Staff Research Interests
Our staff have a wide range of research interests across politics, international relations, philosophy and religion.
My research develops a localised perspective of the growth and expansion of Global Christianity. From anthropological and sociological perspectives I accentuate the heterogeneity and plurality of lived Christian experience in different contexts, thus bringing to focus the interface between culture, worldview and belief. I am also increasingly interested in the impact of globalisation and migration on religious belonging and the resulting changes on contemporary Christianity. Within the broad academic research on the hybridisation of religion, I particularly work on Christianity, with special interest in the social and political implications of Christian growth particularly in Asia and Africa.
I have an eclectic range of research interests broadly converging around the politics of cultural diversity and the relationship between culture, wellbeing, institutions and circumstance. I have written about these topics and others in journals such as Australian Journal of Political Science, Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, British Journal of Educational Studies, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Journal of Medical Ethics, Educational Theory, Social Indicators Research and Ethnicities, several edited books, including The Legacy of Marxism (Bloomsbury), and my monograph, Evaluating Culture: Wellbeing, Institutions and Circumstance (Palgrave). I am the founding editor of the journal, Global Discourse, which is published quarterly by Taylor and Francis and have taught at the Universities of Newcastle, Queensland, Iceland and York.
I am the principal investigator on a participatory project entitled A Cross-Cultural Working Group on ‘Good Culture’ and Precariousness, which involves non-academic community co-researchers from Ashington, a former coalmining community in my native North East of England, and Aboriginal Australian communities from around Brisbane, Australia, working together through exchanges to each other’s communities to examine and develop guidelines for ‘good’ cultural responses to precariousness. The project has been funded by a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, a British Academy Rising Start Engagement Award, two FASS Knowledge Exchange Fellowships and The Centre for Community Policy, Research and Development, Australia (formerly Murri Mura Aboriginal Corporation). Two films covering the project have been produced by Brightmoon Media. An archive of video material, interviews and media coverage produced during the project is available at the project YouTube channel.
My work focuses on race and democracy in the United States. Through the lens of American racial politics, my research interests include political communications and campaign strategies, elections and electoral systems, representation and public policy, urban politics, and party regimes and polarisation. My recent work has studied black candidates in predominantly white contexts, the political thought of liberal Republicans, racially polarised partisanship under the Obama and Trump presidencies, and the impact of political structures such as voting systems and legislative apportionment on the representation of political and ethnic minorities. Current projects include studies about civil rights policy during the Reagan presidency and the implications of recent state-level partisan change on racial segregation in American schools. In a British context, I have written about the Labour Party and its history.