Susannah Chapman


Possible Research Projects


  • This is a UQ-funded PhD project linked to the Australian Research Council-funded project “The Social Life of Royalties” (School of Social Sciences, The University of Queensland). The PhD project would suit candidates with backgrounds in anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, science and technology studies, or a related field.

    The larger study, to which the PhD project is attached, explores changes in intellectual property protection for plants in Australia and how these shifts are shaping practices of audit, traceability, and ownership in agricultural supply chains for grains and fruits. Congruent with these legal shifts has been the rise of new branding practices for fruit, including the development of brand-name crop varieties and the marketing of brand fruits through print media, YouTube, and Instagram. The successful PhD applicant will develop a project that explores the rise of brand name fruits within Australia’s food sector and its relationship to emerging relations of food production and/or consumption, including novel forms of commodification, audit, marketing, and signification. For example, potential project topics could include consideration of new branding practices alongside the rise of alternative seed networks, the signification of historic crops and their relation to markers of identity and place, the representational practices of capitalist supply chains, or the relations of audit and trust that accompany new forms of certification and branding.

    It is envisaged that this project would use a mixture of ethnographic and archival research, but there is space to incorporate diverse methodologies.

    The successful PhD applicant will be based in the School of Social Science at The University of Queensland. More information about how to apply can be found at:

    There is considerable flexibility in the focus, scope, and methods of project that the successful applicant can develop. Prospective applicants should feel free to contact Susannah Chapman ([email protected]) if they have questions.

    Successful applicants must be able to commence no later than January 1, 2022.