Dr Damian Grenfell is Director of the Centre for Global Research and Senior Research Fellow at the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies.
The common basis for Damian's research is an interest in social change and transformation in the context of conflict, resistance and resolution. His research currently focuses on social change and post-conflict nation- and state-formation. There are two points of interest in the research, the first being the military and humanitarian interventions into societies, and the second the subsequent attempt at development, peace and state-building. Of particular interest are societies where large-scale interventions have occurred, especially in the wake of significant violence, and in turn how local politico-cultural domains sit in complex relation to interventions. The interest in nationalist insurrection and post-conflict reconstruction, especially in terms of how we understand the nation-state in a period of intense globalisation, interconnects with past research on social movements and resistance politics. In recent years this research has moved from an interest in nationally focused campaigns (especially Australian-based) to consider formations of global resistance, including anti-corporate politics and the development of the World Social Forum.
2014 Local Security and Resilience in Dili, Timor-Leste, The Asia Foundation and RMIT University
2013–2014 Economic dimensions of domestic violence in Timor-Leste, Hametin and The Asia Foundation
2013–2014 Mapping Transitional Justice in Independent Timor-Leste, The Globalism Research Centre
2013 The Uptake of Research in Timor-Leste, The Asia Foundation
2012–2013 Review of AusAID civil society engagement in Timor-Leste, AusAID
2012 Citizenship and Political Decision-Making in Timor-Leste
2010–2011 Community Peacebuilding in Timor-Leste
2010–2011 Pathways for New Technologies in Lautem District, Timor-Leste (Concern Worldwide)
2009–2010 Impacts of Gender Programming in Timor-Leste (Trocaire, Irish Aid)
2009–2010 Nation-Building Across Urban and Rural Timor-Leste Conference, Research Training and Publications Project (AusAID, Caritas Australia)
2007–2009 Human Security (Program Manager), Global Cities Research Institute, RMIT University
2007–2009 After the Violence: Truth, Reconciliation and National Integration in Timor-Leste, ARC Discovery Grant, Australian Research Council (including ‘Perceptions of Governance and Justice Programs: 2008–2009)
2005–2012 English Training for East Timorese Women Project (RMIT English Training Worldwide)
2008–2009 Understanding Community in Timor-Leste (Irish Aid)
2007–2008 Community Security Program (Oxfam and Concern Worldwide)
Timor-Leste research program
The Timor-Leste Research Program is based in the Centre for Global Research at RMIT University. Through this program RMIT staff and students have been working in Timor-Leste since 2003, and as with other sites within Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The main intellectual task has been to understand processes of change and continuity, and to think through cultural-political questions such as nation-formation in a globalizing world. Over the last decade, a wide range of research and consultancy work has been undertaken with more than 40 partner organisations and communities. While some of the work has been with senior levels of government, major donor agencies and organisations such as the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, the main focus has been working with smaller NGOs and local communities in rural areas as well as the capital Dili.
Damian supervises Honours, Masters and Doctorate students, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students undertaking Field Projects, International Internships, and Minor Theses. He has supervised on a wide-range of topics including gender-based violence in the Congo, social media and the Arab Spring, security and the ‘War on Terror’, refugees on the Thai-Burma border, and nation-formation in Timor-Leste. The following list is indicative of the areas in which he can supervise:
- Security (especially local forms of security)
- Conflict (including warfare and insurrectionary movements)
- Gender (especially in post-conflict scenarios)
- State and Nation-building
- Development (particularly the culture of development practice)
- Peacebuilding (including reconciliation, transitional justice)
- Social movements (anti-capitalist, global justice movements)
- Community formation and social integration
- Nationalism (theory as well as contemporary movements, especially as part of conflicts in places such as Aceh, Timor-Leste)
- Manager, Matadalan Ba Malu - English Language Program for East Timorese women (ongoing from 2005)
- Editorial Advisory Board, Chain Reaction, Friends of the Earth, Melbourne (current)
- Worked with the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (November 2004 and May 2005)
- Attended World Social Forums in Mumbai, India (2004) and Porto Alegre, Brazil (2005)
Damian is Director of the Centre for Global Research (previously Globalism Research Centre) where he has worked since 2003. His research concentrates on social change in the context of conflict and resolution, from wars for independence, interventions and security, through to peace and development. He has worked in a range of international sites, especially Timor-Leste. Drawing together fieldwork with social policy and social theory, Damian has published widely and worked on research projects ranging from Australian Research Council Discovery Projects through to consultancies in rural communities in Timor-Leste. Damian teaches at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Global Studies discipline at RMIT University on courses in Security, Interventions, Peace and Social Theory, and can supervise in a range of related areas.
- Director, Centre for Global Research, RMIT University
- Senior Lecturer, Global Studies, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University
- Manager, Timor-Leste Research Program, RMIT University
- Peacebuilding and Reconciliation (Course Coordinator)
- Ethics of Interventions (Course Coordinator)
- Rethinking Security (Course Coordinator)
- Timor-Leste Study Tour (Course Coordinator)
- Nationalism to Globalism (Honours course)
- PhD, Faculty of Arts, Monash University
- BA (Hons), Department of Politics, Monash University
Distinctions and awards
Global Studies, Social Science and Planning Teaching Award, 2011
Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, ‘After the Violence: Truth, Reconciliation and National Integration in Timor-Leste’, 2007–2008
RMIT Research Community Engagement Award, 2006
RMIT Research Project Award, 2006
RMIT International Research Team Award, 2005
RMIT Research Team Award, 2003
RMIT Teaching Excellence Award, 2003
- Awarded Faculty of Arts PhD Completion Stipend, 2001
‘The Redundancy of Assumption: Civil Society and State Formation in Timor-Leste’, People and the Planet Conference, Melbourne, 3 July 2013.
‘Blood vows and Technocratic peace in urban Dili’, Timor-Leste (with Bronwyn Winch), Understanding Timor-Leste Conference, Timor-Leste Studies Association, 16 July 2013.
‘Peace and Hybridity in Timor-Leste’, ANU Timor Update Conference, Canberra, 28 November 2013.
Damian Grenfell, ‘Community security and sustainability in post-conflict Timor-Leste’; ‘“Community” and “community engagement” in public policy’, RMIT’s Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work on behalf of the Bushfire CRC and the Globalism Research Centre, June 2012.
Damian Grenfell, ‘Moving beyond ideology: interventions, violence and ontological difference’, Global Studies Consortium Meeting, June 2012.
‘Violence in the Republic: Modern State Formations in Contemporary Timor-Leste’, The International Studies Association Asia Pacific Conference, Brisbane, September 2011.
‘The Violent Logic of Modern Interventions: Timor-Leste in the Global Context of Contemporary Conflict’, World International Studies Association Conference, Porto, Portugal, August 2011.
‘Moving from Ideology to Ontology’, Understanding Timor-Leste Conference, Timor-Leste Studies Association, Dili, Timor-Leste, June 2011.
‘Reconciling Across Social Paradigms’, Pathways to Reconciliation Summit, Amman, Jordan, December 2009.
‘Opening Address’ (with Acting Prime Minister of Timor-Leste), Nation-building Across the Urban and the Rural in Timor-Leste Conference, Dili, Timor-Leste, July 2009.
‘Nation and Nationalism in Timor-Leste since Independence’, Understanding Timor-Leste Conference, Timor-Leste Studies Association, Dili, Timor-Leste, July 2009.
'The Violence of Nation-Formation in Timor-Leste', Democratic Governance in Timor-Leste: Reconciling the Local and the National, Charles Darwin University, 7 February 2008.
‘Finding the Soromutu: Violence, Identity and Nation-Formation in Timor-Leste’, Nationalism and National Identities Today: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism, University of Surrey, 12–13 June 2007.
‘Violence, Intervention and Rupture in Timor-Leste’, OCIS Conference, Melbourne University, July, 2006.
‘A Time for Glory: Violence: Nationalism, Imperialism and the Intervention in Timor-Leste’, Relaxed and Comfortable Conference, Overland, Melbourne, March 2006.
Pathways to Reconciliation Conference, ‘Violence and Reconciliation in Timor-Leste’, Sarajevo, August 2005.
‘One World, Many Worlds? Identity and Difference in Resistance Politics’, Other Worlds: Social movements and the making of alternatives, University of Technology, Sydney, April 2005.
In addition to these, there have been many different guest lectures, presentations, panel conversations with a wide-range of community based organisations in Australia, Timor-Leste and further afield. Furthermore, media commentary has been made for major Australian broadcasters, including the ABC and SBS, and overseas broadcasters and newspapers including in Italy, China, New Zealand, the United States and Britain, including BBC World News Television.
- Grenfell, D. (2020). Death, emplaced security and space in contemporary Timor-Leste In: Cooperation and Conflict, 55, 461 - 478
- Grenfell, D. (2018). Inside and out: Violence against women and spatiality in Timor-Leste In: Hybridity on the ground in in peacebuilding and development : critical conversations, Australian National University Press, Canberra, Australia
- James, P.,Grenfell, D. (2018). Why nationalism did not emerge earlier in Timor-Leste: customary cultures confront globalising modernism In: Postcolonial Studies, 21, 391 - 413
- Warren, A.,Grenfell, D. (2017). Introduction: Rethinking the evolution, the limits of sovereignty, the ethics, the politics, and humanitarian engagement of interventions in the 21st century In: Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention in the 21st Century, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
- Brown, M.,Grenfell, D. (2017). An ecology of governance: rethinking the state and political community In: Transformations in Independent Timor-Leste, Routledge/City University of Hong Kong Southeast Asia Series, Abingdon, Oxon, UK
- Grenfell, D. (2017). Rethinking humanitarian-military interventions: Violence and modernity in an age of globalisation In: Rethinking Humanitarian Intervention in the 21st Century, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
- Grenfell, D. (2017). Rethinking Practices of Security in an Age of Globalization In: International Development, Sage Publications Ltd, London, United Kingdom
- Grenfell, D. (2017). Humanitarian interventions and globalization In: Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance, Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland
- Grenfell, D. (2016). Violence and spatiality in the context of hybridity In: Proceedings of the Timor-Leste: the local and the global conference, Dili, Timor-Leste, 9-10 July 2015
- Grenfell, D.,Cryan, M.,Robertson, K.,McClean, A. (2015). Beyond fragility and inequity women's experiences of the economic dimensions of domestic violence in Timor-Leste In: The Asia Foundation Timor-Leste
- Artowns, to discuss the application of the 'Circles of Sustainability' methodology as a project monitoring, evaluation and assessment tool.. Funded by: Cultural Development Network (Victoria) Contract from (2013 to 2016)
- Civil Society Expert for the Review of Civil Society Engagement (Timor-Leste). Funded by: AusAID Contract from (2012 to 2013)
- After the Violence: Truth, Reconciliation and National Integration in Timor-Leste. Funded by: ARC Discovery 2007 from (2007 to 2010)
4 PhD Completions and 1 Masters by Research Completions6 PhD Current Supervisions