Graduate research in the Department of Social Inquiry

Our graduate researchers are exploring issues of social change, inequality and cultural diversity

Akuch Kuol Anyieth

Meet Akuch Kuol Anyieth (pictured above), a second-year PhD candidate investigating family violence in Victoria's South Sudanese Australian community.

“Having been born into war, poverty and lived in a refugee camp, I know what it means to live in injustice,” says Anyieth.

“People, like me, who have lived in refugee camps and fled war and poverty are often seen as coming from a lower social class who have nothing to contribute to society – I want to challenge these beliefs.”

Anyieth, now a PhD candidate, is researching South Sudanese experiences of family violence intervention orders.

“I am examining whether these orders are serving their intended purpose of stopping family violence and what impact they have within the community. I am also looking at the role cultural intervention and prevention strategies play in addressing family violence within Victoria's South Sudanese Australian community.”

“I hope that findings from my research will contribute to the development of policy, practice, and law reform to address family and domestic violence.”


Jen Ginsberg

Jen Ginsberg is a first-year PhD candidate investigating the impact of the Holocaust on descendants living in Melbourne, Australia.

“As a 75-year-old student, I passionately believe that we never stop learning,” says Ginsberg.

“I felt welcome and supported at La Trobe right from the start. My supervisors are endlessly encouraging and helpful, and I love forming friendships with fellow students much less than half my age, constantly being challenged to clarify my thinking and broadening my horizons, while revelling in the collegiality, connections and collaboration in shared learning.”

“I have always been drawn to the discipline of sociology by my fascination for people. As I become more deeply immersed in research I am constantly reminded of the connections between us all.”

Ginsberg’s research is examining the impact of the Holocaust on second and third generation descendants living in Melbourne, Australia.

“My qualitative research seeks to not only understand the impact on these people, but also their capacity to integrate into a multicultural society. There have been some studies of these issues and experiences in Melbourne, but very little concerning third generation descendants.”


Jo Vukovic

Jo Vukovic is a first-year PhD candidate in Crime, Justice and Legal Studies.

“I always enjoyed Legal Studies at school and knew I wanted to pursue a degree in this subject,” says Vukovic.

“La Trobe’s Bachelor of Legal Studies really appealed to me because there was an emphasis on teaching students how to think critically about the legal system and actively question its philosophy and processes – that’s how we create a more effective system.”

Vukovic, now a first-year PhD candidate, is investigating the nature of family violence in Indigenous Australian communities and Aboriginal-led approaches to prevention.

“Through my Master’s thesis, I was able to deepen my understanding of the link between trauma and violence at the individual, family and community level. Findings from my research demonstrated that taking a trauma-informed, Aboriginal-led, culturally resonant, and healing-focused approach was effective in reducing violence within Indigenous Australian families and communities.”

“My PhD will build on this work, using a decolonial and trauma-informed framework to challenge dominant Western views of mental health and explore various healing therapies.”