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Professor Tony Ballantyne, FRSNZ

Professor Tony Ballantyne

Professor Tony Ballantyne, FRSNZ, is Deputy-Vice-Chancellor External Engagement at the University of Otago.

The External Engagement Division is responsible for raising the profile of the University and attracting high quality domestic and international students to study at Otago. The Division embraces a global outlook and leads and promotes activities to increase engagement, both nationally and internationally, and seeks to build lasting relationships with key stakeholders. The Division includes Development and Alumni Relations, Centre for Asia-Pacific Excellence, Communications, International, Marketing, Schools Liaison, Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships and the Auckland Centre.

Academic qualifications

1999: PhD, Cambridge
1993: BA(Hons), University of Otago

Research interests

Tony is recognised as a world-leading historian of the modern British empire. He has worked extensively on the development of colonial knowledge, changing understandings of language, religion and race, and the uneven ‘webs’ of exchange and connection that gave the empire shape. He has developed many of these approaches and arguments through his work on the history of the colonial Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora.

In recent years much of his research has come to focus on the changing place of New Zealand within the British Empire. Some of this New Zealand-based research has been anthologised in a collection of essays, Webs of Empire, published by Bridget Williams Books in 2012 and the University of British Columbia in 2014. His most recent book is entitled Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Māori and the Question of the Body published by Duke University Press in 2014: Auckland University Press produced a New Zealand edition of this volume in 2015.

His current research primarily focuses on the development of colonial knowledge in southern New Zealand, a long-running project that was supported by a grant from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He is currently working on a set of related monographs on this material, including a study of the collector and historian Herries Beattie and a volume examining debates over resource use and economic life in colonial Otago.

Tony has often worked collaboratively. He has a long-standing collaboration with Antoinette Burton from the University of Illinois. Their most recent works are Empires and The Reach of the Global, 1870-1945, published by Harvard University Press; and a co-edited volume entitled World Histories From Below: Dissent and Disruption with Bloomsbury Press.

In addition to serving as Deputy-Vice-Chancellor, Tony also directs the University's Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2012.

Editorial responsibilities

Tony is currently on the editorial boards of:

  • Journal of Punjab Studies
  • Journal of New Zealand Studies
  • Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

Areas of research supervision

  • Colonial knowledge
  • Imperial networks
  • Print culture
  • Cultural and intellectual life in 19th century New Zealand, especially Otago and Southland