Research Students

Emerson SanchezResearch Support Advisor


Address: Building 11, Level C University of Canberra


Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra


Emerson’s PhD thesis is on Discourses of Development and Disasters: Responses to Shocks in Philippine Mining. It concerns the extent to which a society like the Philippines can generate meaningful responses to mining disasters. He argues that the capacity for response is always conditioned by the configuration of dominant environmental discourses. He identified this configuration by studying the deeper history of environmental discourses that surround conflicts in Philippine mining. He argues further that effective response can now be captured by the idea of ecological reflexivity, a thoroughgoing capacity to recognise environmental signals, rethink practices, and respond accordingly. In mining, ecological reflexivity might be sought in the shocks generated by disasters. But the degree to which reflexivity is possible is conditioned by the deeper history of environmental discourses as well as their contemporary configuration. The findings presented possible pathways for reflexivity towards averting future mining disasters.

PhD supervisors

  • John Dryzek (Primary Supervisor)
  • Nicole Curato (Secondary Supervisor)

Emerson M. Sanchez recently completed his PhD at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra and currently works as research support adviser for the Faculty of Business, Government and Law. He researches the role of environmental knowledge in contributing to industrial disasters and exploring ways to avert such tragedies.  

Aside from his work in UC, he is also a Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Infrastructure in Society (I2S) at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy. At I2S, he is part of a team researching community engagement in infrastructure projects. He has also conducted research on social movements, indigenous rights, social health, and gender and development.

He holds degrees in public policy from the University of Tsukuba and journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Prior to his graduate studies, he taught communication at the University of the Philippines Manila and was a policy researcher for various academic institutions and non-government organisations.


  • Guest Lecturer, Policymaking in Times of Crisis, 2019-2020.
  • Tutor, Cases in Contemporary Public Policy, 2019-2020.
  • Tutor, Foundations in Public Policy, 2020.
  • Tutor, Social and Political Theory, 2020.
  • Guest Lecturer, Policy Instruments, 2019.
  • Tutor, Introduction to Public Policy, 2019.


  • Research Support Advisor, University of Canberra Faculty of Business, Government and Law, 2021-present.
  • Higher Degree Research Students’ Representative, University of Canberra Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, 2016.

Key Publications:

Conference Presentations

  • Inclusive pathways for reflexive governance in Philippine mining, Deliberative Democracy Summer School, 03-05 February 2020, University of Canberra.
  • Environmental discourses for promoting or constraining ecological reflexivity in the aftermath of mining disasters. Environmental Disasters 2019 Symposium, 21-22 November 2019, Sydney Environment Institute, Sydney University
  • The militant left and human rights issues in Duterte’s drug war, New Challenges for Rights Consciousness and Civil Society in Asia, 30-31 October 2018, The Asia Institute, University of Melbourne
  • Lessons for risk society: mining disasters in the Philippines; Department of Ethnology seminar series, 02 May 2018, Lucerne University; First Philippine Studies Summer Lectures at HU-IAAW, 03 May 2018, Department for Southeast Asian Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Institute of Asian and African Studies
  • When the spectacular undermines the everyday: mining disasters and environmental justice, Environmental Justice Conference 2017, 06-08 November 2017, Sydney Environment Institute, Sydney University
  • Oscillating order, amorphous roles: democratising Philippine mineral resource governance, Workshop on Ecological Democracy: always greener on the other side?, 20-21 February 2017, Sydney Environment Institute, Sydney University
  • Deliberative prospects and limits in co-producing knowledge and governance in Philippine mining, Deliberative Democracy Summer School, 15-17 February 2017, University of Canberra
  • Making expertise and democracy: lessons from a mining disaster in the Philippines, The Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2016: The politics of justice and rights: challenges and future directions, 26-28 Sep 2016, University of New South Wales
  • The peace process in Muslim Mindanao: contested relational histories, identities, and nationalism, International Philippine Studies Conference on Exchange and Change: The Philippines and Filipinos in the World, 12-13 September 2014, Australian National University

Conference organising

  • Co-convenor, 'Tara Usap Tayo! (Let's Talk!): Duterte Beyond Facebook' Symposium, 03 December 2016, Australian National University
  • Co-convenor, 'Beyond the Vote' Workshop, Open State Festival, 25- 27 October 2016, Adelaide
  • Co-convenor, Deliberative Democracy Panels, Philippine Update Conference, 02-03 September 2016, Australian National University
Research Grants
  • Co-investigator, Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) Policy Options for Philippine Off-shore Energy Resources (2021), funded by the EU-supported Access to Sustainable Energy Programme Clean Energy Living Laboratories ($10,000) 


Scholarships and Prizes
  • Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, 2014-2018
  • Asian-Development Bank – Japan Scholarship, funded by the Government of Japan, 2011-2013
  • Fellowship, Power and Dynamics of Civil Resistance course, funded by the CEU Summer University, 2012
  • Fellowship, Biomedical Ethics School on Sex, Gender, and Ethics, funded by the Wellcome Trust, 2009
  • Fellowship, Conference on Ethics of research involving indigenous peoples and vulnerable populations, funded by the Global Forum on Bioethical Research, 2008
Public Engagement 
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