Ms Rachel Sharples

Ms Rachel Sharples

SPR/2H Casual Academic - Unit/Subject 102170/HUMN1041,
Dean's Unit, School of Social Sciences

Research Assistant,
Professional Team, School of Social Sciences


Dr Rachel Sharples (BA Comms (CSU); PhD (RMIT) is a researcher in the Challenging Racism Project (CRP) in the School of Social Sciences. She completed her doctoral thesis at RMIT in 2012, examining the nature of the Thai-Burma borderlands, and the construction and projection of a Karen ethnic and cultural identity. Rachel's research interests are broadly around refugee and migrant community dynamics, the constructs of ethnic and cultural identity, and spaces of solidarity and resistance. Rachel plays a key research role in the development and dissemination of research material relating to a number of CRP projects, including racism and anti-racism, bystander anti-racism, Islamophobia, Muslim community attitudes towards policing, and racism in digital platforms such as social media and the sharing economy services.


This information has been contributed by Ms Sharples.

Professional Memberships

  • Associate Member, Globalism Research Centre (2012)
  • Diversity and Human Rights Research Centre (2020)
  • Challenging Raism Project (2016)


  • Borderlands
  • Ethnic and racial studies
  • Peacebuilding and humanitarian interventions
  • Refugees and displaced persons
  • Spaces of solidarity and resistance

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Dean's Unit, School of Social Sciences
  • Professional Team, School of Social Sciences


Phone: (02) 47360 914
Location: V.1.26
Penrith (Kingswood)

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  • Sharples, R. (2020), 'Spaces of Solidarity: Karen Activism in the Thailand-Burma Borderlands', : Berghahn Books 9781789207163.

Chapters in Books

  • Piracha, A., Sharples, R. and Dunn, K. (2021), 'Discrimination in the urban sharing economy', A Modern Guide to the Urban Sharing Economy, Edward Elgar Publishing 9781789909555.

Journal Articles

  • Sharples, R. and Blair, K. (2021), 'Claiming 'anti-white racism' in Australia : victimhood, identity and privilege', Journal of Sociology, vol 57, no 3 , pp 559 - 576.
  • Dunn, K., Diallo, T. and Sharples, R. (2021), 'Segmenting anti-Muslim sentiment in Australia : insights for the diverse project of countering Islamophobia', Ethnicities, vol 21, no 3 , pp 538 - 562.
  • Sharples, R. (2020), 'Movements across space : a conceptual framework for the Thai-Burma borderlands', Journal of Borderlands Studies, vol 35, no 5 , pp 693 - 708.
  • Sharples, R. and Colic-Peisker, V. (2020), '[In Press] Social cohesion revisited : policy and practice in migrant concentration areas of Sydney and Melbourne', Australian Journal of Social Issues, .
  • Piracha, A., Sharples, R., Forrest, J. and Dunn, K. (2019), 'Racism in the sharing economy : regulatory challenges in a neo-liberal cyber world', Geoforum, vol 98 , pp 144 - 152.
  • Sharples, R. (2019), 'Transversal borderings : territory and mobility for human rights activists in the Thai-Burma borderlands', Borderlands, vol 18, no 2 , pp 37 - 63.
  • Sharples, R. (2016), 'To be Karen in the Thai-Burma borderlands : identity formation through the prism of a human rights discourse', Asian Ethnicity, vol 18, no 1 , pp 74 - 94.
  • Sharples, R. (2016), 'Institutional governance and refugee resistance : displaced Karen in the Thai-Burma borderlands', Anthropological Forum, vol 26, no 1 , pp 37 - 53.
  • Sharples, R. (2008), 'Technology in the borderlands', Forced Migration Review, vol 30 , pp 24 - 24.

Other Publications

  • 2021, 'Countering Islamophobia in the Victorian Population', Report
  • 2021, 'Understanding Varied Attitudes Towards Muslims', Report

My research interests are interdisciplinary, spanning anthropology, sociology, ethnic and racial studies, communications, cultural studies and politics. My key areas of research involve displaced persons, refugees and migrants in local and global settings. I'm interested in the construction and projection of ethnicity, culture and identity. I'm also interested in areas of statelessness, citizenship and belonging. With a focus on the projection of identity, I also explore forms of narrative, cultural and artistic expression and oral story telling.Through my work at the Challenging Racism Project, my research also focuses on racism and anti-racism, Islamophobia and constructions of nationalist identity. I have published in a number of scholarly journals, most recently on the construction of Karen identity through a human rights discourse in Asian Ethnicity, and on internal governance and refugee resistance in Anthropological Forum.

This information has been contributed by Ms Sharples.

Current Projects

Title: Bystander Anti-Racism Evaluation - NSW Health
  • Priority Populations Unit - South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Western Researchers: Kevin Dunn and Rachel Sharples
Years: 2020-03-01 - 2021-12-01
ID: P00026423
Title: Positive Peace and Cultural Wellbeing and Agency Initiative: Exploring peaceful solutions to living well in diverse communities
  • Multicultural NSW
Western Researchers: Kerry Robinson, Sarah De Nardi, Lucy Nicholas, Karin Mackay, Nichole Georgeou, Selda Dagistanli, Kevin Dunn, Rachel Sharples and Cristina Rocha
Years: 2021-02-02 - 2022-02-02
ID: P00026883

Previous Projects

Title: Dissecting Islamophobia: understanding the varied racialisation of Islam using latent class analysis, and what it means for responding
  • Department of Justice and Community Safety Victoria
Western Researchers: Kevin Dunn, Craig Mcgarty, Thierno Diallo and Rachel Sharples
Years: 2019-08-01 - 2021-06-30
ID: P00025898
Title: How in-language advertising impacts behaviour
  • Special Broadcasting Service Corporation
Western Researchers: Kevin Dunn, Renu Narchal, Karen Mattock, Nida Denson, Alanna Kamp and Rachel Sharples
Years: 2020-11-09 - 2021-09-30
ID: P00026937


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Roles and Effects of Transversal Enablers in Refugee Settlement in Australia
Field of Research:

Western Sydney University

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751

Tel: +61 2 9852 5222

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