Religion & Global Ethics (RGE)

The study of religion and society is one of the fastest growing areas of research in the humanities and social sciences. The Religion & Global Ethics (RGE) research focus area examines the dynamics of religion in society, politics, and culture. We study the complex roles religious traditions and practices play in shaping local, national and global societies; including the place of religion in civic life, social unity and polarisation, and movements for social change.


  • Professor John A. Rees (Co-convenor RGE, Senior Research Associate, Institute for Ethics & Society, Professor of Politics & International Relations)
  • Dr Rosemary Hancock (Co-convenor RGE, Research Associate / Lecturer, Managing Editor, Solidarity)

International Visiting Scholars

Emma Tomalin 
University of Leeds

Adrian Pabst
University of Kent

Erin Wilson
University of Groningen

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
Northwestern University


The Architecture of Peace
Dr Rosemary Hancock and Associate Professor John Rees contributed to a series of comments on ABC Religion and Ethics regarding Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Fratelli tutti.

Fulbright Australia Senior Scholar Award
Professor John A. Rees has been awarded a 2020 Fulbright Senior Scholarship as the Milward L. Simpson Visiting Professor at the University of Wyoming to study ‘religious literacy in international relations theory and practice’.

Visiting Scholar: Northwestern University
In early 2019 Dr Rosemary Hancock was a Visiting Scholar with Northwestern University’s Global Politics and Religion Research Group.

Journal Special Issue
Dr Rosemary Hancock was the guest editor for a special issue of the high-ranking Journal for the Academic Study of Religion examining religion and the humanitarian challenge. The issue, includes a co-authored contribution from Prof John A. Rees and IES adjunct Dr Stefania Rawson.

Book Publication
Islamic Environmentalism: Activism in the Unites States and Great Britain by Dr Rosemary Hancock was published by Routledge in 2018.

Journal Special Issue
Professor John A. Rees and Tim Smartt edited a special issues of the Journal of Religious and Political Practice (4:1, 2018) featuring leading scholars from Northwestern, Notre Dame USA, Cambridge, Sydney, Otago, Hong Kong, Oslo, and Notre Dame Australia.

Industry and Public Engagement

The Sydney Alliance
Since 2018, Dr Rosemary Hancock has partnered with the Sydney Alliance as a participatory action researcher. The Sydney Alliance is a coalition of religious and civil society organisations in Sydney working together for justice and the common good. Dr Hancock’s involvement with the Alliance assists the organisation with critical reflection on its practice, its training of civil society leaders, and the development of an evidence-base to ground its political work.

Georgetown University’s Berkeley Centre Forum: COVID-19 Response and Climate Change
In response to COVID-19, the Berkeley Centre for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs invited leading scholars on climate change and religion to reflect on the lessons for COVID-19 response from the study of religious responses to climate change. Dr Rosemary Hancock was among the 11 scholars invited to write a short reflection, and her post on the lessons from Islamic environmentalism.

The Racialisation of Religion
In 2019 Dr Rosemary Hancock appeared with Deakin University’s Professor Fethi Mansouri on Radio National’s Religion and Ethics Report to discuss the intersection of religion and race and its implications, particularly for Muslims, in Australia. The report appeared in the aftermath of the 2019 Christchurch massacre of Muslims at prayer in New Zealand, and in the lead up to an academic symposium co-organized by Dr Hancock on Religion and Race in Australia, held at the Western Sydney University in April 2019.

The Social License and Its Potential
In March 2019 Professor John A. Rees delivered a platform presentation at the AFR Deloitte Banking & Wealth Summit that helped leverage professional ethics training opportunities in the financial services sector and event partnerships in the wider business community.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara Public Lecture on Public Policy at San Beda University
In February 2019, Professor John A. Rees delivered the inaugural Senator Edgardo J. Angara Public Lecture on Public Policy at San Beda University in on the topic ‘Inclusive Education: Transforming Lives & Building Nations’.

Amnesty International Parliamentary Group
In October 2017 Professor John A. Rees participated in an expert panel organised by the Amnesty International Parliamentary Group at the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra. John presented on the theme, ‘The Politics of Religious Freedom: A Framework for Policymakers’.

Our Researchers' Grants, Fellowships and Institutional Partnerships

  • Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Australia-US Fulbright Commission. Milward L. Simpson Visiting Professor of Politics, Public Affairs & International Studies, University of Wyoming, 2020-2021.
  • Global Politics and Religion Research Group Visiting Scholar Program, Northwestern University, 2019.
  • Australian Academy of the Humanities Early Career Fellowship, 2018.

Postgraduate Research

We welcome inquiries regarding postgraduate supervision from prospective M.Phil or PhD students interested in working within the IES’s Religion & Global Ethics research focus area.

  • Professor John A. Rees

    Professor John A. Rees welcomes research students in the following areas:

    • Religion in International Relations (IR) theory and practice
    • Christianity and global politics
    • Religion and nationalism
  • Dr Rosemary Hancock

    Dr Rosemary Hancock welcomes research students in the following areas:

    • Sociology of religion, particularly religious engagement in grassroots politics or progressive social causes
    • Islamic environmentalism or Islamic social justice activism
    • Religion online, particularly religious women’s use of social media and the internet