Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy Leadership

The Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy is led by a team who understand the importance of an outstanding student experience and transformative research outcomes.

Associate Professor Dirk Tomsa

Associate Professor Dirk Tomsa is Head of the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy and Associate Professor in Politics. His research focuses on Indonesian and comparative Southeast Asian politics, especially in the areas of democratization and democratic decline, electoral and party politics, institutional change and environmental politics. He is the author of Politics in Contemporary Indonesia: Institutional Change, Policy Challenges and Democratic Decline (with Ken Setiawan, Routledge 2022) and Party Politics and Democratization in Indonesia: Golkar in the Post-Suharto Era (Routledge, 2008), as well as two co-edited volumes and numerous journal articles and book chapters. Associate Professor Tomsa teaches Southeast Asian politics and contributes to a range of other Politics subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He supervises Honours, Masters and PhD candidates working on governance and security issues in Southeast Asia.

Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi

Dr Niamatullah Ibrahimi is Discipline Convener of Politics and Global Studies and a Senior Lecturer in International Relations in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy. He teaches subjects on Middle East politics, international organisations and security. His research interests include political violence, peacebuilding, post-conflict political orders, social movements and contentious politics, nationalism and ethnic politics, and human rights and transitional justice. Dr Ibrahimi completed his PhD in 2018 at the Australian National University where his doctoral research examined the dynamics of contentious politics in the context of the post-2001 international intervention in Afghanistan. From 2018-2020, he worked as an Associate Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. Previously, he worked for several leading think tanks and international organisations, including the International Crisis Group and the Crisis States Research Centre of the London School of Economics.

Dr Brigid McCarthy

Dr Brigid McCarthy is Discipline Convener of Media and Communication and Senior Lecturer in Journalism in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy. She is a former sports journalist and radio presenter. Dr McCarthy has written about international artistic gymnastics for several sports publications and gymnastics federations, and hosted sports media programs for community radio. She brings her experience to teaching journalism and media writing subjects as well as overseeing the Work Integrated learning platform, upstart. Her broader research interests include sports, fandom and social media, with a particular focus on the online abuse of athletes, and the use of social media in sports coverage.

Dr Yuri Cath

Dr Yuri Cath is Discipline Convener of Philosophy and a Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy. He joined La Trobe in February 2015. Prior to this he spent six years working in the United Kingdom, first as an Australian Human Rights Commission Research Fellow in the Arche Philosophical Research Centre at The University of St Andrews (2008-2012) and then as Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia (2012-2014). He completed his PhD in philosophy in the RSSS Philosophy Program at The Australian National University (2009). His research explores questions in epistemology about the nature and sources of different kinds of knowledge, and the import of these issues for debates in other areas of philosophy including the philosophy of mind and moral philosophy. Dr Cath also explores the distinction between knowledge-how and knowledge-that. He works on issues concerning philosophical methodology and the evidential role of intuitions in philosophical inquiry. Most recently, he has been trying to better understand the relationship between testimony and different forms of 'knowing-wh' (including 'what it is like'-knowledge, knowing-why, and knowing-how).

Dr Miriam Bankovsky

Dr Miriam Bankovsky is Research Lead and a Senior Lecturer in Political Theory in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy. She teaches into the Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics and has just completed a three-year term as an elected staff member for University Council (Senate). She also received the 2017 Australasian Association of Philosophy’s Annette Baier Prize for research on economic envy. The major output of Dr Bankovsky’s Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award is her forthcoming book, The Family, Economics and Ethics: A New History for An Imagined Future (Cambridge University Press, 2023), which explains how market-paradigm economists (accepted by the discipline) have historically constituted the social problems faced by families in particular time periods, and how these same economists have responded. In her explicitly philosophical work, Dr Bankovsky contributes to what she feels are important normative debates in political philosophy, drawing on both analytic and continental resources, with a particular focus on economic marginalisation and unlawfulness.

Dr Michael O’Keefe

Dr Michael O’Keefe is the Teaching and Learning Lead and Director of the Master of International Relations in the Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy. His research focuses on Australian foreign policy, Pacific foreign policies (especially Fiji), Pacific regionalism, and new forms of insecurity in relation to state fragility and epidemic diseases. Current projects focus on Australia’s ‘Step up’ in the Pacific, Fiji’s peacekeeping strategy and military diplomacy. Dr O’Keefe undertakes a wide range of consultancies in the Pacific and has taught in Fiji and Japan. He features regularly in media including the ABC's 7.30 Report, ABC Insiders, ABC 774, CNN, Radio National, 3CR, and New Matilda. His commentary has also appeared in outlets such as The Age, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Islands Business, Fiji Sun and Fiji Times.