Researcher biography

Anna Johnston is Professor in English Literature in the School of Communication and Arts, and was Deputy Director of UQ's Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 2018-20. Anna worked at the University of Tasmania, where she was Director of the Centre for Colonialism and Its Aftermath (2013-16) and an Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow (2007-14). In 2014-15, Anna was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo.

In 2020, Anna completed her ARC Future Fellowship: “The Laboratory of Modernity: Knowledge Formation and the Australian Settler Colonies (1788-1900).” This major project traced how knowledge created in the early Australian colonies was circulated by print culture through imperial networks. From 2016-2020, Anna was also a member of the multi-institutional ARC grant “Intimacy and violence in Anglo Pacific Rim settler colonial societies, 1830-1930” (University of Newcastle), in which she focused on evangelical missionaries and colonial settlers who studied Indigenous languages in Australia and the Pacific. For a recent overview of this project, see UQ’s HASS Researchers.

With Sandra Philips, Anna leads UQ's Australian Studies Research Node at UQ (2020-).

Anna has published widely in the field of colonial and postcolonial studies, focussing on literary and cultural history: her new monograph The Antipodean Laboratory: Making Colonial Knowledge, 1770-1870 will be published in October 2023 (CUP). An edited collection with Em. Professor Elizabeth Webby (Sydney University) Eliza Hamilton Dunlop: Writing from the Colonial Frontier (Sydney University Press 2021) was published in the Sydney Studies in Australian Literature series. She has particular interests in settler colonialism, travel writing, and missionary writing and empire.

Anna is an experienced Masters and PhD supervisor, with 23 HDR completions. She is available to supervise topics on Australian literature (past and present), colonial and postcolonial world literature and cultural history, and travel writing, life writing, and print culture and book history studies. You can read about Anna's award-winning students here, including:

From 2023, Anna is the Director of Indigenous Engagement for the School of Communication and Arts. She is also the 2022 John Oxley Library Honorary Fellow at the State Libary of Quensland.