Jessica Urwin

Position: Current PhD Student
School and/or Centres: School of History


Location: Level 5, Room 5.36, RSSS Building, 146 Ellery Cres


Bachelor of Arts (Honours) / Bachelor of International Relations

Thesis title: Chain Reactions: Nuclear Colonialism in South Australia

Jessica is a PhD candidate at the School of History at ANU. Her thesis seeks to examine the historical relationship between colonialism and the nuclear order in South Australia since the turn of the twentieth century. She was previously the editor of the ANU Historical Journal II and has published with The Conversation, Inside Story and Eras Journal. She has academic publications forthcoming in History Australia, Australian Historical Studies and the Australian Journal of Biography and History.

Jessica’s research interests and expertise include many aspects of Australian history, especially its political, colonial, and imperial aspects. She has particular interest in nuclear histories, both in Australia and internationally, which stem from previous studies in international relations and politics. Jessica also has experience and a growing interest in environmental history, both within and outside of Australia.

Winner of the Australian Historical Association Jill Roe Prize 2021 for the best unpublished article-length work of historical research in any area of historical enquiry produced by a postgraduate student. She received this award for her unpublished paper ‘‘The old colonial power can stand proxy’: The Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia and the politics of the 1980s’.

Runner-up of the Australian Historical Studies Ken Inglis Prize 2020 for the best paper submitted by a postgraduate student who had intended to present at the 2020 AHA Conference. She received this commendation for her paper ‘Douglas Mawson & ‘Claypan George’: Colonialism, exploration and Aboriginal labour in the search for radioactive minerals in South Australia, 1903-11’.

Winner of the History Council of NSW Max Kelly Medal 2018 for the work of excellence by a ‘beginning’ historian in any aspect of Australian history. She received this award for her paper ‘Physicists in the Fields of Thunder: Ernest Titterton and Britain’s Empire in the 1950’s Australia’.

Recipient of the Australian War Memorial Summer Scholarship 2018.

Updated:  2 July 2021/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications