Research areas

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities is dedicated to high level research in a range of humanities disciplines with a focus on Intellectual and Literary History, Critical and Cultural Studies, the History of Emotions, and Science and Society.  

It has a core of permanent research-focused academics and postdoctoral researchers working on specific projects, and hosts short stay Faculty and Visiting Fellows.

Intellectual and Literary History

The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities promotes intellectual and literary history as a critical and interdisciplinary form of enquiring into past cultures. Our approach emphasises intellectual and literary traditions in their concrete historical contexts and conditions, and is driven by the belief that understanding the ideas, attitudes, values and beliefs of the past offers invaluable resources with which to better comprehend the present. To this end, the Institute is strongly committed to the dissemination of its research in both traditional academic outputs and public-facing venues aimed at raising awareness of the critical contribution of the humanities to the world today.

Research in the core stream of Intellectual and Literary History has a number of interdependent historical tributaries, including: the history of science and religion; religious history; the history of science, medicine, gender and sexuality; history of the supernatural; history of anthropology; and the history of the book. Each of these topical areas is, in turn, informed variously by philosophy, theology, hermeneutics, gender studies, literary studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, critical theory, secularization theory and political theology. Together, the interdisciplinary dialogue that is fostered between scholars in these different fields makes the Institute a unique space for advanced humanities research in Australia.

Intellectual and Literary History at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities offers a platform for the production and promotion of historical and literary scholarship that addresses the need for critical humanities in a rapidly changing world.

Critical and Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies examines the role of culture within processes of social change, both as a means of expression and as a central motivation for human actions. We undertake critical enquiries that examine new forms of technology, the significance of cultural differences and the relationship between cultural identities and everyday experience.

The programme seeks to locate Cultural Studies at the forefront of debates in the humanities. Our research on media technologies and social change seeks to explore new areas of interaction between academic expertise and the public. CCS has also made a long-term commitment to pursuing Cultural Studies of Asia, with influential studies of China, Japan and India alongside substantive studies of race, gender, sexuality, dis/ability and social inclusion in Australia.

Current Research
Our current research focus falls within five major themes:
Digital Cultures and Social Change
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Cultural Industries in Contemporary Asia
Popular and Visual Cultures of Science, Medicine and Technology
The Expansion of Transnational Culture and Literacy

We are always interested in hearing from established researchers, early career researchers and prospective doctoral candidates with an interest in these fields.

Adrian Athique
Adrian Athique is programme leader in Critical and Cultural Studies, His research interests are digital cultures, cultural industries and their audiences, especially in Asia. Adrian has contributed towards critical developments in cross-cultural studies, digital sociology and media and cultural economy. He is a member of the Australia-India Education Advisory Council and is currently contributing to India’s Special Programme for Academic Research Collaboration (SPARC). Adrian is also leading multi-national projects on digital media across Asia, as part of the Digital Transactions project, the South East Asian Internet Research network and the Indian Media Economy network.

Elizabeth Stephens
Elizabeth Stephens is a currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2017-2021) at IASH, and Associate Professor of Cultural Studies in the School of Communication and Arts. Her research brings together critical theories and cultural histories of the body, drawing on gender studies, queer theory, disability studies, and critical theory. Her Future Fellowship examines the cultural history of experimentation as a knowledge making practice, from early modern science to contemporary experimental art. It seeks to show how collaborations between the arts and sciences have historically produced breakthroughs in knowledge and creative practice, and thus provide models for productive collaborative practice in the present.

Graeme Turner
Graeme Turner’s current research projects include an ARC funded study ‘Transforming Cultural Fields’. He has recently led major studies on the social function of television in the post-broadcast digital environment and a study of Asian television histories. Professor Turner is recognised internationally for his leading expertise in Australian Cultural Studies, the power of celebrity, evolving forms of television and radio and the role of media in everyday life.


Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions

Established in 2011, the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions is a national humanities research initiative undertaken collaboratively across nine Australian universities.  The Centre draws on expertise in such disciplines as history, literary criticism, art history, and musicology to investigate individual and collective emotional experience in a wide range of periods and cultures.

UQ is one of nine member universities in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

The UQ Node of CHE is led by Professor Peter Holbrook, a specialist in English Renaissance literature, especially Shakespeare. 

The Node’s Deputy Director is Dr Andrea Bubenik, a Senior Lecturer in Art History specializing in Renaissance and Baroque art, especially that of Albrecht Dürer and his followers.

Sushma Griffin works as a research assistant for the Node, and leads its public programming.  She is completing a PhD thesis on the emergence of photography in India from 1857 to 1885.

Visit the Centre for the History of Emotions here.