The Laboratory of Modernity: Knowledge Formation and the Australian Settler Colonies (1788-1900)

April 2016December 2019
ARC Future Fellowship

Colonial Australia was a laboratory in which European ideas could be tested, raw data collected, and social experiments trialled, especially in managing settler, convict, and Aboriginal populations. This literary historical project will (1) analyse the production and circulation of colonial knowledge (2) focus on texts and print culture (2) map their influence on European thought and modern social theory. Grounded in meticulous archival and textual analysis, the Fellowship will trace the ways in which knowledge created in the settler colonies was produced by individuals and circulated by correspondence, institutions, and publication through imperial networks. It will produce new insights into Australia's literary and cultural history.

Project members

Photo of Anna Johnston

Associate Professor Anna Johnston

Deputy Director and ARC Future Fellow
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities