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Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen

ONZM, PhD (Duke), FRSNZ & FNZAH

Email erik.olssen@otago.ac.nz

Research Interests

My main interest is the relationships between politics, society, ideas, culture, and economics. The ways in which they produce the lives of individuals and their societies has been a particular interest. Most of my research has been on New Zealand history and to a lesser extent the history of the United States, although comparative analyses within specific fields have often waylaid me. Since the late 1970s labour history and social history more generally have been my major research areas.

The ‘Caversham Project’ has taken up much of my time since 1995. This project, which brings together labour and social history perspectives, has had two distinct phases. The first phase focussed on ‘Urban Society and the Opportunity Structure’, identifying the structures of social and geographical mobility and their inter-relationship with residential differentiation. The second phase, which focused on gender rather than class but continued to investigate structures and the ways in which they have changed, resulted in Sites of Gender, edited by Barbara Brookes, Annabel Cooper and Robin Law (Auckland University Press, 2003). The third phase focuses on marital, inter-generational and worklife mobility in An Accidental Utopia? Social Mobility and the Foundations of an Egalitarian Society. When that is finished I hope to return to my history of New Zealand.
 

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Publications

Reilly, M., & Olssen, E. (2018). Te Tūtakitanga o ngā Tāngata: The meeting of peoples. In M. Reilly, S. Duncan, G. Leoni, L. Paterson, L. Carter, M. Rātima & P. Rewi (Eds.), Te Kōparapara: An introduction to the Māori world. (pp. 158-179). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press.

Olssen, E. (2017). [Review of the book The big smoke: New Zealand cities 1840-1920]. New Zealand Journal of History, 51(1), 222-223. [Book Review].

Olssen, E. (2011). Towards a reassessment of W.F. Massey: One of New Zealand's greatest prime ministers (arguably). In J. Watson & L. Paterson (Eds.), A great New Zealand prime minister? Reappraising William Ferguson Massey. (pp. 15-30). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Olssen, E., Griffen, C., & Jones, F. (2011). An accidental utopia? Social mobility and the foundations of an egalitarian society, 1880-1940. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 334p.

Olssen, E. (2011, February). Reflecting on a history of Otago. Verbal presentation at the Otago: The Making of a Colonial Culture Symposium, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Olssen, E., Griffen, C., & Jones, F. (2011). An accidental utopia? Social mobility and the foundations of an egalitarian society, 1880-1940. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 334p.

Authored Book - Research

Olssen, E., & Hickey, M. (2005). Class and occupation: The New Zealand reality. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press, 313p.

Authored Book - Research

Stenson, M., & Olssen, E. (1997). A Century of Change: New Zealand 1800-1900, 2nd edition. Auckland: Longman, 366p.

Authored Book - Other

Fairburn, M., & Olssen, E. (Eds.). (2005). Class, gender and the vote: Historical perspectives from New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press.

Edited Book - Research

Reilly, M., & Olssen, E. (2018). Te Tūtakitanga o ngā Tāngata: The meeting of peoples. In M. Reilly, S. Duncan, G. Leoni, L. Paterson, L. Carter, M. Rātima & P. Rewi (Eds.), Te Kōparapara: An introduction to the Māori world. (pp. 158-179). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2011). Towards a reassessment of W.F. Massey: One of New Zealand's greatest prime ministers (arguably). In J. Watson & L. Paterson (Eds.), A great New Zealand prime minister? Reappraising William Ferguson Massey. (pp. 15-30). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2006). Dunedin: No mean city. In K. Gentry & G. McLean (Eds.), Heartlands: New Zealand historians write about places where history happened. (pp. 145-164). Auckland, New Zealand: Penguin Books.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2006). What if the strikers at Waihi had triumphed? In S. Levine (Ed.), New Zealand as it might have been. (pp. 93-108). Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Fairburn, M., & Olssen, E. (2005). Introduction. In Class, gender and the vote: Historical perspectives from New Zealand. (pp. 7-14). Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2005). 'For better or worse': Marriage patterns in Dunedin's southern subur. In Class, gender and the vote: Historical perspectives from New Zealand. (pp. 75-100). Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E., & Reilly, M. P. J. (2004). Te tūtakitanga o ngā ao e rua: Early contacts between two worlds. In T. M. Ka'ai, J. C. Moorfield, M. P. J. Reilly & S. Mosley (Eds.), Ki te Whaiao: An introduction to Māori culture and society. (pp. 140-150). Auckland, New Zealand: Pearson Longman.

Chapter in Book - Research

Brookes, B. L., Olssen, E., & Beer, E. (2003). Spare time? Leisure, gender and modernity. In B. Brookes, A. Cooper & R. Law (Eds.), Sites of gender: Women, men and modernity in Southern Dunedin, 1890-1939. (pp. 151-189). Auckland University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Cooper, A., Olssen, E., Thomlinson, K., & Law, R. (2003). The landscape of gender politics: Place, people and two mobilisations. In B. Brookes, A. Cooper & R. Law (Eds.), Sites of gender: Women, men and modernity in Southern Dunedin, 1890-1939. (pp. 15-49). Auckland University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2003). Working gender, gendering work: Occupational change and continuity in Southern Dunedin. In B. Brookes, A. Cooper & R. Law (Eds.), Sites of gender: Women, men and modernity in Southern Dunedin, 1890-1939. (pp. 50-90). Auckland University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2002). ANZUS: the New Zealand Perspective, 1951-2001. In P. Bastian & R. Bell (Eds.), Through Depression and War: Australia and the United States. (pp. 143-155). Sydney: Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. (2002). New Zealand in the American Century. In R. Rabel (Ed.), The American Century? In Retrospect and Prospect. (pp. 175-192). Westfield, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Chapter in Book - Research

Isaac, P., & Olssen, E. (2000). The justification for Labour's housing scheme: The discourse of "the slum". In B. Brookes (Ed.), At Home in New Zealand: History, Houses, People. (pp. 107-124). Wellington: Bridget Williams Books.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1999). Families and the gendering of European New Zealand in the colonial period, 1840-80. In C. Daley & D. Montgomerie (Eds.), The Gendered Kiwi. (pp. 37-62). Auckland: Auckland University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1999). Politics during the provincial period in Otago & Southland, 1853-76. In P. Sorrell (Ed.), The Cyclopeaedia of Otago and Southland. (pp. 81-84). Dunedin: Dundein City Council / Longacre Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). A H McLintock. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 317). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Babies for the Empire. In M. Crocket & T. Snow (Eds.), The Listener Bedside Book No. 2. (pp. 84-90). Auckland: W & H Publications.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Edgar Hunter. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 241). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Fraser and Lee. In M. Clark (Ed.), Peter Fraser: Prime Minister. (pp. 27-44). Palmerston North: The Dunmore Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Fred Rayner. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 410). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). James Fletcher. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 165). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). James Munro and Peter Neilson. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 357). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). John Child. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 93). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Lee, John Alfred Alexander, 1891-1982. In Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, vol 4, 1921-1940. (pp. 284-286). Auckland/Wellington: Auckland University Press/Dept of Internal Affairs.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Mark Silverstone. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 455-456). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). New Zealand-Australia Relations. In G. Davison, J. Hirst & S. MacIntyre (Eds.), Oxford Companion to Australian History. (pp. 466-467). Oxford and Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Robert Slater. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 460-461). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). Steve Boreham. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 53). Dunedin: Longacre Press and the Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1998). William Earnshaw. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 144). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N., & Cooper, A. (1998). John A Lee. In Southern People: A Dictionary of Otago Southland Biography. (pp. 279-280). Dunedin: Longacre Press and Dunedin City Council.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N., & Ryan, S. (1998). Jones, Frederick, 1884-1966. In Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Vol 4, 1921-1940. (pp. 255-256). Auckland/Wellington: Auckland University Press/Dept of Internal Affairs.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1996). Dunedin. In International Dictionary of Historic Places: Vol.5, Asia and Oceania. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1996). Friendly Societies in New Zealand, 1840-1990. In M. van der Linden (Ed.), Social Security Mutualism: The Comparative History of Mutual Benefit Societies. (pp. 177-208). Bern: Peter Lang.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E. N. (1995). Nouvelle-ZTlande. In M. Dreyfus & B. Gibaud (Eds.), MutualitT de Tous Pays 'Un PassT' Riche d'Avenour. (pp. 321-334). Paris: MutualitT Frantaise.

Chapter in Book - Research

Olssen, E., & Scates, B. (2008). Class formation and political change: A trans-tasman dialogue. Labour History, 95, 3-24.

Journal - Research Article

Olssen, E. N., & James, H. B. (1999). Social Mobility and Class Formation: the worklife social mobility of men in a New Zealand suburb, 1902-1928. International Review of Social History, 44(4), 419-448.

Journal - Research Article

Olssen, E. N., Brooking, T., Heenan, L. D., James, H. B., McLennan, B. R., & Griffen, C. C. (1999). Urban society and the opportunity structure in New Zealand, 1902-22: The Caversham project. Social History, 24(1), 39-54.

Journal - Research Article

Olssen, E. N. (1997). Mr Wakefield and New Zealand as an experiment in post-Enlightenment experimental practice. New Zealand Journal of History, 31(2), 197-218.

Journal - Research Article

Boyd, J., & Olssen, E. N. (1988). The Skilled Workers: Journeymen and Masters in Caversham, 1880-1914. New Zealand Journal of History, 22 (Oct. 1, 118-135.

Journal - Research Article

Olssen, E. (2017). [Review of the book The big smoke: New Zealand cities 1840-1920]. New Zealand Journal of History, 51(1), 222-223. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Olssen, E. (2008). [Review of the book The New Zealand family from 1840: A demographic history. New Zealand Journal of History, 42(1), 101-102.

Journal - Research Other

Olssen, E. N. (1998). The Reconstruction of a Community: The Caversham Project. In N. J. Bethune (Ed.), Work 'n' Pastimes: 150 years of pain and pleasure, labour and leisure, proceedings of the 1998 conference of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists held at the University of Otago, Dunedin 10th-13th April 1998. (pp. 461-474). Dunedin: New Zealand Society of Genealogists. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Olssen, E. N. (1997). Wakefield and the Scottish Enlightenment, with particular reference to Adam Smith and his Wealth of Nations. Edward Gibbon Wakefield and the Colonial Dream: a Reconsideration. (pp. 47-66). Wellington: GP Publications. [Full Paper]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Olssen, E. (2011, February). Reflecting on a history of Otago. Verbal presentation at the Otago: The Making of a Colonial Culture Symposium, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

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