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Dr Frances Steel

Frances Steel image 2021

Contact details

Room 2S9, Arts 1 (Burns) Building
Tel +64 3 479 8334
Email frances.steel@otago.ac.nz

Academic qualifications

2008: PhD, Australian National University
2003: PGDip (Arts), University of Otago
1999: BA, University of Otago

Frances joined the University of Otago in 2021. She previously taught at the University of Wollongong, where she was founding co-Director of the Centre for Colonial and Settler Studies.


Research interests

Frances specialises in the history of the Pacific world, with a particular focus on colonial networks, oceanic mobilities and transnational labour cultures. She has an ongoing interest in the interlinked colonial histories of New Zealand, Australia and the United States in the Pacific and their unfolding implications.

Her first book, Oceania under Steam (Manchester University Press, 2011), examined transformations in the western Pacific following the advent of timetabled shipping and the new forms of industrial labour and regional mobility in its wake. Frances’ interest in oceanic connections also led to the edited collection, New Zealand and the Sea: Historical Perspectives (Bridget Williams Books, 2018). She has published widely on colonial histories of cruise tourism, and on cultures of service labour, including the jointly-authored book, Colonialism and Male Domestic Service across the Asia Pacific (Bloomsbury, 2019). Her article in History Australia on servant mobilities between Fiji and New Zealand was awarded the Marian Quartly Prize in 2019.

Frances is currently working on a book that approaches British and American imperialisms in the Pacific through transpacific steamship and aviation routes and inter-island mobilities. It considers how these networks channelled interdependence, conflict and friction both across the Pacific and more widely within the Anglo-world. She is also developing a project on refrigeration and colonial food trades in the Pacific, which explores interrelated themes of climate control and changing patterns of production and consumption.

Her research has been supported by grants from the Australian Research Council and the National Library of Australia.


Areas of research supervision

Frances welcomes research proposals in Pacific and colonial history, including New Zealand in the Pacific; oceanic/maritime history; labour history; commodity history, including cultures of food and consumption.


Courses taught

Frances also contributes to:


Editorial responsibilities

Frances is currently co-editor (with Dr Adrian Muckle, VUW) of the Journal of Pacific History.

She also serves on the editorial boards of:

  • Atlantic Studies: Global Currents
  • New Zealand Journal of History

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Publications

Steel, F. (2020). Waitresses at sea: Gender, race and service labour on ocean liners, c.1930s-1960s. Women's History Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09612025.2020.1757866

Steel, F. (2016). Anglo-worlds in transit: Connections and frictions across the Pacific. Journal of Global History, 11(2), 251-270. doi: 10.1017/S1740022816000085

Martinez, J., Lowrie, C., Steel, F., & Haskins, V. (2019). Colonialism and male domestic service across the Asia Pacific. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic, 280p.

Steel, F. (2011). Oceania under steam: Sea transport and the cultures of colonialism, c.1870-1914. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 269p.

Steel, F. (Ed.). (2018). New Zealand and the sea: Historical perspectives. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams, 384p. doi: 10.7810/9780947518707

Steel, F. (2020). Waitresses at sea: Gender, race and service labour on ocean liners, c.1930s-1960s. Women's History Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09612025.2020.1757866

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2016). Anglo-worlds in transit: Connections and frictions across the Pacific. Journal of Global History, 11(2), 251-270. doi: 10.1017/S1740022816000085

Journal - Research Article

Martinez, J., Lowrie, C., Steel, F., & Haskins, V. (2019). Colonialism and male domestic service across the Asia Pacific. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic, 280p.

Authored Book - Research

Steel, F. (2011). Oceania under steam: Sea transport and the cultures of colonialism, c.1870-1914. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 269p.

Authored Book - Research

Steel, F. (Ed.). (2018). New Zealand and the sea: Historical perspectives. Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams, 384p. doi: 10.7810/9780947518707

Edited Book - Research

Steel, F. (2018). 'Time is on our side': Shipping and the coming of flight in the Pacific. In W. Anderson, M. Johnson & B. Brookes (Eds.), Pacific futures: Past and present. (pp. 107-130). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2015). Re-routing empire? Steam-age circulations and the making of an Anglo Pacific, c. 1850-90. Australian Historical Studies, 46(3), 356-373. doi: 10.1080/1031461X.2015.1071416

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2019). [Review of the book Steam titans: Cunard, Collins and the epic battle for commerce on the North Atlantic]. Mariner's Mirror, 105(2), 242-243. doi: 10.1080/00253359.2019.1592967

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2019). An ocean's embrace [Review of the book Wild sea: A history of the Southern Ocean]. History Australia, 16(2), 430-431. doi: 10.1080/14490854.2019.1588751

Journal - Research Other

Croft, F., Voyer, M., Adams, M., Visser, C., Leadbitter, D., Reverly, J., Steel, F., & Kennedy, J. (2019). Does 'the local' provide a pathway to revitalizing primary production in regional communities?: A case study of professional fishing on the NSW South coast. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 25(2), 254-281.

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2018). Cruises and the making of greater New Zealand. In F. Steel (Ed.), New Zealand and the sea: Historical perspectives. (pp. 251-273). Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams. doi: 10.7810/9780947518707

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2018). New Zealand and the sea: An introduction. In F. Steel (Ed.), New Zealand and the sea: Historical perspectives. (pp. 7-27). Wellington, New Zealand: Bridget Williams. doi: 10.7810/9780947518707

Chapter in Book - Research

Carey, J., & Steel, F. (2018). On the critical importance of colonial formations [Introduction]. History Australia, 15(3), 399-412. doi: 10.1080/14490854.2018.1491020

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2018). Servant mobilities between Fiji and New Zealand: The transcolonial politics of domestic work and immigration restriction, c.1870–1920. History Australia, 15(3), 519-539. doi: 10.1080/14490854.2018.1485504

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2017). Mobile representations of a "New Pacific": A comment. Transfers, 7(1), 108-112. doi: 10.3167/TRANS.2017.070108

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2016). Shipping, imperial. In J. Mackenzie (Ed.), The encyclopedia of Empire. (pp. 1-12). John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118455074.wbeoe196

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2016). The cruise ship. In K. Alexeyeff & J. Taylor (Eds.), Touring Pacific cultures. (pp. 61-72). Canberra, Australia: ANU Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2016). ‘Fiji is really the Honolulu of the dominion’: Tourism, empire, and New Zealand’s Pacific, ca. 1900-35. In K. Pickles & C. Coleborne (Eds.), New Zealand's empire. (pp. 147-162). Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press. doi: 10.7765/9781784996857.00018

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2015). [Review of the book Islanded: Britain, Sri Lanka and the bounds of an Indian Ocean colony]. Indian Economic & Social History Review, 52(4), 576-578. doi: 10.1177/0019464615608042

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2015). [Review of the book New Zealand's London: A colony and its metropolis]. Transfers, 5(1), 138-140. doi: 10.3167/TRANS.2015.050114

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2015). The "missing link": Space, race, and transoceanic ties in the settler-colonial Pacific. Transfers, 5(3), 49-67. doi: 10.3167/TRANS.2015.050305

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2014). Lines across the sea: Trans-Pacific passenger shipping in the age of steam. In R. Aldrich & K. McKenzie (Eds.), The Routledge history of western empires. (pp. 315-329). London, UK: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315879499

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2013). [Review of the book Transnational networks: German migrants in the British Empire, 1670–1914]. International Journal of Maritime History, 25(2), 279-280. doi: 10.1177/084387141302500226

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2013). An ocean of leisure: Early cruise tours of the Pacific in an age of empire. Journal of Colonialism & Colonial History, 14(2). doi: 10.1353/cch.2013.0019

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2013). Cruising New Zealand's West Coast Sounds: Fiord tourism in the Tasman World c.1870-1910. Australian Historical Studies, 44(3), 361-381. doi: 10.1080/1031461X.2013.817452

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2012). [Review of the book Oceanic encounters: Exchange, desire, violence]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 13(3), 306-308. doi: 10.1080/14442213.2012.680711

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2012). [Review of the book To Auckland by the Ganges: The journal of a sea voyage to New Zealand in 1863]. International Journal of Maritime History, 24(2), 328-330. doi: 10.1177/084387141202400235

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2012). [Review of the book: A Pacific industry: The history of pineapple canning in Hawaii]. Journal of Pacific History, 47(4), 531-532. doi: 10.1080/00223344.2012.733068

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2011). [Review of the book Urbanizing frontiers: Indigenous peoples and settlers in 19th-century Pacific rim cities]. Aboriginal History, 35, 211-213. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2011). Uncharted waters?: Cultures of sea transport and mobility in New Zealand colonial history. Journal of New Zealand Studies, 12, 137-154.

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. M. (2010). Maritime mobilities in Pacific history: Towards a scholarship of betweeness. In G. Mom, P. Norton, G. W. Clarsen & G. Pirie (Eds.), Mobility in history: Themes in transport. (pp. 199-204). Neuchatel, Switzerland: Editions Alphil.

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2010). Via New Zealand around the world: The Union Steam Ship Company and the trans-Pacific mail lines, 1880s-1910s. In P. Ahrens & C. Dixon (Eds.), Coast to coast: Case histories of modern pacific crossings. (pp. 59-75). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2009). [Review of the book Cruising in the global economy: Profits, pleasure and work at sea]. Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 10(1), 64-66. doi: 10.1080/14442210802644809

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2009). [Review of the book Sailors and traders: A maritime history of the Pacific peoples]. New Zealand Journal of History, 43(2), 231-232. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2009). Suva under steam: Mobile men and a colonial port capital, 1880s-1910s. In A. M. Burton & T. Ballantyne (Eds.), Moving subjects: Gender, mobility, and intimacy in an age of global empire. (pp. 110-126). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Chapter in Book - Research

Steel, F. (2008). Women, men and the southern octopus: Shipboard gender relations in the age of steam, 1870s-1910s. International Journal of Maritime History, 20(2), 285-306. doi: 10.1177/084387140802000214

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2006). [Review of the book The Pacific muse: Exotic femininity and the colonial Pacific]. BC Studies, 151, 104-105. [Book Review].

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2005). 'New Zealand is Butterland': interpreting the historical significance of a daily spread. New Zealand Journal of History, 39(2), 179-194.

Journal - Research Article

Steel, F. (2005). [Review of the book Pacific places, Pacific histories: Essays in honor of Robert C. Kiste]. Journal of Pacific History, 40(2), 258-259. doi: 10.1080/00223340500176772

Journal - Research Other

Steel, F. (2005). A source of our wealth, yet adverse to our health? Butter and the diet-heart link in New Zealand to c.1990. Social History of Medicine, 18(3), 475-493. doi: 10.1093/shm/hki048

Journal - Research Article

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