Michael Varnay
BA(Hons) (Sydney), MIR (ANU)

Michael received his Bachelor of Arts (Honours – First Class) from the University of Sydney in 2016 and his Master of International Relations from the Australian National University in 2017. His Honours Research Project looked at the role of ideology in the nation-building process in Cold War Korea, focusing in particular on how the rivalry between the Korean states influenced the choices in this process. Along with this, he has worked as a Research Assistant in the Coral Bell School and interned as a market researcher at the Hyundai Corporation in Seoul.

Research Interest

The focus of Michael’s research is on exploring the nature of hierarchy in early-modern East Asia. In particular, he hopes to focus on non-Sinocentric hierarchies within the region and how these overlapping systems were able to co-exist despite contradictory understandings of how they viewed the order they inhabited. This will be examined by exploring how official narratives of these embedded hierarchies sought to reconcile themselves through the role of performative diplomacy and the conscious decision to strictly control all forms of interaction with other states.

Expertise Area(s)

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Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. He was Head of the centre from 2011 to 2016.

He is a specialist on great power strategic relations in the Asia-Pacific, East Asian ‘flashpoints’, and Asian security architecture.

His writings on these subjects have appeared in such leading journals as Survival, The Washington Quarterly, Australian Foreign Affairs, The Pacific Review, International Affairs and Review of International Studies.

He is the author or editor of 12 books, including The Four Flashpoints: How Asia Goes to War (Black Inc, 2018) and Dangerous Decade: Taiwan’s Security and Crisis Management (IISS, 2019).

He is a regular op-ed contributor to such publications as The Australian, Nikkei Asian Review, The Australian Financial Review, The Interpreter, East Asia Forum and The Strategist.

Research Interest

East Asian flashpoints, US-Australia alliance, Asia-Pacific security architecture.

Hiroaki Ataka

My research interest lies in Critical International Relations theories. In particular, I research on critical approaches to international societies, as well as on the possibilities for a post-Western, Global IR. I critically reflect on the Anglo-American historical context in which the discipline developed, exploring ways to ground knowledge on plural historical narratives. Recent research includes deconstructing and transcending the Westphalian paradigm in IR, as well as the methodological and pedagogical issues in Global IR.

Research Interest

Critical theories of IR and IPE; Sociology of IR; Disciplinary history of IR; Comparative history of international systems; Critical geopolitics of East Asia; Critical Security Studies; Politics of neoliberalism.