BIO

I am an activist-scholar affiliated with the Centre for Urban Research (CUR) at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

My book on eco-collaborative housing, Small Is Necessary: Shared Living on a Shared Planet, was published by Pluto Press (London) 20 January 2018.

Pluto also published Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies (2011), a nonmarket socialist collection that I co-edited with the late Frans Timmerman.

Degrowth advocate Francois Schneider and I have just delivered to the Routledge Environmental Humanities series a manuscript we co-edited Housing for Degrowth: Principles, Models, Challenges and Opportunities. It will come out  later in 2018 or early 2019.

As the series editor, I am calling for book proposals for the new Palgrave Macmillan series — Alternatives and Futures: Cultures, Practices, Activism and Utopias.

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During the heady late 1960s, with student protests worldwide, I left — before completing — secondary school to enter the greater learning experience of the world beyond. Along with environmental and peace activism, I became a women’s liberationist applying ‘personal is the political’ critiques and practices, developing horizontalist decision-making processes and engaging in consciousness-raising groups. We sent the media crazy because we had no formal representative. These were wonderful years of hope and praxis.

After several years, I got tired of menial jobs and our once seemingly revolutionary women’s liberation movement gave way to reformist feminism. I applied, successfully, to go to La Trobe University (Bundoora, Australia) as a mature-age early school leaver without formal entry qualifications so I could devote my time to Latin American Studies. I completed a BA Hons History (First Class) with a thesis examining the background, implications and circumstances surrounding the challenge made by the Prime Minister Michael Manley government to the multinational aluminium companies in Jamaica, especially in mid-1974. This study combined enduring interests in contemporary political economy, politico-material relations of underdevelopment between the Global North and Global South, cultural histories, social transformation and transdisciplinary studies.

My doctoral thesis was completed in the Revolutionary Area of Studies at La Trobe University in 1995, later published as Marx’s Concept of Money: The God of Commodities in the Routledge Studies in the History of Economics Series in 1999. Given it remains a key reference, it was reissued in paperback in 2014. My keen interest in the constitution of money as an omnipotent everyday practice, and the roles of money in maintaining capitalism and delaying or reversing socialist reforms and revolutions, remains. Thus I co-edited, with Frans Timmerman, an oft-cited collection sketching contemporary theories and practices of non-market socialism — Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies (Pluto Press, London, 2011).

I joined RMIT University on a special postgraduate fellowship (1998–2002) to investigate the clash between monetary and environmental values in Victoria’s East Gippsland forests. Since then, I have mainly been a researcher but also enjoyed developing and delivering numerous social science and environment courses for postgraduates and undergraduates, including: Ecoforestry and Environmental Policy, Ecological Economics, Indigenous Peoples and the Environment, Action Research (Research Strategies model), Innovative Local Government and Sustainable Regional Development.

Testimonials and teaching evaluations by students of Innovative Local Government (ENVI 1149) — an online course developed and delivered by me for the RMIT University School of Global, Urban and Social Studies in 2011 — follow.

“[A] great course that has triggered a few ideas and discussions at my workplace. Thank you for your up-keep of the discussion board, it is refreshing to experience.”

“It is truly wonderful, after four months of lectures to end up with the feeling I am able to lead this kind of project [final assignment] in a real situation. So again, thank you very much.”

“I thought it was good, very useful to set a wider context for people like me who are just kicking off in local government. The subject course material integrates well with other subjects in the Masters … From my perspective the workload seems about right and the structure of the assignments over the semester was pretty conducive to balancing the subject with others, and with other commitments.”

“I really enjoyed this course and the way that the assignments were structured meant they were able to build upon one another making them easier to complete.”

GUSS School Good Teaching Scale (GTS) = 89.6%
Overall Satisfaction (OSI) = 87.5%
Mean 4.5 in range where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree

Qualifications

PhD, School of Humanities, La Trobe University, 1996
BA Honours (First Class), History Department, La Trobe University, 1979
Advanced Diploma of Professional Screenwriting (Film, TV, Digital Media), RMIT, 2001

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Permaculture Design Certificate (‘PDC’) — taught by Rosemary Morrow, BM Permaculture Institute, 2007
Certificate IV in Assessment and Workplace Training, Open Channel, 2005

Visiting Scholar, Fellowships and Awards

Shortlisted for 2017 AIPEN Richard Higgot Journal Article Prize

Carson Fellow (Prof. Dr) at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (October 2016 to January 2017)

Visiting Scholar, New School for Social Research, Economics Department, New York City (1 March–31 May 2012)

Honorable Mention at Canada’s 6th International Picture This … Film Festival (PTF) 2006 for short film Mercury Stole My Fire (writer-director)

Merit Award at the US XXVII Superfest International Disability Film Festival (2007) for short film Mercury Stole My Fire (writer-director)

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Environment and Planning (Social Science and Planning), RMIT University (1998–2001)