Dr Melissa Harper's research interests include Australian cultural history, representations of landscape, attachments to place, recreational use of land, environmental issues, national identity, food and dining out in Australia.
Her current research interests include a history of bushwalking and environmental politics, with a particular focus on the period from 1945 to the present. She is exploring the way bushwalkers have faced a number of challenges to their self-apointed position as custodians of the Australian 'wilderness'. Challenges have come from other recreational users, governments, developers and and from Indigenous Australians.
She is the author of:
- 'Sensuality in Sandshoes: Representations of the bush in the walking and writing of John Le Gay Brereton and Percy Grainer'.
- 'A Boy's Own Adventure: George Morrison on Foot Across Australia'.
- 'A Battle for the Bush: Bushwalking versus Hiking between the Wars'.
- 'The Ways of the Walker: Bushwalking in Australia, 1788-1940' (PhD thesis).