Dr Theresa Petray's staff profile photograph

I personally think that a virtual round of applause is due for Theresa Petray and all the hard work she put into this subject. Teaching us, helping out with assignments and always being organised and on-point. Studying externally may seem hard, but always remember teaching externally is just as hard .”

Student comment (subject’s Facebook site)

Introducing Dr Theresa Petray….

Contact Dr Petray:

Email: theresa.petray@jcu.edu.au

Phone: (07) 4781 6674

Office: Building 4, room 119 Townsville campus

Key Role:

Lecturer in Sociology


SY2012/3012: Social Survey Design and Analysis (Townsville)
SY1001: Australian Society: Introduction to Sociology (external)
SY2018/3018: Power & Protest in a Globalising World (Townsville & external)
SY4017/4018: Sociology Honours
BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narrative and the Making of Place (Townsville)


Doctor of Philosophy, James Cook University, 2011

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), St Lawrence University, New York, 2006

Dr Petray says…

“Because JCU is a smaller regional university, I get to know my students, see them over the course of several semesters, care how they are going and see them develop as people and as thinkers.”


James Cook University (Casual 2007-2010, permanent 2011on-going)


JCU Rising Star award, 2012

Inclusive Practice Acknowledgement Award, accessAbility Services, 2010

Current Research:

As part of my research on Aboriginal activism, I am currently looking at the ways that Indigenous people in Australia use the internet to engage with power holders – for example, tweeting to politicians, or using Facebook to organise protests. It seems, from my work so far, that the internet can be a useful tool to augment offline activism, but when activists put too much stock in the online realm only it can have negative impacts. However, the internet is a tool which allows Indigenous people, who are typically seen as powerless, to exercise considerable agency.

Also currently working with Dr Kelsey Halbert, (Lecturer, JCU) and more recently with Dr Wendy Li (Lecturer, JCU) on teaching/research projects which aim to increase the community engagement of our students, as we have identified that this is important if students are to successfully complete a degree in Arts/Social Sciences/Education.We are now working to embed such engagement into our subjects. This has led, in my case, to two engagement-assessment items. In first-year sociology (an external subject) students had to attempt some social change on an issue of their choice. In Power & Protest in a Globalising World, students worked in groups to do some kind of activism. The results from both have been inspiring and hopefully communicate to students how important and rewarding it is to be involved.

View Dr Petray’s Research Portfolio


The Australian Sociological Association

Fellow, Australian Anthropological Society

The Australian Sociological Association – Postgraduate Representative 2011-2012; Secretary 2013-2014

TASA Sociology of Indigenous Issues Thematic Group – Convenor 2011-2012, Co-Convenor 2012-2014


Petray, Theresa L. (2012) A walk in the park: political emotions and ethnographic vacillation in activist research. Qualitative Research, 12 (5). pp. 554-564.

Petray, Theresa (2011) Review of The Challenge of Indigenous Peoples. LiNQ, 38 . pp. 176-179.

Petray, Theresa Lynn (2011) Protest 2.0: online interactions and Aboriginal activists. Media, Culture and Society, 33 (6). pp. 923-940.

Osbaldiston, Nick, and Petray, Theresa (2011) The role of horror and dread in the sacred experience. Tourist Studies, 11 (2). pp. 175-190.

Petray, Theresa (2010) 'This isn't a black issue': homophily and diversity in Aboriginal activism. Social Movement Studies, 9 (4). pp. 411-424.

Petray, Theresa L. (2010) Push-button activism: the use of technology by Townsville Aboriginal activists. Proceedings of TASA 2010 Social Causes, Private Lives TASA 2010 theAustralian Sociological Association conference; social causes, private lives., 6 - 9 December 2010, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Petray, Theresa L. (2010) Support vs. solidarity: white involvement in the Aboriginal movement. Social Alternatives, 29 (3). pp. 69-72.

Osbaldiston, Nick, and Petray, Theresa (2009) Horror, dread, awe and disgust: revisiting Durkheim and place. TASA 2009 Conference Proceedings: the future of sociology TASA Australian Sociological Association 2009 Annual Conference. , 1 - 4 December 2009, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Petray, Theresa (2009) Stir It Up: the Rastafarian movement as an anti-systemic movement. VDM Verlag Dr Meuller Aktiengesellschaft & Co KG, Saarbrucken, Germany.

Petray, Theresa L. (2008) Homophily and diversity: the use and effects of bonding versus bridging networks by Townsville Aboriginal activists. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2008: re-imagining sociology Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association 2008: re-imagining sociology. , 2-5 December 2008, University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Petray, Theresa Lynn (2010) Actions, reactions, interactions: the Townsville Aboriginal movement and the Australian state. PhD thesis, James Cook University.