Emma Hutchison is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia. Before this, she was the 2010 Australian European University Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence, Italy.
Her research interests lie with the role that emotions and trauma play in constituting world politics, as well as the how images help to shape humanitarian responsibilities and practices. She is particularly interested in the relationship between emotions and the politics and ethics of community, humanitarianism and international aid.
Her current key research projects examine:
- Trauma, Emotion and Community in World Politics. This research builds upon her doctoral work and involves theorizing emotions in world politics, focusing in particular on how the emotional dimensions of representing traumatic events - from terrorist attacks to humanitarian crises - can help to constitute political communities. This project involves the completion of a single authored book manuscript, titled Affective Communities in World Politics: Collective Emotions After Trauma (Cambridge Studies in International Relations, Cambridge University Press, 2016).
- Emotion and Affect in World Politics. This includes single authored and also collaborative work conducted together with Professor Roland Bleiker. We focus on theorizing how emotions function politically. We are currently putting together a journal forum section as well as a follow-up book, and working on other smaller article based projects.
- How Images Shape Responses to Humanitarian Crises. As part of a research team with Professor Roland Bleiker and Professor David Campbell, Emma was awarded a 2010 ARC Discovery Grant for this project. This project explores how images communicate catastrophic events to distant audiences. It focuses on aspects that we feel are not fully understood, such as the why we react differently to different forms of humanitarian crises and what roles emotions play in shaping responses to humanitarian crises.
- Emotional Cultures and the Politics of Humanitarianism. This new single authored project draws on and extends existing single-authored and collaborative research on emotions and images to inquire into emerging cultures of 'humanitarian emotions'. It investigates how the history of representing distant suffering has enabled particular emotional discourses and practices through which contemporary humanitarianism, aid and development are conceived of and enacted. Research has already began by way of my UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship on 'The Politics of Disaster Images: How Culture Influences Humanitarian Responses to Natural Catastrophe' as well as through my ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions Associate Investigator project on 'Disaster Imagery and the History of Humanitarian Emotions'. This research will be continued by way of a UQ Research Fellowship from 2017.
Along with these key research areas, Emma is also interested in the politics of aesthetics, visual culture, literature and contemporary feminism. She has a number of smaller ongoing projects that bring together her passion in these areas.