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PhD Candidates

 Nathan Bond

Development Studies

Nathan specialises in ethnographic methodologies. He has conducted fieldwork in Indonesia (East and North Kalimantan), Malaysia (Sabah), and Solomon Islands (North Malaita and Honiara). His current research project focuses on the political geography of north-eastern Borneo. He is interested in indigenous knowledge and its implications for the social sciences and development, especially in Southeast Asia and Melanesia.

Nathan's PhD title is 'Orientations to power among the Tidung of north-eastern Borneo’. This project explores the political geography of lowland north-eastern Borneo through an ethnography of the ethnic Tidung, with a particular focus on borders and frontiers. The research is part of the ‘State, Frontiers, and Conflict in the Asia-Pacific’ project at the University of Melbourne, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and Universitas Gadjah Mada. 

Lisa Carson PhD Profile Picture  

Lisa Carson

Political Science

Lisa’s background is oriented towards questions of human and international security in conflict, with a particular focus on the role that institutions and organisations play. Lisa’s style of research is focused on connecting theory with policy and practice. She is treasurer of Young Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom and a member of the Australian Civil Society Coalition for Women, Peace & Security.

Lisa's PhD title is 'Gender Training and Peacekeeping: Does the rhetoric match the reality?’ This research investigates Gender Training in the context of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace & Security. Her research is concerned with the way in which policies are implemented and the complexities of multidimensional institutions such as the UN and the nature of peacekeeping. Her most recent research is based on observation and extensive confidential interviewing with relevant staff at the UN as well as a case study on Australian peacekeeping training.

Roberto Catello PhD Profile Picture Roberto Catello


Roberto joined the research cluster to learn from and contribute to its cross-disciplinarity. His main interest related to the cluster’s focus lies in innovative ways of conceptualizing justice through the power of interdisciplinarity in socio-scientific research.

Roberto's  PhD title is 'The Criminal Doublet: A Critical Criminological History'. This research investigates historical triangulation between state power, penal reform and criminological knowledge in Europe and the United States between the mid-18th and late 19th centuries, Roberto’s research builds on Foucault’s critical histories on power, knowledge and discourse to consolidate the prospect of a critical criminological historiography.

 Joe Cropp


Joe is a humanitarian professional who has worked to places such as Iraq, Pakistan, Myanmar and the Philippines.  This professional work with the United Nations and Red Cross has guided and informed his research interests at the university.

Joe's PhD title is 'The unofficial story: An ethnography of humanitarian protection'. This research explores humanitarian protection in contemporary wars. Using an ethnographic approach, it examines the interface between the official protection frameworks and the informal practices of local actors – in particular humanitarian aid workers. These informal practices have the potential to help us better understand the limitations of the normative frameworks, and provide insights into ways to improve humanitarian protection.This research draws on the work of recent development ethnographers who combine the actor-oriented approach with sociological and anthropological tools in what they call ‘new ethnographies of development’. An ‘inside-outside’ study, it incorporates ethnographic field work in complex emergencies with an examination of official humanitarian protection frameworks.

Emmanuel Awoh 2nd Profile Picture Emmanuel 2nd Profile PictureEmmanuel Awoh Lohkoko

Development Studies

Emmanuel is a PhD Candidate in Development Studies and the coordinator of the African Studies Reading Group (affiliated to the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific) at the University of Melbourne. Emmaunel's work uses an  interpretive research approach in order focus on the meanings that shape actions and institutions, and the ways in which they do so. This approach in understanding the dynamics of ethnic conflicts calls attention to the actors, practices, beliefs, and discourses at the fore on how meanings are constructed.

Emmanuel's PhD title is 'The Role of Traditional Authorities in Conflict Management: Cameroon'. His research focuses on the role of traditional authorities in conflict management and peace building in the North West of Cameroon. Indigenous African political systems had established structures of conflict management   and peace building, formed from centuries of customs before the advent of colonisation. Though these indigenous political systems have gone through significant transformation under different political regimes, these cultural values and practices of conflict management have remained resilient and continue to function among different African societies in varying ways, regulating community life.

Charlotte Mertens PhD Profile Picture Charlotte Mertens

Conflict Studies

Charlotte's research draws on postcolonial feminist theory and engages with scholarship from the disciplines of African Studies, Sociology, Critical Human Geography and Anthropology. Her broader research interests include sexual violence in conflict settings; colonial history; imperial violence; humanitarianism; representation; conflict dynamics in the Great Lakes Region and sub-Sahara Africa.Charlotte has been conducting ethnographic field research in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2012. Her field research explores the material effects of contemporary framings of Congo through sexual violence. It seeks to understand the international response to sexual and gender-based violence as well as the local response to international strategies on sexual violence.

Charlotte's PhD title is 'Frames of Empire: Congo and Sexual Violence'. This research critically examines the centrality of sexual violence to contemporary representations of the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and of the Congo itself. She focuses in particular on how Congo in recent years has been understood and imagined through the frame of sexual violence and the effects this frame has in relation to colonialism and imperial violence.

Nathan Shea PhD Profile Picture Nathan Shea

Development Studies

Nathan's research includes peacebuilding, conflict resolution and war to peace transition. He is also a Research Associate on the Australian International Conflict Resolution Project with the University of Melbourne’s School of Social and Political Sciences and has carried out fieldwork in the Philippines.

Nathan's PhD title is ‘Mediating peace through hybrid third-parties: The International Contact Group in the Mindanao Peace Process’. This project evaluates the peace process between the Philippines government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, with a primary focus on the International Contact Group (ICG) – a multi-party body comprising four states and four international NGOs. Cast as an innovative approach to mediating intrastate conflict, this research explores the creation, actions and effects of the ICG, both within its mandated role, and towards the conflict in Mindanao more broadly.


Stephanie Smith

Political Science/ Development Studies

Stephanie's topic and style of research is interdisciplinary and she is interested in different methodological issues.

Stephanie's Phd title is 'Framing negotiation: The process of agreement making between multinational corporations and indigenous communities in the
resource extraction context'. This project aims to explore agreement making between multinational corporations and indigenous communities over resource
extraction and development and its effects. Specifically it aims to investigate the perspectives and experiences of both parties in relation to the negotiation processes involved. Framing theory will be used to develop insights into how these same experiences and perspectives inform this negotiation as well as the conceptualization and practice of agreement making as a political phenomenon proper. This research is in a context which has been defined by historic (and continuing) conflicts and is very much a part of the Development and Justice/Recognition debates. She is interested in the perspectives of both parties concerning the negotiation process.
Marika Sosnowski PhD Profile Picture Marika Sosnowski

Development Studies

Marika is completing a “PhD with publication” that involved fieldwork in Jordan in 2017 and early 2018. Part of this research involves interviewing Syrian community leaders and international professionals such as mediators and field officers with knowledge of ceasefires.Her research focuses on governance development under ceasefires in Syria. She has taught Middle East politics at the University of Melbourne, Monash and La Trobe. Marika has written about the region for numerous outlets and has professional experience as an international development consultant. She is also a regular guest on Melbourne radio station Triple R.

Marika's PhD title is ‘Ceasefires and rebel governance in Syria’. Ceasefires are not a new concept but so far, little critical, empirical research appears to have been done on them. Marika’s research hopes to provide an original contribution to the academy by examining ceasefires from a local perspective. It does this in order to better understand how relations of power on the ground translate into ceasefires that unequally benefit signatories in certain communities in Syria.

Gordana Subotic PhD Profile Picture 

Gordana Subiotic

Political Science

Gordana’s areas of specialisation include nation and gender in conflict and post-conflict, monitoring and implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace & Security, gender in democratization, liberalization and consolidation in the Balkans.From 2010 to 2014 Gordana was coordinating a research team for independent monitoring of the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 Women, peace, security (UNSCR 1325) for the branch of Women in black from Belgrade, Serbia. Gordana's research was published in four shadow reports which were presented and used as a tool for lobbying at the international and national level, during the 55th CEDAW Committee Session in Geneva and Mission of Canada at UN (2013) in New York (2013-2014), as well as in the Parliament of Serbia (2013).

Gordana's PhD title is ‘Navigating national and feminist identities: Women in political decision-making in post-conflict and consolidating democracies of Kosovo and Serbia’. This research investigates the politicization of gender issues by women decision-makers in the post-conflict and democratizing states of Serbia and Kosovo. Ethnographic methods are used to examine how women political decision-makers navigate between two collective identities, as women and as members of their nations, and how this affects the politicization of gender issues.