Decolonising Extinction

How do past ideas about peoples' extinction influence current climate change discourse?

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Climate change poses an existential threat of an unprecedented kind, but is the idea of human extinction new? Is the climate emergency reframing an ancient fear, giving new currency to apocalyptic literature? The idea of human extinction has been imposed upon Indigenous communities through European imperial history, undermining their self-determination and rights. Aboriginal peoples in settler nations continue to struggle against the idea of their disappearance. Does the idea of extinction need to be decolonised? How might a critical examination of the history and representation of human extinction deepen social understandings of contemporary climate change discourse? The chief goal of this HDR project is to analyse contemporary climate discourse, including large-scale public calls for action in First World nations, and to place these within a longer history of European ideas; imperialistic extinction discourse; and Indigenous counter discourses of self-determination. This advertised project welcomes applications from students seeking to carry out a PhD in the discipline of history (with potential to cross into English/literature studies/philosophy) that includes critical studies in the fields of climate change activism, environmentalism, and colonisation.

This project may have a part-time study option available. Some restrictions may apply. Please discuss your preference with the Supervisor and note your preferred study option when applying.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Rebe Taylor


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • 1st class honours in history or a related discipline, or equivalent professional experience
  • A developed ability to carry out critical investigation of ideas, discourse and historical and social change
  • A demonstrated knowledge of historical research methods and skills
  • An ability to research and write independently and to follow critical advice

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • An ability to research the history of ideas in the fields of natural science, climate change and environmental and Indigenous activism
  • An understanding of the histories of social change, including the representations of Indigenous communities, women, and young people
  • An ability for write clearly and imaginatively

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Rebe Taylor to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 27 March 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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