SOPHI staff and the University of Sydney's research clusters

A number of research clusters have been established within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and beyond to facilitate inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research. A research cluster is an association of academics who share common research interests. The environment established within the research cluster is designed to facilitate collaboration and collegiality between academics.

Just a few of the research clusters SOPHI academics participate in are listed below.

Archaeology of Sydney Research Group

Camden cottage

The Archaeology of Sydney Research Group (ASRG) is a joint initiative between academic staff from the Department of Archaeology, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, University of Sydney and professional archaeologists and researchers who work in Sydney. We aim to provide a focus and forum for supporting, developing and promoting research, professional, educational and other public benefit outcomes from archaeology conducted in the Greater Sydney region.

Research themes:

  • Life in Sydney: Food and diet, fish and marine resources, market gardening; Ethnicity and gender; Mercantilism.
  • Convicts: Convict institutions; development of a free society.
  • Industry and Infrastructure: Maritime, potteries, defence, transport, standing buildings
  • Landscapes: Urbanisation, Aboriginal land use, Parramatta, cemeteries
    Aboriginal Sydney: Stone tool evolution, resource use, land use patterns, rock art, contact
  • Public Archaeology and Heritage: Synthesis and publication, grey literature, sustainable digital archives, public education
  • History of Sydney Archaeology

Archaeology of Sydney Research Group website

Gender and Modernity Research Group

Isadora Duncan

The Gender and Modernity Research Group promotes research in the humanities and social sciences on gender across key social, political, cultural and historical coordinates of modernity. Established in 2009, this group brings together researchers in the humanities and social sciences working on the intersection of gender and modernity across a range of periods and contexts and drawing on a range of disciplines and methods. It aims to promote the importance of, and build capacity for, feminist research into the ways modernity produces ideas and experiences of gender and the way gender shapes the uneven development and experiences of modernity, including degrees of access to the narratives of progress and self-determination captured by the idea of modernity.

The Gender and Modernity Research group hosts master classes, symposiums and visiting speakers as part of an intensive research program that fosters cross-institutional and international collaboration for early career researchers and postgraduate students as well as senior academics and professors.

Gender and Modernity website

Human Animal Research Network (HARN)


The Human Animal Research Network (HARN) at the University of Sydney is an interdisciplinary and cross-Faculty research group comprising members from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences , Faculty of Science , Faculty of Veterinary Science and the Sydney Law School. From the perspectives of Science, Law, Veterinary Science and the Humanities, both the ‘animal’ and the ‘human’ carry different meanings and unique philosophical genealogies, and much can be learnt when these perspectives interact, consult, teach and learn from each other. HARN aims to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue within the university and between the university and community groups, international human animal studies organizations and other Australian University based organizations.

HARN website

Nation Empire Globe Research Cluster

nation empire globe

The University of Sydney is a leading centre for the study of three of the most important contemporary subjects of inter-disciplinary inquiry in the humanities and social sciences: colonialism, nationalism and globalisation.

RIHSS established the Nation Empire Globe Research Cluster in mid-2005 in order to bring together academic staff currently divided by disciplinary and administrative boundaries, to build on complementary research methodologies and to develop research opportunities.

Nation Empire Globe website

Ancient North African & Phoenician Diaspora (ANAPD)

ANAPD image

The Ancient North African & Phoenician Diaspora Research Network (ANAPD) is designed to provide a way of connecting people from the University of Sydney, Australia wide and around the world with academics, research students and other people interested in the history and archaeology of North Africa and the Phoenician settlements in the Ancient Mediterranean. ANAPD is part of the Department of Classics and Ancient History.

ANAPD website

The Quarantine Project

View of inscriptions at Old Man

The practice of detaining and isolating people suspected of carrying infectious diseases dates to the Renaissance. Quarantine has always been about much more than just medical knowledge, however. Its rich heritage – in legislation, landscapes and human legacies – is correspondingly diverse and often poignant. As a collaborative research initiative, the Quarantine Project was established in 2012 to explore such connections and enduring traces. Based at Sydney’s former Quarantine Station, this linkage project combines scholarly research with public engagement, archaeology with history, materiality with memory.

The Quarantine Project website

Race and Ethnicity in the Global South

REGS image

Race and Ethnicity in the Global South (REGS) sponsors historical research to reveal active and influential debates over race and other human differences conducted by scientists and anthropologists across the southern hemisphere.

For too long ideas about race and racial formations in Latin America have been fenced off, in effect, from the rest of the Global South, while Australasia, the Pacific, and southern Africa are more commonly associated with the diffusion of racial thought from the North. But the racial picture changes if one frames ideas and practices in their regional context, examining the similar patterns of racial thought emerging at multiple sites across the southern hemisphere. Ideas about racial plasticity, environmental adaptation, miscegenation, assimilation, absorption, and the formation of new races all come to the fore.

Race and Ethnicity in the Global South website

Sydney Intellectual History Network

SIHN image

The Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN) draws together scholars to think through the problem of communicating significant conceptual innovation in the modern world, situating our research along a trajectory of intellectual history reconfigured as a dynamic multidisciplinary exploration of generative thought.

While some argue that the 21st century is a 'post-Enlightenment' and 'post-idea' world, researchers within our network maintain that important conceptual developments are well within our reach, but have been obscured by siloed perspectives that ignore a sense of history. Our intent is to develop new perspectives on the past that will allow us to reshape intellectual history as a multidisciplinary field of research and to offer novel insights into the continuities and discontinuities between the past, present and future.

Sydney Intellectual History Network