Professor Anna Johnston


School of Communication and Arts
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


School of Communication and Arts
Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Affiliate Associate Professor

Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 53215


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.

Research Impacts

Anna is regularly involved with the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) sector in building and sharing knowledge between universities and the public in the cultural sectors. For example, in 2019, Anna led a new collaboration between UQ and the National Library of Australia to digitise the popular geographical magazine Walkabout (1934-74) on TROVE, with the support of a UQ HASS Partnership grant. In 2022-23, Anna held the John Oxley Library Honorary Fellowship for her project "History and Fiction: Mapping Frontier Violence in Colonial Queensland Writing."

Anna regularly engages with media outlets to discuss books, literary history, and writing:

  • "The Antipodean Laboratory and the 'Sea-Girt Prison': Print Culture on Norfolk Island, 1840-44", paper for University of Newcastle, on YouTube for NSW History Week 2023,
  • Interviewed for The Storyteller With No Audience, The Museum of Bad Vibes, BBC Sounds, 2 August 2022
  • Interview on the Irish-Australian poet Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, Uncommon Sense, with Judith Peppard, 3RRRFM, Melbourne, 22 June 2021
  • Article in The Conversation on the Irish-Australian poet Eliza Hamilton Dunlop, 17 June 2021
  • Interview on what makes an Australian book a classic (at 1h.37m). Afternoons with Katherine Feeney, ABC Radio Brisbane, 10 February 2020
  • Interview (with Charlotte-Rose Millar) Popsart, 1 March 2019
  • Blog post: "Plants, Potions and Love Magic," UQ Art Museum Second Sight Exhibition, March-June 2019.
  • "In Conversation with Min Jin Lee," Brisbane Writers Festival, University of Queensland, 6 September 2017.
  • Panelist: "Colonial Stories" panel, Brisbane Writers Festival event, 11 September 2016.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Masters (Coursework), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Arts, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Farley, Simon and Johnston, Anna (2017). Collections and print culture in the wake of Cook's Endeavour voyage. The Australian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres Annual Conference: GLAMorous Humanities: Working with Collecting and Cultural Institutions., Canberra, Australia, 8-10 November 2017.

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors: