Charles Darwin University
enews home

Researcher wins grant for politics project

Dr Michaela Spencer is examining political practices in Germany and Indigenous Australia Dr Michaela Spencer is examining political practices in Germany and Indigenous Australia

A researcher with the Northern Institute has won funding for a new ethnographic project in concert with one of Europe’s top universities. 

Postdoctoral research fellow Dr Michaela Spencer was the only Territorian to share the $3.5 million in grants announced last month by the Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Project.

Dr Spencer and German counterpart Dr Endre Danyi, from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, will undertake a unique project to examine the practices of two starkly different political environments at opposite ends of the earth.

“We will follow the everyday practices of politics through new fieldwork at the German Bundestag (Parliament) and through continuing collaborative work with community members to develop an Aboriginal Women’s Corporation in Arnhem Land’s Milingimbi,” Dr Spencer said.

“The project will promote the rich heritage and political practices of Indigenous Australia and propose that the knowledges of Indigenous Australians are relevant and of great potential assistance to Western political traditions facing new political challenges.”

Dr Spencer said the $12,500 grant would facilitate a visit to the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt next year to begin the Landscapes of Democracy project. 

“I’m excited about the potential for Australian and German scholars to engage with each other around questions of global politics and governance,” Dr Spencer said.

“It will open liberal democracy to scrutiny by other political traditions.”

The Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme is a joint initiative of Universities Australia and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany’s national agency for the support of international academic cooperation.