Our People

PAIS has an active research culture, demonstrated in high levels of publications and success in winning competitive research grants. Members of the discipline are experienced researchers with good records of scholarly publication. Research excellence and productivity cover a wide range of areas including political theory, the contemporary Asia-Pacific, environmental politics, political economy and international relations.

Further information on the publications and research interests of individual staff is available on the staff web pages (see links below).

Academic Staff

Support Staff

Research Students

PhD Candidates

Haroutioun Akdedian

Peace Studies/Political and International Studies/Islamic Studies (PhD)

The Myth of Change and the Persistence of Conflict in Syria.


Mosmi Bhim

Political and International Studies (PhD)

Authoritarian democracies in small island developing states


 Vincent Blokker

Vincent Blokker

Political and International Studies (PhD)

Maritime Security: the impact on international relations for Australia and Europe

My research within the discipline of Politics and International Studies will propose that the concept of sovereignty is a main driver in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy where maritime security issues, such as irregular maritime migration; piracy; and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing
are concerned. These three case studies will independently assist in substantiating my thesis. My research will mainly be empirical, and will draw on primary sources focussing on government, NGO and IGO reports but also secondary literature. A large part of my research will include analysing, dissecting
and comparing different agreements, conventions, regulations and policies in relation to maritime security that affect both the European Union and Australia. There are two main reasons for doing research in this particular area. Firstly, there is relatively limited research comparing Australia’s
maritime security policies and approaches to that of the European Union, though both have indicated to work closer together in order to develop a structured dialogue on integrated maritime policy questions, including those related maritime security and safety. In addition to this, no substantial research
has been undertaken on the effect on diplomatic relations, in terms of bilateral or multilateral cooperation, as a result of maritime security approaches. By examining the concept of sovereignty as primary rationale in diplomacy on maritime security issues concerning both Australia and the European Union,
my research will contribute to the understanding of policy development on maritime security issues. It will further assist in examining the relationship between Australia and the European Union in this area.


Peter Crawford

Political and International Studies (PhD)

Non-traditional security issues in the Asia Pacific


Nishanathe Dahanayake

Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Ways of being good in the age of secularism, pluralism and information technology.


Danielle Davis

Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Black Existentialism, freedom and Being Plural


Mauro Di Nicola

Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Traditions in Conflict: Contesting Paradigm Shifts in Australian Public Policy


Kayt Hogan  

Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Imprisonment as Legal Punishment: The Problem of Retribution


 Balázs Kovács

Balázs Kovács

Peace Studies/Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Infrastructures for peace: Institutional dynamics and change at the local level in a peace-and-development context in the Philippines (PAMANA)

Since its beginnings at the end of the Cold War, peacebuilding has become increasingly coterminous with statebuilding. The results of this have been mixed, especially where local communities are concerned, often leaving unpeaceful conditions in place. In recent years practitioners and researchers alike have increasingly turned to this level of society to better understand the processes which generate violence and which allow for the formation of peace, the “local turn”. The creation of peace infrastructures – networks of institutions spanning all levels of society that contain the expertise of conflict resolution – has been proposed as a way of enhancing the effectiveness of peacebuilding, especially at the level of communities. The Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) programme is the Philippine government’s peace and development framework, a pillar of which is about bringing infrastructure development projects to conflict-affected villages. To this effect, local committees are formed which carry out the projects using bottom-up budgeting and consultative decision-making. As part of the programme, the government works towards integrating conflict sensitive planning and implementation in these committees and local government units. Using qualitative methods, this research investigates the implementation of projects carried out under this programme in municipalities of a conflict-affected province in the Bicol Region, specifically on how the plans developed in Manila change as they come into contact with local societies and what kind of impact they have on these communities.  In a broader perspective, the research explores the tensions generated by statebuilding on the margins and the hybrid forms that emerge from it.


 Stephen Mullins

Stephen Mullins

Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Labour Standards Under an Integrated ASEAN Community.

As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) takes its final steps towards an integrated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2016, who are the drivers and how have labour standards developed within this contested space?

This thesis will provide a political economy analysis of the ASEAN Community, exploring the drivers of regional integration and the social conflicts occurring within this contested space that are determining labour standards and labour rights for workers in the region, case studying Thailand.

This thesis will show that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) ‘Blueprint’ is the most powerful enabling mechanism within the ASEAN Community, providing targeted free market outcomes for regionally active capitalists while ASEAN’s other ‘social’ instruments offer little more than an ideological cover for the neoliberal agenda of the AEC, providing only vague suggestions to address massive disadvantage and inequality within the region. By case studying Thailand using original empirical research and exploring the social drivers of integration, this project will provide a much needed critique of the ASEAN integration platform.


Wichuda Satidporn

Political and International Studies (PhD)  

Chance of Development (?): The Thai State in an Age of Neo-Liberal Globalisation.


Shaheryar Sufi

Political and International Studies (PhD)

From Many to One


Masters Candidates

Ivan Polson

Political and International Studies (MPhil)


Brabim Thapa

Political and International Studies (MPhil)


Honours Candidates

Simon Butler

Political and International Studies (Hons)


Nicole Hawke

Political and International Studies (Hons)