Dr Miranda Johnson

BA Well MA Auck PhD Chicago
Senior Lecturer in Comparative Indigenous History

A14 - The Quadrangle
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 3884
Fax +61 2 9351 7760

Website > Phonebook Entry
> Race and Ethnicity in the Global South (REGS)

Biographical details

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.

Research interests

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

Current research students

Project title Research student
Histories of West Papuan resistance and resilience Emma KLUGE

Current projects

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.This book was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Prize in history (general history category) and the New Zealand Historical Association First Book Prize.

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

2017:Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences “Excellence in Teaching Award”

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

2017: Interviewed for “Australia Faces a war with its British History,” inOzy.com, 26 November, http://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/australia-faces-a-war-with-its-british-history/81900

2017: “The River is Not a Person: Indigeneity and the Sacred in Aotearoa New Zealand,”The Immanent Frame,http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2017/06/14/the-river-is-not-a-person/

2017: “The Pitcairn Project: Finding Pacific Women’s Agency through Tapa Cloth.” http://sydney.edu.au/news/arts/2228.html?newsstoryid=16579

2017: BBC History Hour - Implications of the 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy

PhD and master's project opportunities

Selected grants

2018

  • Indigenous histories: people, culture, place;Indigenous histories; Towers L, Philp J, Poll M, Johnson M, Troy J; DVC Education/Large Educational Innovation Grant.

2017

  • Sydney Pacific Studies Network; Johnson M, Webb M; Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/FASS Collaborative Research Scheme.

2015

  • Aboriginal Communities as Sites of Experiment: Making Research Subjects; Anderson W, Johnson M; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2012

  • 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.

Selected publications

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Books

  • Johnson, M. (2016). The Land Is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State. New York: Oxford University Press. [More Information]

Book Chapters

  • Johnson, M. (2017). Australia's Black History: The Politics of Comparison and Transnational Indigenous Activism in Commonwealth Settler State. In Anna Clark, Anne Rees, Alecia Simmonds (Eds.), Transnationalism, Nationalism and Australian History, (pp. 35-47). Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2016). Chiefly Women: Queen Victoria, Meri Mangakahia and the Maori Parliament. In Sarah Carter, Maria Nugent (Eds.), Mistress of Everything: Queen Victoria in Indigenous Worlds, (pp. 228-245). Manchester: Manchester University Press. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2016). Making a treaty archive: Indigenous rights on the Canadian Development Frontier. In Stewart Motha, Honni Van Rijswijk (Eds.), Law, Memory, Violence: Uncovering the Counter-Archive, (pp. 195-214). Abingdon: Routledge. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2015). Indigeneity and the Archive: Mediating the Public, the Private, and the Communal. In Paul Ashton, Chris Gibson, Ross Gibson (Eds.), By-Roads and Hidden Treasures: Mapping Cultural Assets in Regional Australia, (pp. 87-98). Crawley: University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP).
  • Johnson, M. (2009). The Gove Land Rights Case and the Problem of History in a Decolonising Australia. In Bain Attwood and Tom Griffiths (Eds.), Frontier, race, nation: Henry Reynolds and Australian history, (pp. 305-427). Melbourne, Australia: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Journals

  • Johnson, M. (2018). Sacred Claims and the Politics of Indigeneity in Australia. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 4(1), 78-92. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2014). Writing Indigenous Histories Now. Australian Historical Studies, 45(3), 317-330. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2011). Burdens of Belonging: Indigeneity and the re-founding of Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of History, 45(1), 102-112.
  • Johnson, M. (2011). Reconciliation, indigeneity and postcolonial nationhood in settler states. Postcolonial Studies, 14(2), 187-201. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2008). Making History Public: Indigenous Claims to Settler States. Public Culture, 20(1), 97-117. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2005). 'The land of the wrong white crowd': Anti-racist organizations and Pakeha identity politics in the 1970s. New Zealand Journal of History, 39(2), 137-157.
  • Johnson, M. (2005). Honest acts and dangerous supplements: Indigenous oral history and historical practice in settler societies. Postcolonial Studies, 8(3), 261-276. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2000). Chinese Civil Society: A case of failure or scholarly obfuscation? New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 2(2), 107-135.

2018

  • Johnson, M. (2018). Sacred Claims and the Politics of Indigeneity in Australia. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 4(1), 78-92. [More Information]

2017

  • Johnson, M. (2017). Australia's Black History: The Politics of Comparison and Transnational Indigenous Activism in Commonwealth Settler State. In Anna Clark, Anne Rees, Alecia Simmonds (Eds.), Transnationalism, Nationalism and Australian History, (pp. 35-47). Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. [More Information]

2016

  • Johnson, M. (2016). Chiefly Women: Queen Victoria, Meri Mangakahia and the Maori Parliament. In Sarah Carter, Maria Nugent (Eds.), Mistress of Everything: Queen Victoria in Indigenous Worlds, (pp. 228-245). Manchester: Manchester University Press. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2016). Making a treaty archive: Indigenous rights on the Canadian Development Frontier. In Stewart Motha, Honni Van Rijswijk (Eds.), Law, Memory, Violence: Uncovering the Counter-Archive, (pp. 195-214). Abingdon: Routledge. [More Information]
  • Johnson, M. (2016). The Land Is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State. New York: Oxford University Press. [More Information]

2015

  • Johnson, M. (2015). Indigeneity and the Archive: Mediating the Public, the Private, and the Communal. In Paul Ashton, Chris Gibson, Ross Gibson (Eds.), By-Roads and Hidden Treasures: Mapping Cultural Assets in Regional Australia, (pp. 87-98). Crawley: University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP).

2014

  • Johnson, M. (2014). Writing Indigenous Histories Now. Australian Historical Studies, 45(3), 317-330. [More Information]

2011

  • Johnson, M. (2011). Burdens of Belonging: Indigeneity and the re-founding of Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of History, 45(1), 102-112.
  • Johnson, M. (2011). Reconciliation, indigeneity and postcolonial nationhood in settler states. Postcolonial Studies, 14(2), 187-201. [More Information]

2009

  • Johnson, M. (2009). The Gove Land Rights Case and the Problem of History in a Decolonising Australia. In Bain Attwood and Tom Griffiths (Eds.), Frontier, race, nation: Henry Reynolds and Australian history, (pp. 305-427). Melbourne, Australia: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

2008

  • Johnson, M. (2008). Making History Public: Indigenous Claims to Settler States. Public Culture, 20(1), 97-117. [More Information]

2005

  • Johnson, M. (2005). 'The land of the wrong white crowd': Anti-racist organizations and Pakeha identity politics in the 1970s. New Zealand Journal of History, 39(2), 137-157.
  • Johnson, M. (2005). Honest acts and dangerous supplements: Indigenous oral history and historical practice in settler societies. Postcolonial Studies, 8(3), 261-276. [More Information]

2000

  • Johnson, M. (2000). Chinese Civil Society: A case of failure or scholarly obfuscation? New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 2(2), 107-135.

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