Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Critical geopolitics and international relations in South Asia

This is a doctoral cotutelle project in 'Critical geopolitics and international relations in South Asia' Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom). Deakin is the lead institution.

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


Melbourne Burwood Campus (Australia) and Coventry University (UK)

Research topic

This is a doctoral cotutelle project between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (UK).

The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Deakin University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and Coventry University. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from Coventry University, each of which recognises that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral program.

The PhD Student is anticipated to spend a minimum 6 months and a maximum of 12 months (with approval) of the total period of the program at Coventry University in the second year of the program, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin University.

This PhD is intended to purposively examine areas that are generally under-researched in international relations (IR), and particularly in South Asia. Candidates may propose projects that offer a transversal or intersectional analysis across more than one of these topics that are empirically clearly delineated in and across the geopolitics of two or more South Asian nations:

  1. Gender and South Asian geopolitics (including but not limited to feminist and queer IR) that consider and problematise how gender and sexuality are narrated in South Asian international relation discourse and praxis in both explicit and implicit ways. How do gendered political assemblages (including but not limited to militarised groups, movements, affiliations) embody justice, boundaries and intersectional tensions with caste, nationhood and religion?
  2. Environmental politics in South Asia that explore tensions and productive alliances around water politics, shared border ecologies, climate cooperation, poverty and environmental politics, environmental migration, species extinctions, multispecies flourishing, and transboundary conservation, among many others.
  3. Grassroots/subaltern border politics that explore informal development at the borderlands; informal governance at contested margins; peace and anti-militarisation; informal trade and exchanges; and culture and interconnections; and the shifting nature of borders, including in rapidly changing environmental conditions.
  4. Soft diplomacy in South Asia ; South Asian nations have engaged in a spectrum of creative diplomatic exchanges such as mango diplomacy as a way of softening relations as a precursor to discussions and negotiations to difficult and enduring issues. Projects may critically examine a soft diplomatic approach by a South Asian nation in the region, and consider their significance or potential in an era of intensifying nuclear rivalry, rising authoritarianism and ecological degradation in the region.
  5. South Asian diasporic relations and regional geopolitics; South Asian conservatist and authoritarian politics, identity politics and separatist movements manifest globally in contemporary times through digital authoritarianism, a spectrum of rapid mobilities scaffolding populism, and strategic political alliances with right-wing movements in 'host' countries. Equally the South Asia diaspora may generate its own frictions and potentials that reverberate back to the region. Potential projects may examine an issue of South Asian diasporic politics in the United Kingdom and/or Australia, and consider the influence and implications of the South Asian diaspora on both the region, and in these nations.

Project aim

The PhD project under the Deakin-Coventry Universities cotutelle arrangement will undertake a critical analysis of issues that are central in international relations politics and praxis but are relatively understudied in mainstream IR scholarship. These themes include:

  • gender and international relations;
  • South Asian environmental politics;
  • grassroots/subaltern border politics and informal governance and development in contested and/or shifting South Asian borderlands; politics of soft diplomacy in South Asia;
  • and the influence and significance of South Asian diaspora politics to the region.

The project may undertake a transversal or intersectional analysis of two or more of these themes through a clearly proposed case study that demonstrate the frictions, alliances, and complex interactions between specific South Asian nations. The project will ultimately unveil the significance of overlooked actors, sites, and relationalities in South Asia, and contribute to a clearer understanding of conflict and cooperation in South Asia.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday 29 April 2024

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.


Deakin University will provide a Deakin University Postgraduate Research (DUPR) Scholarship including: A

  • Stipend of $34,400 per annum tax exempt (2024 rate);
  • Relocation to Deakin University allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) to take up the scholarship;
  • Travel support to fulfil the residency requirements of the Cotutelle program (including funding for one return economy airfare to Coventry University, visa application fees along and health and travel insurance);
  • International students only: Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Deakin will also provide a  full tuition fee waiver for up to four years once enrolled in the doctoral program at Deakin University and at Coventry University;

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship;
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry University, including English language proficiency requirements;
  • be enrolling full-time at the Home Institution (Deakin);
  • be able to physically locate to Coventry University (UK) for a minimum of 6 months and maximum of 12 months (with approval).

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and Coventry’s research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants should contact A/Prof Yamini Narayanan to discuss the project. After discussing your application with the Deakin Supervisor, you will be required to submit an Expression of interest directly with the Faculty of Arts and Education. If invited by the Deakin Supervisor to submit an EoI, please lodge a concurrent application to the partner institution.

The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the Coventry University application page.

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact:

A/Prof Yamini Narayanan
+61 3 924 46808

Visit Yamini's profile