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Miranda Johnson profile photo.Contact details

Room 2S8, Arts 1 (Burns) Building
Tel +64 3 479 5761

Academic qualifications

2008: PhD University of Chicago
2003: MA University of Auckland
2000: BA (Hons) Victoria University of Wellington

Research interests

Miranda is a historian of colonialism and decolonization, focusing on issues of settler identity, race, indigeneity, citizenship, and the politics of writing history. Her research and teaching focuses on Anglophone settler societies of the South Pacific and North America.

Her first book, The Land is Our History: Indigeneity, Law and the Settler State (Oxford University Press, 2016) examined the wide-ranging effects of legal claims of Indigenous peoples in the settler states of New Zealand, Australia, and Canada in the late twentieth century. It won the W. K. Hancock Prize in 2018 from the Australian Historical Association.

She is currently writing a book on the mytho-history of the frontier in the Anglophone settler world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. She is also working on another book on the politics of history-making in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand.

She has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Sydney. With Associate Professor Frances Steel, she is co-director of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture.

Areas of research supervision

Miranda welcomes students in Pacific, Australian, New Zealand and North American history, with a focus on race, indigeneity, and settler identity in contexts of colonialism, decolonization, and postcolonialism, as well as in intersecting areas of environmental, political and constitutional histories. She is particularly interested in working with students interested in questions of historical practice and theory.

Current supervisions:

  • Steven O'Connor, PhD current
  • Georgina White, PhD current (associate supervisor)


  • HIST 102 The Global Twentieth Century
  • HIST 241 War and Society in the Modern World
  • HIST 347 Empires Strike Back: A Global History of Decolonization
  • HIST 353 Practising History
  • HIST 431 Special topic: Constituting New Zealand

Editorial responsibilities

Miranda is section editor Australasia and Pacific for History Compass and she sits on the editorial board of the New Zealand Journal of History.


Johnson, M. (2016). The land is our history: Indigeneity, law, and the settler state. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 248p. Authored Book - Research

Anderson, W., Johnson, M., & Brookes, B. (Eds.). (2018). Pacific futures: Past and present. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press, 314p. Edited Book - Research

Johnson, M., & Yannakakis, Y. (2023). Introduction. Ethnohistory, 70(2), 129-134. doi: 10.1215/00141801-10266785 Journal - Research Other

Johnson, M. (2023). Biculturalism and historiography in the era of neoliberalism: A view from Aotearoa New Zealand. Ethnohistory, 70(2), 167-185. doi: 10.1215/00141801-10266839 Journal - Research Article

Johnson, M., & Storr, C. (2022). Australia as empire. In P. Cane, L. Ford & M. McMillan (Eds.), The Cambridge legal history of Australia. (pp. 258-280). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781108633949.011 Chapter in Book - Research

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