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Dr Hugh MorrisonAssociate Professor
BA (Hons) (Otago), BTh (ACT), PhD (Massey), FRHistS

Dunedin Campus
Tel +64 3 479 4240


My graduate studies in Geography and History took me to the Christchurch College of Education and then to a teaching position at New Plymouth Girls' High School.

I then went on to theological study and professional youth work, with a focus on volunteer adult training. PhD study in New Zealand religious history at Massey University led to teaching contracts in the History Department at the University of Waikato, where I was a History Research Associate between 2007 and 2017.

Current teaching focuses on Social Science curriculum areas for pre-service Secondary trainees, on the history of children and young people, and on education history. Research is in the broader areas of religious, social and cultural history with a focus on New Zealand's interface with the British world and British Empire (especially through the modern Protestant missionary movement), and on the religious identities of children and young people.

Scholarly Involvement and Connections

  • Society membership and involvement: Member of the Society for the History of Children and Youth (and Co-chair, Australasian Regional Network); Children's History Society UK (Overseas Committee Member); Ecclesiastical History Society (UK); Yale-Edinburgh Group on the History of the Missionary Movement and World Christianity; New Zealand Historical Association, New Zealand Religious History Association
  • Editorial board member for the Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood series (Palgrave Macmillan) and the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies (Deputy Chair); Panel Judge for the Grace Abbott Book Prize Committee, Society for the History of Children and Youth
  • Visiting Fellowships and Distinctions: Elected Visiting Fellow, Magdalen College, University of Oxford (2017); Visiting Fellow, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh (2012); Research Associate in the History Programme, University of Waikato (2007-2017)
  • Invited research presentations / addresses: Centre for the History of Childhood, University of Oxford (2017 and 2012); Institute of Historical Research, University of London (2017 and 2010); Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies, University of Edinburgh (2015); Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World, University of Edinburgh (2012)
  • Research Centre affiliations / membership: the Centre for the History of Childhood (University of Oxford); the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture (University of Otago); the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies (University of Otago)
  • Peer or book reviewer for: Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth; Journal of Ecclesiastical History; Journal of Religious History; Social Sciences and Missions/Sciences Sociales et Missions; Journal of Educational Administration and History; New Zealand Geographer; New Zealand Journal of History; and New Zealand Sociology
  • Book Reviews Co-editor for the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (John Hopkins University Press).

Teaching Area

  • History of children and young people
  • Secondary Social Sciences Curriculum Areas
  • History of Education

Research Interests

My research focuses on New Zealand and British world religious history, with a particular emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth century Protestant missionary movement and its relationship to children, literature and education. There are three critical aspects.

  1. The mission history aspects are seminal and programmatic with respect to the New Zealand context and to colonial religious childhoods. This research provides a framework and counterpoint for national and international scholars to engage with further.
  2. I adopt a transnational and comparative approach for interpreting British world religious history. For example my focus on children and religion compares three different settings - New Zealand, Canada, Scotland – by looking at ways that religion, empire, nation, education, geography, and family shaped children's and young people's identity.
  3. I adopt a theoretical and historiographical perspective across all areas of research, to elucidate new historical understanding by scrutinising religious history and practice with respect to contexts, discourses, emotions and new possibilities. This approach is directly influenced both by the focus on mission history (requiring local religious trends to be interpreted globally) and by wider reflection on religious and childhood history thinking and practice.


Morrison, H. (2024). Protestant missionary children's lives, c.1870-1950: Empire, religion and emotion. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 272p. Authored Book - Research

Morrison, H. (2023). Happy families?: Scottish Presbyterian missionary children's homes, 1900s-1950s. Scottish Church History, 52(2), 155-178. doi: 10.3366/sch.2023.0104 Journal - Research Article

Morrison, H. (2022). 'It is well with the child': Changing views on protestant missionary children's health, 1870s-1930s. Studies in Church History, 58, 306-329. doi: 10.1017/stc.2022.15 Journal - Research Article

Morrison, H. (2021). Reimagining the Protestant missionary family: The Malcoms of the China Inland Mission. Journal of Religious History, 45(3), 465-488. doi: 10.1111/1467-9809.12757 Journal - Research Article

Morrison, H. (2021). Protestant children, missions and education in the British World. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. doi: 10.1163/9789004503083 Authored Book - Research

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