Research activity per year

Personal profile


My research centres on the construction and representation of difference in liberal democratic political and popular cultures. This has produced work that investigates a wide variety of historical contexts and representations. This includes research on the dynamic of settler-colonialism and changing constructions of manhood in nineteenth century Victoria, anthropological constructions of the "Aborigine" in nineteenth century Australia, sexuality in contemporary historical films, contestations over masculinity in the representation of the AFL, and the impact of changing ideas about sexuality on the operation of citizenship in late-modern Australia.

Research interests

The Reach of Rights: The Limits of Liberalism in a British Settler Colony

Keywords: Settler Colonialism, Liberalism, British Empire, Race and Gender

Taking colonial Victoria as a case-study, this project examines debates amongst and between mid-nineteenth century liberals about the organisation of citizenship, a period in which so many of the everyday terms of our political life were becoming cultural common sense. The project examines how liberals understood and managed the great contradiction of nineteenth century political life, namely, an expanding sense of democratic rights and increasingly punitive and exclusionary ideas about racial difference. In a theoretical sense, it asks what the historiography of settler colonialism can teach us about British liberalism, and, what the historiography of British liberalism can teach us about settler colonialism. Colonial Victoria represents a paradigmatic example of settler-colonial dispossession, as land hungry settlers swamped an Indigenous population almost to the point of elimination and worked hard to exclude racially troubling populations at its borders; it presents a unique opportunity to examine settler colonialism in a condensed form and rework intransigent debates about the logics, limits and possibilities of both settler colonialism and liberal citizenship.


Gender, Sexuality and Australian Citizenship since 1969 (With Robert Reynolds, Michelle Arrow and Barbara Baird)

ARC Discovery Project DP170100502

Keywrods: Sexuality, Gender, Citizenship, Australia.

This project examines the effects and legacies of the feminist and sexual revolutions for citizenship in Australia. Australians have increasingly claimed rights and protections in the intimate languages of sexual and gendered identities. This has reorganised public culture in confounding ways and led to debates about intimate life and identity politics. This project will investigate the relationships between these diverse identities, and provide a critical genealogy of how these claims have opened up and challenged Australian citizenship since 1969.  Through a collection of diverse case-studies between 1969 and the present day, the project will trace the changing languages activists employed to make citizenship claims and the ways in which this re-imagined and re-formed the relationship between gender, sexuality and the state. The project hopes to benefit policy makers and stakeholders with a new understanding and framework to navigate this complex landscape.


MHIS2011 Making War Modern

MHIS3040 Who the Bloody Hell Are We?: Story and Citizenship in Australian History

MHIS7001 Archives: Sources and Silences

Research student supervision

I am open to consultations regarding prospective Mres or PhD primary or associate supervision in Australian History or the 19th century British world.  I also have expertise in feminist, queer and postcolonial theory, so I’m very open to conversations about diverse topics which employ those theories and methods. I have a particular interest in working with candidates in Australian/19th C British World history in the following areas

  • Gender and/or Sexuality, Citizenship, Settler Colonialism, Popular Culture, Collective/Public Memory, Historiography

Current candidates:

  • Principal Supervisor, Annalise Humphris, PhD “The Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force, the Australian border and homosexual people’s mobility in the 1980s and 1990s”
  • Principal Supervisor, Max Reid, MRes, “Stories and Statues: Australian Cricket during the History Wars”

Recent Candidates

  • Principal Supervisor, Michael Nicholls, PhD, “Manhood and the Millions Club, 1918-1932”, 2023
  • Principal Supervior, Morwenna MacGillivray, PhD, “‘Unmilitary, But Also Totally Military': Australian and British Fast-Jet Pilot Masculinities and Subjectivities”, 2022
  • Principal Supervisor, Suzanne Claridge, MRes, “We had seen with our own eyes': A cultural history of humanitarian and Australian feminist responses to the social and moral conditions of indentured Indian labour in Fiji, 1910s”, 2022
  • Principal Supervior, Emma Sarian, PhD, “Identity has a History: Rethinking Identity Politics Through Historical Discourses of The Self”, 2018
  • Principal Supevsior, Saartje Tack, PhD, “Somatechnics and the Impossible Subject of Suicide”, 2018
  • Associate Supervisor, Jarrod Hore, PhD, “Visions of Nature: Territoriality and Landscape Photography in Three Settler Sites, 1848-1900”, 2018
  • Associate Supervisor Katherine Hawkins, PhD, “The Other Woman: The Monstrous Feminine as Feminist Praxis”, 2018
  • Co-Supervisor, Annalise Humphris, MRes, ‘This new venture in police-community relations’: a cultural history of liaison between the New South Wales Police and the gay community in Sydney between 1984 and 1990”, 2018
  • Principal Supervisor, Ruby Arrowsmith-Todd, MRes, “Mapping the Settler-Colonial Travelogue:  The Shell Film Unit in Australia 1939 – 1954”, 2016

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or