role of journalism in modern conflict, as well as the cultural work of distinct genres such as the military memoir, the war novel and travel writing. Hosting a cluster of researchers from different disciplines and with intersecting expertise in these fields, our School offers a congenial environment in which to investigate the cultural mediation of war, from a range of perspectives and approaches, and with unrivalled library resources.

Military History

The military history research program leads the discipline nationally, with a significant and growing international presence in the study of armed conflict and society in historical perspective. Individual researchers specialise in both the broader impact of war and armed conflict upon society and the technical dimensions of war expressed in strategy and policy, doctrine, administration, logistics, tactical systems and modern staff structures, and on land, sea and air. We also have specific expertise in German, US, Australian, French, Ottoman and Turkish, British and Empire/Commonwealth military history, the two world wars, and in the fields of naval and maritime history. The Academy Library contains the best and most extensive collections of military history in the Southern Hemisphere.

Australian Literature

Our researchers initiated, and remain a vital part of, the Australian literature e-resource AustLit, the premier bibliographic tool in Australian literary studies, and the Academy Library holds an unrivalled manuscript collection relating to contemporary Australian writers. The Australian Scholarly Editions Centre has been hosted by the School since 1993, publishing authoritative editions of major Australian texts. Our researchers have expertise in most of nineteenth and twentieth-century Australian literature, employing interdisciplinary cultural history and theory, including book history, textual studies and international comparative frames. We offer outstanding resources for higher degree research in these fields.

Global Security

Our researchers in this area concentrate on long-standing and emerging challenges in national, regional and global security, with a particular focus on: Australian defence and security policy; the Asia-Pacific region; nuclear weapons; human security; and global security governance. We pursue a range of interests: managing strategic stability and preventing conflict; relations with a rising China; military diplomacy; nuclear arms control and disarmament; security ethics; and the politics of security. Our researchers are also leaders in applying non-traditional approaches such as human security, resilience and cosmopolitanism to new security challenges: climate change; natural disasters; systemic insecurity; ethnic conflict; terrorism; and post-modern conflicts. The Academy Library’s unrivalled collections in defence and security studies make this an ideal venue for this type of research.

International ethics, norms and law

Our researchers draw on thoughts and principles from political theory, international relations and moral philosophy, combining those theoretical ideas with practical considerations of international law and the norms of established international practice, to provide answers to a range of diverse and pressing problems in world politics. Researchers in this area pursue a range of interests: pacifism and conscientious objection; the ethical impact of new military technologies; global distributive justice; gender and identity-politics; problems of counter-terrorism; cyber security; the responsibility to protect; the ethics of intelligence collection; and the moral responsibilities of international organisations, such as states, corporations and NGOs. With world leading researchers we offer outstanding supervision and resources for those wishing to conduct higher degree research in these areas and related fields.

Asia-Pacific Politics and Security

The School supports interdisciplinary approaches to understanding Australia’s neighbouring region, one of the most dynamic but also most volatile in the world. Our researchers use the methods of social anthropology, political science and history to explore the changes underway in the region. Current research topics include social development, policy and security studies, and civil society. The Academy Library and Asian language collection at the nearby National Library of Australia offer outstanding research resources. We have hosted the Asia Pacific Seminar Series for more than a decade to share current research with our local, national and international colleagues, and we have a small but vibrant group of research students working on topics with a focus on Southeast and East Asia.