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Agnieszka Sobocinska


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Personal profile

Research interests

Agnieszka’s research explores the intersections between history, politics and geography in the contexts of international development, North-South contacts, and Australia-Asia relations. She is particularly interested in the politics of non-elite mobility and interpersonal contact through foreign aid, development volunteering, and tourism.

She is the author of two books: Saving the World? Western Volunteers and the Rise of the Humanitarian-Development Complex (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and Visiting the Neighbours: Australians in Asia (UNSW Press, 2014), as well as multiple journal articles and book chapters. She is currently working on histories of grassroots resistance and organised opposition to foreign aid projects across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Agnieszka applies an interdisciplinary methodology to examine how people and ideas moved between nations and global blocs, and how they were received. At present, she is researching grassroots and community responses to foreign aid projects introduced in villages and towns in India and Indonesia.

She is interested in how, and why, Western models of development were perceived and how local actors mobilised to modify or contest projects implemented by Western NGOs including Oxfam, Western aid agencies such as AusAID, and multilateral agencies including UN FAO.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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