Postdoctoral Fellows

Miranda Johnson

BA (Wellington); MA (Auckland); PhD (Chicago)

Dr Miranda Johnson is 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, she holds an appointment as a 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”. She has previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan.
Dr Johnson's work engages questions of race, culture and rights in legal, political and social contexts. She is currently completing a book manuscript, "Re-Founding the Settler State: Indigenous rights in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, 1967-2000", that asks why the demand for and recognition of indigenous rights came to such national prominence in the three Commonwealth settler states in the closing decades of the twentieth century. It describes how indigenous rights activists made compelling arguments for their political difference within a broader context of geopolitical and economic shifts in and across the three countries. She argue that indigenous activism was in part so successful because it engaged with a broader project of "re-founding" the settler state as Australia, Canada and New Zealand sought out new identities in a postcolonial Asia-Pacific.

Research areas
  • comparative indigenous history
  • settler colonial history
  • Australian and New Zealand history
  • postcolonial theory and race
  • legal history

Dr Ben Silverstein

Dr Ben Silverstein

BA (Hons)/LLB (Hons) (Melbourne); PhD (La Trobe)

Dr Ben Silverstein researches in colonial and Indigenous histories, with a focus on Australia, southern and eastern Africa, and the Pacific. His work engages questions of race and settler colonialism as well as contests over sovereignties and colonial government. He is currently completing a book manuscript titled ‘Governing Natives: Indirect Rule and Settler Colonialism in Australia’s North’ (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2017), which explores Australian articulations of indirect rule as a mode of governing Aboriginal people in the interwar period. He has previously taught at UNSW.

Research areas
  • indigenous histories
  • settler colonialism
  • Australian history
  • history of race

Sarah Walsh

Sarah Walsh

BA (Boston College); PhD (Maryland)

Dr Sarah Walsh is an historian of Latin America, focusing on the relationship between eugenics and Catholicism in the early 20th century. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park. Sarah is a postdoctoral research fellow in the ARC Laureate Fellowship project, “Race and Ethnicity in the Global South,” supervised by Professor Warwick Anderson. In 2010, she received the National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant to study the development of eugenics as a discipline in Chile.

Sarah’s manuscript project examines the development and application of eugenic science to the field of public health in Chile between 1900 and 1950. Her research demonstrates how Chilean social reformers idealized their indigenous ancestry while simultaneously overlooking the indigenous peoples living in Chile and on its peripheries to create a eugenic science focused on national racial homogeneity. Additionally, she studies how Chilean Catholic social reformers formed a meaningful part of the Chilean debates regarding eugenics and race. Specifically, Sarah assesses the visual culture corresponding to Chilean eugenics to see if there was a preferred Chilean phenotype that eugenics sought to create. This will illuminate how racial difference and similarity was made in Chile. By studying Chilean visual culture, her manuscript will complicate scholarly notions about racial ideology in Latin America.

Research areas
  • Latin America
  • women and gender
  • public health
  • history of science
  • history of medicine
  • history of religion