Dr Miranda Johnson
BA Well MA Auck PhD Chicago
Lecturer in Comparative Indigenous History
A14 - The Quadrangle
The University of Sydney
|Telephone||+61 2 9351 3884|
|Fax||+61 2 9351 7760|
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I am an historian of indigenous peoples and settler colonialism in the Anglophone post/colonial world, most specifically in North America and the Pacific. At the University of Sydney, I hold an appointment as a lecturer in the Department of History. I was previously Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and in the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, as part of Professor Warwick Anderson’s ARC Laureate Fellowship project, “Race and Ethnicity in the Global South”. I have taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan. I welcome undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in indigenous history around the globe.
- comparative indigenous history
- settler colonial history
- Australian and New Zealand history
- postcolonial theory and race
- legal history
My work engages questions of indigenous historical agency, identity, and rights in legal, social, and political contexts. My first book, The Land is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State (Oxford University Press, 2016) chronicles the extraordinary story of indigenous activism in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in the late twentieth century. Taking their claims for land and identity to law in the 1970s indigenous peoples opened up a new political space for the negotiation of their rights, provoking debates about national identity and belonging that changed the settler states.
With Professor Warwick Anderson, I am co-Chief Investigator of an ARC Discovery Project, “Aboriginal Communities as Sites of Experiment: Making Research Subjects.” This project examines entanglements between Aboriginal people, scientists and anthropologists, and government bureaucrats over knowledge and authority in specific sites where scientific experiments were carried out on Aboriginal populations around Australia.
My second sole-authored book, tentatively titled, Claiming Modernity: Māori Reformers and Liberal Imperialism in the Inter-War Pacific, examines a remarkably influential group of Māori politicians who initiated wide-ranging reforms of social and economic community life in New Zealand in the early twentieth century. This research project explores the distinctive nature of claims for citizenship and economic equality for and by Māori, claims that were often ambivalently received in the communities these leaders sought to modernize as well as by the settler state. Situating Māori modernization in the global context of World War I, deepening anti-colonial politics, and expanding liberal imperialism in the Pacific, this project considers new ideas that reformers generated about the fraught relationship between indigeneity and modernity.
Awards and honours
2016: Australasian Pioneers' Club International Fellowship for Early Career Researchers
2008-2011: Postdoctoral fellowship, Society of Fellows, University of Michigan
2009: American Philosophical Society Phillips Grant Fund for Native American Research
2007-2008: University of Chicago William Rainey Harper Dissertation Fellowship
2007: CIC American Indian Studies Graduate Fellowship at the Newberry Library
2006-2007: 3CT Pre-Doctoral Fellow (Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory)
April 2005: CIC American Indian Studies Consortium Graduate Conference 2005 paper prize
2003-2006: Top Achiever/Bright Futures Doctoral Scholarship, Tertiary Education Commission, New Zealand, for overseas study
In the media
May 2013: Invited speaker, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, presented “Apologising for the past”
April 2013: History on Monday speaker, University of Sydney, presented “Tribalizing Race in Settler States”
September 2012: Guest lecture, Department of History seminar series, University of Auckland, presented “Re-founding the settler state”
July 2012: Legal Histories of the British Empire, National University of Singapore, presented “Indigenous Rights at the end of Empire”
April 2012: Organized “Law and Indigeneity Workshop”, Institute for Legal Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented chapter 2 of book manuscript
November 2011: Center for Humanities, Faculty lecture series, University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented “Treaty history as allo-history in contemporary settler states”
June 2011: History and Teleology working group meeting, The Research Project Europe, (housed at University of Helsinki) Athens, Greece, presented “Treaty history as allo-history in settler states”
May 2011: Native American and Indigenous Studies Annual Conference, co-organized panel, presented “Performing apology: Being/saying/feeling/hearing/knowing sorry”
March 2011: Comparative Wests workshop, Stanford University, CA, presented chapter one of book manuscript
October 2010: Western History Association annual meeting, Lake Tahoe, presented “After Hualapai: Native Title and the making of indigeneity in the post-World War II era of decolonization”
July 2010: Department of History, University of Otago, July 21, presented “Property v. Belonging: Indigeneity and the Re-Founding of Settler States”
July 2010: Treaty of Waitangi Resarch Unit winter seminar series, Stout Research Center, Victoria University of Wellington, July 14, presented “The Justice of Historical Practice: Maori History and the Waitangi Tribunal”
March 2010: invited to present at, “After Europe: Postcolonial Knowledge in the Age of Globalization”, University of Chicago, March 12, presented “Non-sovereign histories and indigenous people in the era of decolonization"
January 2010: Co-organized panel, American Historical Association meeting, “Race, Nation, and Indigeneity in the Colonial and Postcolonial Pacific”, January 9, presented "Law’s history in the Colonial and Postcolonial Pacific"
December 2009: Presented lecture, “When the settlers don’t go home: Indigenous Rights and the Re-Founding of Settler Societies”, at the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, University of Michigan, December 10
May 2009: Co-organized panel, Law and Society Association meeting, “Indigenous peoples and the burden of proof: case studies from the Americas and Australasia”, presented “Indigenous authenticity and the problem of history in claims to settler states”
- Aboriginal Communities as Sites of Experiment: Making Research Subjects; Anderson W, Johnson M; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).
- Global Sensibilities – The New History of Ideas; Blanshard A, Caine B, Celermajer D, Ferng J, Fitzmaurice A, Gatens M, Harmon C, Johnson M, Milam J, Sluga G, White S; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.
The Land Is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State (Oxford University Press, 2016)