Researcher

Associate Professor Melanie White

Fields of Research (FoR)

Sociology, Social theory, Political theory and political philosophy, Social and political philosophy, Citizenship, Poststructuralism

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Biography

Melanie White is Deputy Head of School (Education) in the School of Social Sciences. She is Associate Professor in Sociology (Social Theory) and a Fellow of the UNSW Scientia Education Academy.

Melanie has always been fascinated by what we mean by the 'social.' Her current research concerns the place of biology and animality in the constitution of the discipline of sociology in 19C France. She has a particular interest in the social theories...view more

Melanie White is Deputy Head of School (Education) in the School of Social Sciences. She is Associate Professor in Sociology (Social Theory) and a Fellow of the UNSW Scientia Education Academy.

Melanie has always been fascinated by what we mean by the 'social.' Her current research concerns the place of biology and animality in the constitution of the discipline of sociology in 19C France. She has a particular interest in the social theories of Emile Durkheim, Gabriel Tarde, Henri Bergson, Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem.  She is interested in questions about the relations between habits & creativity, error & uncertainty, and finding the point at which the ordinary becomes extraordinary in everyday life.  She also enjoys rediscovering lost and forgotten thinkers and considering how they contribute to contemporary debates in social theory and our understanding of everyday life.  She has published in high-ranking international journals such as Body & Society, Journal of Classical Sociology and Economy and Society. Her book Bergson, Politics, and Religion co-edited with Alexandre Lefebvre (University of Sydney) is published with Duke University Press.

Melanie is also Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.


My Qualifications

PhD (Carleton University) MA (Carleton University) BA (University of British Columbia)


My Awards

2019   Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), UK

2019   The Michael Wearing Memorial Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision, UNSW Sydney

2018    UNSW Scientia Education Academy Fellow, 2019-2022

2017    Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (General Category), UNSW Sydney

2016    Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision Award, ARC Postgraduate Student Council, UNSW Student Life and Dean of Graduate Research School, UNSW Sydney 

2015    Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence (General Category), Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney

2006    Nominated, Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Trent University, Canada

2002    Teaching Excellence Award, Carleton University Students' Association, Carleton University, Canada

 


My Research Activities

Research Areas:  Classical and contemporary social theory, political theory, citizenship studies, sociological theory

 

Current Research Projects

Bergson's Social and Political Thought
In collaboration with Alexandre Lefebvre (University of Sydney), this project develops the political, social and religious philosophy of Henri Bergson, an early twentieth century French philosopher. 

The Animal Question in Society
This project considers how 19C French social thinkers such as Auguste Comte, Jean-Marie Guyau, and Alfred Espinas understood the relation between human and nonhuman animals in order to interrogate by Emile Durkheim and others to constitute sociology as a discipline in France.

Life, Vitalism and Society
This project considers the underpinning vitalism of three 20C sociological thinkers in the German tradition: Georg Simmel, Alfred Schutz and Max Scheler.

 

Affiliations and Membership

Member of the Biopolitical Research Network

Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Department of Sociology & Anthropology


My Research Supervision


Currently supervising

Dovi Seldowitz (PhD Social Sciences, Sociology) (Primary Supervisor)

Rickie-Lee McLauren-Smith (PhD Social Sciences, Sociology) (Primary Supervisor)

Roxarne Moon (PhD Social Sciences, Sociology) Folktales and the Sociology of Belonging (Primary Supervisor) 

Roberta Pala (PhD Social Policy Research Centre) Vaccines as Biopolitical Interventions (Scientia Scholarship Project, Joint Supervisor - Career Mentor with Prof kylie valentine and Prof Matthew Kearnes)

Jonathan Talbot (PhD Social Sciences, Sociology) (Joint Supervisor with Dr. Andy Kaladelfos)

Chelsea Van Deventer (PhD Social Sciences, Anthropology) How do different disciplines use language/terminology differently? (Primary Supervisor with Prof Vicki Kirby)

Madelene Veber (PhD Social Sciences, Sociology) The Sociology of Error (Joint Supervisor with Prof Timothy O'Leary)

 

PhD completions

Mary Cantrill (2020) The Family Experience:  Child and adolescent acute mental illness and the first hospitalisation (Joint Supervisor with Prof Elizabeth Fernandez), Social Work, UNSW Sydney

Joseph Alizzi (2020) Anxious to Act - Understanding the human condition and (re)locating individual action through the climate change debate (Secondary Supervisor), Sociology, UNSW Sydney

Dita Svelte (2019) Surprise and Seduction: Theorising Fashion via the Sociology of Wit (Primary Supervisor), Sociology, UNSW Sydney, Nominated, Best HDR publication, Dean's Research Awards (2018)

Megan Catherine Rose (2019) Affirmation and Affect: A Sociological Account of Kawaii Fashion Communities (Primary Supervisor) Sociology, UNSW Sydney, Recipient of the Arts & Social Sciences Dean's Teaching Award - Rising Stars (2018), Recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award (2020).

Jacqueline Dalziell (2018)'The Blindness of the Seeing Eye': Testing Anthropocentrism (PhD Primary Supervisor with Prof. Vicki Kirby) Sociology, UNSW Sydney, Best HDR publication, Dean's Research Awards 2018

Na'ama Carlin (2016) Written through blood: The moral complexities of Jewish ritual circumcision (PhD Primary Supervisor) Sociology, UNSW Sydney, Recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award - Early Career (2019).

Catherine Tuey (2015) Remainders of Loss:  Memorialization Beyond the Funeral (PhD jointly supervised with Professor Alan Hunt, Carleton University), Sociology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Will Johncock (2014) The corporeal conditions of time and social synchronisation (PhD Secondary Supervisor) Sociology, UNSW, Sydney.

Daniel Braun (2013) The Aesthetic Intensity of Superheroes:  An Autoethnographic Interpretation of Contemporary Superhero Popularity (PhD jointly supervised with Professor Bruce Curtis, Carleton University), Sociology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

 


My Engagement

Member de la Société des amis de Bergson

Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Department of Sociology & Anthropology

 


My Teaching

Teaching Areas

Classical and Contemporary Social Theory

 

Current Teaching

ARTS1870 Rethinking the Social (T1 2021)

 

Honours Supervision (Completed Projects)

Zara Khan (2020) Order your essay today! Investigating the relationship between contract cheating services and student behaviours (Criminology, UNSW Sydney)

Dovber Seldowitz (2020) Women’s Leadership in the Contemporary Hasidic Community: Its Prevalence, Development, and Relation to Hasidic Religious Discourse (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Maya Ghattas (2019) In the Image of Death: A Nature Not Equal to Nature. (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Ellen Jacobs (2019) Disciplined Autonomy: A Synthesised Concept and its Holistic Analysis of Crime Prevention Techniques. (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Ida Ioannou-Marsh (2017) Political Purity and Innate Politics (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Victoria Rae (2017) Where have all the experts gone?  A sociological consideration of post-truth and non-traditional news outlets (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Yvette Kiddle (2016) Imitation to Educate Children:  What Happens to Liberty? (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Roxarne Moon (2015) In Defence of Home (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Honours Student Award

Nicholas Langley (2014) The Festival of Distraction: The Search for Community (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Rickie-Lee McLauren-Smith (2014) Uprooting Apathy: Towards Environmental Ethics of Care (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Holi Birman (2012) Stillness and Remembering the Self (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Honours Student Award

Paula Houseman (2012) The Cancer Myth (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)

Na’ama Carlin (2010)  (W)riting the Body and the Circumcised Text (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of the Sol Encel Honours Thesis Prize

Meagan Curtis (2008) Thomas Kuhn as Evolutionary Epistemologist (Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University, Canada)

 

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Location

163 Morven Brown

Contact

+61 (2) 9385 2304