PhD (Carleton University) MA (Carleton University) BA (University of British Columbia)
Melanie White is Deputy Head of School (Education) in the School of Social Sciences. She is Associate Professor in Sociology (Social Theory) and a Fellow of the UNSW Scientia Education Academy.
Melanie has always been fascinated by what we mean by the 'social.' Her current research concerns the place of biology and animality in the constitution of the discipline of sociology in 19C France. She has a particular interest in the social theories of Emile Durkheim, Gabriel Tarde, Henri Bergson, Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem. She is interested in questions about the relations between habits & creativity, error & uncertainty, and finding the point at which the ordinary becomes extraordinary in everyday life. She also enjoys rediscovering lost and forgotten thinkers and considering how they contribute to contemporary debates in social theory and our understanding of everyday life. She has published in high-ranking international journals such as Body & Society, Journal of Classical Sociology and Economy and Society. Her book Bergson, Politics, and Religion co-edited with Alexandre Lefebvre (University of Sydney) is published with Duke University Press.
Melanie is also Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
2019 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), UK
2019 The Michael Wearing Memorial Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision, UNSW Sydney
2018 UNSW Scientia Education Academy Fellow, 2019-2022
2017 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (General Category), UNSW Sydney
2016 Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision Award, ARC Postgraduate Student Council, UNSW Student Life and Dean of Graduate Research School, UNSW Sydney
2015 Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence (General Category), Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW Sydney
2006 Nominated, Symons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Trent University, Canada
2002 Teaching Excellence Award, Carleton University Students' Association, Carleton University, Canada
Research Areas: Classical and contemporary social theory, political theory, citizenship studies, sociological theory
Current Research Projects
Bergson's Social and Political Thought
In collaboration with Alexandre Lefebvre (University of Sydney), this project develops the political, social and religious philosophy of Henri Bergson, an early twentieth century French philosopher.
The Animal Question in Society
This project considers how 19C French social thinkers such as Auguste Comte, Jean-Marie Guyau, and Alfred Espinas understood the relation between human and nonhuman animals in order to interrogate by Emile Durkheim and others to constitute sociology as a discipline in France.
Life, Vitalism and Society
This project considers the underpinning vitalism of three 20C sociological thinkers in the German tradition: Georg Simmel, Alfred Schutz and Max Scheler.
Affiliations and Membership
Adjunct Research Professor, Carleton University, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Classical and Contemporary Social Theory
Honours Supervision (Completed Projects)
Paige Ayton (2021) Farming with Dogs: A qualitative study about how Australian male farmers reflect on working with dogs (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Zara Khan (2020) Order your essay today! Investigating the relationship between contract cheating services and student behaviours (Criminology, UNSW Sydney)
Dovber Seldowitz (2020) Women’s Leadership in the Contemporary Hasidic Community: Its Prevalence, Development, and Relation to Hasidic Religious Discourse (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Maya Ghattas (2019) In the Image of Death: A Nature Not Equal to Nature. (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Ellen Jacobs (2019) Disciplined Autonomy: A Synthesised Concept and its Holistic Analysis of Crime Prevention Techniques. (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Ida Ioannou-Marsh (2017) Political Purity and Innate Politics (Sociology and Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Victoria Rae (2017) Where have all the experts gone? A sociological consideration of post-truth and non-traditional news outlets (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Yvette Kiddle (2016) Imitation to Educate Children: What Happens to Liberty? (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Roxarne Moon (2015) In Defence of Home (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Honours Student Award
Nicholas Langley (2014) The Festival of Distraction: The Search for Community (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Rickie-Lee McLauren-Smith (2014) Uprooting Apathy: Towards Environmental Ethics of Care (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Holi Birman (2012) Stillness and Remembering the Self (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) Honours Student Award
Paula Houseman (2012) The Cancer Myth (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney)
Na’ama Carlin (2010) (W)riting the Body and the Circumcised Text (Sociology & Anthropology, UNSW Sydney), Recipient of the Sol Encel Honours Thesis Prize
Meagan Curtis (2008) Thomas Kuhn as Evolutionary Epistemologist (Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University, Canada)