International Ethics

Current project

The UNSW International Ethics Research Group brings together International Relations, Political Theory and Moral Philosophy to address ethical questions in international politics. 

International Ethics

We are seeking candidates to work on projects in the following areas:

The Ethics of Militarisation and Demilitarization 

Projects might focus on areas such as:

  • unmanned weapons systems; 
  • the bioengineering and enhancement of soldiers;
  • non-lethal weapons;
  • the use of modern ICT technologies for information; warfare campaigns.

The Ethical Development and Use of Advanced Military Technologies

Projects might focus on areas such as:

  • autonomous and unmanned weapons systems;
  • the bioengineering and enhancement of soldiers;
  • non-lethal weapons;
  • the use of modern ICT technologies for information warfare campaigns.

Cultural Diversity and Toleration

Projects might focus on areas such as:

  • the issues in accommodating minorities;
  • religious diversity;
  • the concepts of toleration, neutrality, recognition, or respect;
  • social cohesion & national identity;
  • migration;
  • integration; citizenship.

Examples of Current Projects

Rhiannon Neilsen

Supervisor(s) - Professor Toni Erskine, Professor Anthony Burke
 

Violent acts that “shock the moral conscience of mankind” are certainly not unique to this century. But what is unique is the pervasiveness and sophistication of cyber-capabilities – including in sites of extreme violence. Rhiannon Neilsen’s doctoral thesis provides empirical and ethical analyses of what she has termed ‘cyber-humanitarian interventions': cyber-operations designed to disrupt potential perpetrators’ means and motivations for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Rhiannon also considers whether there is a case for using computational propaganda and disinformation campaigns for atrocity prevention, and which international agents might be responsible for discharging such cyber-capabilities for human protection purposes. 

Kathryn Stephenson

Supervisor(s) - Dr Lindy Edwards


Examination of the theories of democracy indicates the exclusion of groups in democracies is prevalent. Despite women being in the Australian Parliament, their numbers are few. This research examines democracy and its link to the aspirations of women in the Australian Parliament. The aim is to identify and compare aspirations with the view to determine commonality and why such exist in the parliamentary context.

Jessicah Mullins

Supervisor(s) – Anthony Burke
 

This research project takes a case study approach (Africa and Europe) in the examination of what is often referred to as the global refugee crisis. The objective is to identify why national and regional policies tend to lean toward a securitised framework, with the ultimate goal of providing some guidance on how to balance the concerns of states with the needs of forced migrants. The research questions driving this project are: How do national and international regimes of refugee control and protection function and interact? What are their disciplinary, normative and (bio)political logics, and do they oppose or complement each other? In light of this research, what discursive, policy, and legal reform can be endeavoured?