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Personal profile


I studied history at the University of Melbourne, graduating with first class honours in 2003. My honours work concerned the legacy of the British atomic testing program in the northern desert region of South Australia.

When I later returned to university to undertake a PhD in anthropology at the University of Sydney, I was drawn back to South Australia—this time working on the Far West Coast. Initially I drew on my experience as a solidarity activist within Indigenous-directed environmental campaigns to inquire into the relationship between environmentalists and First Nations people. This research evolved into the edited collection, Unstable Relations: Indigenous People and Environmentalism in Contemporary Australia (co-edited with Tim Neale, UWAP, 2016). While living on the Far West Coast, my attention was also directed to another issue: the ways in which involvement in native title claims can sometimes stimulate conflict and impact everyday social relations within Indigenous communities. This research culminated in the monograph, ‘Against Native Title’: Conflict and Creativity in Outback Australia (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2017).

I have also undertaken research into everyday relations across class and ethnicised difference in school communities in inner Sydney. This research was published in Emotion, Space and Society, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and in the edited collection Class in Australia.

My recent research attends to everyday experiences of the Australia welfare state in transition, as the social security system becomes ever more disciplining and punitive. My two case studies for this project were the first cashless debit card trial and ParentsNext, an intensive pre-employment program for (mostly) single mothers on parenting payment. This research culminated in Who Cares? Life on Welfare in Australia (Melbourne University Press, 2023). 

I am currently working on a project called Love Across Class, which involves interviewing people who have partnered across class difference. This research is a collaboration with Dr Rose Butler (Deakin). A book on this topic is forthcoming. 


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