Professor John Docker

John Docker

BA (Hons), University of Sydney, 1967; MA (Hons), University of Melbourne, 1970; PhD, Australian National University, 1981.

Honorary Professor in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, John researches and writes in the fields of genocide and massacre studies, cultural theory, the Enlightenment, monotheism and polytheism, intellectual history, historiography, diaspora, ethnic and cultural identity, and the history of Zionism and Israel-Palestine.

Current Projects

John is currently working on several projects. One is a book entitled Sheer Folly and Derangement: Disorienting Europe and the West. Another is a research project entitled “The Rebecca File: The Strange Afterlife of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe’s Rebecca in the Nineteenth Century”. Another is an intellectual autobiography, tentatively entitled Growing Up Communist and Jewish in Bondi: A Memoir.

Selected publications

The Origins of Violence, Pluto Press, in association with UNSW Press, London and Sydney, 2008.

1492: The Poetics of Diaspora (Continuum, London and New York, 2001).

Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1994).

The Nervous Nineties: Australian Cultural Life in the 1890s (Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991).

In a Critical Condition (Penguin, Melbourne, 1984).

Australian Cultural Elites: Intellectual Traditions in Sydney and Melbourne (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1974).

(with Ann Curthoys) Is History Fiction? (University of New South Wales Press and the University of Michigan Press, Sydney and New Haven, 2005).


(with Ann Curthoys), Is History Fiction? Second edition (UNSW Press, Sydney, 2010). New chapter entitled "Is a History of Humanity Possible?" pp.238-266.

(with Frances Peters-Little and Ann Curthoys), Passionate Histories: Myth, Memory and Indigenous Australia (ANU E-Press, Canberra, 2010).

(with Debjani Ganguly), Rethinking Gandhi and Nonviolent Relationality: Global Perspectives (Orient BlackSwan, New Delhi, 2009).

(with Debjani Ganguly), Rethinking Gandhi in a New World Order (Routledge, London, 2007).

(with Gerhard Fischer), Adventures of Identity. European Multicultural Experiences and Perspectives (Stauffenburg Verlag, Tübingen, 2001).

(with Gerhard Fischer), Race, Colour, and Identity in Australia and New Zealand (New South Wales University Press, Sydney, 2000).

Edited special issues of Journals
Co-editor (with Debjani Ganguly), series of essays on “Gandhi, Non-Violence, and Modernity”, Borderlands e-journal, 2005/6.

Co-editor (with Subhash Jaireth), two special issues of JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. The issues are entitled "Benjamin and Bakhtin: New Approaches, New Contexts", and "Benjamin and Bakhtin – Vision and Visuality". Published as Vol.32, no.3, Fall 2002, and Vol.33, no.1, 2003.

Co-editor (with Ann Curthoys), special section on ‘Genocide? Australian Aboriginal History in International Perspective’, for Aboriginal History, vol.25, 2001.

Recent essays
"Epistemological vertigo and allegory: thoughts on massacres, actual, surrogate, and averted - Beersheba, Wake in Fright, Australia", in Frances Peters-Little, Ann Curthoys and John Docker (eds), Passionate Histories: Myth, Memory and Indigenous Australia (ANU E-Press, Canberra, 2010), pp.51-72.

"Raphael Lemkin, creator of the concept of genocide: a world history perspective", in Humanities Research, Vol.xVI, no.2, 2010, special issue edited by Ned Curthoys entitled "Key Thinkers and Their Contemporary Legacy", pp.49-74.

“Sacredness and uncaring for the Other: Levinas and Patrick White”, in Makarand Paranjape (ed.), Sacred Australia: Post-Secular Considerations (Clouds of Magellan Publishing, Melbourne, 2009), pp.188-209.

“An Early Holocaust Novel: Patrick White’s Riders in the Chariot, a Critique”, for Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History (2008).

(with Ann Curthoys): “Defining Genocide”, for Dan Stone (ed.), The Historiography of Genocide (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2008), pp.9-41.

"Are Settler-Colonies Inherently Genocidal? Re-Reading Lemkin", in A. Dirk Moses (ed.), Empire, Colony, Genocide (Berghahn Books, New York, 2008).

“Josephus: Traitor or Gandhian avant la lettre?”, in Debjani Ganguly and John Docker (eds), Rethinking Gandhi and Nonviolent Relationality (Routledge, London, 2007).

“The Question of Europe: Said and Derrida”, in Ned Curthoys and Debjani Ganguly (eds), Edward Said: Debating the Legacy of a Public Intellectual (Melbourne University Press, 2007).

Selected earlier essays
“Re-‘Femminizing’ Diaspora: Contemporary Jewish Cultural Studies and Post-Zionism”, Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal, Vol.4, no.2, November 2005, pp.71-90.

“Is the United States a Failed Society?” Borderlands e-journal, July 2005.

“Raphaël Lemkin’s History of Genocide and Colonialism”, talk given 26 February 2004, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Washington DC, on their website from March 2004.

“The Enlightenment, genocide, postmodernity”, Journal of Genocide Research, Vol.5, no.3, 2003, pp.339-360.

“The Enlightenment and Genocide”, JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory, Vol.33, no.3, 2003, pp.292-314.

"The Challenge of Polytheism: Moses, Spinoza, and Freud", in Jane Bennett and Michael J. Shapiro (eds), The Politics of Moralizing (Routledge, New York and London, 2002), pp.201-222.

“In Praise of Polytheism”, Semeia 88, 2001, pp.149-172.

"Arabesques of the Cosmopolitan and International: Lucien Henry, Baroque Allegory and Islamophilia", Australian Humanities Review June 2001.

“Feminism, Modernism, and Orientalism in The Home in the 1920s”, in Ann Curthoys and Julianne Schultz (eds), Journalism: Print, Politics, and Popular Culture (University of Queensland Press, St. Lucia, 1999), pp.117-130.

Other professional contributions

Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities

Member of the editorial board of the following journals:

  • The Bible and Critical Theory e-journal.
  • Borderlands e-journal.
  • Journal of Narrative Theory (USA).