Associate Professor James Curran
Department of History
Room 885 Brennan Macallum Building A18
The University of Sydney NSW 2006
Ph: +61 2 9351 2988
Fax: +61 2 9351 3918
James Curran teaches Australian political, intellectual, cultural and diplomatic history. His current research, funded by an ARC Discovery Project (2010-2012), explores the history of the Australia/US Alliance from Nixon's 1969 Guam Doctrine to the early 1980s, with a particular focus on how each country formulated Asia policy in that period. A book from this study, tentatively titled ‘Whitlam and Nixon at war’, is contracted to Melbourne University Press (MUP) and will be published in 2014. Curran is also working on a history of the 1971 Springbok Rugby tour to Australia. His first book, The Power of Speech (MUP, 2004) was shortlisted for both the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the NSW Premier’s History Prize, while The Unknown Nation-Australia After Empire (MUP, 2010) co-authored with Stuart Ward from the University of Copenhagen, was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Australian History Prize in 2011. His latest book is Curtin’s Empire (CUP, 2011).
From 2010-2012 he is a joint appointment with the United States Studies Centre at the university. In 2010 he was the DFAT/ Fulbright Professional Scholar in Australia-US Alliance Studies, based at Georgetown University in Washington DC.
Prior to joining the university, Curran served in various roles in the Australian Public Service. From 2002 to 2005 he worked as a Policy Adviser in the Department of The Prime Minister and Cabinet, serving in both its Social Policy and International Divisions. From 2005 to 2007, he was an intelligence analyst at the Office of National Assessments. From time to time, he writes articles for the press, some of which are listed below. He has also offered commentary on both ABC and Commercial radio and television.
In 2013 Curran will be the Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at University College Dublin.
Curtin’s Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire (co-authored with Stuart Ward) (Melbourne University Press, 2010). Shortlised for the 2010-11 Prime Minister’s Australian History Prize.
The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image (Melbourne University Press, April 2004). Shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Prize for Australian History for 2005 and the Victorian Premier’s 2004 Literary Award for a First Book in History.
'The Dilemmas of Divergence: The Crisis in American-Australian Relations, 1972-75', Diplomatic History, (accepted for publication, forthcoming)
‘L’Australie, le Japon et l’héritage de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale: conciliation politique et doute publique', Vingtième Siecle (September 2010)
'"An Organic Part of the Whole Structure": John Curtin’s Empire', Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History (March 2009)
'"Australia Should be There": Expo 67 and the Search for a New National Image', Australian Historical Studies 131 (March 2008)
Entry on 'Australia-Britain', Oxford Companion to Australian Politics 2007.
'"The Thin Dividing Line": Prime Ministers and the problem of Australian nationalism, 1972-1996'. Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 48, no. 4 (December 2002)
'Bonjoor Paree: The First AIF in Paris, 1916-19' Journal of Australian Studies, No.1, 1999.
‘The World Changes: Australia’s China Policy in the Wake of Empire’, in James Reilly (ed) China and Australia at 40: Making the Best of the Pacific Century, UNSW Press, 2012 (forthcoming)
‘The New Line in the Strand: John Armstrong and the “New Nationalism”’, in Frank Bongiorno, Carl Bridge, and David Lee, (eds) The High Commissioners: Australia's Representatives in the United Kingdom, 1910-2010, Department of Foreign Affairs, Canberra, February 2010).
- 'God Save Australia's Fair Matilda', Self-Improvement Wednesday on ABC 702 with Richard Glover, 12 September 2012.
- 'Dear Mr President': What did Gough Whitlam say to upset Richard Nixon?, The Monthly, August 2012.
- 'Abbott's risky Doublespeak Diplomacy', The Australian, 26 July 2012.
- ‘Australian Political Culture’, on Self Improvement Wednesday, on ABC 702 with Richard Glover, 4 April 2012,
- ‘The Eagle Down Under’, China/US Focus, 11 January 2012.
- ‘Access Anxiety’, Australian Literary Review, September 2011 (on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the ANZUS treaty)
- ‘Empire Champion’, Australian Literary Review, March 2011.
‘Stranded in the Wake of Empire’ (with Stuart Ward), Australian Literary Review, May 2009.
- ‘Identity Issues in an Era of Change’ (with Stuart Ward), Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 2010.
- ‘Just a day like any other’ (with Stuart Ward), The Weekend Australian, 23 January 2010.
- ‘Australia still obsessed with access to world power’, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 April 2009.
- ‘By their Australia Days shall ye know them’, The Spectator, 28 January 2009.
- ‘The US waits for words of unity and renewal’, The Newcastle Herald, 20 January 2009.
- ‘Rudd is right to clock up the frequent flier miles’, The Spectator, 3 December 2008
- ‘Leaders old and new debate identity’s birth’, The Spectator, 19 November 2008
- ‘Keating’s ancient history’, The Australian, 14 November 2008
- Rudd’s wartime roleplay is his link with History’, The Spectator, 29 October 2008
- ‘Are we asking too much of Luhrmann Film?’ (With Stuart Ward), Sydney Morning Herald, 18 November 2008
- ‘Stirring Speeches Maketh the Man’, The Australian, 8 September 2008
- ‘Don’t fault no-nonsense political talk’, The Australian, 20 December 2007
- HSTY2611: America in World Affairs: A History (Semester 2, 2012)
- HSTY2687: Alliance: A History of Australia/US Relations
- HSTY2677: Australia: Politics and Nation
- HSTY2676: Australia and the World (not on offer 2012)
- HSTY7000 (MA Course) American-Australian relations
'The Monarchy in Australia', University College Dublin Seminar Series, November 2009
‘Past Matters: Australia, Japan and the Legacy of the Second World War, 1945-2008’, Shanghai. A Conference organized by the French Embassy, Beijing, on ‘War and Reconciliation in Europe and Asia’.
‘Australian intellectuals and the post-imperial void’, University College Dublin, October 2008.
‘The Fourth Empire’: John Curtin’s proposals for closer imperial cooperation, May 1944, British World Conference, Bristol, 11-14 July 2007.
‘The End of Identity?: Reflections on political leadership and the national self-image in post 1960s Australia’, Address to National Archives of Australia History Week, 12 September 2004
‘A crisis of national meaning: Prime Ministers and the dilemma of Australian nationalism’; John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library Visiting Scholar Lecture, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, 19 April 2004.
‘Prime Ministers and the problem of Australian nationalism, 1941-1996’, ANU History Seminar Series, October 2002.
‘Prime Ministerial rhetoric and Australian nationalism’: An Address to the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Australian National University, November 2002
The ‘kind of nationalism that every country needs’?: EG Whitlam and the ‘new nationalism’; Thirty Years Later: The Whitlam Government as Modernist Politics, Monash University – National Key Centre for Australian Studies, Parliamentary Studies Unit, Canberra, 2-3 December 2002
‘Challenge and Response: Malcolm Fraser and Australian Foreign policy’; The Liberals and Australian Foreign Policy, Menzies Centre, School of Australian and International Studies and the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, London, Melbourne September 25-27, 2001.
‘The Prime Ministerial Persona: aspects of the intellectual history of R. J. L. Hawke’; Someone Special: The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library Inaugural conference, Adelaide, 19-20 October 2001.
‘Visiting Rites’: Britishness in Australian Prime Ministerial Speeches: From Mansion House to Ballarat, 1972-1996; ‘Comings and Goings: Britain and Australia, Past and Future, BASA Conference, Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, London, 12-14 September 2000.
‘Australian Prime Ministers and the British Myth in a changing world’, Panel series: Sentiment and Self Interest in Anglo-Australian Relations, AHA Regional Conference, Hobart, 29 September – 1 October 1999.
- W David McIntrye The Britannic Vision: Historians and the Making of the British Commonwealth of Nations, 1907-1948 (Australian Historical Studies, forthcoming)
- Political Tourists: Travelers from Australia to the Soviet Union, 1920-1940 (eds Sheila Fitzpatrick and Carolyn Rasmussen), Australian Historical Studies (June 2009)
- Joint review of Sally Warhaft, The Speeches that Made Australia (Melbourne, Black Inc, 2004) and Rod Kemp and Marion Stanton (eds) Speaking for Australia (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2004), in The Australian Book Review, November 2004.
- Review of Geoffrey Bolton, Edmund Barton – The One Man for the Job (Sydney, Allen and Unwin, 2001) The Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol. 87, pt. 2 (December 2001)
- A response to David Malouf’s ‘Made In England’ Quarterly Essay 13, April 2004