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Dr Murray Noonan's PhD thesis, Marxist theories of imperialism: evolution of a concept analysed how Marxist theories have evolved over the course of the twentieth century and into the new millennium. Dr Noonan identified a number of problems in the theorising of imperialism within and across the three phases or eras of Marxist engagement with the subject. In particular, there are two key problem areas connected with the theorising of imperialism by Marxist thinkers. These are: the less than adequate theorising of the political aspects of imperialism; the paucity of empirical political-economic data. As Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin rightfully point out, Marxists such as Lenin and Bukharin, amongst others, did not theorise the state with enough finesse. As for the second problem area, the paucity of political-economic data, this is an issue that is more apparent in the work of the cohort of writers that I called the ‘globalisation-era’ Marxists. Compared with the first phase of imperialism theory conducted by the ‘pioneers’, the third phase ‘globalisation-era’ offerings are quite abstract and need to be fleshed out with appropriate data. These two problem areas in Marxist imperialism theory, namely the role of the state in imperialism and contemporary political-economic empirical research form part of my current research interests.
Dr Noonan is presently engaged on an ARC funded project called ‘Australian politicians and the use of history: from Federation to the present’. The project explores how federal politicians have read and thought about histories, both Australian and international, and have themselves popularised certain understandings of historical episodes in political and therefore persuasive contexts. This is the first research project in Australia to explore this field in any depth, bridging the fields of politics and political history and the study and uses of history in Australian public life. I have a strong interest in both politics and history and wish to continue pursuing this area of research.
In addition, the contested areas of Marxist political-economy such as the labour theory of value and the falling rate of profit are both complex and fascinating. These areas are also part of my current research interests.
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