Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson
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Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson

BA (Hons) PhD Sydney
Lecturer in Australian History
Department of History
+61 2 9351 6447
+61 2 9351 3918
A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney
Dr Sophie Loy-Wilson

I am an Australian historian who specialises in the social and cultural history of Australia's engagement with China. Much of my work has focused on Australians in treaty port Shanghai. Prior to taking up a position in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, I worked as a Postdoctoral fellow in the Laureate Research Program in International History, a Lecturer and Faculty Member at Deakin University and as a research fellow in the 'Contemporary Histories' program at the Alfred Deakin Institute. I have also worked with Chinese Australian community groups to preserve the archives of the overseas Chinese diaspora in Australia. My new research is on labour rights and Chinese 'coolie' migration to Australia and the Pacific.

  • Twentieth century Australian History (social and cultural)
  • Transnational history
  • Histories of migration
  • Race relations
  • Labor history
  • Commercial culture
  • Australian expatriate communities


  • HSTY1001 History Workshop: La Perouse, 1931
  • HSTY2700 What do We Want? Protest in Australia
  • HSTY2701 Spies in the Archive

Areas of supervision

Topics in Australian history generally, particularly social and cultural history, labour history and immigration history. I have supervised thesis on Australian colonialism in the Pacific, the White Australia Policy, the history of abortion in Australia and crime in interwar Sydney.

  • Mobility, Intimacy and Decolonisation: the Chinese Australian Problem after 1949
  • Thinking Labour Rights through the ‘Coolie’ Question

My article 'Rural Geographies and Chinese Empires: Chinese Shopkeepers and Shop-life in Australia'. Australian Historical Studies, 45(3), 407-424 was shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association’s Patricia Grimshaw Prize in 2016

Project titleResearch student
Decolonisation Interrupted: the West Papuan campaign for independence and the United Nations, 1961-69Emma KLUGE
Biography and Australian Life: Herbert Moran's narrative of one Australian life from 1885 to 1945Anne THOEMING

Selected publications


Download citations: PDF; RTF; Endnote

Selected Grants


  • Thinking Labour Rights through the "Coolie Question" Workshop, Loy-Wilson S, Australian Academy of the Social Sciences (ASSA)/Workshop Grant

In the media

https://www.shoesoff.net/episodes/covid-19-australia-racism, featured on Jay Ooi's'Shoes Off' podcast on COVID-19 and Australia's history of racism, 14 May 2020

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/waltzing-the-dragon-with-benjamin-law, appearance in ABC documentary with Benjamin Law - "Waltzing The Dragon"

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/chinese-immigration-to-australia/10169562, Rear Vision, ABC Radio National, 2 September 2018

'Migration to China in early 20th Century,' with Geraldine Doogue on Saturday Extra, ABC Radio National, 17 June 2017

Search for Daisy Kwok uncovers Shanghai’s Lost History of Chinese-Australia,’ ABC News, 21 September 2016

'Shanghai Princess,' Earshot Program on Radio National (co-produced with Tamson Pietsch)