Professor Catherine Manathunga is an Honorary Professor in College of Arts & Education at VU. She is an historian who draws together expertise in historical, sociological and cultural studies research to bring an innovative perspective to educational research, particularly focusing on the higher education sector. 

Catherine has current research projects on doctoral supervision pedagogy, doctoral education and the history of university teaching and learning in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Her book, Intercultural Postgraduate Supervision: Reimagining time, place and knowledge, was published in June 2014 by Routledge. Catherine has also co-authored monograph on educational history, A class of its own: a history of Queensland University of Technology; co-edited an oral history monograph, Making a place: an oral history of academic development in Australia; and published in Australian, Irish, American and British journals. 

Her research has been funded by the ARC, ALTC, Ako Aotearoa, Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia, Nagoya University Japan and industry partners.  She has jointly won a number of University of Queensland and Australian national teaching awards for programs that enhance research students’ learning.  She has acted as an educational consultant to many other universities in Australia and internationally.

Recent publications


Manathunga, C. (in production Jan 2014). Intercultural Postgraduate Supervision: reimaging time, place and knowledge. London: Routledge.

Lee, A.; Manathunga, C. & Kandlbinder, P. (2008) (Eds.). Making a place: an oral history of academic development in Australia.  Sydney: HERDSA.

Book chapters

Manathunga, C; Bonde, S. with Bawa, A; Binza, M.; Hall,F; Maheu, L.; Qin Lin; Rudd E.; Ryan, M. & Shandas, V. (forthcoming) Risk-taking, curriculum and pedagogy. In Nerad et. Al., (Eds.)  Forces and forms of change in doctoral education worldwide v. 3.  Seattle: CIRGE, University of Washington, forthcoming.

Bawa, A; Binza, M.; Bonde, S.; Hall,F; Ribeiro, R.J.; Maheu, L.; Manathunga, C.; Qin Lin; Rudd E.; Ryan, M. & Shandas, V. (forthcoming) Introduction and overview and recommendations for Section 3: Intellectual risk taking in doctoral education. In Nerad et. Al., (Eds.)  Forces and forms of change in doctoral education worldwide v. 3.  Seattle: CIRGE, University of Washington, forthcoming. (NB. Alphabetical order for list of authors)

Manathunga, C.; Commons, K.; Chatterjee Padmanbhan, M.; Cotterall, S & Gao, X. (forthcoming). Support for English as an Additional Language (EAL) students.  In S. Carter & D. Laurs (eds.)  Developing generic support for doctoral students: practice and pedagogy, (pp. forthcoming). London: Routledge.

Manathunga, C. (2013). Culture as a place of thought. In T. Engels-Schwarzpaul & M. Peters (eds.) Of other thoughts: non-traditional approaches to the doctorate (pp. 67-82). Rotterdam: Sense publishers.

Manathunga, C. & Brew, A. (2012).  Beyond tribes and territories: new metaphors for new times.  In Trowler, P.; Saunders, M. & Bamber, V. (Eds.) Reconceptualising tribes and territories in higher education: practices in the 21st century.  London: Routledge, 44-56.

Manathunga, C. (2012).  ‘Team’ supervision: new positionings in doctoral education pedagogies.  In Lee, A. & Danby, S. (eds.)  Reshaping Doctoral Education: International approaches and pedagogies. London & New York: Routledge, 42-55.

Refereed Journal Articles

Court, M.; Cornforth, S. & Manathunga, C. (2014). Rationality and collaborative supervision, feminist collectivity and reflexive ethics: backstories for a collaborative memory project. Knowledge Cultures, 1:5, in press.

Manathunga, C.; Cornforth, S; Crocket, K.; Court, M. & Claiborne, L.B. (2014). Irruptions of space and bodies in doctoral supervision. Knowledge Cultures, 1:5, in press.

Winchester-Seeto, T. Homewood, J.; Thorgeson, J.; Jacenyik-Trawoger, C; Manathunga, C.; Reid, A. & Holbrook, A. (forthcoming). Doctoral Supervision in a Cross Cultural Context: Issues Affecting Supervisors and Candidates. Higher Education Research & Development, forthcoming.

Manathunga, C. (in press. Accepted 9/9/12).  The deviant student and the emergence of academic development. International Journal for Academic Development.

Holmes, T. & Manathunga, C. (2012). Of passports, maps and suitcases: geopolitical metaphors in academic development.  International Journal for Academic Development, DOI 10.1080/1360144X.2012.701086.

Holmes, T.; Manathunga, C.; Potter, M. & Wuetherick, B. (2012). The impossibilities of neutrality: other geopolitical metaphors for academic development units. International Journal for Academic Development, DOI 10.1080/1360144X.2012.701087.

Chisholm, M.; Jimma, T. T.; Natsume, T. & Manathunga, C. (2012). Political geographies of academic development in Jamaica, Ethiopia and Japan: reflections on the impossibilities of neutrality. International Journal for Academic Development, DOI 10.1080/1360144X.2012.701091.

Manathunga, C.; Kiley, M.; Boud, D. & Cantwell, R. (2012). From knowledge acquisition to knowledge production: issues with Australian honours curricula.  Teaching in Higher Education,17:2, 139-152.

Manathunga, C. (2012).  Supervision and culture: post-colonial explorations.  Nagoya Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 12, 175-190.

Devos, A. & Manathunga, C. (2012). Letter from the editors. Australian Universities Review, 54:1, 2-4.

Connell, R. & Manathunga, C. (2012). On doctoral education: how to supervise a PhD, 1985-2011. Australian Universities Review, 54:1, 5-9.

Manathunga, C. (2012). Supervisors watching supervisors: the deconstructive possibilities and tensions of team supervision. Australian Universities Review, 54:1, 29-37.

Postgraduate research students and fellows


2 PhD students (co-supervisor)

2 Masters students (1 as supervisor and 1 as co-supervisor)

1 Diploma student (co-supervisor)

Current supervision

5 PhD students (3 as Principal Supervisor, 1 as Joint-Principal Supervisor and 1 as Associate Supervisor)

Research Grants

Current Research Grants

Internal funding grants from Victoria University in 2014, totalling $3,000 (in February). Chief Investigator: A/Prof. Catherine Manathunga. Project title: Pedagogical Histories of University Teaching.

External funding from Ako Aotearoa (NZ National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence) in 2014, totalling $20,834. Co-Investigators: Dr Stephanie Doyle; A/Prof. Sue Cornforth; Dr Gerard Prinsen; A/Prof. Catherine Manathunga. Project title: Supervising African Students.

Previous External Research Grants:

External funding from ARC Linkage Project, 2007-2010, totalling $814, 648. Project Director and Leading Chief Investigator: Dr Catherine Manathunga; Co-Investigators: Prof. Paul Boreham, A/Prof. Paul Lant, A/Prof. George Mellick, Dr Rachael Pitt, Prof. Christa Critchley; Industry partners: Rio Tinto, CSR Sugar and Qld. Department of State Development, Trade and Innovation. Project title: Research and innovation leaders for industry.

External funding from ALTC, 2008-2009, totalling $344, 790. Chief Investigator: Prof. Sue Spence; Co-Investigators: Prof. Gail Huon, Dr Judi Homewood, A/Prof. Anna Reid, Prof. Allyson Holbrook, Prof. Stephen Marshall, Prof. John Hooper, Prof. Sid Bourke, Dr Theresa Winchester-Seeto, Dr Catherine Manathunga. Project title: Development and evaluation of resources to enhance skills in Higher Degree Research supervision in an intercultural context.

External funding from ALTC, 2007-2009, totalling $184, 931. Chief Investigator: Dr Margaret Kiley; Co-Investigators: Prof. David Boud, Dr Robert Cantwell, Dr Catherine Manathunga. Project title: The role of Honours in contemporary Australian higher education.

External funding from Nagoya University Japan in 2011, totalling Yen 950, 000. Chief Investigator: A/Prof. Catherine Manathunga; Associate Investigator: Dr Yoshiko Saitoh. Project title: Japanese research supervision.

External funding from Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) in 2008, totalling $8, 000. Chief Investigators: Prof. Alison Lee, Dr Catherine Manathunga & Dr Peter Kandlbinder. Project title:  History of Australian Academic Development: an oral history.

External funding from Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Meat Processing Corporation, Cooperative Research Centre for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology in 2005, totalling $20, 000. Chief Investigator: Dr Catherine Manathunga; Co-Investigators: Dr Rachael Pitt, Prof. Christa Critchley. Project title: Australia’s future research leaders: are they coming from CRCs?

Professional memberships

  • Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
  • Higher Education Research & Development Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA)
  • International Doctoral Education Research Network (IDERN)
  • Forces and Forms in Doctoral Education Network

Industry experience

  • Education

Areas of expertise

  • Cultural Studies
  • Doctoral Education
  • Educational Sociology & Policy
  • Higher Education
  • History of education
  • Postcolonial Theories
  • Poststructuralist Theories

Contact details