Discipline of History

Communities and nations need history to give dimension and meaning to the present, in the same way that individuals need memory to shape identity and make good decisions.


History at Adelaide equips you to think historically about the world, empowering you to understand who we are, how we got here, why we behave as we do, and how things change. We learn historical knowledge in the family, at home, on television and we use it every day to help us make decisions. Advances in historical knowledge by history researchers give depth and complexity to the histories we learn elsewhere, and in History at Adelaide we draw on that new research to enable our students to make better decisions in the workplace, in the public sphere, and even in everyday life.

Welcome to the Department of History.

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  • Our teaching

    Staff in The Department of History teach on a wide range of times and places, from the medieval to modern, and across Asia, the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. In first year, students will cover all of these times and places, using the themes of Empire and Revolution to give students a firm foundation in global histories. In following years, students select from a range of courses that offer historical knowledge and provide training in historiographical skills, sources and methods, analysis and interpretation, and writing and communication. Courses range from those that provide a firm grounding and understanding of national history, including Australian history, heritage and culture, not least Aboriginal history, to those that focus particular themes or topics, such as historical memory or the history of science. Throughout their degree, students will think about how change happens and the implications for the contemporary world.

    With a strong emphasis on research, students at Adelaide learn how to apply their knowledge and to make better decisions. History provides a general education, covering topics as diverse as society, economy, politics, medicine, technology, family life, race, gender and class, material culture studies, religion and much more. Our graduates are therefore trained to make 360 degree assessments of their environment and to think broadly and reflectively about the widescale implications of different actions. In third year students apply the research skills they have learned across the degree in our Capstone course that consolidates our graduate attributes. At Honours, students research independently, preparing them for independent research, analysis and communication in the workplace or for further study.

    Study History 

    Learn about a selection of our courses on these short videos. The following videos are for the courses - New York City in Revolution, Emotions in Historical Perspective; Plagues and Pandemics and Family, Memory, Identity.

  • Our people

    Academic Staff
    Name Role
    Professor Rachel Ankeny Professor
    Dr Gareth Pritchard Acting Head of Department of Historical and Classical Studies (semester 2, 2023)
    Discipline Advisor
    Associate Professor Vesna Drapac Associate Professor
    Professor Amanda Nettelbeck Professor
    Associate Professor Katie Barclay Professor
    Associate Professor Paul Sendziuk Associate Professor
    Honours Coordinator
    Dr Claire Walker Senior Lecturer
    Postgraduate Coordinator
    Associate Professor Sally May MA (History) Program Coordinator
    Dr Skye Krichauff Lecturer (History)

    Emeritus Staff, Research Fellows and Titleholders
    Name Role
    Karen Agutter Visiting Research Fellow
    Steven Anderson Visiting Research Fellow
    Merridee Bailey Visiting Research Fellow
    Prudence Black Visiting Research Fellow
    Margaret Susan Brock Visiting Research Fellow
    Emily Buddle Affiliate Associate Lecturer
    Jenni Caruso Visiting Research Fellow
    Professor Jennifer Clark Professor
    Carolyn Collins ARC Research Fellow
    Robert Dare Visiting Associate Professor
    Michael Dietrich Visiting Professor
    Associate Professor Rob Foster Associate Professor
    Kylie Galbraith Visiting Research Fellow
    Rachel Harris Visiting Research Fellow
    Roger Knight Visiting Research Fellow
    Kristy Ann Kokegei Visiting Research Fellow
    David Lemmings Emeritus Professor
    Sabina Leonelli Adjunct Professor
    David Lockwood Visiting Fellow
    Jessica Loyer Visiting Research Fellow
    Thomas Mackay Visiting Research Fellow
    Susan Margaret Magarey Emeritus Professor
    Roderick (Rory) J. B. Muir Visiting Research Fellow
    Mark Neuendorf Visiting Research Fellow
    Bernard John O'Neil Visiting Research Fellow
    Carly Osborn Visiting Fellow
    Clare Parker Visiting Research Fellow
    Pauline Payne Visiting Research Fellow
    Wilfrid Prest Emeritus Professor
    Robin Prior Visiting Professor
    Barbara Santich Emeritus Professor
    Abaigeal Warfield Visiting Fellow
    Michael Walter Whiting Visiting Research Fellow
    ChingHwang Yen Emeritus Professor


  • Our scholarships

    The School of Humanities has a number of History scholarships and prizes available. Visit the Faculty of Arts for more information.

    Our Scholarships


  • Our research

    The Department of History has a vibrant research culture with a significant cohort of postgraduate researchers. 

    Our department has a particular strength in Australian history, including colonial conflict and peace-keeping, Aboriginal history and culture, contemporary political activism and citizenship, and migration.

    Drawing on our world-class British studies collection, funded by the Benham Bequest, there is also a strength in early modern British history, particularly relating to women, gender, family life, emotion and law. Research on emotion is particularly the focus of the ARC Centre of Excellence in the History of Emotions, which has a node in the department.

    Modern European history is well-represented and our researchers hold specialisms in political conflict and protest, rising nationalisms, and the world wars. Changing economies are critical for several of our researchers, underpinning histories of food production and ethics, business and global capitalism, and accounting across regions as diverse as the USA, UK and Australia. Our historical research is underpinned by an array of approaches, from material culture studies, film and art, to oral histories and ethnography, to databases and mapping, to an interrogation of the written form. Our culture is supported by regular seminars and workshops, postgraduate training, and early career mentorship.

    Higher degrees by research

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