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Tony Ballantyne profile photo.Contact details

Room 2S12, Arts 1 (Burns) Building

Academic qualifications

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

Research interests

Tony was born and raised in Dunedin. His parents were Southlanders and his family has lived within the rohe of Kāi Tahu Whānui since the 1860s. A proud graduate of History at Otago, he completed his PhD at Cambridge under the supervision of Chris Bayly.

He has worked extensively on the development of colonial knowledge, changing understandings of language, religion and race, and cultures of mobility in the modern British empire. He is well known for developing an approach to the history of empire that focuses on the uneven 'webs' of exchange and connection that gave the empire shape and for highlighting the enduring cultural ‘entanglements’ that resulted from empire-building.

Early in his career, much of his writing focused on the history of the colonial Punjab and the Punjabi diaspora. But over the last two decades, his writing has increasingly turned to the colonisation of New Zealand and the changing place of these islands within the British Empire. That theme is central to the book he is currently completing on changing understandings of James Cook in New Zealand. He continues to study the place of knowledge in the colonisation of southern New Zealand, a long-running project that was initially supported by a grant from the Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and he also writes on the histories of missionaries and Christianity in New Zealand during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Tony has often worked collaboratively and has a particularly significant and long-standing collaboration with Antoinette Burton from the University of Illinois.

Tony previously served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Humanities and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, External Engagement at Otago and has sat on the boards of a number of institutions in New Zealand that have supported the Humanities, Asian Studies and Pacific Studies. Earlier in his career he held faculty positions at the National University of Ireland, Galway, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and Washington University in St Louis.

Editorial responsibilities

Tony is currently on the editorial boards of:

  • Journal of British Studies
  • History Australia
  • Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History

Areas of research supervision

  • The modern British empire, especially imperial networks and histories of mobility
  • Colonial knowledge
  • Cultural and intellectual life in 19th century New Zealand, especially Otago and Southland
  • Missionaries, empire and Christianity


Ballantyne, T. (2023). Art, memory and the aftermaths of imperial violence: The life and death of Te Maro. In A. Wanhalla, L. Ryan & C. Nurka (Eds.), Aftermaths: Colonialism, violence and memory in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. (pp. 217-226). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press. Chapter in Book - Research

Ballantyne, T. (2023). Education, difference and reform in the Pacific and modern British empire. History of Education, 52(5), 697-716. doi: 10.1080/0046760X.2022.2113155 Journal - Research Article

Ballantyne, T. (2023). Perpetual flight: Relationships in space and time [Conclusion]. In T. Ballantyne (Ed.), The making and remaking of Australasia: Mobility, texts and 'southern circulations'. (pp. 247-250). London,UK: Bloomsbury. doi: 10.5040/9781350283862.0008 Chapter in Book - Research

Ballantyne, T. (2023). Framing Australasia: Empire, colonization and the cartographic imagination. In T. Ballantyne (Ed.), The making and remaking of Australasia: Mobility, texts and 'southern circulations'. (pp. 21-42). London, UK: Bloomsbury. doi: 10.5040/ Chapter in Book - Research

Ballantyne, T. (2023). Southern circulations and the making and remaking of Australasia [Introduction]. In T. Ballantyne (Ed.), The making and remaking of Australasia: Mobility, texts and 'southern circulations'. (pp. 3-20). Bloomsbury. doi: 10.5040/9781350283862.0007 Chapter in Book - Research

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