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Personal profile

Research interests

Contemporary Pacific History and Politics; Fiji History and Politics, 19th and 20th centuries; Culture and History of the Indian Diaspora; comparative colonialism and constitutionalism; Plantation societies and cultures; Historiography and Biography; Fiction, Faction and History Writing; and Asian diaspora


I am currently working on a large scale project about Australia's engagement with the South Pacific from the 1940s to the 1980s, focusing on the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.  My research on Fiji continues with a historical dictionary and a general interpretative volume for the University of Hawaii currently in preparation, along with a series of essays on the politics and culture of the Indian indentured diaspora.  On the side, I continue to wrestle with the problems of writing about societies with unwritten pasts.

Career highlights

Member of the Fiji Constitution Review Commission whose report forms the basis of Fiji's constitution. Founding Editor of 'The Contemporary Pacific: A Journal of Island Affairs,' (Honolulu) and of 'Conversations,' (Canberra). Editor, 'The Journal of Pacific History.' Chairman, Pacific Manuscript Bureau. Founding Director of The Centre for the Contemporary Pacific, ANU. Convenor, Division of Pacific and Asian History and former Chair of Faculty, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. Deputy Director of the School of Culture, History and Language, ANU. Teaching experience (World and Pacific History) at the universities of the South Pacific, Hawaii at Manoa and Papua NewGuinea before joining ANU in 1990.

Awards include:

Fellowship of the Australian Humanities Academy,

Centenary Medal of the Government of Australia for contribution to humanities,

Pacific Distinguished Scholar Medal,

Officer of the Order of Fiji,

Selection as one of 75 Makers of 20th Century of Fijian History.


Expertise Areas

  • Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
  • Studies of Pacific Peoples' Societies
  • Asian History


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