Researching democratic theory, international ethics, and modern and non-western political thought

The Centre for Governance and Public Policy has one of the foremost groupings of political philosophers in Australia. This program brings together their research in three core areas.

The first and most extensive of these areas is democratic theory, specifically in relation to democratic leadership, cosmopolitanism and deliberative democracy. The second area covers modern political thought, engaging with political thinkers from Machiavelli to Badiou and with modern political ideologies such as anarchism and green political thought.

The third theme is in international ethics and non-western political thought, with work on topics such as cosmopolitan justice, the problem of evil in international relations, the place of emotions and hospitality in international relations and Confucian political philosophy.

Program leader: Associate Professor Gideon Baker


Professor Haig Patapan recently examined the question 'Should bureaucrats pursue the public good, even if it means opposing elected leaders?' at the Vietnam Symposium on Leadership and Public Policy, Ho Chi Minh City.  The event organised by the Association of Vietnamese Sciences and Experts and the Academy of Politics was an excellent opportunity to promote and collaborate on research initiatives on leadership and public policy.

Find out more about Haig's research here


In February 2019, Associate Professor Gideon Baker and Centre Director Professor Haig Patapan welcomed scholars from the Universities of Aberystwyth, Kent, St Andrews, Western Sydney and Deakin for a two-day international workshop on the question of nihilism.

Papers were presented on topics from "When Nihilism Appears in the World" to "Beyond Transcendence and Immanence: Nihilism and Islam".

Dr Baker will continue to collaborate with colleagues in this new network and hopes to collate a publication that will draw their contributions together in the future.


In January 2018, Dr Huiyun Feng and Professor Haig Patapan hosted a workshop about the differences and similarities of "Philosophy and Strategic Thinking in the East and the West".

Distinguished scholars from the United States, Australia, mainland China and Taiwan joined together for a day of scholarly discussion and debate on the topic.

The Workshop concluded with a recognition of the significance of the topic and possible directions for future exploration.

Read the blog piece here

Research highlight

In 2016 the Comparative Political Philosophy Program hosted a delegation of political theorists from the Department of Political Science at the National University of Singapore for a two-day symposium on international political theory. The Symposium heard papers on a wide range of topics, from the movies of Adam Curtis to the republicanism of Immanuel Kant, including discussions of political theology, recognition, human rights, deliberation, honour, global citizenship, revolution and the emotions.

Collaborate with us

Find out how our research can help your group or organisation through collaboration.

Seminar series

We host a range of seminars featuring scholars from across the world.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with the Centre for Governance and Public Policy