Professor Danielle Celermajer

A22 - Old Teachers' College
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 7641

Website Contact Details

Biographical details

My professional life has been characterised by moving between organisations whose principal focus is human rights policy, advocacy and scholarship, and seeking a greater integration between these dimensions of human rights work. Since joining the University of Sydney in 2005, I have had the privilege of establishing two postgraduate human rights programs aimed at forging precisely this type of integration between the best of scholarship and effective human rights practice. The second, the Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific Program) was established with a 1.5 million euro grant from the European Commission and is now in its sixth year with ongoing funding from the European Union and now forming part of the Global Campus of Human Rights programs.

Since 2012, I have been leading a multi-disciplinary international team seeking to identify and test new approaches to preventing torture in organisations where it is systematic and entrenched. Our team has sought to better understand the root causes of torture, particularly those residing in the cultures and processes of security organisations themselves. This project, also funded by the European Union has been working with police and police and military in Sri Lanka and Nepal in partnership with universities in those two countries.

Through these two programs and a range of others in the field of human rights, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has now built a highly innovative human rights program seeking to strengthen and deepen the contribution that humanities and social science scholars can make in the field of human rights.

Prior to joining the academy, I worked as a policy advisor and speechwriter to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and the Race Discrimination Commissioner in the Australian Human rights Commission.

Research interests

The fundamental research question that motivates all of my specific research endeavours is, ‘What are the principles and practices required to construct socially just political communities in the context of diversity (religious, racial, economic, ethnic and political) and in the light of historical violations?’ In pursuit of answers to this question, my specific research interests include:

  • Dealing with the past: an exploration of how political communities deal with past violations, and in particular the role of symbolic and ritual politics such as apologies;
  • Religion and human rights: A consideration of the relationship between religious norms concerning justice and public ethics and secular norms, including human rights norms, including questions about how the normative framings and languages of religious worldviews and communities can contribute to or impede he pursuit of justice across different cultural and political spaces.
  • Human rights education: An interrogation of the methodologies and objectives of human rights education, how education is thought to contribute to respect for human rights and action research on creative pedagogies.
  • Cultural and social dimensions of human rights: How do social, economic and cultural practices and dynamics impede or support respect for human rights and what types of interventions can address the cultural and social dynamics that perpetuate abuse?
  • The transmission of suffering: How do narratives and images of suffering motivate people to act in pursuit of justice and what role does suffering have in the construction of the idea of future justice?
  • Hannah Arendt: I have an ongoing engagement wit the work on Hannah Arendt and am currently continuing my work on how her work can contribute to our thinking about human rights and the religious underpinnings of her thought.

Current projects

Addressing the root causes of torture (A three year European Union funded project focusing on the Military and Police in Sri Lanka and Police and Armed Police force in Nepal);

The transmission of narrative of suffering

Legal Culture in the twentieth Century (a joint project with Professor Richard Sherwin of New York Law School).

In the media

Late Night Live, March 6, 2014 on Hannah Arendt. Available here.

The Midday Program with Margaret Throsby, March 17, 2014. Available here.

The Philosopher’s Zone, January 29, 2012. Available here.

“Torture Causes Long Term Harm”, op-ed Sydney Morning Herald, May 18th, 2012. Available here.

Videos

Professor Danielle Celermajer talks about her research interests, the European Union funded Torture Prevention Programme and Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific Program), here, and below.

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2013

  • Academic Coordinator for Research Programme 'Implementation of the Convention of the Rights of persons with Disabilities (CRPD): the participation of Disabled People's Organisation (DPOs)'; Celermajer D; European Commission (Belgium)/Research Support.

2012

  • Addressing the root causes of torture: Actions to reduce and prevent torture in police and military settings in the Asia Pacific region; Celermajer D; European Commission (Belgium)/Research Support.
  • The Sydney Social Justice Project; Carney T, Celermajer D, Connell R, Freebody P, Goodwin S, Graycar R, Ivison D, Keane J, Kinley D, Meagher G, Schlosberg D, Sluga G, Tormey S; DVC Research/Research Network Scheme (SyReNS).
  • The Sydney Network on Climate Change and Society; McCalman I, Schlosberg D, Bashford A, Probyn E, Allon F, Giles P, Smith V, Marks P, Celermajer D, Mikler J, Chester L, Gurran N, Shrestha K, Lyster R, McManus P, Pritchard W, Neilson J, Byrne M, Wright C, de Berigny Wall C; DVC Research/Research Network Scheme (SyReNS).
  • Global Sensibilities – The New History of Ideas; Blanshard A, Caine B, Celermajer D, Ferng J, Fitzmaurice A, Gatens M, Harmon C, Johnson M, Milam J, Sluga G, White S; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

2011

  • Democratic Governance and Human Rights Program; Celermajer D; Australia Thailand Institute/Research Support.

2010

  • Australia - Thailand Human Rights Education Project; Soem T, Celermajer D; Australia Thailand Institute/Research Support.
  • The International Society Research Cluster; Sluga G, Celermajer D, Barrett J, Epstein C, Horne J, Poulos M, Humphrey M; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.
  • The Environmental Humanities Group; McCalman I, Bashford A, White S, McCreery C, Gibbs M, Schlosberg D, Celermajer D, Philp J, Robertson S, Fitzmaurice A, Giles P, Marks P, Hardie M, Smith V, Alt C, Race K, Allon F; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.
  • Research to conduct collaborative research on assessing the effectiveness of a human rights-based approach to poverty eradication and development.; Celermajer D, Valiente-Riedl E; Australian Council for International Development/Universities-ACFID Linkage Grant.

2008

  • Developing a networked Asia-Pacific Masters Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation; Celermajer D, Walters E; European Commission (Belgium)/Research Support.

2007

  • Hannah Arendt as a Jewish Thinker; Celermajer D; University of Sydney/Early Career Researcher.

Selected publications & creative works

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Books

  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apologies. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.

Edited Books

  • Schaap, A., Celermajer, D., Karalis, V. (2010). Power, Judgement and Political Evil: In Conversation with Hannah Arendt. Surry: Ashgate.
  • Celermajer, D. (2002). World Community: Religion and Human Rights. Columbia: Centre for the Study of Human Rights.

Book Chapters

  • Celermajer, D. (2014). From Mea Culpa to Nostra Culpa: A Reparative Apology from the Catholic Church? In Mihaela Mihai, Mathias Thaler (Eds.), On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies, (pp. 55-75). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Celermajer, D. (2014). The Politics of Indigenous Human Rights in the Era of Settler State Citizenship: Legacies of the Nexus between Sovereignty, Human Rights, and Citizenship. In Anna Yeatman, Peg Birmingham (Eds.), The Aporia of Rights: Explorations in Citizenship in the Era of Human Rights, (pp. 137-158). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Apology and the Possibility of the Ethical Nation. In Daniel Cuypers, Daniel Janssen, Jacques Haers, Barbara Segaert (Eds.), Public Apology between Ritual and Regret: Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret, (pp. 45-64). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). The Role of Ritual is Shifting Collective Dispositions. In Chrisje Brants, Antoine Hol, Dina Siegel (Eds.), Transitional Justice: Images and Memories, (pp. 123-139). Surrey, UK: Ashgate.
  • Celermajer, D. (2012). Indigenous Peoples' Rights. In Helmut K. Anheier and Mark Juergensmeyer (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Global Studies, (pp. 889-892). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Celermajer, D., Moses, A. (2010). Australian Memory and the Apology to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous People. In Aleida Assmann and Sebastian Conrad (Eds.), Memory in a Global Age: Discourses, Practices and Trajectories, (pp. 32-58). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). From the Religious to the Political Apology: How the Religious Prehistory of Apology Makes Sense of Collective Responsibility. In Christopher Allers and Marieke Smit (Eds.), Forgiveness in Perspective, (pp. 117-138). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). Inclusion, Trust and Democracy: Interfaith and Faith-Secular Dialogue as Strategies for Muslim Inclusion. In Samina Yasmeen (Eds.), Muslims in Australia: The Dynamics of Exclusion and Inclusion, (pp. 229-249). Carlton: Melbourne University Press.
  • Celermajer, D., Schaap, A., Karalis, V. (2010). Introduction: in conversation with Hannah Arendt. In A. Schaap, D. Celermajer, V. Karalis (Eds.), Power, Judgement and Political Evil: In Conversation with Hannah Arendt, (pp. 1-9). Surry: Ashgate.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). The Ethics of Friendship. In A. Schaap, D. Celermajer, V. Karalis (Eds.), Power, Judgement and Political Evil: In Conversation with Hannah Arendt, (pp. 55-69). Surry: Ashgate.
  • Celermajer, D. (2008). Can there be a Postsecular Education for Peace? In Tonya Huber-Warring (Eds.), Growing a Soul for Social Change: Building the Knowledge Base for Social Justice, (pp. 11-26). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). The Apology in Australia: Re-covenanting the National Imagery. In Elazar Barkan and Alexander Karn (Eds.), Taking Wrongs Seriously: Apologies and Reconciliation, (pp. 153-184). Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Journals

  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Mere Ritual? Displacing the Myth of Sincerity in Transitional Rituals. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 7(2), 286-305. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D., Grewal, K. (2013). Preventing Human Rights Violations 'From the Inside': Enhancing the Role of Human Rights Education in Security Sector Reform. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 5(2), 243-266. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D., Kidman, J. (2012). Embedding the apology in the nation's identity. J P S (The Journal of the Polynesian Society), 121(3), 219-242.
  • Celermajer, D. (2011). Hebraic Dimensions of Hannah Arendt's Thought. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 10(1), 3-22. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). Hannah Arendt: Athens or Perhaps Jerusalem? Thesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology, 102(1), 24-38. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). Introduction: Athens and Jerusalem through a Different Lens. Thesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology, 102(1), 3-5. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Book Review: The Politics of Regret: On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility Jeffrey Olick New York: Routledge, 2007. Memory Studies, 2(21).
  • Celermajer, D. (2008). The State of Free Speech. Australian Journal of Political Science, 43(3), 495-511.
  • Celermajer, D. (2007). If Islam is our other, who are 'we'? Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42(1), 103-123.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). Seeing the Light and Hearing the Call; the Aesthetics of Knowledge and Thought. Literature & Aesthetics, 16(2), 120-144.
  • Celermajer, D. (2005). Are we entering a post human rights era? Human Rights Defender, 14(1), 2-5.
  • Celermajer, D. (2005). Cultural annihilation and human rights: The forced removal of Aboriginal children. Human Rights Dialogue: an international forum for debating human rights, series 2 (online, 22 April 2005)(12 Cultural Rights).

Conferences

  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Global emotions and the prospect of political transformation. The Aesthetisation of Emotion 2009, Australia: University of Sydney.
  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Revealing the religious underpinnings of political apologies [Political Apologies: Re-covenanting the Nation]. 2nd Global Conference 2009: Forgiveness - Probing the Boundaries, United Kingdom: Inter-Disciplinary.Net.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). Can there be a Post-secular Human Rights Framework? Religions Facing the Challenge of Universalism. International Symposium: Cultivating Wisdom, Harvesting Peace (2005), Brisbane: Multi-Faith Centre, Griffith University.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). From the Levinasian apology to the political apology; reflections on ethical politics. Australasian Political Studies Association Annual Conference (APSA 2006), Newcastle: University of Newcastle.

Magazine / Newspaper Articles

  • Celermajer, D. (2006). US: Rule of Men. New Matlida Online, Online: 5 July 2006.

Research Reports

  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Context of Law Enforcement and Security in Nepal and Sri Lanka (long report), (pp. 1 - 62). Sydney, Australia: Enhancing Human Rights Protections.
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Context of Law Enforcement and Security in Nepal and Sri Lanka (short report), Sydney, Australia: Enhancing Human Rights Protections.
  • Law, A., Valiente-Riedl, E., Celermajer, D. (2012). Measuring Social Change: Principles to Guide the Assessment of Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development, ACFID Research in Development Series Report No. 5, (pp. 1 - 17). Canberra, Australia: Australian Council For International Development (ACFID).
  • Law, A., Valiente-Riedl, E., Celermajer, D. (2011). Measuring Social Change: Principles to Guide the Assessment of Human Rights Based Approaches to Development, ACFID RESEARCH IN DEVELOPMENT SERIES REPORT NO. 5, (pp. 1 - 20). Deakin, ACT, Australia: Australian Council for International Development.

2014

  • Celermajer, D. (2014). From Mea Culpa to Nostra Culpa: A Reparative Apology from the Catholic Church? In Mihaela Mihai, Mathias Thaler (Eds.), On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies, (pp. 55-75). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Celermajer, D. (2014). The Politics of Indigenous Human Rights in the Era of Settler State Citizenship: Legacies of the Nexus between Sovereignty, Human Rights, and Citizenship. In Anna Yeatman, Peg Birmingham (Eds.), The Aporia of Rights: Explorations in Citizenship in the Era of Human Rights, (pp. 137-158). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

2013

  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Apology and the Possibility of the Ethical Nation. In Daniel Cuypers, Daniel Janssen, Jacques Haers, Barbara Segaert (Eds.), Public Apology between Ritual and Regret: Symbolic Excuses on False Pretenses or True Reconciliation out of Sincere Regret, (pp. 45-64). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Context of Law Enforcement and Security in Nepal and Sri Lanka (long report), (pp. 1 - 62). Sydney, Australia: Enhancing Human Rights Protections.
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Context of Law Enforcement and Security in Nepal and Sri Lanka (short report), Sydney, Australia: Enhancing Human Rights Protections.
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). Mere Ritual? Displacing the Myth of Sincerity in Transitional Rituals. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 7(2), 286-305. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D., Grewal, K. (2013). Preventing Human Rights Violations 'From the Inside': Enhancing the Role of Human Rights Education in Security Sector Reform. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 5(2), 243-266. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D. (2013). The Role of Ritual is Shifting Collective Dispositions. In Chrisje Brants, Antoine Hol, Dina Siegel (Eds.), Transitional Justice: Images and Memories, (pp. 123-139). Surrey, UK: Ashgate.

2012

  • Celermajer, D., Kidman, J. (2012). Embedding the apology in the nation's identity. J P S (The Journal of the Polynesian Society), 121(3), 219-242.
  • Celermajer, D. (2012). Indigenous Peoples' Rights. In Helmut K. Anheier and Mark Juergensmeyer (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Global Studies, (pp. 889-892). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
  • Law, A., Valiente-Riedl, E., Celermajer, D. (2012). Measuring Social Change: Principles to Guide the Assessment of Human Rights-Based Approaches to Development, ACFID Research in Development Series Report No. 5, (pp. 1 - 17). Canberra, Australia: Australian Council For International Development (ACFID).

2011

  • Celermajer, D. (2011). Hebraic Dimensions of Hannah Arendt's Thought. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 10(1), 3-22. [More Information]
  • Law, A., Valiente-Riedl, E., Celermajer, D. (2011). Measuring Social Change: Principles to Guide the Assessment of Human Rights Based Approaches to Development, ACFID RESEARCH IN DEVELOPMENT SERIES REPORT NO. 5, (pp. 1 - 20). Deakin, ACT, Australia: Australian Council for International Development.

2010

  • Celermajer, D., Moses, A. (2010). Australian Memory and the Apology to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous People. In Aleida Assmann and Sebastian Conrad (Eds.), Memory in a Global Age: Discourses, Practices and Trajectories, (pp. 32-58). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). From the Religious to the Political Apology: How the Religious Prehistory of Apology Makes Sense of Collective Responsibility. In Christopher Allers and Marieke Smit (Eds.), Forgiveness in Perspective, (pp. 117-138). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). Hannah Arendt: Athens or Perhaps Jerusalem? Thesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology, 102(1), 24-38. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). Inclusion, Trust and Democracy: Interfaith and Faith-Secular Dialogue as Strategies for Muslim Inclusion. In Samina Yasmeen (Eds.), Muslims in Australia: The Dynamics of Exclusion and Inclusion, (pp. 229-249). Carlton: Melbourne University Press.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). Introduction: Athens and Jerusalem through a Different Lens. Thesis Eleven: critical theory and historical sociology, 102(1), 3-5. [More Information]
  • Celermajer, D., Schaap, A., Karalis, V. (2010). Introduction: in conversation with Hannah Arendt. In A. Schaap, D. Celermajer, V. Karalis (Eds.), Power, Judgement and Political Evil: In Conversation with Hannah Arendt, (pp. 1-9). Surry: Ashgate.
  • Schaap, A., Celermajer, D., Karalis, V. (2010). Power, Judgement and Political Evil: In Conversation with Hannah Arendt. Surry: Ashgate.
  • Celermajer, D. (2010). The Ethics of Friendship. In A. Schaap, D. Celermajer, V. Karalis (Eds.), Power, Judgement and Political Evil: In Conversation with Hannah Arendt, (pp. 55-69). Surry: Ashgate.

2009

  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Book Review: The Politics of Regret: On Collective Memory and Historical Responsibility Jeffrey Olick New York: Routledge, 2007. Memory Studies, 2(21).
  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Global emotions and the prospect of political transformation. The Aesthetisation of Emotion 2009, Australia: University of Sydney.
  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Revealing the religious underpinnings of political apologies [Political Apologies: Re-covenanting the Nation]. 2nd Global Conference 2009: Forgiveness - Probing the Boundaries, United Kingdom: Inter-Disciplinary.Net.
  • Celermajer, D. (2009). Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apologies. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.

2008

  • Celermajer, D. (2008). Can there be a Postsecular Education for Peace? In Tonya Huber-Warring (Eds.), Growing a Soul for Social Change: Building the Knowledge Base for Social Justice, (pp. 11-26). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.
  • Celermajer, D. (2008). The State of Free Speech. Australian Journal of Political Science, 43(3), 495-511.

2007

  • Celermajer, D. (2007). If Islam is our other, who are 'we'? Australian Journal of Social Issues, 42(1), 103-123.

2006

  • Celermajer, D. (2006). Can there be a Post-secular Human Rights Framework? Religions Facing the Challenge of Universalism. International Symposium: Cultivating Wisdom, Harvesting Peace (2005), Brisbane: Multi-Faith Centre, Griffith University.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). From the Levinasian apology to the political apology; reflections on ethical politics. Australasian Political Studies Association Annual Conference (APSA 2006), Newcastle: University of Newcastle.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). Seeing the Light and Hearing the Call; the Aesthetics of Knowledge and Thought. Literature & Aesthetics, 16(2), 120-144.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). The Apology in Australia: Re-covenanting the National Imagery. In Elazar Barkan and Alexander Karn (Eds.), Taking Wrongs Seriously: Apologies and Reconciliation, (pp. 153-184). Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
  • Celermajer, D. (2006). US: Rule of Men. New Matlida Online, Online: 5 July 2006.

2005

  • Celermajer, D. (2005). Are we entering a post human rights era? Human Rights Defender, 14(1), 2-5.
  • Celermajer, D. (2005). Cultural annihilation and human rights: The forced removal of Aboriginal children. Human Rights Dialogue: an international forum for debating human rights, series 2 (online, 22 April 2005)(12 Cultural Rights).

2002

  • Celermajer, D. (2002). World Community: Religion and Human Rights. Columbia: Centre for the Study of Human Rights.

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