Research in Political Science at ACU was recently ranked to be 'world class' by the Australian government's Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment exercise.

This result is the outcome of ACU's ongoing research intensification strategy, which has built upon research excellence at the School level with the creation of two interdisciplinary research institutes: the Institute of Religion, Politics and Society (IRPS) and the Institute of Social Justice (ISJ).

We are pleased to introduce below some of the key researchers pursuing original and world-class research in Politics at ACU.

Associate Professor Mark Chou, ACU's National School of Arts and Humanities

Mark Chou is an Associate Professor of Politics. He joined ACU in early 2013 from the University of Melbourne where he had been a McKenzie Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Trained as a political scientist and lawyer, Mark received his BA (Hons) and LLB (Hons) from the Australian National University. His PhD in Political Science and International Relations was awarded by the University of Queensland in 2010. With teaching and research interests in global politics, political theory, democracy, and cultural politics, Mark has taught courses in international relations, democratic theory and peace and conflict studies. Mark's first book, Greek Tragedy and Contemporary Democracy, was published in 2012 by Bloomsbury.

Currently, his research examines the issue of democratic failure, looking to examples in ancient Athens, the Weimar Republic, the contemporary United States, China, and Australia for insight. His first book on this topic, Theorising Democide: Why and How Democracies Fail, was published by Palgrave in 2013. His second volume, Democracy Against Itself: Sustaining an Unsustainable Idea, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2014.

At the moment Mark is spread across several projects, but perhaps the most interesting has to do with the rise of China and particularly the regional ambitions now manifesting in its ‘New Silk Road’ initiative. Essentially, China under current president Xi Jinping is trying to establish itself as an alternate epicentre of power and culture and is erecting what commentators are calling a sinocentric world order. It’s both fascinating and worrying at the same time. Recently, Mark co-authored an essay on the topic with his PhD student Octavia Bryant for a Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs publication: see, Will China Promote Autocracy along its New Silk Road?

Associate Professor Irfan Ahmad, ACU's Institute for Religion, Politics and Society (IRPS)

Irfan Ahmad is an Associate Professor of Political A has taught at Utrecht University, the University of Amsterdam and Monash University, where he was senior lecturer in Politics for nearly five years (2009-2013). After completing his doctorate (cum laude) in anthropology from the University of Amsterdam he won the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research’s Rubicon Postdoctoral Grant to undertake his postdoctoral research at Leiden University. Irfan is the author of Islamism and Democracy in India: The Transformation of the Jamaat-e-Islam (Princeton University Press, 2009), which was short-listed for the 2011 ICAS (International Convention of Asian Scholars) Book Prize for the best study in the field of Social Sciences. With Bryan S. Turner, Irfan is founding co-editor of the Journal of Religious and Political Practice; the inaugural issue of which appeared in the summer of 2015. Irfan is also a sought-after commentator for prestigious broadcasters such as Al Jazeera, SBS and the BBC.

Associate Professor Emilian Kavalski, ACU's Institute for Social Justice (ISJ)

Emilian Kavalski is associate professor of global studies. Prior to joining ACU's Institute for Social Justice, Emilian worked at the University of Western Sydney and has held research positions at Academia Sinica (Taiwan), Aalborg University (Denmark), the Institute for the International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict, Ruhr Universitat-Bochum (Germany), the Rachel Carson Center (Germany), and the NCHU Graduate Institute of International Politics (Taiwan), as well as the Andrew Mellon Fellowship position at the American Institute for Indian Studies (New Delhi, India), and the I.W.Killam Postdoctoral position at the Department of Political Science, University of Alberta (Canada). Emilian's research has focused on post-colonial literature, European politics, International Theory, Asian affairs, and the post-humanities.

He is currently working on (i) the encounter of International Relations with life in the Anthropocene, especially the conceptualisation of and engagement with non-human actors; and (ii) the nascent Asian normative orders and the ways in which they confront, complement and transform established traditions, norms and institutions. Emilian contends that in both these areas the application of Complexity Thinking has important implications for the ways in which global life is approached, explained, and understood. Emilian is also the book series editor for Ashgate’s ‘Rethinking Asia and International Relations‘ series.


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