Established in 1854, the History program at the University of Melbourne is one of the most distinguished and longest running in Australia.
History has been taught at the University since it opened in 1854. Under Sir Ernest Scott, Professor of History from 1913 to 1936, the History Department pioneered teaching and research in Australian history.
Successor Professor Max Crawford made the Melbourne department the most influential in the country. Melbourne historians helped pioneer the teaching and research of Australian history in particular and staff members, such as Manning Clark, High Stretton, Geoffrey Blainey, Margaret Kiddle, Lloyd Robson and Geoffrey Serle, left a lasting impact on our understanding of the Australian past.
The program has also historically had great strengths in European, Asian, Middle Eastern, Soviet and American history, and in new approaches to the past, such as gender history, memory studies and the history of emotions. We place a particular emphasis on teaching undergraduates through the use of primary sources.
Explore our research
Our research examines the histories and transformations of society, religion, politics and culture in Australia, Asia, North America, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Confronting Historical Injustice in Indonesia: Memory and Transnational Human Rights Activism
Using an innovative framework of the concept of ‘regions of memory’, this project examines how human rights activists located within and outside Indonesia use memory for the purposes of achieving human rights outcomes.
Soviet War Experiences, 1937-1950
This project charts the varieties of wartime experiences on Soviet-held territories between 1937 and 1950. Refusing to extract one, allegedly 'typical' experience, this project focuses on the range, variety, and complexity of wartime experiences of ordinary (and some extraordinary) people.
Mass Politics in the Nineteenth Century
The nineteenth century was marked by great changes in the formal boundaries of the polity, forms of political activity and the meanings of ‘democracy’. This research considers some of the changes in Australia, the United States and Great Britain.
Study with us
Explore our range of courses:
- Bachelor of Arts History major (see current subjects and curriculum)
- Master of Arts (Thesis Only)
- Master of Arts (Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis)
- Doctor of Philosophy – Arts
See student resources:
Explore our stories
Delve into our student profiles, research articles, academic interviews, podcasts, news, events and more.
The Jagiellonian arrases – tapestries that decorate the walls of Wawel Castle in Poland – may be one of the earliest known artistic representation of the …
For many Australians, the economic pain brought by the COVID-19 crisis has been compounded by the disruption caused to sporting activities. For football-loving Melburnians, the very …
Each year we see our students achieve remarkable feats, and this year – despite being unusual due to a global pandemic that leaves us working and …
Violence, corruption and murder dominate our modern headlines, but little has changed since execution ballads were sung in sixteenth-century Europe. In this article, republished from Pursuit, …
In June 2020, Dr Sarah Walsh joined the History Program as our new Hansen Lecturer in Global History. In this new podcast, in conversation with History PhD candidate Amy Hodgson, Dr Walsh discusses her research, and her approach to teaching. The interview traverses a wide range of topics, including the challenges posed by online teaching, especially when it comes to handling difficult and confronting histories of oppression and violence. What approaches can be used to foster empathy and kindness in the classroom? What methods can researchers working on these topics use in order to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing? And what are some useful starting points for people who want to educate themselves about issues around race and racism?
A monthly round-up of media commentary, publications and projects, and other news from across the School community.
Societies have always used statues and other monuments as ways of recognising power and eminence. In Australia, as in many other places, there is currently public debate over whether some statues should be removed, who should make the decision, and what should be the fate of the statues themselves. Should they be displayed with explanatory plaques, taken away to be preserved in museums or simply removed? Such debates are common in history. In this episode, Professor Peter McPhee surveys the wide range of objects destroyed during the French Revolution – from buildings and statues to books and paintings – but also the remarkable responses of revolutionary governments. It concludes with some reflections about the place of monumental statues and heritage sites in Australia.
Americans are reaching back into history to try to understand why progress on racial equality has been so heartbreakingly slow. In this article, republished from Pursuit, Professor David …
Meet our History staff
Our academics are leading teachers, researchers and industry professionals.
Associate Professor in Southeast Asian History; History Discipline Chair
Lecturer in History
McKenzie Fellow in History
Professor of History; ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow; Melbourne Laureate Professor
Deputy Head of School; Hansen Chair in History
Senior Lecturer in Modern European History; SHAPS Engagement Committee Chair
Professor in History
Lecturer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History; History Engagement Representative
Professor in Australian History; History undergraduate coordinator
ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellow
al-Tajir Lecturer in Middle East and Islamic History
Professor of Australian History
Hansen Senior Lectureship in History
Hansen Lecturer in World History