Exploring Australia's literary & cultural heritage

Literature offers invaluable insights into humanity, society and the world around us. It can provide a snapshot of history, give unheard voices a platform and shine a light on new perspectives.  

UNSW Canberra’s expertise lies in Australian literature and war literature. Our research directly furthers public understanding of Australian and international literary and cultural heritage. Our prize-winning books reach general readerships, putting into the hands of the public new ways to access the forms of culture we all inherit.


  • We shape public debate as recognised experts who are regularly consulted by the media on Australian literature, censorship & war and on American studies.

  • As editor of Anthem Press’s Studies in Australian Literature and Culture series, Professor Nicole Moore has overseen the publication of 15 breakthrough titles exploring the role of Australian culture in the contemporary world.  

  • Our well-cited scholarly research informs teaching and research internationally, embedding the Australian case in global learning and debates, while bringing global perspectives to the cultural issues immediate to us here.

 Competitive advantage

Our presence as a group of literary scholars in Canberra concentrates a strength shared with our colleagues in the School of Arts and Media on the UNSW Sydney campus, particularly in our unparalleled quantum of expertise on Australian literature and war literature. 

Our expertise is underpinned by the outstanding collections of international and Australian literature held in the Academy Library and in the UNSW Canberra Special Collections, including rare first editions of Australian titles and world-class manuscript collections in contemporary Australian writing and performance.  

Our strong connections with Australia’s major cultural institutions here in Canberra further support this. Our research is supported by a strong track record of national and international funding, in collaborative projects that reach to the UK, Ireland, Germany, China, New Zealand and the US. 

We have research strengths in:

  • Australian and comparative literary studies 

  • British literature 

  • American literature and culture

  • war literature, media and film 

  • romanticism and Eighteenth-Century literature 

  • censorship and the history of the book 

  • memory studies 

  • life-writing and biography.

  • We collaborate with researchers from a range of Australian and international universities, including: 

  • We regularly publish in the research field of literary studies. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, we have published the following monographs and edited collections: 

    • Nicholas Birns, Nicole Moore and Sarah Shieff, ed. Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literatures. New York: Modern Languages Association, 2017. 

    • Heather Neilson, Political Animal: Gore Vidal on Power. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2014. 

    • Nicole Moore and Marita Bullock, Banned in Australia: Federal Book Censorship 1901-1973. AustLit, 2008. 

    • Nicole Moore, The Censor’s Library: Uncovering the Lost History of Australia’s Banned Books. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2012. 

    • Nicole Moore, ed. Censorship and the Limits of the Literary: A Global View. New York: Bloomsbury, 2015. 

    • Nicole Moore and Christina Spittel, ed. Australian Literature in the German Democratic Republic: Reading Through the Iron Curtain. London: Anthem, 2016. 

    • Neil Ramsey, The Military Memoir and Romantic Literary Culture, 1780-1835, Farnham: Ashgate 2011. 

    • Neil Ramsey and Gillian Russell, ed. Tracing War in British Enlightenment and Romantic Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 

    • Neil Ramsey, Managers of Life: Romanticism and the Biopolitics of Modern War Writing (under review) 

    • Christina Spittel, The Great War in the Australian Novel. Sydney: Sydney University Press, (forthcoming) 2021.

  • In the past decade, we’ve attracted close to $2 million in research funding. Our research grants include: 

    • Nicole Moore, A Splintered Eye: The Life of Dorothy Hewett (funded by an ARC Future Fellowship) 

    • Christina Spittel, Seven Seas and the Cold War on the Bookshelf (funded by an ARC DECRA grant)

    • Neil Ramsey, War, Literary Culture and Masculinity in Romantic Period Britain, 1750-1850 (funded by an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship)
    • Neil Ramsey, Gillian Russell and Paul Sheehan, Romanticism and the Poetics of First World War Literature (funded by an ARC Discovery Project 2023)
    • Nicole Moore and Christina Spittel, Making New Readers: The Australasian Book Society and the Cold War (funded by an ARC Discovery Project 2022)   

    • Nicole Moore, Edinburgh Companion to Literary Censorship (commissioned 2020) 

    • Neil Ramsey, Romantic Era Military Periodicals and the Emotions of War (funded by a Curran Fellowship, RSVP, 2020) 

    • Christina Spittel, Catriona Pennell, Ann-Marie Einhaus and others, Teaching and Learning War Network (funded by an AHRC Grant)

Study with us

We convene a BA Major in English and Media Studies and offer study in literary, film, creative writing and Media Studies topics for Honours and MPhil students, MAs (by coursework and research) and PhDs. 

Scholarships of $35,000 (AUD) are available at UNSW Canberra for PhD students who achieved H1/High Distinction in their undergraduate program and/or have completed a Masters by Research. Scholarships of $10,000 (AUD) are also available to Australian/NZ students to undertake Honours. 

Recent and current HDR students work on topics such as comparative Indigenous literatures, South East Asian writing of the Cold War, the literature of Australian and New Zealand women’s suffrage, memory in Chinese Australian fiction, the British writer David Mitchell, the short stories of Stephen King, meme campaigns on Facebook and New Zealand troopship magazines. 

Student success stories

For her 2015 thesis on Representations of Memory and Identity in Chinese Australian English-language Novels, Dr Beibei Chen received the award for the best doctoral dissertation by a woman candidate at UNSW Canberra. Dr Chen now teaches and researches at East China Normal University and her book on the topic is forthcoming in Peter Lang’s Australian Studies series. 

Sean Child’s research essay, Pure manipulation: ISIL and the exploitation of social media, for ZHSS8125 Strategic Communication was published in the Australian Army Journal.

Our researchers

Professor of English and Media Studies Nicole Moore
Professor of English and Media Studies
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Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies Heather Neilson
Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies
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Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies Neil Ramsey
Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies
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Postgraduate Research Coordinator, Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow and Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies Christina Spittel
Postgraduate Research Coordinator, Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow and Senior Lecturer in English and Media Studies
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