Researcher biography

My research interest may be seen to lie within one or more of the following areas

· Postcolonial sociologies of education

· Critical governmentality studies

· Student mobilities.

· Studies of globalization and transnationalism in relation to education institutions, policies and practices

· International higher education governance

· Development and education

These interests probably have something to do with my personal biography. I am a first generation 'education migrant' whose parents migrated to Australia at the tail end of the 1970s, their postcolonial dream unraveled by the cultural politics of new nationhood. We came to live in Western Australia at the end of one mining boom (this one was Japan driven), and the start of a major economic restructuring project that would transform the Australia economy, and the lifestyles and livelihoods of many of its citizens. I finished high school and then majored in Microbiology at the University of Western Australia, before working for two years in a genetics laboratory on the molecular aspects of change in anaerobic bacteria. I subsequently moved disciplines to the social sciences, completed a degree in Social Work, and worked for a decade in a number of areas ranging from child protection and juvenile justice to 'educational development assistance', multicultural counselling, refugee settlement and international student advising. In 1999, I commenced my PhD studies. My thesis investigated the workings of the education export industry using postcolonial and poststructuralist frameworks. It critically appraised the concept of globalisation and its use to govern international education. Through this work, I developed an interest in the different actors in the cast of globalization - international students, transnational scientists, and refugees and asylum seekers.

My more recent research has focused on emerging education hubs in Singapore and Malaysia and the transnational mobilities of 'knowledge workers' recruited to these emerging knowledge spatialities. I am also investigating the temporal reach and recontextualisation of colonial knowledges and practices on assembling 'postcolonial' subjectivities in the context of Southeast Asia. I have a strong interest in empirical work and welcome enquires from students who are interested in deep and substantive engagement with theoretical frameworks. Being a cultural, professional and disciplinary hybrid, I am keen to work across disciplines.

I am actively involved in three research projects at present, all concerned variously with investigations of mobility:

  • Globalising Universities and International Student Mobilities in East Asia, Funded by the Ministry of Education, Government of Singapore
  • Transnational Knowledge Workers in the Life-and Technosciences, Funded by the University of Queensland
  • Inbound and Outbound Student Mobility, Funded by the University of Queensland.

Areas of research