Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University


  • English
  • History and Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Social Work and Human Services
  • Sociology

Research in English 

Members of the English Discipline at Charles Sturt University conduct research into diverse literary forms, incorporating various theoretical and critical approaches. Faculty are committed to a broad range of intellectual and creative projects with special focus on Australian Literature, Children's Literature, Literary Theory, and Creative Writing. For information about specific staff research interests and possible areas of Masters of PhD supervision, please see our individual staff pages.

Areas of research expertise include: Australian literature; Australian children's literature and picture books; colonial and postcolonial writing; pacific literature; literary theory; feminist thought; LGBTI texts and queer theory; literature and ethics; semiotics, semiology, and meaning making; literary education(s); literature and philosophy; literature and theology; creative writing and publishing; Australian poetry and poetics; popular culture; Victorian literature and the 19th Century.

English literature research at Charles Sturt University often has practical links and outcomes. The discipline includes members who are published poets, writers, and/or judges of awards (e.g. The Prime Minister's Literary Award). The University's warm relationship with Booranga Writers' Centre (Wagga Wagga) means that a wide variety of literary practitioners visit the campus each year for residencies, workshops, and readings. The English discipline helps to publish the journal fourW which has been running for almost 25 years and includes contemporary short stories and poetry from Australia and across the globe. Researchers from English at Charles Sturt University have also taken part in readings and panels at writers' festivals around the country.

For more information about pursuing postgraduate studies by research in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, see the Faculty of Art's Research webpages.

Selected Publications

Research in History and Politics

The history/politics staff at Charles Sturt University have a diverse range of research and postgraduate supervision interests and expertise, which are detailed in individual staff profiles. Our research specialisations include:

  • Social History
  • Imperial and Colonial History
  • Political and Public Policy History
  • Indigenous History
  • Cultural History
  • Biographical History

The history/politics staff publish in a wide variety of media and academic journals. They also serve on many professional committees, journals and editorial boards, actively contribute to local, national and international organisations and make valuable contributions to the rural and regional communities and professions CSU serves. Our research continues to attract a wide range of research partnerships and RHD students and we welcome opportunities to discuss future research collaborations.

For more information about pursuing postgraduate studies by research in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, see the Faculty of Art's Research webpages.

Selected Publications

  •  O'Sullivan, D. (In Press). Indigenous health: power, politics and citizenship. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.
  • Bishop, R., O'Sullivan, D., Berryman, M. (2010). Scaling up education reform: addressing the politics of disparity. Wellington. NZCER Press.
  • Van Duinen, J. 'Bodyline, the British World and the Evolution of an Australian National Identity', International Journal of the History of Sport 32, 2 (2015): 250-64.
  • Van Duinen, J. 'The Borderlands of the British World', Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 15, 1 (2014). DOI: 10.1353/cch.2014.0008.

Research in Philosophy

The philosophy discipline at Charles Sturt University consists of the following people:

Professor Suzanne Uniacke

PhD, Sydney University, 1992

Primary research interests: Applied Philosophy, Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Political and Social Philosophy

Representative publications:

  • 'Criminalising Unknowing Defence', Journal of Applied Philosophy (published on- line ahead of print December 2015)
  • 'Responsibility, Expertise and Trust: Institutional Ethics Committees and Science', Humana.mente: journal of philosophical studies, 28 (2015): 169-185
  • 'Self-Defence, Just War, and a Reasonable Prospect of Success', in Helen Frowe and Gerald Lang (eds.), How We Fight (Oxford University Press, 2014)
 Wylie Breckenridge

DPhil, Oxford, 2007

Primary research interests: Philosophy of Language; Epistemology; Metaphysics; Philosophy of Mind

Representative publications:

  • Visual Experience: A Semantic Approach (OUP, Forthcoming);
  • 'Arbitrary Reference' (with Ofra Magidor), Philosophical Studies (2012).
Tom Campbell

PhD, University of Glasgow, 1970

Primary research interests: Political and Legal Philosophy; Business Ethics; Human Rights

Representative publications:

  • The Legal Theory of Ethical Positivism, Dartmouth, 1996.
  • "The Normative Grounding of Corporate Social Responsibility" in Doreen McBarnet et al, Eds, The New Corporate Accountability, Cambridge University Press, 2007
  • Justice, Macmillan 2010

Steve Clarke

Phd, Monash University, 1995

Primary research interests: Applied Philosophy, Bioethics, Cognitive Science of Religion, Moral Psychology, Philosophy of Science

Representative publications:

  • The Justification of Religious Violence, Malden MA, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014;
  • 'Religion as an Evolutionary Byproduct: A Critique of the Standard Model', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 63 (2012) pp. 457-486. (with Russell Powell).

Daniel Cohen

PhD, Australian National University, 2007

Primary research interests: Ethical Theory; Metaphysics

Representative publications:

  • 'Decision Theory for Agents with Incomplete Preferences' (co-authored with Toby Handfield and Adam Bales). Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2014);
  • 'Rational Capacities' (co-authored with Toby Handfield). Mind (2012).

Morgan Luck

PhD, University of Nottingham, 2007

Primary research interests: Philosophy of Religion; Ethics in Virtual Environments

Representative publications:

  • Philosophical Explorations of New and Alternative Religious Movements (Ashgate 2012);
  • 'Incommensurability, slight pains and God' International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 75/2 (2014);
  • 'The Gamer's Dilemma: An analysis of the arguments for the moral distinction between virtual murder and virtual paedophilia'. Ethics and Information Technology 11/1 (2009).

Graeme McLean

DPhil, Oxford, 1989

Primary research interests: Epistemology; Philosophy of Religion

Representative publications:

  • 'Antipathy to God', Sophia (2014);
  • 'The futility of our minds', The St. Marks Review (2014).

Emma Rush

PhD, University of Melbourne, 2005

Primary research interests: Environmental Ethics; Ethics in Public Life (especially regarding the sexualisation of children); Professional Ethics.

Representative publications:

  • Mungai, N., Wairire, G., and Rush, E. (2014). 'The challenges of maintaining social work ethics in Kenya', Ethics and Social Welfare.
  • Rush, E. (2013). 'Ethics of food security', in Farmar-Bowers, Q., Millar, J. and Higgins, V. (eds) Food security in Australia: Challenges and prospects for the future, Springer, New York, pp.35-48.
  • Rush, E. (2012). 'Children, media and ethics', in Warburton, W. and Braunstein, D. (eds), Growing up fast and furious, The Federation Press, Sydney, pp.159-174.

Matthew Kopec

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012

Primary research interests: Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, Philosophy of Race, Environmental Ethics

Representative Publications:

  • 'Game Theory and the Self-Fulfilling Climate Tragedy', Environmental Values (forthcoming).
  • 'The Uniqueness Thesis' (co-authored with Michael G. Titelbaum), Philosophy Compass (2016).
  • 'Clines, Clusters, and Clades in the Race Debate', Philosophy of Science (2014).

Doug McConnell

PhD Macquarie University (2014)

Primary research interests: Moral psychology, applied philosophy, bioethics

Selected publications:

  • McConnell, D. (2016). Narrative self-constitution and recovery from addiction, American Philosophical Quarterly 53, 307-322. ​
  • McConnell, D., Kennett, J. (2016). Reasons, reflection, and repugnance. In S. Clarke and A. Giubilini (Eds.), The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Understanding the Debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Research Grants

Current National and International Competitive Research
Grants Awarded To Centre Members

Dr. S Clarke; Prof J Kennett; Prof J Savulescu
ARC Discovery Grant
Conscience and conscientious objection in health care

2015: $98,000.00

2016: $110,300.00

2017: $125,000.00

Total: $333,300.00

Administering Institution: Charles Sturt University

Project Summary

Medical professionals sometimes decline to provide particular forms of safe, beneficial and legal health care, on the grounds that provision would go against their consciences. Bioethicists and policy makers have failed to identify legitimate limits to the scope of appeals to conscientious objection in health care. This is in large part because the underlying concept ''conscience" is unclear. This project aims to advance bioethical debate by producing a philosophically and psychologically informed analysis of conscience, and by applying this to discussions about the legitimate limits to conscientious objection in health care. It is expected to result in academic and non-academic publications and enable improvements to Australian health care policy.

Research in Social Work and Human Services 


Guided by the vision and mission of Faculty of Arts and Education and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Charles Sturt University Social Work and Human Services discipline aims to undertake a broad range of research activities that contribute to social justice, human rights and wellbeing; and be a leading researcher in the social work and human services sector, as reflected in our vision statement:

Informed action for social justice and human rights.

  • CSU Social Work and Human Services research scholars are committed to discovery and dissemination of knowledge that:
  • Enhances the well-being of individuals, families, communities at local, regional, national and international levels by focusing on human dignity and worth, human relationships and environmental sustainability; 
  • helps to understand and address complex human needs and problems, with a human rights perspective, in dynamic contemporary contexts – local-global, societal and ecological; 
  • influences the formulation and implementation of effective and efficient policies, plans and programs that address social and economic inequalities at local and global levels;
  • informs and improves their educational approaches/models, learning and teaching and professional practice and development. 

 Some areas of expertise, doctoral supervision and recent publications:

  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Ecological social work
  • Ethics, theory and philosophy of social work
  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Gerontology and healthy ageing
  • Health, mental health and reproductive health
  • International social work
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Professional identity, practice and field education
  • Rural social work
  • Social development, policy
  • Spirituality

For more information about pursuing postgraduate studies by research in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, see the Faculty of Art's Research webpages.

Selected Publications

  • Bailey, I., & Barton, H. (2014). Narcissism and the Social Work Response. Australian Social Work, (ahead-of-print), 1-11.
  • Bailey, I., Bell, K., Kalle W. & Pawar, M. (2014): Restoring Meaning to Supervision Through a Peer Consultation Group In Rural Australia, Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community.
  • Bell, K. (forthcoming) Ageing in rural communities. In Bernoth, M. (ed.). Healthy ageing in Australian communities. Oxford University Press. Accepted April 2014.
  • Bell, K. (2014) Exploring epistemic injustice through feminist social work research. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. 29 (2): 165-178.
  • Bell, K., Moorhead, B. & Boetto, H. (forthcoming) Social work students' reflections on gender, social justice and human rights during a short-term study programme to India. International Social Work. Accepted October 2014.
  • Boetto, H. & Bell, K. (forthcoming) Environmental sustainability in social work curricula: A pilot study of online course content. International Social Work. Accepted April 2014.
  • Boetto, H., Moorhead, B. & Bell, K. (2014) Broadening the 'environment' in social work: Impacts of a study abroad program. Critical Social Work. Accepted May 2014.
  • Bowles, W., & Patton, N. (2014). Expectations and responsibilities. In J. Higgs, A. Croker, D. Tasker, J. Hummell & N. Patton (Eds.), Health practice relationships (pp. 101-108). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense.
  • Duffy F., and Healy, J. P. (2014) "A social work practice reflection on issues arising for LGBTI older people interfacing with health and residential care: rights, decision-making and end of life care". Social Work in Health Care. 53:6. (DOI:10.1080/00981389.2014.914119)
  • Duncombe, R. (2014) An evidenced based anxiety management group in a strengths and empowerment frame, in Francis, A. et al. Strengths based social work practice in mental health:Theories and practice, Primrose Publishing.
  • Hearn, C., Short, M., and Healy, J. P. (2014)"Social Work Field Education: Believing in Students who are Living with a Disability". Disability & Society
  • Hyde, B., Bowles, W. and Pawar, M. (2014). Challenges of recovery-oriented practice in inpatient mental health settings – the potential for social work leadership. Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development, Vol. 24, Nos. 1–2, 5–16, 
  • Moorhead, B., Bell, K. & Bowles, W. (2016). Exploring the Development of Professional Identity with Newly Qualified Social Workers. Australian Social Work, 69(4), 456-467. doi:10.1080/0312407X.2016.1152588
  • Moorhead, B., Boetto, H. & Bell, K. (2014) India and us: Student Development of Professional Social Work Identity through a Short-term Study Abroad program. Journal of Social Work Education. 33(2): 175-189.
  • Pawar, M. (2014). Water and Social Policy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  
  • Pawar, M. (2014). Social and Community Development Practice: New Delhi: Sage.
  • Pawar, M. (2014). Social work practice with local communities in developing countries: Imperatives for political engagement. SAGE Open, Jun 2014,4(2). DOI: 10.1177/2158244014538640
  • Pawar, M. (2014). Researching criminal court cases: A mixed methods approach". In SAGE Research Methods Cases. California: Sage.
  • Pawar, M. and Anscombe B. (2015). Reflective Social Work Practice: Thinking, doing and being. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Pawar, M. and Huh, T. (2014). Korean Responses to Environmental Challenges: Origins, drivers and the impact of green growth on development. In I, Yi and T. Mkandawire, Learning from the South Korean Developmental Success: Effective Developmental Cooperation and Synergistic Institutions and Policies. Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan. 
  • Pawar, M. and Pulla, V. (2015). Medha Patkar's Environmental Activism and Professional Social Work: Mass legitimacy and Myopic Structures (forthcoming). 
  • Watson, B., Lockton, H. and Pawar, M. (2014). Historic Child Sponsorship: Issues and Critique. In Watson, B. and Clark, M., Child Sponsorship: Exploring Pathways to a Brighter Future, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Research in Sociology

Sociologists at Charles Sturt University have a diverse range of research and postgraduate supervision interests and expertise, which are detailed in individual staff profiles.  Collectively, we specialise in qualitative social research that is theoretically informed by a range of theoretical approaches - including critical theory, feminism, Marxism and post-structuralism - and clusters around five specialisations:

a. Environmental Sociology - critical animal studies; environmental justice; governance; water

b. Health - mental health; community well-being; health professions; rural health

c. Law & Politics – inequality; political economy; globalisation

d. Rural Sociology - amenity migration; agri-food; biosecurity; culture; GLBTQ & alternative lifestyles; social inclusion

e. Social Institutions & Work – gender; health & well-being; media; military; science & technology studies; sustainable & ethical livelihoods; workplace bullying

CSU sociologists serve on many professional committees, journals and editorial boards, actively contribute to local, national and international organisations and make valuable contributions to the rural and regional communities and professions CSU serves.  Our research continues to attract a wide range of research partnerships, grants, fellowships, and awards and we welcome opportunities to discuss future research collaborations.  You may contact us individually using the email addresses listed in our staff profiles.

For more information about pursuing postgraduate studies by research in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, see the Faculty of Art's Research webpages.

Selected Publications

  • Burmeister, O. K., Islam, M. Z., Dayhew, M., and Crichton, M. (2014). "Interagency communication of private mental health data." 25th Australasian Conference on Information Systems.  Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Gray, I. and Crichton, M. (2014). "Replacing Trains with coaches: implications for social inclusion in rural New South Wales." Journal of Social Inclusion, 5(2), 89-113.
  • Bridges, D., Neal-Smith, J.  &Mills, A.  (Eds.) (2014). Absent Aviators: Gender issues in aviation. London: Ashgate.
  • Bridges, D. & Horsfall, D. (2009). Increasing operational effectiveness in UN peacekeeping: towards a gender balanced force. Armed Forces and Society, 36,  120-130.
  • Higgins, V., Dibden, J., Potter, C., Moon, K. and Cocklin, C. (2014) Payments for ecosystem services, neoliberalisation, and the hybrid governance of land management in Australia, Journal of Rural Studies, 36: 463-474.
  • Maye, D., Dibden, J., Higgins, V. and Potter, C. (2012) Governing biosecurity in a neoliberal world: Comparative perspectives from Australia and the United Kingdom, Environment and Planning A, 44: 150-168.
  • Masterman-Smith, H. (2013). Rural Workers and Environmentally Sustainable Livelihoods in Australia. Rural Society, 22(3), 196-207.
  • Masterman-Smith, H. (2013). Worker citizens and the environment. In H. Aslin & S. Lockie (Eds.), Engaged Environmental Citizenship (pp. 35-52). Darwin, NT: Charles Darwin University Press.
  • Ragusa, A.T. (2014). (Ed.) Rural lifestyles, community well-being and social change: Lessons from country Australia for global citizens. UAE: Bentham Science.
  • Ragusa, A.T. (2013). Downshifting or conspicuous consumption? A sociological examination of tree change as a manifestation of slow culture. In Osbaldiston, N. (Ed.). Slow Culture Edited Collection. UK: Palgrave.

Key External Grants

  • Higgins, V. Social Factors Influencing Technology Adoption in the Rice Industry - Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, 2014-16 ($129,000)
  • Higgins, V. Improving Adoption of Management Strategies for Summer Perennial Weeds through Effective Engagement Processes - Meat and Livestock Australia, 2013-16 ($585,000)
  • Masterman-Smith, H., Rafferty, J., Dunphy, J. & Laird, S.2013-14  NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (Our Place Program, community environmental engagement project) $80,000
  • Masterman-Smith, H., Rafferty, J., Sheahan, M. & Laird, S. 2014-15       Commonwealth Department of Education (Higher Education Participation and Partnerships program - Creating Sustainable Communities theme) $800,000
  • Crampton, A., Ragusa, A., & Cavanagh, H. 2013-2014, Office for Learning & Teaching Grant - Exploring the role of technology in fostering sense of belonging in students studying by distance, $50,000.
  • Curtis, A., Farquharson, R., Ragusa, A. & Lennox, G., 2009-2011, Drive-in-drive-out farming: trends and implications, $115,000.
  • Ragusa, A., 2009-2010, NSW Attorney Generals Department, $5,000