Professor Ann Curthoys

Honorary Associate
Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities

BA (Hons), University of Sydney 1967; Dip.Ed. (Sydney Teachers College) 1967; PhD (Macquarie University 1973)

Ann Curthoys researches and supervises graduate students in Australian history, set in a broad transnational and imperial history frame. She also writes about history and theory, and historical writing.

She was formerly Manning Clark Professor of History at the Australian National University and ARC Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney. She retired in April 2013.

Professor Curthoys is currently working on several projects.

Her major project is entitled “The British Empire, Indigenous Peoples, and Self-government for the Australian Colonies”. She is writing with Jessie Mitchell a book from this project, provisionally titled Taking Liberty: How Settlers in the Australian Colonies gained self-government while Indigenous people lost it. She has also edited special issues on this theme for the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, and the Australian Journal of Colonial History. With Jessie Mitchell, she has written a chapter entitled “Self-Government” for the forthcoming two volume Cambridge History of Australia, edited by Alison Bashford and Stuart Macintyre.

Ann is also working on a study of Paul Robeson’s visit to Australia in 1960, a spin-off from her earlier book on race relations in Australia in the 1960s, namely Freedom Ride: A Freedomrider Remembers (Allen and Unwin, 2002).

Ann continues to write on questions of history, fiction, memory, and writing.

Selected publications


Freedom Ride: A Freedomrider Remembers, Allen and Unwin, Sydney (2002)
– Awarded Stanner Prize, 2003, by the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
– ‘Highly Commended’ at Human Rights Awards, HREOC, Australia, December 2002
– shortlisted NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Non-fiction and the Center for Australian Cultural Studies Award for Non-Fiction, 2003.
The endnotes for this book are online here

For and Against Feminism: A Personal Journey into Feminist Theory and History, Allen and Unwin, Sydney (1988)

(with Ann McGrath) How to Write History that People Want to Read (UNSW Press, 2009, Macmillan 2011)

(with Ann Genovese and Alexander Reilly), Rights and Redemption: History, Law, and Indigenous People (UNSW Press, 2008)

(with John Docker) Is History Fiction?, University of New South Wales Press and University of Michigan Press (2005; revised edition 2010). Translated into Korean, 2013.

(with Frances Peters-Little and John Docker, eds), Passionate Histories: Myth, Memory and Indigenous Australia (Aboriginal History Inc. and ANU E press, 2010).

with Ann McGrath (eds), Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration, Monash Publications in History, Melbourne, 2010, first published 2000

(with Marilyn Lake, Eds), Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective, ANU E Press, 2006)

(with Mary Spongberg and Barbara Caine, eds), A Companion to Women’s Historical Writing, Palgrave, 2005.

(with Henry Chan and Nora Chiang, eds), The Overseas Chinese in Australasia: History, Settlement and Interactions, Monograph 3, Interdisciplinary Group for Australian Studies, National Taiwan University, 2001.

(with Ann McGrath, eds), Writing Histories: Imagination and Narration, Monash Publications in History, Melbourne, 2000. Republished by Monash University E Press, 2009

(with Julianne Schultz, eds), Journalism: Print, Politics, and Popular Culture, University of Queensland Press, 1999

Edited Journal Special Issues
2013 Co-editor, special issue of Australian Historical Studies on “Remembering the 1951 Referendum on the Banning of the Communist Party”, volume 44, issue 1.

2013 Co-editor, special issue of the Journal of Australian Colonial History on “Governing Settlers and Indigenous Peoples in the Australian Colonies”

2012 Editor, special issue of Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Volume 13, Number 1. Title of issue: “Taking Liberty: Settler Self-government and Indigenous Australia”

2001 Co-editor, special section on “Genocide? Australian Aboriginal History in International Perspective”, for Aboriginal History vol. 25.

Recent essays
(with Jeremy Martens), “Serious Collisions: Settlers, Indigenous People, and Imperial Policy in Western Australia and Natal”, Journal of Australian Colonial History, vol. xx, pp. 123-46.

(with John Docker) “The Boundaries of History and Fiction”, in Nancy Partner and Sarah Foot (eds), The Sage Handbook of Historical Theory, Sage, 2013, pp. 202-220.
“Beyond National History: Returning Humanity to the Humanities”, in Ian Donaldson and Mark Finnane (eds), Taking Stock: The Humanities in Australian Life since 1968, University of Western Australia Press, 2012.

“Taking Liberty: Towards a new political historiography of settler self-government and Indigenous activism”, for Kate Fullagar, ed., The Atlantic World in a Pacific Field: Effects and Transformations since the Eighteenth Century, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2012, 237-55.

“Memory, History, and Ego-Histoire: Narrating and Re-enacting the Australian Freedom Ride”, Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, Volume 38, Number 2, Summer 2012 , pp. 25-45

(with Jessie Mitchell) “Bring this Paper to the good Governor”: Aboriginal Petitioning in Britain’s Australian Colonies”, in Saliha Belmessous, ed., Native Claims: Indigenous Law against Empire 1500-1920 (Oxford University Press, New York, 2011), pp. 182-203.

“Harry Potter and Historical Consciousness: Reflections on History and Fiction”, [[History Australia, vol. 8, no. 1, April 2011, pp. 7-22.

Crossing Over: Academic and Popular History”, The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 1, issue 1, February 2011, pp. 7- 18.

‘Feminist Scholarship Inside and Outside the Nation’, Feminist Review, no. 95, 2010.

‘Mary Wollstonecraft Revisited’, Humanities Research, Vol XVL, no, 2, 2010.

Paul Robeson’s visit to Australia and Aboriginal Activism, 1960’, in Frances Peters-Little, Ann Curthoys and John Docker, Passionate Histories, Myth Memory and Indigenous Australia, ANU E Press, 2010.

White, British, and European’, in Jane Carey and Leigh Boucher, eds, Creating White Australia, SU E Press, 2009

Selected earlier essays
‘Stanner and the Historians’, in Melinda Hinkson, ed., An Appreciation of Difference: WEH Stanner and Aboriginal Australia, Aboriginal Studies Press, 2008.

‘Genocide in Tasmania: The History of an Idea’, in Dirk Moses, editor, Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation, and subaltern Resistance in World History, Berghahn Books, 2008

(with John Docker), ‘Defining Genocide’, in Dan Stone, ed., The Historiography of Genocide, Palgrave, 2008

‘Indigenous Subjects’, in Deryck Schreuder and Stuart Ward, eds, Australia’s Empire, in the series edited by Roger Louis, The Oxford History of the British Empire, 2008

‘An Historiographical Paradox: Brian Fitzpatrick, the British Empire, and Indigenous Histories’, in Stuart Macintyre and Sheila Fitzpatrick, eds, Brian Fitzpatrick and Manning Clark, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2007

“Raphael Lemkin on Tasmania”, in Dirk Moses and Dan Stone, Eds, Colonialism and Genocide, Berghahn bBooks, 2007.

2005 ‘The History of Killing and the Killing of History’, in Antoinette Burton, ed., Archive Stories: Facts, Fictions, and the Writing of History, Duke University Press.

2004 ‘National narratives, war commemoration and racial exclusion in a settler society: the Australian case’, in T.G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson, and Michael Roper, The politics of war memory and commemoration, Routledge, 2001.

2003 “Liberalism and Exclusionism: A Prehistory of the White Australia Policy”, in Legacies of White Australia: Race Culture and Nation, Laksiri Jayasuriya, David Walker and Jan Gothard (eds) 1st Edition, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, Western Australia, pp 8-33.

2003 “We’ve just started Making National Histories and You Want Us to Stop Already?” in After the Imperial Turn: Thinking with and through the Nation, Antoinette Burton (eds), Duke University Press, Durham, USA, pp.70-89.

2002 ‘Cultivating the arts of the female self: the micro politics of a re-fashioned feminism’, in Jane Bennett and Michael J. Shapiro (Eds), The Politics of Moralising, Routledge.

2002 ‘Does Australian History Have a Future?’, Australian Historical Studies, No 118, pp.140 -52.

2001 “Men of All Nations, Except Chinamen: Chinese on the New South Wales Goldfields”, in Iain McCalman, Alexander Cook, and Andrew Reeves, eds, Gold Forgotten Histories and Lost Objects of Australia, Cambridge University Press, pp.103 – 24.

2000 ‘An Uneasy Conversation: the Indigenous and the Multicultural’, in John Docker and Gerhard Fischer, Eds, Race Colour and Identity in Australia and New Zealand, UNSW Press.

1999 ‘Whose Home? Expulsion, Exodus, and Exile in White Australian Historical Mythology’, Journal of Australian Studies no 61, 1 - 18.