Faculty of Arts

CRIM 780 A & B
CRIM 780

Research Project


Independent study on one of a list of topics available in a particular semester to complete a 12,000 word dissertation.

You can enrol in CRIM 780 if you have a B+ average or higher across your three best Stage III CRIM or SOCIOL courses (this is because the dissertation involves considerable independent study and we want to ensure you will be successful in your endeavour).

You need to have negotiated and had approved an appropriate topic with a potential supervisor from the list of dissertation topics available. Unless exceptional circumstances exist, this will be from the list of supervisions to pick for each semester.

If you meet the grade eligibility, contact your preferred supervisor first and then contact Ciara Cremin at c.cremin@auckland.ac.nz with evidence that the supervisor has approved your topic.

Semester One dissertation topics

Supervisor: David Mayeda
Title: Intimate Partner Violence

Aotearoa New Zealand holds the highest rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) in the OECD. For this dissertation project, students will explore how IPV materialises in different ethnic communities. Focus may stay in New Zealand or lie in other global contexts. Projects must show analytical depth with respect to how IPV is defined, theorised and impacted by variables relevant to ethnic marginalisation (e.g., colonisation, migration, racial inequality).

Supervisor: Steve Matthewman
Title: The Sociology of Disasters

We live in disastrous times. All available evidence tells us that disasters are increasing in frequency, scale, cost and severity. Disasters are part of the modern condition, a source of physical anxiety (earthquakes, flash floods) and of existential anxiety (the Anthropocene, the sixth mass extinction event). I am interested in supervising dissertations on the topic of disasters, including: the risk society thesis, the social patterning of disasters and the political economy of disasters.

Supervisor: Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni
Title: Indigenising law and justice

The restorative justice model is seen as a major example of an instance where there has been some success in "indigenising" law and justice. But there are other less well-known examples of indigenisation arguably at work in modern justice systems that are worth exploring, assessing and critiquing, such as the teaching and practice of indigenous culture, spirituality and religion in prison. This dissertation topic expects you to critically engage with the different social, political and legal conceptualisations and histories of "the indigenous" in different law and justice contexts, in one or more countries, and requires you to show good familiarity with the indigenous criminology and restorative justice literatures.

Semester Two dissertation topics

Supervisor: Avril Bell
Title: (Dis)placing settler colonialism

Taking possession of indigenous land is at the heart of settler colonialism. Indigenous lands are alienated and converted into "white possessions" – serving a capitalist economy and the basis for a settler homeland. However, nothing is "settled" about these capitalist and colonising relations to place. This dissertation topic will require you to familiarise yourself with the literature on settler colonialism and its particular colonising relations to land. From that base you will have the option to explore one of the following themes, relating these to Aotearoa New Zealand (or another settler society, by negotiation):

  • The intersection of capitalism and colonialism in settler relations to land
  • Differing indigenous and non-indigenous constructions of land – private possession, "nature", legal person, ancestor…
  • Strategies and problems of non-indigenous identities' claims to belonging to place
  • Rethinking relations to land and decolonisation

Supervisor: Claudia Bell
Title: Sociology of migration: Purposeful re-location for social justice

There are numerous social justice projects internationally created and operated by foreigners: migrants and transnationals who have relocated for this specific purpose. Whilst local governments and NGOs may be attempting to address poverty, non-national private operators also set up schools and health clinics, and upskill local people for employment. The research goal is to explore the social, economic and cultural implications of such pro-poor development projects.

Availability 2020

Semester 1, or Semester 2, or Semester 1 and 2 (full year)


Coordinator(s) Dr Ciara Cremin


CRIM 780A: 15.0 points

CRIM 780B: 15.0 points

CRIM 780: 30.0 points

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