2011 Research Grants


The US Studies Centre awarded research grants totalling $100,000 for 15 projects on a wide range of topics in the humanities and social sciences by academics from twelve Australian universities.

The Centre received 49 grant applications with applicants from 24 Australian universities.

Chief Executive of the US Studies Centre Professor Geoffrey Garrett said that the selection committee had been impressed by the breadth of topics in the proposals they received. "The winning research projects show that researchers across Australia are doing work that will strengthen the understanding of the US in Australia" he said. "The Centre is pleased to be able to support the work of Australian academics on a wide variety of important and interesting topics" Professor Garrett added.

Grant recipients will work on their research projects at their home institutions.

In 2011 grants were awarded to the following researchers:

Rachel Ankeny and Robert Cook-Deegan - The Ethos and Effects of Data Sharing Rules: Examining the History of the 'Bermuda Principles' and their impact on U.S. 21st Century Science

Rachel AnkenyRachel Ankeny is an Associate Professor in the School of History & Politics at the University of Adelaide. Robert Cook-Deegan, co-researcher on the project, is the Director and Research Professor at the Center for Genome Ethics, Law & Policy at Duke University.

Their project will examine the 'Bermuda principles' for genomic data sharing, considered by many to be a gold standard within science, which require researchers to post their data publicly within 24 hours for unconditional use by others. It will produce a sociocultural history of these principles, and explore the effects of the principles (from their promulgation in the mid-1990s to the present) on the culture and epistemology of science in the U.S. and elsewhere, including whether they have fulfilled their aims of promoting more "public science".

Marian Baird - Women, work and maternity leave in the USA and Australia: a reflective comparison

Marian BairdMarian Baird is Professor of Work and Organisations and Director of the Women and Work Research Group at the University of Sydney. She is a leading researcher on parental leave and work and family in Australia.

For years Australia and the USA have been quoted as the only two countries lacking a national paid maternity leave scheme. From 2011 Australia will have a paid parental leave scheme, leaving the USA as the remaining advanced economy without such a public policy; however California is one US State that has a paid parental leave scheme. This project compares the policy paths in both countries and future prospects for a national scheme in the US by analysing secondary data about the Californian scheme and interviewing experts about policy challenges and prospects in the USA. The project also builds collaborative links between myself and leading US scholars, Professors Milkman and Appelbaum.

Lloyd Cox - Willing Partners: Australia's Support for US Wars in Vietnam and Iraq

Lloyd CoxLloyd Cox is a lecturer in the Department of History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University.

This project will provide the first systematic comparative treatment of Australia's support for US military intervention in Vietnam and Iraq respectively, based on original archival research. It does so with a view to answering larger questions about continuity and change in the US-Australia Alliance over the past half-century. It seeks to answer why, in dramatically transformed geo-strategic circumstances, Australian Governments have continued to present as willing Coalition partners in U.S. military interventions, despite the opposition of other allies. Was Australian support conditioned principally by the publicly stated security concerns, or was there an expectation of more favourable treatment by the US with respect to access, trade and the overall intimacy of the relationship? If it was the latter, was the expectation fulfilled?

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Peter Dean - Coalition Warfare: United States and Australian Military Operations in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) 1942-1944

Peter DeanPeter Dean is the Director of the Research Office at Notre Dame Australia (Sydney Campus).

During 1942-1944 United States and Australian military forces forged a highly successful and integrated partnership in the South West Pacific Area. This was a remarkable achievement that did much to contribute to achieving victory in the Pacific War. This success is even more remarkable given the factor that up until 1941 these two countries had no previous military or strategic relationship. Despite the ongoing importance of the US-Australian alliance the operational and tactical cooperation between these two military forces in New Guinea has long been overlooked. This study will bridge this gap by assessing their joint military operations on the battlefield, 1942-1944.

Hilary Emmett - Sisterhood and the American Public Sphere, 1789-1865

Hilary EmmettDr Hilary Emmett received her PhD from Cornell University in 2007 and is currently a Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Queensland. Her research and teaching interests include American Literature and Culture, Transatlantic Studies (in particular Transatlantic Romanticism) and Children's Literature.

Her current book project, Sisterhood and the American Public Sphere, 1789-1865, which will be supported by the grant from the USSC, is a work of cultural history exploring the rhetoric of sisterhood in the United States between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

Charlotte Epstein and Professor Jolyon Howorth - To Threaten or to Reassure? US Nuclear Communication Strategies

Charlotte EpsteinCharlotte Epstein is a senior lecturer in the Department of Government & International Relations at the University of Sydney. Jolyon Howorth is a Visiting Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale University.

The project will analyses the recent US non-proliferation strategies developed to curb the spread of nuclear weapons in a changing global nuclear security environment. We will apply the conceptual tools developed by Speech Act Theory to 'negative security assurances' and 'extended deterrence', two key pillars of the Obama administration's non-proliferation strategy under the Nuclear Proliferation Review. Using a historical perspective and the case of France, we will assess the conditions under which they are likely to succeed or fail. We will develop a model for analysing nuclear communication strategies more broadly, and apply it to the contemporary challenges, such as Iran or North Korea.

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Valerie Harwood - Pathways to Higher Education: the US Charter School Movement and the Issue of Educational Disadvantage

Valerie HarwoodValerie Harwood is senior lecturer in Foundations of Education (Sociology) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Wollongong.

US charter schools are part of the public education system, and cater to numbers of students experiencing poverty. Charter schools support the creation of school modalities within a publicly funded system, with many schools supporting students from non-traditional backgrounds to gain access to higher education. Australia does not have charter schools provision, but has limited number of alternative schools. This study will investigate how US charter schools address educational disadvantage and pathways to higher education. The study will involve social mapping of the demographics of US charter schools and case studies of two schools that cater to children from disadvantaged groups/displaced from traditional schooling. The study will be completed through collaboration between three UOW researchers: Valerie Harwood, Nici Humphry and Sarah Hamylton.

Caroline Jordan - The Carnegie Corporation of New York's program of modernising and internationalising the visual arts sector in the mid twentieth century

Caroline JordanCaroline Jordan lectures in Art History at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She specialises in Australian art, colonial to modern, and has published on women artists, public art and the history of galleries and museums.

This project studies the Carnegie Corporation (CCNY)'s philanthropic program to modernise and internationalise the visual arts sector from the 1930s, including the distribution of 'art sets', travel grants to museum and gallery personnel, and art exhibitions designed to promote cross-cultural exchange between British colonies and dominions and the US. It focuses on the Art in Australia 1788-1941touring exhibition to the US designed to inform and educate Americans. Occurring at a critical time for the US-Australian alliance during the Pacific War, this exhibition captures the importance of CCNY in spearheading the role of US 'soft power' in the educational-cultural sphere of the region.

Sebastian Kaempf - War 2.0: Waging War in the digital new media age

Sebastian KaempfDr Sebastian Kaempf is lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Political Science and International Studies at The University of Queensland. He has published various aspects of his research interests in Review of International Studies, Third World Quarterly, and International Relations. For more information, please visit http://www.polsis.uq.edu.au/index.html?page=64871

Today, war is conducted not only by the dispatch of Tomahawks or Kalashnikovs but also by means of bytes, bandwidths, and digital images. New media technology has become a medium of war. Yet, the literature in security studies has failed to examine how new media technology has started to transform contemporary war. This project aims to rectify this shortcoming by examining how the 'War on Terror' has been waged virtually by both- Western militaries (Australia, the US, and the UK) and Al-Qaeda/Taliban/Iraqi insurgents. It thereby generates the first systematic and comprehensive account of the transformative effects that new media technology has on the nature of war.

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Hun Joon Kim - Does U.S. Human Rights Policy Deter Future Violations in the Asia Pacific Region?

Hun Joon KimHunjoon Kim (Research Fellow, Griffith Asia Institute/Centre for Governance and Public Policy, Griffith University) received his Ph.D. in 2008 with a dissertation Expansion of Transitional Justice Measures: A Comparative Analysis of Its Causes. His dissertation was selected as the winner of 2009 APSA Best Dissertation Award (Human Rights Section). He had publications in International Studies Quarterly, Global Governance, International Journal of Transitional Justice, and Journal of Human Rights. His research interests include: international norms and institutions, democratization and consolidation, East Asian politics, transitional justice, and international human rights.

In U.S. foreign policy, human rights reporting has been the major policy innovation of the late 1970s. The U.S. Department of State has been publishing annual human rights reports for every country in the world since 1980. Despite the proliferation of studies on the U.S. human rights policy in the countries of Latin America, scholars know very little about whether such a human rights policy leads to better protection of human rights in the countries of the Asia-Pacific. In this project, I will trace the changes in the U.S human rights policy and investigate its actual effects on the countries of the Asia-Pacific.

Sarah Lantz - Reducing the burden of disease: An International Comparison of Children's Environmental Health Policies

Sarah LantzSarah Lantz is lecturer and research fellow in the Department of Social Work and Applied Human Services at the University of Queensland.

That children are uniquely vulnerable to environmental hazards is well established in scientific literature, as are the current critical links between exposure to environmental chemicals and poor health outcomes for babies and children. This research is a comparative study of children's environmental health policies between Australia and the US. The overall aim is to examine the effectiveness of policies that seek to reduce exposure and the burden of disease contributing to a clear understanding of the sorts of programs and policies that promote good environmental health for children and families. The research is timing given that the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 has been introduced in the US congress in an effort to reform to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and is currently being debated.

Jianghong Li and Joachim Singelmann - Determinants of child poverty in the high-poverty regions of the United States

Jianghong LiDr Jianghong Li is a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University and Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Western Australia. Her research interest and areas centre around social, economic and cultural determinants of health, with extensive collaborations across disciplines (labour economics, psychology and clinical psychology, nursing, nutrition epidemiology, developmental health, social work, biomedical sciences) and across countries (China, the US, and Canada).Joachim Singelmann is the David J. Kriskovich Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Louisiana State University and Director of the Louisiana Applied Population Lab (LAAPL).

Forty years after the War on Poverty, the United States poverty rate remains one of the highest among industrial countries. Rural poverty rates remain substantially higher than those in urban areas, and those places characterized by the greatest economic distress are in Central Appalachia and the rural South and Southwest. This project will extend the analyses of family poverty in the Mississippi Delta and the Texas Borderland recently carried out by Singelmann and his associates to Central Appalachia, and it aims to investigate determinants of child poverty in different demographic groups in these three high‐poverty regions.

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Robert Mason – "Si Se Puede": Transnational sentiment and Latino/a response to American elections from 2008

Robert MasonDr Robert Mason is a lecturer in History, and a researcher at the Public Memory Research Centre, at the University of Southern Queensland. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland in History and International Relations. His research interest is in migrant populations and their engagement with democratic transition in their home countries, with a particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific Rim. His most recent publications investigate transnational social movements in local contexts, focusing particularly on the effect of political memories on Australia's Spanish-speaking migrant communities.

The project investigates frameworks through which Spanish-speakers perceive American elections, within and beyond the United States' borders. American elections are the subject of intense international debate and are a formative component of the country's overseas image. The growth of transnational web-based social networks offers new understandings of the wider impact and reception of American democratic processes. This project focuses its analysis on Spanish-speaking groups throughout the Americas, for whom identification with America is frequently fraught with ambiguity and concern. Its conclusions point to the processes by which rhetoric targeting domestic demographic groups is communicated and received beyond American borders.

Vivienne Muller and Lesley Hawkes - Mapping American literature in Australian Universities

Vivienne Muller & Lesley HawkesDr Vivienne Muller is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literary Studies at Queensland University of Technology. She has published widely on a variety of topics including representations of the body, sexuality, masculinity and mothering. She has also published book chapters and journal articles on Australian literature, popular literature and young adult fiction. Currently she is co- authoring a book on youth culture and is researching material on internationalising the curriculum. Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literary Studies. QUT (Queensland University of Technology). Lesley teaches across a range of literary and creative writing units ranging from Shakespeare to Popular Fiction. A number of her post grad students are doing projects on American Gothic Literature and American Popular Fiction.

American literature has been taught within Australian universities for many decades now, predating the inclusion of Australian literature within literary studies and humanities programs. We know from a preliminary investigation that many universities in Australia teach some form of American literature – amongst them The University of Sydney, Monash, Melbourne, Wollongong, University of New South Wales, Griffith and James Cook. But just what qualifies as American literature and how is it being taught? And what is perceived to be its pedagogical, ideological and educational value within the Australian academy and more broadly within Australian society and culture? While university websites are presently a source for some of the information sought, there is currently no centralized and detailed account of American literature programs in Australia which can be accessed by interested staff, students and researchers. Lesley notes that the idea for the project for the USSC came out of the findings of a previous research project undertaken from a grant co-awarded with Dr Vivienne Muller by QUT on "Internationalising the Curriculum". This research examined the problems and concepts that arose when teaching a National Fiction in a global setting. These findings indicated that a mapping of American Literature in Australian Universities was yet to be undertaken and a practical on-line resource was needed. The research will hopefully become a valuable research tool for researchers and teachers of American Literature.

Michael Ondaatje - Black Conservatism in Civil Rights America

Michael OndaatjeMichael L. Ondaatje was awarded his PhD from the University of Western Australia in 2008. That year, his thesis on black conservatism was recognised at UWA with the Robert Street Prize for the best PhD across all of the university's disciplines. Michael's primary research field is African American history and he is author of Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America.

This project will provide the first-book length study of the relationship between black conservatism and the black freedom movement in civil rights America. Traditionally, scholarship on civil rights has presented black politics as a liberal or radical affair, with little consideration of how the ideas and activities of black conservatives shaped the twentieth century struggle for racial equality. Emphasizing economic self-help, racial autonomy and the value of two-party competition, some African Americans steadfastly maintained that conservatism was better equipped to resolve the myriad problems confronting the black community. Over the years, moreover, these men and women worked hard to realize their vision of black uplift through conservative organizations and institutions. Resisting the temptation to view African American politics and conservatism as fully irreconcilable, this study will throw new light on the diversity and complexity of the black freedom struggle, as well as the history of American conservatism. In doing so, it will also propose a new paradigm for understanding how these two histories interacted during a crucial period in the nation's past.

Michael lectures in American history at the University of Newcastle.

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See also:


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