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Academic qualifications

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

Research interests

Tony's research focuses on the cultural history of the British Empire during the 19th century. 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.

He has also explored 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 and Auckland University Press has produced a New Zealand edition of this volume.

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 the production of cultural memory 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 work is Empires and The Reach of the Global, 1870-1945, published by Harvard University Press.

In addition to serving as Head of Department, Tony also directs the University's Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He also edits, with Barbara Brookes, the New Zealand Journal of History.

Editorial responsibilities

Tony is currently the editor of the New Zealand Journal of History and is 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


Ballantyne, T. (2014). Entanglements of empire: Missionaries, Māori, and the question of the body. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 360p.

Ballantyne, T. (2014). Empires, modernisation and modernities. International Journal for History, Culture and Modernity, 2(1), 25-42. doi: 10.5117/HCM2014.1.BAll

Ballantyne, T. (2012). Webs of Empire: Locating New Zealand's colonial past. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams Books, 374p.

Ballantyne, T., & Burton, A. (2012). Empires and the reach of the global: 1870-1945. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 227p.

Ballantyne, T., & Burton, A. (2012). Empires and the reach of the global. In E. S. Rosenberg (Ed.), A world connecting: 1870-1945. (pp. 285-434). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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