The Australian Centre brings together scholars who are interested in contributing to and furthering the Centre's focus on advancing a critical understanding of Australia as a colonial project. Underpinned by our commitment to working in a collaborative manner, the Australian Centre utilises the expertise of each of its members to present a unique and nuanced perspective on the settler state, its culture, institutions, sovereignty and identities.
Professor Adrian Little
Adrian Little is the Pro Vice Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne and Professor of Political Theory. Having moved to Melbourne from the University of London in 2004, he went on to be the Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences for a decade between 2007 and 2017. His work focuses on theories of democracy and conflict, complexity, borders and migration, temporality, relational ontologies particularly in Indigenous-settler relations, and British and Irish politics. He has published seven monographs including Temporal Politics: Contested Pasts, Uncertain Futures (Edinburgh University Press, 2022). In 2020 he was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.
Professor Andrew May
Andrew May FASSA FRS is a social historian with expertise across urban history, colonialism and inter-cultural exchange in north-east India, and digital techniques in the humanities, with broader critical and applied interests in cultural heritage and public history. As an urban historian he has published widely on the social experience of the Australian city, its public spaces and communal rituals, its suburban qualities, and its cosmopolitan cultures, with books including Melbourne Street Life (1998), Espresso! Melbourne Coffee Stories (2001) and Federation Square (2003, with Norman Day). As Director of 'The Encyclopedia of Melbourne', he guided that project's development from the mid 1990s to its publication by Cambridge University Press in 2005 and its current online iteration eMelbourne.net.au. As facilitator of the Melbourne History Workshop in the School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, he oversees a studio-based research collaboratory in the History Program which taps the pooled expertise of staff, research higher degree students and affiliates in order to provide innovative and rigorously-applied historical research, postgraduate training, industry collaboration and community-facing projects. As a historian of imperialism, he has further and particular interest in aspects of religion, governance, identity and cultural heritage in the Khasi Hills of North-East India, a key contribution to the scholarship being Welsh Missionaries and British Imperialism: The Empire of Clouds in North-East India (2012) published in the Manchester University Press Studies in Imperialism Series. He is currently leading an endangered archives project in north-east India under the auspices of the British Library’s Endangered Archives Program, supported by the Arcadia Fund. He is the Historian Member and Deputy Chair of the Victorian Heritage Council, and co-chair of the Aboriginal Heritage Council / Victorian Heritage Council Joint Working Group.
Dr Ashley Barnwell
Ashley Barnwell is Senior Research Fellow in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Ashley is interested in sociological aspects of emotions, memory, and narrative, and the role of life writing, personal archives, and literature in sociological research. From 2019–2022, she will be an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow working on the project ‘Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia’. This project aims to investigate the inherited family secrets, stories, and memories that inform Australian's understandings of colonial history. Ashley is author of Critical Affect: The Politics of Method (Edinburgh University Press 2020), co-author of Reckoning with the Past: Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature (with Joseph Cummins, Routledge 2018), and co-editor of Research Methodologies for Auto/Biography Studies (with Kate Douglas, Routledge 2019). She has published papers in journals including Sociology, The Sociological Review, Memory Studies, Emotions and Society, Cultural Sociology, Journal of Classical Sociology, Life Writing, Journal of Australian Studies, and Cultural Studies. With Dr Signe Ravn, Ashley co-directs the Narrative Network, an interdisciplinary forum for scholars working with narrative methods. She was the 2014 Seymour Scholar for Biography and a 2019 Research Fellow at the National Library of Australia. Ashley has also been a Visiting Scholar at The Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, University of Manchester, at the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, and at the National Centre for Biography at the ANU.
Associate Professor Jeanine Leane
Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Overland and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. Jeanine was the recipient of the University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize, and she has won the Oodgeroo Noonucal Prize for Poetry twice (2017 & 2019. She was the 2019 recipient of the Red Room Poetry Fellowship for her project called Voicing the Unsettled Space: Rewriting the Colonial Mythscape. Jeanine teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. Jeanine is the recipient of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Fellowship for a project called ‘Aboriginal Writing: Shaping the literary and cultural history of Australia, since 1988’ (2014-2018); and a second ARC grant that looks at Indigenous Storytelling and the Archive 2020-2024). In 2020 Jeanine edited Guwayu – for all times – a collection of First Nations Poetry commissioned by Red Room Poetry and published by Magabala Books.
Associate Professor Jennifer Balint
Jennifer Balint is Associate Professor in Socio-Legal Studies and Head of School, Social and Political Sciences. She has a BA (Hons) LLB (Hons) from Macquarie University, and a PhD from the Law Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. She came to the University of Melbourne in 2002 to establish the Socio-Legal Studies program in Criminology. Her research expertise is in the area of state crime, genocide and access to justice, with a focus on the constitutive function of law in societies and transitional justice. She co-established the Minutes of Evidence project, a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, education experts, performance artists, community members, government and community organisations that aims to spark public conversations about structural justice and how understanding the relationship between the colonial past and the present can bring about just futures. See www.minutesofevidence.com.au. Her work is focused on the development of models to address institutional harm and to effect structural change. Associate Professor Balint has been a visiting fellow at International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London, the Collegium Budapest Institute for Advanced Study, a research fellow at the International Human Rights Law Institute at DePaul University, Chicago, a visiting scholar at the Centre for International and Public Law at the Australian National University and an invited scholar to the University of Leuven. She has participated in the United Nations Preparatory Commission meetings for the formation of the International Criminal Court in New York, and was the representative for Oceania for the establishment of the International Criminal Bar. She has consulted the Department of Justice on matters relating to access to justice, and has sat on the Management Committee of Fitzroy Legal Service. Her earlier book, Genocide, State Crime and the Law. In the Name of the State, is a legal and socio-political analysis of the capacity of law to address genocide and other forms of state crime, law's relationship to reconciliation, and the role of law in the perpetration of these crimes. Her most recent book, with Julie Evans, Mark McMillan and Nesam McMillan, is Keeping Hold of Justice. Encounters between Law and Colonialism (Michigan University Press, 2020), which considers what a structural justice could look like in the face of structural injustice.
Professor Karen Farquharson
Karen Farquharson is Professor of Sociology and Vice President of Academic Board at the University of Melbourne. Her research is focused on the sociology of ‘race’ and racism, ethnicity, and diversity, particularly in the contexts of media and sport. Her recent work has looked at how organisations manage diversity including organisational opportunities for and barriers to increasing diversity. Karen is co-author of three books including Qualitative Social Research: Contemporary Methods for the Digital Age (2016) and co-editor of three collections, most recently Australian Media and the Politics of Belonging (2018) and Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness (2019). She is author of over multiple refereed journal articles and book chapters, and has supervised 19 20 PhD students to completion. Karen was educated at Harvard University (MA, PhD) and the University of California, Berkeley (BA).
Dr Kim Alley
Kim Alley is an Aboriginal academic and researcher, with more than ten years’ experience in researching and teaching Indigenous Studies, Australian Politics and Middle Eastern Politics/History. Her work focuses on settler colonial histories and political violence, while also examining social movements for change and liberation, transnational activism and resistance politics. Kim’s work seeks to highlight how such histories and activism impact and inform Indigenous Settler relations today both in Australia and internationally.
Professor Kirsty Gover
Kirsty Gover is a first generation New Zealander who grew up on Kati Mamoe-Ngai Tahu land. She teaches and writes about domestic and international law affecting Indigenous peoples in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Her recent research addresses the law, policy and political theory of Indigenous rights and jurisdiction. In particular, she is interested in the transformative promise of Indigenous legal traditions, and their importance in the reform of settler-state political theory and law. Kirsty is the author of Tribal Constitutionalism: States, Tribes and the Governance of Membership (Oxford University Press, 2011) and is working on a book entitled When Tribalism Meets Liberalism: Political Theory and International Law (Oxford University Press). She was appointed to the Melbourne Law School faculty as a Senior Lecturer in 2009, and is a graduate of New York
Dr Licho Lopez
Licho López is a Caribbean, Queer, and Brown scholar of Indigenous background whose life begins in Abya Yala and moves through continental Africa, Europe, the US, and Australia. Licho’s research is located at the intersection of curriculum studies, Indigenous and race studies in education, and youth studies in the digital. Licho’s interdisciplinary research has played with theatre as research in teaching communities of practice, Indigenous curriculum history in teacher education, visual cultures of refugee encampment and humanitarianism, and popular visual and digital cultures to end antiblack racism, coloniality, and their multiple reverberations in schooling. She is the author of The Making of Indigeneity, Curriculum History, and the Limits of Diversity (Routledge, 2018), Indigenous Future(s) and Learning(s): Taking Place (with G. Coello. Routledge, 2020), and two upcoming books: Interrogating the Relations between Migration and Education in the South: Migrating Americas (with I. Cepeda Mayorga and M. E. Tijoux. Routledge, 2022) and Growing up Antiblack in Latin America and the Caribbean (with G. Coello, Abya Yala, 2022). She is the editor of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean Palgrave Book series. Licho is a former McKenzie Fellow at the University of Melbourne (2016-2019) and Erasmus Mundus Fellow at Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Universitet i Stavanger, and Mbarara University (2012-2014). Her doctorate received the American Educational Research Association Curriculum Studies (Div.B), recognition award (2017).
Dr Lou Bennett AM
Lou Bennett, Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung, is a former member of the internationally acclaimed music trio Tiddas. Bennett is a consummate performer, playing audiences worldwide. Bennett is a prolific songwriter/composer and during her ten years with Tiddas (1990-2000) penned some of the group’s signature songs. Bennett’s work stretches over a vast area within the Arts industry throughout the past twenty-nine years including her various roles as Performer, Songwriter, Musical and Artistic Director, Composer, Actor, Soundscape and Music Designer and Educator. In 2006 Bennett was one of the co-founders of the Black Arm Band and contributing to all productions by the company. Bennett (Artistic director/Co-CEO) was an instrumental force in the company’s transformative journey from being a one-off ‘special project’, becoming an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander governed, not for profit major performing arts company. In Bennett’s time at the company (2006-2014) she was involved in the touring of five major productions both nationally and internationally. Bennett was a major contributor to the establishment of the company’s Community Engagement Workshop Program. Bennett completed her PhD by project at RMIT Melbourne in October 2015. Bennett’s dissertation discusses the importance and relevance of Aboriginal language retrieval, reclamation and regeneration through the medium of the Arts to community health and wellbeing and explores the importance of Indigenous epistemology, methodology and pedagogy in artistic and academic contexts. Bennett uses her own languages of Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung, extending to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages that can be retrieved, reclaimed and regenerated through songs, stories and performances. Bennett continues to research the obstacles and ethical issues related to retrieving and transmitting Aboriginal languages cross-culturally and across different generations as the McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Dr Bennett was inducted onto the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll for 2017.
Dr Maddee Clark
Maddee Clark is a Yugambeh writer and editor with experience across a diverse range of publication types. His Ph.D research in Indigenous Studies examined published works of Indigenous Futurism in Australia since 2012 by writers such as Ellen Van Neerven, Alexis Wright, and Nicole Watson. He continues to write, teach and publish research on Aboriginal writing, and explore further research interests in Indigenous queer and trans studies.
Associate Professor Nikki Moodie
Nikki Moodie is a Gamilaroi woman, and an interdisciplinary sociologist based at The University of Melbourne. A/Prof Moodie is the current Program Director and Deputy Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, a 20-year philanthropic program focused on Indigenous-led social change.
Nikki joined AFSE following appointments in Sociology, Education and Chancellery at the University of Melbourne, and Public Policy and Indigenous Studies at RMIT. Nikki was the inaugural Research Fellow in Indigenous Research, and Academic Convenor of the Hallmark Indigenous Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne. She received the Betty Watts Indigenous Researcher Award from the Australian Association for Research in Education in 2017 and Best Paper Award from the Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education in 2018. She is a member of the Expert Advisory Committee to the Yoo-rrook Justice Royal Commission, and her research spans the fields of Indigenous education, public policy, governance, race, social capital and relationality. Nikki holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science from the University of Queensland, and a PhD in Sociology from the Australian National University.
Dr Odette Kelada
Odette Kelada is a senior lecturer in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. She has a PhD in literature researching the lives of Australian women writers. Kelada teaches and publishes on race, creativity and gender in Australian writing and the arts. She is interested in the constructions of nation, body, activism, and identities in creative representations a well as the teaching of racial literacy. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications including the Australian Cultural History Journal, Overland, Artlink, Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, Postcolonial Studies Journal and the Journal of Intercultural Studies. Her novel Drawing Sybylla: The Real and Imagined Lives of Australia's Writing Women, won the Dorothy Hewett Award in 2017.
Dr Sophie Rudolph
Sophie Rudolph is interested in the central problem of settler colonial racial domination in Australian contexts in which First Nations people have never ceded sovereignty, and its connection to global European colonialism and capitalism. Through historical and sociological work I examine the impact and dynamics of racial domination on education and the possibilities for education to address racism and achieve racial justice. As a non-Indigenous, white, settler scholar I attempt to engage critically with these issues of power and inequality even as I work within settler colonial institutions and am implicated by settler racial dominance. My PhD research investigated Indigenous education policy, its historical echoes and its political effects. My current project examines the history and contemporary effects of school discipline.
Professor Zoë Laidlaw
Zoë Laidlaw has been Professor of History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies since 2018, having previously worked at Royal Holloway University of London (2005-2018) and the University of Sheffield (2001-2005). Her expertise lies in the nineteenth-century history of British imperialism and colonialism, and her work encompasses imperial networks and governance, humanitarianism, settler colonialism and Indigenous-settler relations, slavery and its abolition, the imperial state, commissions of inquiry and the creation of imperial knowledge. Zoë's publications include Protecting the Empire’s Humanity: Thomas Hodgkin and British Colonial Activism 1830-1870 (Cambridge UP, 2021), Colonial Connections 1815-45: patronage, the information revolution and colonial government (Manchester UP, 2005) and, co-edited with Alan Lester, Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). She is currently a Chief Investigator on two ARC Discovery Projects: Western Australian Legacies of British Slavery (ARC DP 200100094) and Inquiring into Empire: remaking the British World after 1815 (ARC DP 180100537). Zoë has supervised PhD students working on topics in Australian, British, South African and trans-Atlantic history, including three funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council to work on the Indigenous Australian collections at the British Museum. Zoë is a Fellow, and past Honorary Secretary, of the Royal Historical Society (UK); a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society; and a member of the Australian Historical Association. She completed a BA(Hons)/BSc(Hons) at the University of Melbourne, and a DPhil at the University of Oxford.