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 inquiring 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, published by 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, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
I am currently working on three projects. The first attends to everyday experiences of the Australia welfare state in transition, as the welfare system becomes ever more disciplining. My two case studies for this project are the first cashless debit card trial, in Ceduna, South Australia, and ParentsNext, an intensive support program for (mostly) mothers on parenting payments.
My second related project is called Narrating Poverty. This collaboration with sociologist Emma Mitchell (Macquarie) takes as its starting point the outpouring of personal stories of hardship as the campaign to raise Australia’s unemployment benefit, Newstart, gains increased public support. We hope to examine the power and pitfalls associated with narrating poverty, in conversation with academics, journalists, writers and advocates.
The third project, Love Across Class, involves interviewing people who have partnered across class difference. This research is a collaboration with Rose Butler (Deakin).