Dr Ashley Barnwell is the Ashworth Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Her research is based in cultural sociology and social theory, and focuses on the politics of truth-telling and sharing stories in public life.
Ashley is interested in sociological aspects of emotions, memory, authorship, and narrative. Her current research investigates intergenerational storytelling and cultural transmission, with a focus on family histories and family secrets. Related to this research, she is collaborating on an interdisciplinary book project that explores the intersection of family history and postcolonial reckoning in contemporary Australian literature. In addition to more traditional qualitative and theoretical approaches, she is interested in the role of life writing, personal archives, and literature in sociological research.
Ashley is also writing about methodologies and genealogies within social theory, particularly the politics of 'the turn'. Her current research in this area focuses on theories of emotion and examines the kinships between classical sociology, post-structural theories, and the recent turn to affect and ontology.
In 2014 she was the Seymour Scholar for Biography at the National Library of Australia, and in 2016 was a Visiting Scholar at The Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, University of Manchester. Ashley is also an affiliate researcher at SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality, and Memory at the University of Turku, Finland and a member of the Family and Emotions Working Group, ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. She serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Centre for Applied History, Macquarie University, and on the Academic Committee at the Ian Potter Museum of Art.
Ashley teaches Modernity: Foundations of Sociology, Cultural Sociology, Relationships in Modernity, and (with Dr Daniel McCarthy) Reading So