History staff research interests

Browse the research interests of staff in the History programme.

Select current research projects demonstrate our breadth of historical interest.

  • Catherine Abou-Nemeh works on Dutchman Nicolas Hartsoeker (1656–1725), a participant in mathematical and optical arts of the Dutch Republic, natural philosophy of the Paris Academy of Sciences, and the courtly science of the Palatinate in Düsseldorf.
  • Steve Behrendt currently works on sugar plantations in the 18th-century Caribbean, Liverpool’s maritime past and British industrialisation.
  • Kate Hunter studies social and cultural aspects of the First World War with an emphasis on the Australia-New Zealand region. She has wider interests in 19th- and early 20th-century women’s and gender histories, and is currently working on a project about the cultural influence of the Middle East in Australasia.
  • Dolores Janiewski has pursued research on conservatism and the radical right in New Zealand and the United States, media and the ‘Long Red Scare’ from 1871 to 1955, private-public security networks, left feminism, and civil liberties in the United States.
  • Giacomo Lichtner’s current research considers the history of Holocaust cinema, investigating visual representations of the challenging topics of dehumanisation, the gas chambers, and the liberation of the death camps.
  • Arini Loader is examining and exploring a manuscript comprised of some 230 waiata (songs) written by some of the 180 Māori men taken prisoner from the battle of Rangiriri in the New Zealand Wars.
  • Cybèle Locke is in the final stages of a book-length biography of Auckland communist and working-class trade union leader Bill Andersen. Andersen's life is a window through which to examine the intersection between communism, trade unionism and social movements, from the 1930s to the early 21st century.
  • Charlotte Macdonald works on gender and empire in the 19th-century world. She is currently completing a major work on garrison culture in the British Empire, a project funded by a Marsden grant.
  • Alexander Maxwell studies national awakening in East-Central Europe, and is currently studying linguistic Panslavism in the Habsburg Monarchy.
  • Jim McAloon’s major research deals with the colonial middle class in New Zealand either side of 1900, combining collective biography, probate sources, and the records of organisations and individuals.
  • Adrian Muckle is an historian of the Pacific islands region, including its intersection with histories of NZ and of the French empire, in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. His latest project examines the history of the French ‘Native Code’ in New Caledonia.
  • Valerie Wallace is currently researching the hidden influence of Scots law—paying particular attention to constitutional law, criminal procedure, and family law—on the settler societies of 19th-century Australia and New Zealand. Funded by a three-year Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi Marsden grant, it is the first project to examine the impact of Scots law on British settler colonialism.

Digital humanities

Other research interests associate with digital humanities projects.

Our students, too, have developed skills in digital humanities to showcase their research.

  • Clare Gleeson completed her PhD at Victoria University of Wellington on New Zealand sheet music and music making, 1840–1940, with her research work associated with New Zealand’s Audio Culture and Musical Notables.
  • In an honours class on digital humanities, students produced websites that include text and images.
  • Maggie Blackburn’s project Behind the Names examined one New Zealand city’s suffrage signatories and plotted these women’s names and networks on interactive maps.

For other research by historians at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, see our recent publications.