Book launch and panel discussion: The PhD at the end of the world - Provocations for the Doctorate and a Future Contested

June 8, 2021, 10.00-11.00

Venue: Online via Zoom

Fee: Free and open to all

Registration deadline: June 6, 2021


                                                                           The Phd At The End Of The World


The book Link Arrow 'The PhD at the End of the World: Provocations for the Doctorate and a Future Contested' examines the role of the PhD, in and of itself, and, as representative of research, the university and evidence-based knowledge, in relation to the most pressing problem of our time: the climate emergency.

The idea for the book came out of a deep and strongly held conviction of the need to do something about this problem via the PhD. The volume took shape in what is now known as Australia’s Black Summer of catastrophic climate-induced bush fire and was brought to completion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assembled essays, or provocations, address the future of the PhD and how this advanced research degree may respond to, and hopefully contribute to averting or ameliorating, the predicted environmental catastrophe. It explores different ways of thinking about and doing PhDs to meet the global challenges we all face, particularly the deteriorating state of the world’s climate and the escalation of the invidious politics of climate change and post-truth challenges to evidence-based science.

The book assembles a highly disciplinary and geographically diverse group of leading research educators and scholars reflecting on these important issues.

This launch, will include a introduction of the book and an informal, fireside chat with a selection of contributors. Topics explored include:

  • What sorts of ideas and practices are needed to seed and inform different ways of doing and thinking about PhDs to meet the environmental challenges we all face?
  • How might PhD programs play a role in combatting challenges to research-based knowledge and expertise that have emerged in the politics of climate, such as posed by ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’?
  • Arguably universities have played a role in advancing the conditions that have led to the ecological crisis. How might the gulf be redressed between universities and the communities they are meant to serve; redressing what Latour calls the failure of ‘trickle down epistemology’?


  • Susan Porter, Dean and Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, at the University of British Columbia and Clinical Professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Matthew Mars, Associate Professor, Leadership and Innovation, Department of Agricultural Education, Technology & Innovation, The University of Arizona
  • Denise Cuthbert, Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training and Development and Professor, School of Graduate Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia


Robyn Barnacle, Associate Professor, School of Graduate Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Event host

Søren Bengtsen, Associate Professor, Co-Director of CHEF, Chair of PaTHES, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark

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