Researchers without Borders

15 March 2011

In a new collaborative project, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences researchers will cross national borders and departmental boundaries alike.

A grant under the FACRS scheme will enable the International Society Research Group - a new collaboration bridging departments - to ask crucial questions about our increasingly international society.

In a move which echoes global trends of interconnectedness, researchers from three schools and five departments in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will cross departmental 'borders' and share their diverse expertise.

The project will ally scholars from the Departments of History, Government and International Relations, Sociology and Social Policy, the Museum Studies Program and the Human Rights Program.

According to Professor Glenda Sluga from the Department of History, who heads the team, interdepartmental collaboration is essential.

"So much expertise relevant to the questions raised by the concept of international society exists across departmental boundaries," she says. International society, she says, requires an interdisciplinary approach.

Participating researchers are working with the idea of international society to engage with a range of intellectual and scholarly research questions pertinent to the contemporary world. These include the past, present and future of global civil society, the global public sphere, international institutions, globalism, and internationalism.

"International society," says Sluga, "is a concept coined in the twentieth century in the context of the rise of international organisations, networks, and ideologies".

"While the idea first supposed a world of states, it has come to suggest a more transformative conception of the international, as a sphere in which transnational networks, practices and institutions are fundamentally altering the ways in which global politics might work".

Professor Sluga has indicated plans for major events as part of the project. She says "we are hoping to hold a public forum featuring Kevin Rudd, who has been very engaged with reviving Australia's engagement with the UN as an organ of international society".

"Other research-focused workshops will be conducted around the investigation of the existence of international society in the past as well as the present, and its manifestations, meanings, possibilities, and limitations."

Contact: James Mackay

Phone: 02 9351 2208