Nita Alexander

    Nita Alexander

    PhD Student


    Biographical Note:

    Nita’s goal is to use their education and research as tools for empowerment and positive social change, and to promote human rights and eco-social justice. 

    As a human rights and environmental activist, Nita has a personal and professional passion for social movements and political participation. They completed a BA in Sociology and Human Services in 2018, and was awarded a 1st Class BA Honours degree in 2019. Their honours thesis examined the political and social narratives surrounding children’s activism, as presented in news media.

    Research Topic:

    Nita’s PhD research topic is Young People and Activism and aims to represent young people’s voices in the Australian context of Perth, Western Australia, by highlighting their experiences of climate activism and to inform debates relating to children’s position in society.

    They will use a foundation of feminist and queer theory to question and challenge society’s labelling of categories such as ‘youth’ and ‘child/ren/hood’. In addition, Nita is examining how young people construct themselves politically, by using the conceptual lenses of conscientisation, habitus, radical habitus and do-it-ourselves politics.

    Utilising empowering methodologies which critically reflect on inherent power dynamics, Nita aims to talk with climate activists rather than about them. In so doing, their project presents an opportunity to examine young people as agentic citizens in the present and will provide a current analysis of young people’s contemporary political perspectives.

    Supervisory Team:

    A/Prof Theresa Petray

    Dr Ailie McDowall


    James Cook University High Degree Research Scholarship


    Alexander, N., Petray, T., & McDowall, A. (2021). More learning, less activism: Narratives of childhood in Australian media representations of the School Strike for Climate. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 1-16. doi:10.1017/aee.2021.28

    Alexander, N., Ashley, A., Lisciandro, R., Oleszek, R., & Petray, T. (2021). When students protest and when they don't: Challenging the apathy narrative in Australia. In Bessant, J., Mesinas, A. M., & Pickard, S. (Eds.), When Students Protest: Universities in the global north. Rowman & Littlefield.

    The role of children in social change: Political and social narratives surrounding child activism in Australia. Honours Thesis, 2019





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