Australian Studies

“What is Australia?”  We attempt to answer this question by looking into the power of national remembering.


At The University of Adelaide, Australian studies is committed to finding innovative ways to talk about both past and present problems in Australian society. The diversity of voices that create this country can only be heard through a variety of story-telling techniques. Which lives do we remember, and which ones do we forget? Which voices are loud in Australian social and cultural life, and which ones do we fail to hear? We aim to answer these questions by redefining the connections which exist between diverse ethnic citizenry in Australia, and between people and their environments.

The stories we tell as a nation show how Australia understands itself. They hint at how Australian identity today is both created and broken by the past. We seek new ways to think about Australia and to unsettle long held views.
Using anthropology, Indigenous studies, geography, music and creative expression, education, social justice, linguistics, politics and health we investigate the concept of the everyday Australian and national identity.

Our researchers are exploring modern cross-cultural relations, Indigenous lived experience, race and racism. They look at complex matters of gender in relation to the Australian population through family life, gender-based violence, employment and health, via nationally-based and locally informed enquiries into social justice our researchers in Australian Studies are leading the way to social change.

Our most fundamental aim is a timely rethinking of Australian culture, belonging, diversity, Indigenous experience and the social and environmental history of this country.

Our key researchers in this area:

  • Professor Anne Pender - The Kidman Chair in Australian Studies. Anne’s research focus is Australian literature and theatre, with particular interest in modern and contemporary fiction, poetry, drama, biography and cultural history.
  • Professor Aaron Corn - Aaron’s research into Indigenous intellectual traditions focuses on the unique perspectives of Indigenous Australians on public opinions, government policies and scholarly debates that impact upon the cultural, economic and political futures of their communities.
  • Professor Amanda Nettlebeck - Amanda’s research focus is colonial history, the relationship of Indigenous people to colonial law, and the legacies of colonialism in social memory.
  • Associate Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray - Melissa's research interest is the examination of how communities become involved in decision making, primarily in the area of Indigenous resource management, protected area management, and more recently in climate change adaptation.
  • Dr. Rob Amery - Rob has worked intensively with the Kaurna language, the Indigenous language of Adelaide and the Adelaide Plains, and has been a vital player in the revival of Kaurna as a spoken language.
  • Dr. Jenni Caruso - Jenni's research interests focus on the Stolen Generations and the ways in which policies around the removal of half-caste children were informed and scaffolded by the notions of the power of 'being white' and the deficits of 'being Aboriginal'.

Our research groups working in this area

Interested in undertaking a postgraduate research degree with us?

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