BA; PhD (Queens University Belfast)
I am Professor of Political Theory and Pro Vice Chancellor International at the University of Melbourne. Prior to this, I served for a decade as the Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences. I arrived in Melbourne in 2004 following earlier appointments at Goldsmiths, University of London and the University of Northampton, following my PhD from Queens University Belfast. In recent years, I have held visiting positions at Queens University Belfast, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. I served for several years on the executive of the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) including as President in 2011-2012.
My research focuses on contemporary political theory with a particular emphasis on the application of conceptual debates to material political practices. These sites of application include bordering practices in international politics, the relationship between democracy and violence, and Indigenous politics. I also have a longstanding interest in methodological issues as they pertain to the development and application of political theory. I have worked across a number of approaches to the practice of political theory and I am active in debates that challenge the division between analytical and continental philosophy.
My current research concentrates on the concept of temporality and its particular ramifications for the conduct of political theory and the analysis of political practice in complex settings. By employing an innovative method of temporal politics, I contend that theorists can shed new light on some of the most significant issues of our time. These include navigating competing understandings of the past and the uncertainties of the future in relation to Indigenous-settler relations, the role of borders in the constitution of the nation-state, and the current debate on the global demise of democratic politics.
Born in Northern Ireland just as the Troubles broke out, I have always maintained a sensitivity to the ways in which political conflict and violence manifest in the lived experience and everyday lives of those affected. This has given rise to a number of methodological commitments to deriving theoretical insights from everyday experiences in grounded contexts rather than more abstract philosophy.
As a former President of the APSA, I have been a passionate defender of the Political Science discipline and its importance to Australian public life as well as international politics more broadly. However, I am also committed to inter-disciplinary research; in addition to my work in political theory, I have also published collaboratively with criminologists, sociologists, international relations academics, and legal scholars.
Since 2018, I have been PVC International at the University of Melbourne which enables me to combine my teaching and research interests in global political issues with my responsibilities in promoting the international engagement of the university. I have taken a particular interest in Melbourne’s relationships around the Pacific Rim and have led the development of a network of universities interested in Indigenous knowledges within the Association of Pacific Rim Universities. I also sit on the board of the Asia Pacific Association for International Education.
1. Little, A. 2020, ‘The Politics of Makarrata: Understanding Indigenous-Settler Relations in Australia’, Political Theory, vol. 48, no. 1, 30-56.
2. Little, A. 2018, ‘Contextualizing Concepts: The Methodology of Comparative Political Theory’, The Review of Politics, vol. 76, no. 1, pp. 87-113.
3. Little, A. and Vaughan-Williams, N. 2017, ‘Stopping Boats, Saving Lives, Securing Subjects: Humanitarian Borders in Europe and Australia’, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 533-556.
4. Little, A. 2015, ‘The Complex Temporality of Borders: Contingency and Normativity’, European Journal of Political Theory, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 429-447.
5. Little, A. 2014, Enduring Conflict: Challenging the Signature of Peace and Democracy, New York: Bloomsbury.