Professor James Curran

BA PhD Sydney
Professor, Department of History

A18 - Brennan MacCallum Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 2988
Fax +61 2 9351 3918

Website Phonebook Entry

Biographical details

James Curran teaches courses in Australian political culture and foreign policy, as well as the history of America's relations with the world. His latest book, Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War, is a study of the Australia-US Alliance from the signing of the ANZUS treaty in 1951 to the early days of the Hawke government. It focuses chiefly on the crisis in the relationship in the early 1970s. The book follows other works by Curran on Australian political culture and foreign relations, including Curtin's Empire (Cambridge, 2011) and, with Stuart Ward, The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire (Melbourne, 2010), which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's History prize. His first book, The Power of Speech (Melbourne, 2004,2006), was a study of the intellectual history of post-war Australian prime ministers and their efforts to redefine the nation in a post-imperial world. In 2013 Curran was the Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at University College Dublin, and in 2010 held the DFAT/ Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Australia-US Alliance Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Prior to joining academia, he served in various roles in the Australian Public Service, including in the Prime Minster's Department, the Department of Defence and the Office of National Assessments. He is currently writing an essay for the Lowy Institute's Penguin Special series on the contemporary Australia-US Alliance. Curran has also been interviewed on ABC and Commercial Radio and TV, and has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian, The Spectator and The Australian Financial Review.

Teaching and supervision

  • HSTY2611: America in World Affairs: A History
  • HSTY2687: Alliance: A History of Australia/US Relations
  • HSTY2677: Australia: Politics and Nation
  • HSTY2676: Australia's World
  • HSTY7000: (MA Course) A History of Australia-US relations

Awards and honours

Prizes

Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards adn the NSW Premier's History Prize:

  • Curran, J. (2004).The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image. Australia: Melbourne University Press.

Shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Australian History Prize 2011:

  • Curran, J., Ward, S. (2010).The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press.

In the media

Public Commentary

  • 'Turnbull brings nuance to the Alliance', The Lowy Interpreter, 22 January 2016
  • 'The Challenges Hockey will face as US Ambassador, The Lowy Interpreter, 8 December 2015
  • Interview with Geraldine Doogue on ABC Radio National on Unholy Fury, 8 August 2015
  • Interview with Ellen Fanning on the Margeret Throsby Show, ABC Classic FM, 7 May 2015.
  • ‘ANZUS Alliance Amnesia’, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 May 2015.
  • ‘Is Anzac Day remembrance or a sedative?’, The Lowy Interpreter, 22 April 2015.
  • ‘Un allie a Washington, Un ami a Peking’, L’Histoire – Les Collections (Special Issue on Australia: ‘Naissance D’une nation: Des Aborigenes aux soldats de L’Anzac’) trimestriel, Janvier 2015, no 66.
  • ‘Malcolm Fraser: A Man of Foreign Policy Principle’, The Lowy Interpreter, 23 March 2015
  • ‘Knighthood Blights Australia’s International Image’, The Lowy Interpreter, 27 January 2015
  • ‘A Test for the Alliance as Bishop Responds to Obama’s Brisbane Intervention’, The Lowy Interpreter, 21 November 2014.
  • ‘Whitlam took Independent stance on Global Stage’, The Australian, 22 October 2014
  • ‘Whitlam’s Pine Gap Problem’, The Australian, 5 November 2014
  • 'Whitlam, Nixon and the Alliance': Self Improvement Wednesday, ABC 702 Drive with Richard Glover, 30 July 2014.
  • 'Radical Nationalist': A review of Malcolm Fraser's Dangerous Allies, The Spectator Australia, 17 May 2014.
  • 'Knights and Dames are sorted. But will Tony Abbott see the Centenary of World War I through British eyes?', The Age, 31 March 2013.
  • 'A Brutal Lesson in Politics from John F Kennedy', The Australian, 22 November 2013
  • 'Marshall Green: America's Mr Asia', American Review (no 12, 2013). To be republished in Passport - The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (January 2014).
  • 'No more pommy-bashing', Spectator Australia, 26 January 2013.
  • '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.

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2010

  • Australian/American Relations in the Era of the New Nationalism; Curran J; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

Selected publications

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Books

  • Curran, J. (2015). Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Curran, J. (2011). Curtin's Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Curran, J., Ward, S. (2010). The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press.
  • Curran, J. (2004). The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image. Australia: Melbourne University Press.

Edited Books

  • Curran, J., Ward, S. (2013). Australia and the Wider World: Selected Essays of Neville Meaney. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press.

Book Chapters

  • Broinowski, A., Curran, J. (2014). The US Alliance. In Daniel Baldino, Andrew Carr, Anthony J Langlois (Eds.), Australian Foreign Policy: Controversies and Debates, (pp. 118-133). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Curran, J. (2013). Republican Reset: The Lessons of History and a Way Ahead. In Benjamin T Jones and Mark McKenna (Eds.), Project Republic: Plans and Arguments for a New Australia, (pp. 141-154). Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Curran, J. (2012). 'The World Changes': Australia's China Policy in the Wake of Empire. In James Reilly and Jingdong Yuan (Eds.), Australia and China at 40, (pp. 22-43). Sydney: University of New South Wales (UNSW) Press.
  • Curran, J. (2010). The 'New Line in the Strand': John Armstrong and the 'New Nationalism'. In Carl Bridge, Frank Bongiorno and David Lee (Eds.), The High Commissioners: Australias Representatives in the United Kingdom, 1910-2010, (pp. 164-181). Barton: WHH Publishing.

Journals

  • Curran, J. (2015). Beyond the Euphoria: Lyndon Johnson in Australia and the Politics of the Cold War Alliance. Journal of Cold War Studies, 17(1), 64-96. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2014). The Dilemmas of Divergence: The Crisis in American-Australian Relations, 1972-1975. Diplomatic History, 38(2), 377-408. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2013). Australia at empire's end: Approaches and arguments. History Australia, 10(3), 23-35.
  • Curran, J. (2010). L'Australie, le Japon et l'heritage de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Vingtieme Siecle - Revue d'histoire, 107, 115-129. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2009). 'An Organic Part of the Whole Structure': John Curtin's Empire. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 37(1), 51-75. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2008). 'Australia Should Be There': Expo '67 and the Search for a New National Image. Australian Historical Studies, 39(1), 72-90. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2002). The "Thin Dividing Line": Prime Ministers and the Problem of Australian Nationalism, 1972-1996. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 48(4), 469-486.

Reference Works

  • Curran, J. (2007). Australia-Britain. In Brian Galligan and Winsome Roberts (Eds.), The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics. (Vol. 1, pp. 66-69).

2015

  • Curran, J. (2015). Beyond the Euphoria: Lyndon Johnson in Australia and the Politics of the Cold War Alliance. Journal of Cold War Studies, 17(1), 64-96. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2015). Unholy Fury: Whitlam and Nixon at War. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

2014

  • Curran, J. (2014). The Dilemmas of Divergence: The Crisis in American-Australian Relations, 1972-1975. Diplomatic History, 38(2), 377-408. [More Information]
  • Broinowski, A., Curran, J. (2014). The US Alliance. In Daniel Baldino, Andrew Carr, Anthony J Langlois (Eds.), Australian Foreign Policy: Controversies and Debates, (pp. 118-133). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

2013

  • Curran, J., Ward, S. (2013). Australia and the Wider World: Selected Essays of Neville Meaney. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press.
  • Curran, J. (2013). Australia at empire's end: Approaches and arguments. History Australia, 10(3), 23-35.
  • Curran, J. (2013). Republican Reset: The Lessons of History and a Way Ahead. In Benjamin T Jones and Mark McKenna (Eds.), Project Republic: Plans and Arguments for a New Australia, (pp. 141-154). Melbourne: Black Inc.

2012

  • Curran, J. (2012). 'The World Changes': Australia's China Policy in the Wake of Empire. In James Reilly and Jingdong Yuan (Eds.), Australia and China at 40, (pp. 22-43). Sydney: University of New South Wales (UNSW) Press.

2011

  • Curran, J. (2011). Curtin's Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press.

2010

  • Curran, J. (2010). L'Australie, le Japon et l'heritage de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Vingtieme Siecle - Revue d'histoire, 107, 115-129. [More Information]
  • Curran, J. (2010). The 'New Line in the Strand': John Armstrong and the 'New Nationalism'. In Carl Bridge, Frank Bongiorno and David Lee (Eds.), The High Commissioners: Australias Representatives in the United Kingdom, 1910-2010, (pp. 164-181). Barton: WHH Publishing.
  • Curran, J., Ward, S. (2010). The Unknown Nation: Australia After Empire. Carlton, Australia: Melbourne University Press.

2009

  • Curran, J. (2009). 'An Organic Part of the Whole Structure': John Curtin's Empire. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 37(1), 51-75. [More Information]

2008

  • Curran, J. (2008). 'Australia Should Be There': Expo '67 and the Search for a New National Image. Australian Historical Studies, 39(1), 72-90. [More Information]

2007

  • Curran, J. (2007). Australia-Britain. In Brian Galligan and Winsome Roberts (Eds.), The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics. (Vol. 1, pp. 66-69).

2004

  • Curran, J. (2004). The Power of Speech: Australian Prime Ministers Defining the National Image. Australia: Melbourne University Press.

2002

  • Curran, J. (2002). The "Thin Dividing Line": Prime Ministers and the Problem of Australian Nationalism, 1972-1996. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 48(4), 469-486.

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