History research interests

Browse the research interests of staff in the History programme.

For detailed research areas and lists of publications please see the profiles of individual staff.


Wellington has the best research archives and resources in the country for New Zealand history as well as good early modern material. Not surprisingly, Victoria's past leading History scholars have worked in these areas. They include Australian and New Zealand historian Fred L Wood, New Zealand and James Cook scholar JC Beaglehole, and British and New Zealand historian David A Hamer. In addition New Zealand historians James Belich and Richard Hill from the Stout Research Centre are associated with the School through supervision of postgraduate students and teaching a History Honours course.

Currently our research focuses on the modern period, covering a wide geographical region:

  • Early Modern and Modern European History
  • American History
  • New Zealand, Pacific and Australian History
  • Asian History (principally China and India)
  • the Atlantic World.

Research strengths of the programme

Research strengths of the Programme include:

  • representations and presentation of History, especially cinematic representations, historiography, fiction, biography and autobiography
  • Comparative History, an excellent example of which is New Zealand, for putting into the wider international context
  • Social History, especially relations of gender, class, caste, race and slavery, the history of sport and crime.

Current research projects

Sekhar Bandyopadhyay: 'Dalits in the history of Partition in Eastern India'

Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Professor in the History Programme, received a Marsden Grant (2012-2014) to study Dalits, traditionally known as Untouchable, in the history of Partition in Eastern India.

Steve Behrendt: 'Liverpool's maritime history, 1700-1850'

Steve Behrendt, a Senior Lecturer in the History Programme, received a Marsden grant (2010-2012) to study Liverpool's history as a trading port, 1700-1850. The project will examine the rapid trade-led growth of Liverpool, the legacy of the slave trade to Liverpool, and assess economic and social links between maritime and industrial eras. Part of the project will be the creation of a public access online database, a sustainable resource for scholars and users interested in Liverpool, the slave trade, immigration, maritime history and early Lancashire industrialisation. The database will contain information on ships, voyages, mariners, merchants and cargoes, and the website also will include representative historical documents, interactive maps, and lesson plans.