Research focus areas in arts and humanities

Discover some of the research interests of staff and find links for more information.

Find your subject on this page:

Art History

  • History and theory of photography
  • Teaching and curatorial practice
  • Post-1960s New Zealand art
  • New Zealand colonial art
  • History of exhibitions and museums, and theories and practices of collecting
  • Pacific art, art and cross-cultural encounter in the Pacific, and postcolonial art and theory
  • Culture and politics of surrealism and the French avant-garde movements
  • History of modernism and its discontents

Find out which academic staff work in each research area above and read more about research in Art History at Victoria University.


  • Greek and Roman historiography
  • Greek democracy
  • Greek tragedy and comedy
  • Greek art and architecture
  • Thanatology (death and dying)
  • Classical Tradition/Classical Reception
  • Roman Republican history
  • Latin epic
  • Late antiquity and Byzantium
  • Sex and gender

Find out which academic staff work in each research area.

Creative Writing

  • Writing for the page—poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction
  • Scriptwriting

Creative Writing is taught at the International Institute of Modern Letters.

Visit academic staff profile pages to find out their specialist research areas.


  • Early modern English literature—including Shakespeare, Spenser, English Civil War, women’s writing, manuscript and print culture
  • Age of Sensibility and Romanticism—including Jane Austen, Gray, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Romanticism and colonialism
  • 19th-century literature, especially the Victorian novel
  • Early 20th-century literature—including Kipling, First World War, modernism
  • Colonial and postcolonial literatures—including India and Japan in English literature
  • New Zealand literature—including the colonial period, Ursula Bethell, Katherine Mansfield, James K. Baxter, John Mulgan, Bill Manhire, Margaret Mahy
  • Children’s literature
  • Science fiction, fantasy, the Gothic, utopian and dystopian literature
  • Classical receptions in English literature
  • Journalism and literature, literary journalism, creative non-fiction—including biography, autobiography, essays, diaries, sports writing
  • Poetry—writing and criticism
  • Literature and science

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about research in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies.


  • Film history and theory
  • Film genres
  • Film authorship
  • Film production
  • Documentary theory and production
  • Feminist film criticism
  • Relationship between film and tourism
  • New Zealand cinema
  • Hollywood cinema
  • European cinema
  • Latin American cinema
  • 3D cinema
  • Virtual Reality
  • Low-budget film-making
  • Representation of gender, race and sexuality

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about research in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies.


Currently our research focuses on the modern period, covering a wide geographical region:

  • New Zealand, Pacific and Australian history
  • Early modern and modern European history
  • American history
  • Asian history—especially India
  • Atlantic World

Discover more about History research at Victoria and find out which academic staff work in your research interest area.

Languages and Cultures

The School of Languages and Cultures offers programmes in Asian Studies, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Pacific Studies, Samoan Studies/Matā‛upu tau Sāmoa, Spanish and Latin American Studies, Modern Language and Literary Translation Studies, and Second Language Learning and Teaching.

Research in the school focuses on:

  • Literature and cultural studies
  • Translation and translation studies
  • Area studies, particularly from an Asia-Pacific perspective
  • Cultural and intellectual history
  • Processes of globalisation, migration and cultural change
  • Theory and practice of language teaching, preservation and maintenance of language

Discover more about research in Languages and Cultures at Victoria.

Find out which staff work in each language area and what their research interests are: Asian Studies, Chinese, French, German, Italian , Japanese, Pacific Studies, Samoan Studies/Matā‛upu tau Sāmoa , Spanish and Latin American Studies, Modern Language and Literary Translation Studies, Second Language Learning and Teaching.

Māori Studies

  • Treaty of Waitangi and Treaty settlements
  • Māori science
  • Māori business and Māori economy
  • Māori politics
  • Tikanga tuku iho
  • Te reo Māori and the revitalisation of te reo Māori
  • Māori linguistics
  • Indigenous rights

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about research in Māori Studies at Victoria.

Media Studies

  • Television—including institutions and industries, media policy, genres and forms, audiences and representations, history
  • Media and identity—including audience studies, media and subjectivity, youth media culture
  • Media politics and news—including political economy of media, news production and representation of world events, civic engagement and the public sphere, media policy and regulation, international political communication
  • Visual culture—including semiotics, textual analysis, visual communication, culture and media aesthetics
  • Popular culture and popular music—including individual and collective identities/subjectivities, celebrity studies, cultural production and consumption
  • Digital media and technology—including media convergence, surveillance and privacy; production, consumption and labour
  • Media in Aotearoa/New Zealand—including post-colonial history/theory; media institutions, policy and texts; the relationship between media and national identity, indigeneity and migrancy
  • Creative industries—including national and international film institutions, creative labour, cultural economies and geography, urban studies

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about research in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies.

Museum and Heritage Studies

  • Museum history, theory and practice
  • Museum anthropology
  • Cultural sociology
  • Māori visual and material culture
  • Contemporary heritage issues
  • Visitor studies—theory and methods
  • Cultural diplomacy, touring exhibitions and intercultural museum practice
  • Natural heritage
  • Leisure and heritage tourism—history, theory and contemporary practice—and sustainable development

Find out more about research in Museum and Heritage Studies at Victoria University, including the research interests of academic staff.


  • Instrumental/vocal composition—especially for large mixed chamber ensembles and orchestra
  • Sonic arts—including fixed-media multichannel composition, live electronics and sound installations
  • Film scoring and digital orchestration, audio recording, production and post-production, including spatial audio and sound design for film
  • Sonic arts engineering—including musical mechatronics, digital signal processing and game sound design
  • Ethnomusicology—with an emphasis on ethnographic research and music cultures of the Asia-Pacific region
  • Music in New Zealand—including analysis and performance of New Zealand compositions
  • Historical musicology—focusing on 17th and 18th-century German and British music, 19th-century music history and analysis, 19th and 20th-century Australasian music history
  • Historical, critical and theoretical approaches to popular music, including jazz studies
  • Musical embodiment, performance studies and music-dance relationships, as well as performance technologies and live arts
  • Jazz performance—including live improvisation of composed music, as well as composition and performance of music in ensembles
  • Music therapy—in school and community settings, music and wellbeing, integration of research and clinical teaching of music therapy
  • Vocal, orchestral and chamber music performance, opera production and stagecraft.

Discover more about Music research at Victoria.

Find out which staff work in each music subject area  and what their research interests are: Composition and Sonic Arts, Performance, Music, Music Therapy.


Philosophy research has a particular focus on these areas:

  • Logic—including modal logic, relevant logic and probability logic
  • Political philosophy—including global justice, patriotism and nationalism, and the politics of personal relationships
  • Ethics—including ethical theory (eg are moral properties real?), moral psychology, the ethics of technological change, virtue theory and the philosophy of mental health and mental disorder
  • Experimental philosophy, or X-phi—including conceptions of pain and consciousness, causal attributions, happiness and wellbeing, the philosophical temperament, and the demographic makeup of philosophy
  • Philosophy of science—including biology, social science, psychology, and ethics in biotechnology
  • Metaphysics and epistemology—including the nature of causation, and fictionalism
  • Philosophy of art—including interpretation, popular art (video games, comics, film), feminist issues, ontology
  • Philosophy of education (with the School of Education)—philosophy for children

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about Philosophy research at Victoria University.

Religious Studies

Research in Religious Studies at Victoria focuses on:

  • New Zealand, the Pacific, South and Southeast Asia
  • Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Secularism
  • Religious change and contemporary religious diversity
  • Emerging spiritualities
  • The politics of religion
  • Conflict and peacemaking
  • Disasters and international development
  • Religion and NGOs
  • Religion and colonialism
  • Religion and community
  • Religion and philanthropy
  • Religion and gender
  • Religion and media

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about Religious Studies research at Victoria University.


  • Chinese theatre and performance
  • Post-colonial, intercultural and critical race theory
  • Hybridity and devised performance
  • Māori and Pasifika theatre and drama
  • Shakespearean adaptation and production
  • Women in Shakespeare
  • Youth performance
  • Early modern dramaturgy and stagecraft
  • Representations of gender and sexuality in theatre
  • Playwriting and script development
  • American drama
  • Adaptation and appropriation
  • Modernist theatre
  • Theatre and performance pedagogy
  • Dramaturgy
  • New Zealand theatre
  • Community theatre
  • Directing

Find out which academic staff work in each research area and read more about research in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies.