Professor Angela Woollacott

Photo of Angella Woollacott

Position: Manning Clark Professor of History
School and/or Centres: School of History


Phone: (02) 612 52715

Location: Level 5, RSSS Building, 146 Ellery Crescent


BA, Political Science and History (Australian National University) BA (Hons), History (University of Adelaide) MA, History (University of California, Santa Barbara) PhD, History (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Researcher profile:

Angela Woollacott is the Manning Clark Professor of History at the Australian National University, an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and the Australian Academy of Humanities, and a former president of the Australian Historical Association. Her most recent book Don Dunstan: The visionary politician who changed Australia (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2019) was supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant, and was shortlisted for the 2020 Magarey Medal for Biography. She has published widely in the fields of Australian and British Empire history; women’s history; colonialism, race and gender; biography, transnational and political history. She is currently on the editorial advisory boards of three academic journals, and has recently served on the editorial advisory board for the Historical Research and Publications Unit at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and an advisory panel at the Reserve Bank of Australia for its new generation of banknotes. From 2004-09 she was the Professor of Modern History at Macquarie University in Sydney, and prior to that a Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been a visiting scholar at several universities in Australia and at the Oxford Centre for Life Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford; has held a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Fellowship at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; and been a Visiting Professor at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Her areas of research, research supervision and teaching include white settler colonialism; Australian history; British Empire and postcolonial history; biography and political history, women’s and gender history; modernity and transnational histories.


Don Dunstan: The visionary politician who changed Australia (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, August 2019).   - Shortlisted for the 2020 Magarey Medal for Biography.

Settler Society in the Australian Colonies: Self-Government and Imperial Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.) - shortlisted for the 2015 Queensland Literary Awards - University of Southern Queensland History Prize.

Race and the Modern Exotic: Three 'Australian' Women on Global Display (Clayton, Vic.: Monash University Publishing, 2011).

Gender and Empire (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

To Try Her Fortune in London: Australian Women, Colonialism, and Modernity  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

On Her Their Lives Depend: Munitions Workers in the Great War (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

Edited Textbooks:

Series editor, Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 high school textbooks for the National Curriculum in History: Woollacott et al., History for the Australian Curriculum (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press,  2012).

Co-edited Books:

Michelle Arrow and Angela Woollacott (eds.), How the Personal became Political: The Gender and Sexuality Revolutions in 1970s Australia (Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2020). First published as a Special Issue of Australian Feminist Studies, Vol. 33, No. 95, March 2018.

Michelle Arrow and Angela Woollacott (eds.), Everyday Revolutions: Remaking Gender, Sexuality and Culture in 1970s Australia (Canberra: ANU Press, August 2019).

Desley Deacon, Penny Russell and Angela Woollacott (editors), Transnational Lives: Biographies of Global Modernity, 1700-present (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 in their series on Transnational History).

Desley Deacon, Penny Russell and Angela Woollacott (eds.), Transnational Ties: Australian Lives in the World (Canberra: ANU E-Press, 2008).

Mrinalini Sinha, Donna J. Guy and Angela Woollacott (eds.), Feminisms and Internationalism (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1999). First published as a special issue of Gender & History Vol. 10, No. 3 (November 1998).

Miriam Cooke and Angela Woollacott (eds.), Gendering War Talk (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).

Selected Articles and Book Chapters:

Catherine Bishop and Angela Woollacott, 'Business and Politics as Women's Work: The Australian Colonies and the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Women's Movement', Journal of Women's History Vol. 28 No. 1 (Spring 2016): 84-106.

‘Business and Politics as Women’s Work: The Australian Colonies and the Mid-Nineteenth Century Women’s Movement’, co-authored with Catherine Bishop - Journal of Women’s History Vol. 28, Issue 1 (Forthcoming, Spring 2016)

‘A Radical’s Career: Responsible Government, Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Dispossession’, Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History Vol 16, No. 2 (Forthcoming, August 2015)

'Colonialism: What Girlhoods Can Tell Us', chapter in Kristine Moruzzi and Michelle Smith (eds.), Colonialism: What Girlhood Can Tell Us 1840-1940 (2014 Palgrave Macmillan, pp.15-29)

'Manly Authority, Employing Non-white Labour, and Frontier Violence 1830s-1860s, Journal of Australian Colonial History Vol.15 (2013): 23-42.

'South Australia and the Imperial World: Connections to India and Beyond, 1830s to 1860s', forthcoming Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia No. 39 (2011): 1-10.

'Political Manhood, Nonwhite Labour and Settler Colonialism on the 1830s-1840s Australian Frontier', chapter in Barbara Brookes and Alison Holland (eds.), Rethinking the Racial Moment: essays on the Colonial Encounter (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars publishing, 2011).

‘Whiteness and “the Imperial Turn”’, chapter in Leigh Boucher, Jane Carey and Katherine Ellinghaus (eds.), Re-Orienting Whiteness: Transnational Perspectives on the History of an Identity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) pp. 17-30.

‘Frontier Violence and Settler Manhood’, published keynote address from the 2007 Australian Historical Association regional conference, History Australia Vol. 6, No. 1 (April 2009): 09.1-09.15.

‘The Colonial Actress: Empire, Modernity and the Exotic in Twentieth-Century London’, chapter in Philippa Levine and Susan Grayzel (eds.), Gender, Labour, War and Empire: Essays on Modern Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pp. 72-89.

‘Australian Women in London: Surveying the Twentieth Century’, chapter in Carl Bridge, Robert Crawford and David Dunstan (eds.), Australians in Britain: The Twentieth-Century Experience (Clayton, Vic.: Monash University ePress, 2009), pp. 03.1-03.12.

‘Gender and Sexuality’, Ch. 13 in Australia’s Empire (eds. Deryck Schreuder and Stuart Ward) companion volume in the Oxford History of the British Empire series (general editor Wm. Roger Louis; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), pp. 312-335.

‘Rose Quong Becomes Chinese: An Australian in London and New York’, Australian Historical Studies (No. 129, April 2007), pp. 16-31.

‘Postcolonial histories and Catherine Hall’s Civilising Subjects’, Ch. 4 in Ann Curthoys and Marilyn Lake (eds.), Connected Worlds: History in Trans-National Perspective  (Canberra: ANU E-Press, 2006), pp. 57-68.

‘Modernity’, in Mary Spongberg, Ann Curthoys and Barbara Caine (eds.), Companion to Women’s Historical Writing  (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), pp. 349-360.

‘Creating the White Colonial Woman: Mary Gaunt’s Imperial Adventuring and Australian Cultural History’, in Hsu-Ming Teo and Richard White (eds.), Cultural History in Australia (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2003), pp. 186-200.

“The Colonial Flaneuse: Australian Women Negotiating Turn-of-the-Century London,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society Vol. 25 No. 3 (Spring 2000): 761-87.

“Inventing Commonwealth and Pan-Pacific Feminisms: Australian Women’s Internationalist Activism in the 1920s-30s,” Gender & History Vol. 10 No. 3 (November 1998): 425-448.

“From Moral to Professional Authority: Secularism, Social Work and Middle-Class Women’s Self-Construction in World War I Britain,” Journal of Women’s History Vol. 10 No. 2 (Summer 1998): 85-111.

“‘All this is the Empire, I told myself’: Australian Women’s Voyages ‘Home’ and the Articulation of Colonial Whiteness,” The American Historical Review Vol. 102 No. 4 (October 1997): 1003-1029.

"`Khaki Fever' and Its Control: Gender, Class, Age and Sexual Morality on the British Homefront in World War I," Journal of Contemporary History 29 (April 1994): 325-347.

"Maternalism, Professionalism and Industrial Welfare Supervisors in World War I Britain," Women's History Review 3 (March 1994): 29-56.

1. Don Dunstan: The visionary politician who changed Australia

My biography of Don Dunstan, the transformative Premier of South Australia in the 1960s-70s who was a major political figure nationally and internationally, was published by Allen and Unwin on 19 August 2019. It is the first comprehensive, scholarly biography of Dunstan, and has been widely and positively reviewed in the Australian media. My research and writing were supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery grant, which I gratefully acknowledge.The book was shortlisted for the 2020 Magarey Medal for Biography.

2. Decolonization and universal human rights in 20th century Australia

I am developing a new research project on how Australia has changed its thinking on Indigenous and human rights since 1901. It will chart the associations, movements and leaders who shaped the global development of human rights, challenging colonial thinking in and beyond Australia. And it will explore connections among Indigenous rights, women's rights and decolonization in Australia and its region.

HIST2128 Convicts and Settlers: Australian History 1770s to 1870s

HIST2239 Rock, Sex and War: Australia's 1960s-70s

HIST2239 Legends and Life Stories; Australia since 1788



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