Professor Warwick Anderson

Director and Laureate Fellow

Warwick Anderson, FASSA FAHA, holds an appointment as ARC Laureate Fellow and Professor in the Department of History and the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine. Additionally, he has an affiliation with the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at Sydney and is a Professorial Fellow of the School of Population Health at the University of Melbourne.

As an historian of biology, medicine and public health, focusing on Australasia, the Pacific, Southeast Asia and the United States, Prof. Anderson is especially interested in ideas about race, human difference, and citizenship in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Occasionally he writes programmatically on postcolonial science studies and, more generally, on science and globalization.

Before moving to Sydney in 2007, Prof. Anderson was Robert Turell Professor of Medical History and Population Health, Professor of the History of Science, and Chair of the Department of Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Wisconsin he also served on the steering committee of the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and was a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Previously Prof. Anderson taught at Harvard, Melbourne (where he founded the Centre for Health and Society), UCSF and Berkeley. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council (US), and the Rockefeller and Mellon Foundations. He was the Frederick Burkhardt Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2005-6), and a Guggenheim Fellow (2007-8). He has held visiting professorships at Harvard, Manchester and McMaster universities. His books have been awarded the W.K. Hancock Prize (AHA, 2004); the Philippines National Book Award for Social Science (2008); the NSW Premier’s General History Prize (2009); the William H. Welch Medal (AAHM, 2010); and the Ludwik Fleck Prize (4S, 2010).


Associate Professor Christine Winter

 ARC Future Fellow, School of History and International Relations, Flinders University

Christine Winter

Christine’s historical project, German Mixed-Race Diasporas in Southern Hemisphere Mandated Territories: Scientific theories, politics and identity transformation, emerges from more than a decade of researching the impact and legacies of German colonial rule in the South West Pacific, concentrating on ‘race-mixing’ and the continuity of German mixed-race elites in these colonial and post-colonial spaces.

Christine completed her PhD at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University in 2005 on transnational politics of the Lutheran mission society Neuendettelsau during the interwar years and the ascent of National Socialism. In 2010 she was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Queensland, researching Legacies of the German Empire in Oceania: the transformation of German identity during the inter-war years. Her present project continues my interest in politics and identity transformation at the intersection of race and scientific knowledge production.

Christine analyses what impact German mixed-race peoples, as objects and subjects, had on the development of racial theory and practice in the Global South. In a longitudinal study she is exploring the transformation of identity of mixed-race German families through the 20thcentury, characterized by dramatic political changes, beginning with the end of the German colonial empire, and ending with independence and post-colonial Pacific Islander nations and Namibia. Her focus is on three ex-German Protectorates, that became C Mandates of the League of Nations in 1921, transformed after WWII until independence into Trusteeships of the United Nations: Samoa, under New Zealand administration, New Guinea, under Australian administration, and Namibia, administered by South Africa.


Poster installation series, mixed media 2005 Olga Krause: Deutsche Kuenstlerin

For mixed-race Germans, jostling between shifting colonial and national regimes, race was always an arbitrary signifier; assessment of descent was not legally clear-cut for colonial subjects generally but relied on additional moral and emotional judgments. Such indeterminacy also enabled a limited degree of personal agency for manipulation and subversion of racial status, particularly by people with real or imagined connections to Germany. Likewise mixed-origins provided a link to indigeneity during periods of anti- and post colonialism, necessitating radical identity transformation.

For an introduction see: Christine Winter, ‘Changing Frames: Identity and citizenship of New Guineans of German heritage during the inter-war years’, Journal of Pacific History 47, no. 3 (2012): 347-67.


Have a look at the webpage of my friend and Colleague Janice Leafa Wilson aka Olga Hedwig Krause! She makes me look and think harder. http://www.gettheswitch.com/

Dr. Miranda Johnson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Miranda JohnsonDr Johnson is 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, she holds an appointment as a 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”. She has previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan.

I am currently working on two projects. The first is a conceptual history in which I am researching the meanings of self-determination in indigenous activist networks across the Anglo settler colonial world in the latter half of the twentieth century. The idea of self-determination was adopted from and influenced by anti-colonial movements in other parts of the globe where the achievement of such was premised in a sharp rupture from the colonial past. In Anglophone indigenous activism, the possibility of self-determination often came to be associated with land rights claims and efforts to prove ongoing attachment to lands and waterways. This legal framework obliged indigenous activists in the 1970s to describe and imagine self-determination in moral terms of attachment to the land and interdependency with majority settler societies rather than potentially violent detachment from the colonial past. In this history, I examine the localization and redeployment of a notion of “self-determination” in and across settler states.

In my second project, I am undertaking a cultural history of the “tribe” in the Pacific. In the late-nineteenth century, so-called “tribal” peoples who lived in areas now claimed by burgeoning settler states across the Pacific were considered to be dying out. Even those among white elites who espoused a humanitarian ethic of care thought that the native races were on a path of inevitable decline; and those identified as native often cast themselves in such terms. However, by the 1920s and 1930s, native populations had generally increased and policy-makers and native leaders were faced with new challenges of care for and development of often very poor native communities. Proposed solutions were many and various, including the biological deracination of Aborigines in Australia, the incorporation of tribal lands in New Zealand, and the “reorganization” of tribes in constitutional terms in the United States. This project examines in particular the reinvigoration of the “tribe” as a form for collective survival and development by comparing initiatives in New Zealand, Hawai’i and Australia and the various strategies that native leaders and intellectuals in particular developed in imagining new “tribal” futures.


Dr. Sarah Walsh

Postdoctoral Research FellowSarah Walsh

Sarah is an historian of Latin America, focusing on the relationship between eugenics and Catholicism in the early 20th century.  She received her PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park. Sarah is a postdoctoral research fellow in the ARC Laureate Fellowship  project, “Race and Ethnicity in the Global South,” supervised by Professor Warwick Anderson. In 2010, she received the National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant to study the development of eugenics as a discipline in Chile.

Sarah’s manuscript project examines the development and application of eugenic science to the field of public health in Chile between 1900 and 1950. Her research demonstrates how Chilean social reformers idealized their indigenous ancestry while simultaneously overlooking the indigenous peoples living in Chile and on its peripheries to create a eugenic science focused on national racial homogeneity. Additionally, she studies how Chilean Catholic social reformers formed a meaningful part of the Chilean debates regarding eugenics and race. Specifically, Sarah assesses the visual culture corresponding to Chilean eugenics to see if there was a preferred Chilean phenotype that eugenics sought to create. This will illuminate how racial difference and similarity was made in Chile. By studying Chilean visual culture, her manuscript will complicate scholarly notions about racial ideology in Latin America.

Sarah describes her research in this short video:


Dr. Ben SilversteinSilverstein

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Ben researches in colonial and Indigenous histories, with a focus on Australia, southern and eastern Africa, and the Pacific. His work engages questions of race and settler colonialism as well as contests over sovereignties and colonial government. He is currently completing a book manuscript titled ‘Governing Natives: Indirect Rule and Settler Colonialism in Australia’s North’ (Manchester University Press, forthcoming 2017), which explores Australian articulations of indirect rule as a mode of governing Aboriginal people in the interwar period. He has previously taught at UNSW.



James DunkJHD 31 July 2015

Research Associate

James completed his PhD at the University of Sydney in 2016. He is part-time research associate with Race and Ethnicity in the Global South and is a tutor in the Department of History. He is also Research Associate at Flinders University. James writes for the Australian Book Review and Rochford Street Review.