Dr Debra Parkinson, Thesis Award Winner 2015

IMG_3831 (1)At the 2015 October Graduate Symposium, the award for best thesis in the Social & Political Sciences was presented to Dr Debra Parkinson, Women’s experience of violence following the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires (Supervisors: Dr Kirsten McLean/Dr Danielle Tyson/Professor Denise Cuthbert (RMIT) 

As in the examiners’ reports, the expert panel in SoSS identified this thesis as excellent and able to make a real contribution to services and responses for women facing violence in disaster.

This thesis makes an original and substantial contribution to knowledge in an area of pressing social concern. The potential impact of the research in the policy domain is significant. The thesis is both theoretically informed and grounded in a contemporary social problems related to family violence and disaster management.

Since her graduation, Debra has been appointed as an Adjunct Research Fellow and at the head of a collaboration between the Monash Injury Research Institute (MIRI), and her two employers (Women’s Health Goulburn North East and Women’s Health In the North). She is leading the  Gender and Disaster Pod, which is involved in key projects addressing women’s well-being and security.


Dara Conduit (PhD, Politics and International Relations) addresses the United Nations

Dara Conduit at the United Nations
Dara Conduit at the United Nations


In July 2015, as a result of her ground-breaking work on foreign fighters, Dara Conduit (Supervisor: Dr Ben MacQueen) was invited to address an expert audience at the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries. Her invitation was prompted by an article in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism published by Dara and her Monash colleague Ben Rich, as well as her PhD research on the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian uprising more broadly.



Sue Stevenson 50 years at Monash

Sue Stevenson with colleagues at the celebration
Sue Stevenson with colleagues at the celebration

On 17 September Monash staff, alumni and graduate students came together to celebrate the presentation of Sue Stevenson’s medal for 50 years of service. This is the first 50 year service medal ever presented. At this event, hosted by Professor Rae Frances, Dean of Arts, presentations by Head of School of Social Sciences, Professor Sharon Pickering, Emeritus Professor Gary Bouma and Karen Haywood, Executive Director HR outlined Sue’s exceptional service in all areas, and her commitment to graduate students in particular. Sue’s meticulous care and professionalism were praised by all.

Sue with Dr Usep Matin (PhD 2015)
Sue with Dr Usep Matin (PhD 2015)

As Professor Pickering noted in

Sue Stevenson at the Graduate Symposium October 2015
Sue Stevenson at the Graduate Symposium October 2015

her presentation, every research thesis student in the Social and Political Sciences in the last two decades has acknowledged Sue as crucial in the successful completion of their graduate degree. Sue was also honored at the Social & Political Sciences Graduate Symposium in October. Our heartfelt appreciation to Sue on this extraordinary milestone.


Visit of Criminology staff and students from Mahidol University

image1Under the leadership of Associate Dean International Dr Cecilia Hewlett, Criminology staff Dr Danielle Tyson and Dr Lennon Chang, Social and Political Sciences Graduate Program Director, Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher,  and Criminology PhD students met with staff and student visitors from the Criminology Program at Mahidol University.  The delegation was led by Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Professor Wariya Chinwanno, and included key Criminology staff  Associate Professors Srisombat Chokprajakchat and Tunyatorn Insorn.  Discussions focused on student exchange, and shared research areas including borders and migration.


The first Social Science PhD at Monash: Professor Lois Bryson

Emerita Professor Byron with her 1970 thesis
Emerita Professor Bryson with her 1970 thesis

Emerita Professor Lois  Bryson received  her PhD in sociology at Monash University in 1970. Throughout a distinguished career, she published on social policy, gender, work, the welfare state and women’s health, making a critical contribution to women’s welfare and leadership in a rapidly changing Australian landscape. Her study, An Australian Newtown (1972) was the first Australian sociological study of a suburb,  written with Faith Thompson.

 Bryson occupied academic leadership positions at the University of New South Wales (1980-1983) and the University of Newcastle. Later,  at the University of Newcastle,  she was Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, retiring as Emerita Professor in 1997. She was President of SAANZ from 1975-1976. In 1998, she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.


Congratulations to Shirin Malek Pour, winner of the Faculty of Arts 3MT Thesis Challenge

Shirin Malek Pour receives her award from Professor Farzad Sharifian, Associate Dean Graduate Research.

Last week, Shirin Malek Pour, from the Human Geography cohort, won the Faculty of Arts 3MT Thesis  competition. Shirin’s presentation focused on possible planning interventions towards sustainable futures in terms of infrastructure, development needs and optimal environmental outcomes. Many congratulations to Shirin on her outstanding performance. 



Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher: Faculty of Arts Excellence in Supervision Award 2014

Professor Rae Frances, Dean of Arts presenting the  Excellence in Supervision Award
Professor Rae Frances, Dean of Arts presenting the Excellence in Supervision Award

In 2014, Social and Political Sciences Program Director, Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, was the winner of 2014 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Higher Degree by Research Supervision, Faculty of ArtsThis award was given for ‘exemplary support and direction of graduate researchers’. 


Politics and International Relations

Politics and International Relations at Monash is home to some of the leading experts in the discipline. The research interests of our scholars include: Australian Politics; Governance and Leadership; Contemporary Political Theory; Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism; Gender, Development and Religion; Global Political Institutions; Postconflict and Reconciliation; Asia, Europe and Middle East and North Africa regions; and Political Psychology. Our postgraduate students have the opportunity to conduct their research in a supportive environment under the supervision of academics who are leaders in their areas of expertise.  Recent graduates from our program include Dr Stephen Acreman, now a lecturer in the Department of Politics at Otago University, and Dr Virginie Andre, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University


Social & Political Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

Each year, a two day Graduate Symposium is run by a Graduate Student Committee.

The 2014 Committee: Sally Ka-wing Lo, Brandy Cochrane, James Wong, Kate Burns and Dara Conduit
The 2014 Committee: Sally Ka-wing Lo, Brandy Cochrane, James Wong, Kate Burns and Dara Conduit

This fully funded event, run in the last week of October each year, offers the opportunity for all graduate students to present their work and listen to presentations by early career researchers about career planning and progress. Attended by academics from all disciplines, this is a key event in the Graduate Calendar.

IMG_3790 (1)In 2015 for the first time, students were invited to submit full papers for review and prizes were awarded for the best paper. The award was shared by Cara Gledhill and Kim Lee Lam. Many congratulations to them and their supervisors.



Anthropology is a research intensive discipline area within Monash. We have world-leading staff researching human diversity in a range of fields especially within SE Asia and Australia including: religion and religious communication in Indonesia, gender, international development; international migration and asylum seekers; medical anthropology, the body and biotechnology; reproductive health, medical travel,  and multicultural Australia. We also collaborate with our colleagues throughout SoSS and the Monash Indigenous Centre. Monash anthropologists currently hold numerous grants including two ARC Future Fellowships (Associate Professor Andrea Whittaker and Dr Julian Millie); an ARC DECRA (Dr Antje Missbach); various ARC Discovery Projects and; ARC Linkage Projects as well as other grants including collaborations Oxfam (Dr Sara Niner) and other NGOs. With Monash Anthropology, you will receive dedicated supervision from experienced academics who are leaders in their fields.


Congratulations to Clifford Amoako (Human Geography): Finalist of the 2014 Urban Poverty Paper Competition

Accra Ghana
Accra Ghana

Many congratulations to Clifford Amoako (Human Geography) , whose paper  “The Politics of Flood Vulnerability in Informal Settlements around the Korle Lagoon in Accra, Ghana” has been selected as a Finalist of the 2014 Urban Poverty Paper Competition. The 2014 Urban Poverty Paper Competition is sponsored by Cities Alliance, International Housing Coalition, USAID, Wilson Center, and The World Bank. Clifford will be funded to present at a policy workshop at the Wilson Center Washington in January 2015 and will then have his paper published there.



shutterstock_50000521 (1)Monash Criminology attracts outstanding national and international postgraduate research candidates. We currently have over 20 current postgraduates and since 2007 have had over 15 postgraduates successfully graduate with a PhD or MA (research).  The team of researchers in Criminology at Monash are leaders in their field, changing the way we think about and do justice in every setting across local, national and international contexts. We consider our postgraduates to be a part of this team, leading the way in innovative new research in important fields of inquiry. Our recent graduates are now undertaking a range of important research roles- from research and teaching roles in Australian and International Universities, to leading policy and operational practice at the State and National level in Australia in government and non-government agencies, to leading significant research programs at significant research institutes. Recent postgraduates include Dr Alison Gerard, now a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Charles Sturt University and the 2012 recipient of the Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for the excellent research presented in her thesis, The Securitisation of Migration and Refugee Women. Monash Criminology research covers a broad range of areas, as detailed on our current research page and we welcome new and interconnected graduate research projects. The Criminology program invests in postgraduate research within in our program and nationally, and are committed to the production of excellent in postgraduate supervision and graduate outcomes for our research students.


Human Geography

The Research Area of Human Geography offers doctoral training and supervision that equips students with strong interdisciplinary skills for innovative and collaborative research on human dimensions of environmental change, sustainable international and community development, environmental governance and transformation of business through sustainability. The Research Area attracts talented students from diverse backgrounds in geography, environmental and social sciences who work with leading researchers on:

  • Global commodity circuits of transforming waste into new materials
  • Social practices of waste, recycling, and reuse in urban and rural contexts
  • New business models for sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility, such as industrial ecosystems, B Corps and Integrated Reporting
  • Environmental policy and governance, international development, and political ecology of natural resource management
  • Grassroots environmental movements in Southeast Asia
  • Education for sustainable development in universities and NGOs

We aim to produce new generations of scholars and professionals whose approach to education, R&D, and community engagement is path-breaking and transformative for sustaining cities, regions, and environments across the world.



Sociology is an extensive and diverse discipline area with world-leading staff researching gender-and-climate-changethe complex problems of contemporary societies. Monash sociologists research: gender, sexualities and social justice; changes in family life and relationships; young people’s lives and opportunities; media cultures; health, the body and biotechnology; globalising and multicultural Australia; population and migration, and; social dimensions of sustainable, environmental development. Monash sociologists are highly research active with numerous grants and publications, including a multi-million dollar ARC CRC award (Professor Rebekah Brown and Associate Professor Jo Lindsay); an ARC Future Fellowship (Associate Professor Anita Harris); an ARC APD (Dr Helen Forbes-Mewett); ARC Discovery Projects (Professor Petersen; Associate Professor Renata Kokanovic; Associate Professor Dharma Arunachalam; Associate Professor Jo Lindsay; Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher; Dr Mark Davis), and; ARC Linkage Projects (Associate Professor Renata Kokanovic). With Monash Sociology, you will receive excellent supervision from a team of experienced leaders in their fields. Please contact us for advice and assistance with your plans for postgraduate research.



Gender SymbolsWomen’s and Gender Studies is a key research strength in the Faculty of Arts. The Social and Political Sciences Graduate Research Program has outstanding expertise in this area of research. The Centre for Women’s Studies and Gender Research has produced graduates who now work in gender all over the world.In 2011, Centre graduate Dr Karolyne Quinn, supervised by Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher, won the Mollie Holman Medal for Doctoral Excellence.  Gender research expertise in the Program ranges across all areas of social science scholarship, including women’s security, political participation, work and occupational issues, sexualities, health and families.


Dahlia Roque: PhD 2014 Women’s Studies

dahlia-roqueDahlia’s PhD research contained more than the usual challenges of persistence and isolation; her interviews with women in Cairo had to be suspended as the events of the Arab Spring unfolded. She was undaunted however and returned to complete her important research focused on why well-educated middle class Egyptian women leave the labour market once they begin having children. Her research found that the demands of balancing sometimes challenging working environments and key family roles made paid work a difficult almost impossible proposition for many women. The economic and social losses consequent on women’s absence for the labour market are vital to address:

Dahlia is currently a Technical Officer for the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work Team in Egypt.  She is responsible for managing the Australian DFAT (formerly AusAid) funded “Decent Jobs for Egypt’s Young People Project – Tackling the Challenge in Agriculture”,  providing implementation support and guidance to project staff, national and local partners on policies and project interventions that promote employment opportunities for young men and women.


Schmidt, D and Hassanien, D. 2012.  Poverty and Exclusion: Tackling Unemployment in North Africa.  In Stansfield, G. (ed). 2012. After the Arab Spring: Reconstruction and State Building.  United Nations Association of the United Kingdom (UNA-UK).

Schmidt, D and Hassanien, D. 2011. In Need of a Future: Cause and Consequences of High Youth Unemployment – The Case of North Africa.  In Harrison, M. (ed). 2012.  Youth for Democracy: Learning from Nonviolent Struggle across the World. Humanity in Action, Copenhagen.

Hassanien, D. 2010. Gendering Decent Work: Obstacles to Performativity in the Egyptian Work Place. Surfacing: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Gender in the Global South, vol.3(1), pp. 1-16.

Barsoum, G., Ali, R and Hassanien, D. 2009. At Work When There is “No Respect”: Job Quality Issues for Young Women in Egypt. The Population Council. MENA Gender and Work Working Papers.


2013 Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal, Arts awarded to Dr Vicki Hutton (BHS)

Dr Vicki Hutton, with Dr Roseanne Misajon (left), Professor Sharon Pickering (Head, School of Social Sciences) and Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher (SPS Program Director)
Dr Vicki Hutton, with Dr Roseanne Misajon (left), Professor Sharon Pickering (Head, School of Social Sciences) and Associate Professor JaneMaree Maher (SPS Program Director)

We congratulate Dr Vicki Elizabeth Hutton, from Behavioural Studies on receiving the 2013 Faculty of Arts Mollie Holman Medal for Doctoral Excellence.  Vicki’s work looked at the significance of pets in the lives of those living with HIV and both examiners found it to be outstanding. Our  congratulations and admiration to Vicki and her supervisors, Dr RoseAnne Misajon and Dr Fran Collins. Vicki was presented with her medal at the Social and Political Sciences Graduate Research Symposium in October 2014.


Kate Seear: PhD 2009 Sociology

kate-seearManager and Head Solicitor
The David Law Firm, London

Perhaps the most important aspect of any PhD candidature is your relationship with your supervisors. I was very fortunate to have had three wonderful, supportive, patient and encouraging supervisors who encouraged me at every stage of my PhD and who have continued to mentor me since the completion of my candidature. At times during my candidature, I struggled to stay motivated and positive, but my main supervisor always encouraged me to take my time. Such support was invaluable and helped my to complete my PhD within three and a half years.

The best part of being a student at Monash was making connections with the community of fellow HDR students. I made a number of very good friends during my PhD candidature. The support, intellectual discussions and encouragement of my fellow students was the thing that sustained me most during my candidature.



Asher Flynn: PhD 2010 Criminology

asher-flynnMonash University was a fantastic institution to complete a PhD. I was lucky enough to also complete my undergraduate studies at Monash, and was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to undertake a PhD in an area that I was passionate about, within such an incredibly supportive environment.

There are so many wonderful opportunities available to postgraduate students at Monash – not only do you become part of a network of inspiring and intelligent Criminologists, but you have the opportunities and encouragement to attend conferences, workshops and even head to an overseas campus (we went to Prato in Italy) for an intensive one-week research program with postgraduates and internationally renowned critical Criminology scholars.

These opportunities are invaluable in preparing you for life after the PhD (and it is always useful to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel) and to help establish you within your field of interest.

One of the most wonderful aspects that emerge when you undertake a PhD at Monash is the enormous basis of support that you receive, but the special thing about this support is that it doesn’t end with your supervisor. All the staff, both academic and administrative, are happy to offer guidance, encouragement, energy, motivation, and a good laugh, at all the right times.

The other great benefit of completing a PhD at Monash is the wonderful cohort of postgraduate students that you get to meet and share your journey with – people that will remain a source of support and friendship long after the research process itself ends, and that is invaluable.


James Garza: PhD 2006 Anthropology

james-garzaCommunications Lecturer, Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies, San Diego State University, California

James gained a bachelor and masters degree in the USA. While studying for his masters, James was impressed by the depth of research in Anthropology at Monash “It seemed that ‘things were happening’ at Monash and that the university had quite a world-renowned reputation for research in Indonesia”. He made it a personal goal to become connected with the Monash name and to work in Indonesia as a researcher

James describes his experience as “enjoyable, rewarding and challenging”.He says access to a dedicated postgraduate centre, a supportive supervisor, “genuine interest and concern that members of the Monash community has for its students” and exceptional assistance from the library staff were key contributors to his success.