Bio

My expertise is in the history and politics of knowledge.

I believe that ideas matter. Both as individuals and as a society we need spaces for deep thinking and spaces in which we can come together to talk about what matters. I’m interested in the ways universities can help build these spaces and committed to participating in the conversations they enable.

I am an historian at the University of Technology Sydney, Director of the Australian Centre for Public History and the Senior Research Fellow at The Women’s College. My research focuses on universities, knowledge and international politics in the modern period. I am the author of “Empire of Scholars: universities, networks and the British academic world” (Manchester, 2013) and of articles in several international scholarly journals. I have been awarded research grants from the Australian Research Council, Heidelberg University, the University of Oxford, and the British Academy, and held academic positions at the University of Oxford, Brunel University London, and the University of Sydney. I hold a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar. My current projects focus on the political history of the university.

My writing on higher education has been published by The Guardian, The Conversation, and the Times Higher Education magazine and I have contributed to public policy discussions through the World Universities Network Commissioned Report (2013) and The Guardian’s Future of Higher Education Summit (2012). These writings are gathered at my blog Cap and Gown. I have also consulted to individual universities in the USA, UK and Australia on strategy and communications. You can find me on twitter as @cap_and_gown.

I am passionate about bringing ideas to a public audience. I present The Conversation’s “Speaking With …” podcast series, and I have hosted a variety of public events including book launches and Q&A panels. I have an extensive background in speech-writing, policy advice and event organisation as Aide to the Governor of Victoria.