Susan Dixon has recently joined the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program (SSGM) as a Research Fellow. She moves to ANU from the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she earned her PhD in geography. Susan will be working, in part, on a new undergraduate major in CAP: peace, conflict and war studies. She is currently creating a new class on conflict management and conflict resolution that she will be teaching in the second semester, 2013.
Susan’s interests in peace, conflict and war and her interests in Asia and the Pacific have dovetailed throughout her graduate and undergraduate career. Her dissertation mapped crisis discourse and its effects in the contemporary southwest Pacific. She used the recent conflict in Solomon Islands and the subsequent Australian-led intervention there as a case study to understand how geographical discourse constitutes crises. Her research included fieldwork in Solomon Islands and Australia, where she was a Departmental Visitor at ANU’s Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (precursor to the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific). Her master’s thesis investigated Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) program to Pacific Island countries. As part of her bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies, Susan wrote a 90-page senior thesis, “Satyagraha and Nonviolence: Gandhian Theories for Creating Social Change,” at the Gujarat Vidyapith (or ‘place of learning’) that Gandhi founded in Ahmedabad, India.
Susan became deeply interested in peace, conflict and war during her experience on a yearlong academic study abroad program focusing on “The World Politics of Peace and Conflict.” The program was led by Johan Galtung, who is widely considered the founder of peace studies as a science. Along with 35 other students from 10 countries, Susan travelled to hotspots on four continents. Through site visits and meeting with political leaders, university professors, and other people from all walks of life, she gained a more holistic understanding of different problems facing the world and of ways to address these problems.
Susan is excited to be at the ANU and looks forward to meeting other Pacific scholars!