Associate Professor John A. Rees
BTh, MA, MTh Hons, MA(IR), PhD
Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations and
Discipline Head in Politics and International Relations

Phone: 02 8204 4104

John A. Rees, PhD, is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations (School of Arts & Sciences) and Convenor of the Religion and Global Affairs Program (Institute for Ethics and Society) at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Sydney. A recognised scholar of religion in international relations, John has published books, chapters and articles related to themes of religion and international development, religion and foreign policy, and the IR discourse on post-secularism. Dr Rees is a recipient of the nationally awarded Citations for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (Office of Learning and Teaching) and the UNDA Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching (Undergraduate). John is the curator and principal contributor to ‘The Religion Gap’, an IES-sponsored blog on the European website E-International Relations. He is a Fellow of the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain at the University of Groningen, and is on the steering committee of the International Development and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion.
Teaching Area
  • International relations theory and practice
  • Religion in world politics
  • Foreign policy
  • Select area studies in world politics
  • International development and security
Research Expertise and Supervision
  • Secularism and postsecularism in international relations
  • Religion and international development policy
  • Religion and foreign policy
  • Political theology


Research and engagement

Rees, J.A. (2011) Religion in International Politics and Development: The World Bank and Faith Institutions (Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing)

Baldino, D., Lundberg, D., Pietsch J., Rees, J. (2011) Contemporary Challenges in Australian Security (Melbourne: Palgrave MacMillan)
Book chapters
Rees, J.A. (2015) ‘Four Religions of Foreign Policy’ in A. McKay, J. Haynes & L. Herrington, eds., Nations Under God: The Geopolitics of Faith in the 21st Century, (Bristol, UK: E-International Relations) *forthcoming

*Rees, J.A. (2015) 'The Nation and the State' in J. Arvanitakis, ed., in Contemporary Society: A Sociological Analysis of Everyday Life (South Melbourne, Oxford University Press) *forthcoming

Rees, J.A. (2013) ‘International Financial Institutions and Religion’, in M. Clarke ed., Handbook of Research on Development and Religion (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing), pp.268-285.

Rees, J.A. (2012) ‘‘Really Existing’ Scriptures: on the use of sacred text in international affairs’, in D. Johnston and D. Hoover, eds. Religion and Foreign Affairs: Essential Readings (Baylor University Press, 2012), pp.109-118
Journal articles and proceedings
Rees, J.A. (2014), ‘Religion in the Syntax of Political Power: a post-secular perspective on international relations’, Politics, Religion and Ideology, 15:3, pp.456-472

Rees, J.A. (2013), ‘Religion Research in International Relations: A Taxonomy’, Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol 48, Issue 1, pp.129-134

Rees. J.A. & McDuie-Ra, D. (2010), ‘Religious Actors, Civil Society and the Development Agenda: The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion’, Journal of International Development 22, 20-36

Rees, J.A. (2007), ‘Book Reviews in Religion and Politics’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 35 (3): 813-817 [London School of Economics and Politics]

Rees, J.A. (2006), ‘The Shi'ites, the West and the Future of Democracy: Reframing Political Change in a Religio-Secular World’, Portal: Journal of International Studies, 3:1, pp.1-22.
Conference papers
Rees, J.A. (2015), 'Human Flourishing and the ‘Good That Governments Do’: a postsecular reading of state authority', COMIUCAP Conference, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, July 20-22

Rees, J.A. (2014), ‘Four Religions of Foreign Policy’, Oceanic Conference of International Studies, University of Melbourne, July 4-6

Rees, J.A. (2013), ‘Game of Thrones: On the Enduring Powers of Monarchy’, World History Association Conference, University of Notre Dame Australia, Fremantle, Oct 3-5. *Closing conference address

Rees, J.A. (2012), ‘The Other Shia: Ismaili development practice in an age of “radical Islam” ’, Oceanic Conference on International Studies, University of Sydney, July 18 – 20.

Rees, J.A. (2011), ‘Religion in the Syntax of Political Power: a post-secular perspective on international relations’, CSWT Symposium, Campion College, Sydney, 7 December.

Rees, J.A. (2010), ‘The Dynamics of Religion at the World Bank’, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, Oct 30 – Nov 1.

Rees, J.A. (2010), ‘Going Global: the creation of religion by International Organisations’, Oceanic Conference on International Studies, Auckland, New Zealand, June 30 – July 2.

Rees, J.A. (2010), ‘The Next Big Thing? Why religion may (not) shape international relations in the 21st century’, Evolving Borders: Identity and Affiliation in a Volatile International Landscape, American Graduate School of International Relations, Paris, France, June 1 – 2.
In the Media
Blog Curator and Contributor: 'The Religion Gap'
Radio Co-presenter: 'Sociologic' on FBi Radio (94.5fm)

Lam, C. & Rees, J., 'Celebrity Chat', Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies, 8 October, 2015.

Rees, J.A., ‘Like it or not, monarchies are enduring for several reasons’, The Conversation, June 7, 2014.

Rees, J.A. ‘Religion and the Ukraine Crisis: Four Key Questions’, The Religion Factor, March 6, 2014.
Professional affiliations
Fellow, Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Committee Member, International Development and Religion Group, American Academy of Religion
Community Engagement
Most recently:

Public Lecture
Public Panel (Moderated by Geraldine Doogue, ABC), One Day For Peace, Hosted by Urban Theatre Projects, Parramatta Town Hall, Sydney 22 September, 2015.
2014: Vice Chancellor's Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame Australia

2009: Citations Award for Teaching Excellence, Office of Learning and Teaching (formerly Australian Learning and Teaching Council), Australian Government

2004: Dr Beth Blackall Prize for Postgraduate Research, Sydney College of Divinity