Dr Ashley Barnwell is Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Her research is based in cultural sociology and social theory, and focuses on the politics of truth-telling and sharing stories in public and private life.
Ashley is interested in sociological aspects of emotions, memory, and narrative, and the role of life writing, personal archives, and literature in sociological research. From 2019–2022, she will be an ARC DECRA Fellow working on the project ‘Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia’. This project aims to investigate the inherited family secrets, stories, and memories that inform Australian's understandings of colonial history. It explores the histories told or hidden in families, and examines how inherited stories can drive people's political views and promote or stymie national truth-telling.
Ashley is co-author of Reckoning with the Past: Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature (with Joseph Cummins, Routledge 2018) and co-editor of Research Methodologies for Auto/Biography Studies (with Kate Douglas, Routledge 2019). She was the 2014 Seymour Scholar for Biography and a 2019 Research Fellow at the National Library of Australia. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at The Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, University of Manchester, at the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, and at the National Centre for Biography at the ANU. With Dr Signe Ravn, Ashley co-directs the Narrative Network, an interdisciplinary forum for scholars working with narrative methods. With A/Prof Kris Natalier, she is co-convener of The Australian Sociological Association's Families & Relationships Thematic Group.