Understanding local and global political challenges

In the early twenty-first century, human communities face an array of complex political challenges, including climate change, disease pandemics, humanitarian disasters, ethnic and religious conflict, post-truth politics and ever-widening global inequities. These challenges are at once local and global in scope and are questioning traditional forms of sovereignty and nationhood.

For the Polis research network, these challenges serve as evidence that the study of politics and international studies is central in the drive towards a sustainable, tolerant, democratic and peaceful future.

Our research areas

Through our research, we aim to create advances in knowledge that can address the key challenges facing local communities and global politics. Our research focuses on significant policy debates, security challenges and humanitarian disasters, moving towards advancing democracy, peace and development.

Politics and international relations

Our politics and international relations staff research the critical local and global political challenges facing the 21st century.

Defence, peace and conflict studies

Our members at the Centre for Future Defence and National Security research past and contemporary conflict and future prospects for peace.

Humanitarian crises, emergency and disaster management

At the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership, Polis members examine the causes and consequences of crises, emergencies and disasters across the globe.

International and community development

Members from the disciplines of International and Community Development conduct research into the factors that shape poverty and inequality and evaluate the impediments to development.

Understand contemporary politics

When you study a PhD or postdoctoral research with Polis, you'll be supported by renowned researchers.

Explore our research degrees

Featured projects

Polis members currently lead dozens of national and international research projects in partnership with stakeholders in government, NGOs, civil society and local communities.

The parliamentary careers project

The parliamentary careers project

The parliamentary careers and workplaces project examines the career trajectories and professional challenges faced by members of parliament before, during and after their time in parliament. The project develops tools for parliaments to better support their current and former members.

Techno-totalitarianism vs. disruptive new technologies

Techno-totalitarianism vs. disruptive new technologies

This project explores the ways social media, new encryption technologies and cyber-surveillance are deployed as a new battlefront, as coercive authoritarian structures, as enablers of resistance, and as ambiguous contributors to both security and insecurity of individuals.

Our researchers

Steered by our group leaders, our team consists of 400 united members from within and outside Deakin. They bring a range of disciplinary expertise based on decades of combined experience.

Professor Benjamin Isakhan is professor of international politics and the founding director of POLIS.

Dr Shannon Zimmerman is a lecturer in strategic studies at the Australian War College.

Research team

Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh, Research Professor

Dr Sam Balaton-Chrimes, Senior Lecturer

Dr Rebecca Barlow, Visitor

Professor Greg Barton, Chair In Global Islamic Politics

Associate Professor Danielle Chubb, Associate Professor in International Relations

Dr Rob Engen, Senior Lecturer, War Studies

Dr Peter Ferguson, Senior Lecturer

Dr Michael Finch, Senior Lecturer, History of War and Strategy

Dr Jules Gaspard, Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Technology

Dr Jade Guan, Senior Lecturer in International Politics and Strategy

Associate Professor Joshua Hallwright, Visitor

Associate Professor Ahmed Hashim, Associate Professor, War Studies

Associate Professor Michael Hatherell, Deputy Director, Centre for Future Defence and National Security

Professor Baogang He, Alfred Deakin Professor and Personal Chair in International Relations

Associate Professor David Hundt, Associate Professor of International Relations

Professor Benjamin Isakhan, Professor, International Politics

Dr Liam Kane, Lecturer, Military History

Dr Leanne Kelly, Research Fellow

Associate Professor Max Kelly, Associate Professor, International and Community Development

Emeritus Professor Damien Kingsbury

Associate Professor Costas Laoutides, Associate Professor, International Relations

Dr Daniel Mcavoy, Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian Assistance

Mary Ana McGlasson, Director, Centre for Humanitarian Leadership

Associate Professor Yamini Narayanan

Associate Professor Amy Nethery

Associate Professor Zim Nwokora

Karine Pontbriand, Lecturer, Cyber Security and Strategy

Dr Maria Rae, Senior Lecturer

Professor Michael Rainsborough, Professor and Director, Centre for Future Defence and National Security

Dr Geoffrey Robinson, Senior Lecturer

Associate Professor Josh Roose

Associate Professor Steven Slaughter, Associate Head of School, Teaching and Learning

Dr Emily Tannock, Lecturer, War Studies

Dr Adriano Tedde, Lecturer, Strategic and American Studies

Professor Miguel Vatter, Professor in Political Science

Associate Professor Matteo Vergani

Associate Professor Anthony Ware, Associate Professor, International and Community Development

Associate Professor Cai Wilkinson, Associate Professor, International Relations

Associate Professor Pichamon Yeophantong, Associate Professor, Strategic Studies

Professor Ihsan Yilmaz, Research Chair in Islamic Studies and Intercultural Dialogue

Dr Claire Yorke, Senior Lecturer

Dr Shannon Zimmerman, Lecturer, Strategic Studies

Our partnerships

Collaborations are central to our work. We actively engage with a diverse range of domestic and international partners, including local communities, NGOs, civil society groups, state and federal governments, and multilateral bodies.

Contact us

Our team is here to answer your questions and help you learn more about Polis research. Visit @POLIS_Deakin on Twitter for current news.

Professor Benjamin Isakhan

Dr Shannon Zimmerman