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Australian Boys Studies

Research the Australian representation & experience of youth and masculinity

An exciting opportunity for a commencing PhD student to join a strong team of leading and emergent scholars undertaking feminist research on boys and boyhood, and youth and masculinity with an Australian-focused project.

The Boys Studies research team formed at the University of Sydney in 2019, drawing on interdisciplinary expertise in gender, sexuality, and cultural studies. The aim of this group is to engage with the need for feminist researchers to engage with the experience and representation of boys and boyhood, youth and masculinity in the changing contemporary sociocultural environment.

There are many focused topics to which this agenda could be narrowed to suit the expertise of the successful candidate and there is also considerable room for public-facing outputs in an area that generates considerable popular interest. Supervisors will be appointed from the following group of Chief Investigators based on their expertise for the specific proposed project and candidate preference.

  • Professor Catherine Driscoll: specialises in youth studies (she is an internationally recognised leader in the field of girls studies), popular culture and popular genre, rural cultural studies, and cultural theory with an emphasis on theories of modernity and gender.
  • Dr Shawna Ser Wei Tang: researches sexuality, gender and race, with a focus on Asia and Australia; she works across the multiple fields of queer cultural studies, transnational feminisms, transgender studies and critical race theories to re-think racialised questions of queer identity, politics and futurisms.

This project will be located within the Feminist Boys Studies Research Group and the team working on the ARC-funded project “Australian Boys: Beyond the Boy Problem”.

This project addresses the fact that most research on boys and boyhood is focused on risk-reduction, representing boys as problems at school, on the streets, or in relationships. At the same time, anti-feminist public discourse highlighting the experiences of boys is used to justify violence towards women, as well as to call for the reversal of social changes that have expanded opportunities available to girls.

It aims to develop a framework for interdisciplinary feminist research that takes Australian boys and boyhood as the subjects of a more inclusive future, working to overcome perceived oppositions between feminist projects and the lives and interests of boys.

The successful candidate would develop an independent project within this broad remit. There are many focused topics to which this agenda could be narrowed to suit the expertise of a successful candidate, but the team would particularly like to encourage feminist research that engages directly with contemporary Australian boys (which can include transgender boys) and their cultural experiences.

There is considerable room here for public-facing outputs on a topic that generates popular interest, and the Australian focus of this scholarship, aligned with the ARC funding, will heighten the potential for public and popular engagement.

The successful PhD candidate will be based in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, which consistently produces exceptional levels of HDR student satisfaction.

Applicants are invited to submit a proposal for PhD research that aligns directly to this project and makes a contribution to feminist research into boys and boyhood, or youth and masculinity.

Prospective candidates may qualify for direct entry into the PhD program if their research proposal is accepted and they satisfy one of the criteria listed below.

  • Bachelor's degree with first-class honours in a relevant area of study that includes a research thesis.
  • Master's degree by research in a relevant area of study that includes a research thesis with a strong final result.
  • Master's degree by coursework in a relevant area of study, with a research thesis or dissertation of at least 12,000–15,000 words and a grade average of at least 80 per cent in the degree.

For more information regarding applying for a PhD, refer to the course details for Doctor of Philosophy (Arts and Social Sciences).

A number of scholarships are available to support your studies.

These scholarships will provide a stipend allowance of $35,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years. Successful international students will also receive a tuition fee scholarship for up to 3.5 years.

For other scholarship opportunities refer to Faculty Research Scholarships (Domestic) or Faculty Research Scholarships (International).

For further details about the PhD project contact Professor Catherine Driscoll at

Catherine Driscoll

Professor, Associate Dean (Research Education)
  • +61 2 9351 3918
  • School of Humanities Quadrangle A14