From the deep past of human history to matters of emerging policy, the School of History’s research scope is vast. Its academic staff are recognised national and international leaders in scholarship, including prize-winning authors and producers of history that engages the public. 

Indigenous History

The Australian Centre for Indigenous History, operating within the School, is committed to promoting Indigenous modes of historical practice and to fostering comparative perspectives on Indigenous history. One aspect of this engagement is the variety of media in which research is presented, including documentary film, television and radio programs, and history making in museums, archives and performing arts. Researchers affiliated with the centre also provide critical insight into the historical and contemporary dimensions of Aboriginal policy, both within Australia and beyond.


Within the School of History, many researchers are engaged in biographical projects relating to the history of Australia, New Zealand, Europe and North America. The National Centre of Biography provides a focal point for this research, which incorporates multi-disciplinary perspectives and cutting-edge methods. Scholars in the Centre also produce sophisticated research tools, notably the Australian Dictionary of Biography and Obituaries Australia, both available on-line and which attract over 70 million hits each year. One of the National Centre of Biography’s most important initiatives is the Indigenous Australian Dictionary of Biography project, which is working collaboratively to enhance the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ADB and beyond.

The Modern World

Understanding the major influences shaping the modern world is one of the School of History’s focal points. Our experts in the history of Europe and North America is enhanced by our collaboration with historians across the ANU. Researchers have published on topics including the creation of social and racial inequality, revolutionary thought, the history of gender, crime and justice, the connections between technological change and political leadership, and social protest. As with each area of research, this expertise directly informs our teaching, the fields in which we offer postgraduate supervision, and our partnerships with national and international partners.

Public Policy History

Historical perspectives on contemporary issues affecting Australia and the Pacific is the research focus of several members of the School of History. Our expertise in environmental history connects academic research to policy debates through the Centre for Environmental History. Researchers working in political, social, intellectual, legal, gender and military history produce not only scholarly articles but opinion pieces, essays, textbooks, magazine articles, blogs and on-line videos, which inform the public on contemporary affairs. Contributing to debates over the politics of history is another strength of the School.

Empires, Colonisation and Settlement History

Focusing on Australasia, scholars in the School of History study the history and enduring legacies of encounters that encompass exploration, exploitation, violence, trauma and resilience. Scholarship that focuses on the history of Britain and Europe and their empires plays a critical role in this field. The School’s research informs ongoing debate over the causes and impact of globalisation, migration, economic inequality, racial disparities and resource exploitation – within and beyond our region, and across wide expanses of time.

Updated:  14 March 2023/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications