Agnieszka is an historian with research specialisations in the cultural history of international affairs, 20th Century Australian relations with Asia, the history of travel and tourism, and the transnational emergence of foreign aid discourses.

Agnieszka’s research has been shaped by an ongoing interest in popular ideas about cultural and racial Others. She is fascinated by the intersections between popular perceptions and attitudes and official policy. She has worked on how travel and tourism influence Australian attitudes towards Asia, and how popular attitudes influence Australian-Asian relations. This research has led to an ongoing interest in the continuing force of colonial and proto-colonial culture in the post-war, post-colonial context.

Agnieszka also works on cultural history of foreign aid and development discourses, investigating how popular opinion affected foreign aid programs in Asia and Africa.

Funded Research Projects:

  1. ARC DECRA (2016-2019): Development volunteering programs and the cultural history of foreign aid (DE160100076)
    This project examines the cultural history of foreign aid through the study of development volunteering programs in Australia, Britain and the United States during the 1950s and 1960s. By examining programs that attracted the public’s attention to foreign aid policy, it seeks to ascertain how mainstream ideas about international development and the Third World developed and to trace the political impact of popular opinion on the foreign aid system. It is anticipated that this project will extend emerging scholarship on the cultural history of international affairs and expand our understanding of Australian perceptions of Asia.
  2. ARC Discovery Project (2016-2018): Australia’s Asian Garrisons (DP160100750), with Professor Christina Twomey, Professor Sean Brawley, Dr. Ernest Koh, Dr. Mathew Radcliffe
    This project examines Australia’s overseas military communities, which saw over 100,000 Australian service personnel and their families reside in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong between 1945 and 1988. By undertaking the first detailed analysis of these communities as major sites of cultural contact, the project seeks to integrate the experiences of service personnel, their families and host societies into the history of regional relationships. It is anticipated that the project will expand and reinterpret the history of Australia’s engagement with Asia, and extend the international scholarship on military bases, by focusing on the role of overseas garrisons in bilateral and regional relations.


History of Australian-Asian relations; Perceptions of Others; History of travel and tourism; Vernacular discourse and foreign policy; Cultural history of foreign aid and development; Peace Corps.

Other Grants and Prizes:

2016: National Library of Australia Fellowship

2015: Visiting the Neighbours: Australians in Asia shortlisted for Queensland Premier’s Literary Award (History Book Prize)

2015: Australia Indonesia Council:  ‘Australia-Indonesia Attitudes Impact Study – Historical’, Small Grant ($20,000).

2014:  Inaugural Patricia Grimshaw Prize for Best Article in Australian Historical Studies (2012-2013)

2014: Visiting Researcher, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington DC.

2014: Humanities Travelling Fellowship, Australian Academy of the Humanities.

2012:   Shortlisted, Serle Prize (Best thesis in Australian history), Australian Historical Association.

2011:  Second Prize, President’s Prize for Best Thesis on Asia (Asian Studies Association of Australia).

2010:  Endeavour Research Fellowship (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, undertaken at Universitas Udayana, Indonesia).

2010: Max Kelly Medal (History Council of New South Wales).

2010: AHA/CAL Postgraduate Prize (Australian Historical Association/ Copyright Agency Limited).

2008:   John Barrett Award for Australian Studies (Research Higher Degree Category) (International Australian Studies Association).

2008: Milt Luger Fellowship (State Library of New South Wales).

2006:  Norman McCann Summer Scholarship in Australian History (National Library of Australia).