Dr Elizabeth Coleman


I studied philosophy at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, but have cross disciplinary interests spanning law, anthropology and art.

I have received two postdoctoral awards, one from the ANU’s centre for Cross Cultural Research, and one at Monash across the Communications and Philosophy sections.

I have taught legal philosophy, political philosophy, ethics, and philosophy of art, and currently teach the philosophy of communication and freedom of expression.

For more information about Dr Coleman’s professional and academic background, please read her CV [PDF 40KB]

Research Interests

Freedom of expression and communication

This is the overarching theme tying together my research interests. I am concerned with the ethics of representation and expression, and debates over whether restrictions on speech can be morally or politically justified. At present, I am particularly interested in speech codes (such as politeness, non-discriminatory language policies and hate speech legislation) as well as the regulation of the internet (for example, through filtering mechanisms and internet defamation laws).

Cross cultural communication

With the global reach of the internet, we cannot assume that what we communicate will be received within the cultural conventions or assumptions that were intended. Within this context, the consequences of blasphemy (along with heresy based on sincere religious or spiritual intentions) can take on global proportions. Similarly, indigenous intellectual property and cultural rights may be unrecognised or unacknowledged in a web environment which follows the mores of libertarian individualism.

Selected Publications

  • Coleman, E. and Coombe, RJ. (2009) ‘Broken Records: Subjecting “Music” to Cultural Right’, in Bunk, C. and Young, JO. (eds.), The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation, Oxford, Blackwell.
  • Coleman, E. (2008) ‘The Disneyland of cultural rights to intellectual property: anthropological and philosophical perspectives, in Graber, C. and Burri-Nenova, M. edited, Intellectual Property and Traditional Cultural Expression in a Digital Environment, Cheltenham UK, Edward Elgar.
  • Coleman, E. and Fernandes-Dias, MS. (2008) Negotiating the Sacred II: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in the Arts,Canberra, Australian National University E-press.
  • Coleman, E. and White, K. (2006) Negotiating the Sacred I: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society,Canberra, Australian National Unvieristy E-press.
  • Coleman, E. (2005) Aboriginal Art, Identity and Appropriation, Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing.