Professor Anna Johnston


School of Communication and Arts
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Affiliate Associate Professor

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+61 7 336 53215


Anna Johnston is Associate 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 ARC Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow (2007-14). In 2014-15, Anna was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Tokyo.

Anna recently completed her ARC Future Fellowship: “The Laboratory of Modernity: Knowledge Formation and the Australian Settler Colonies (1788-1900).” This 4-year 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 most recent monograph is The Paper War: Morality, Print Culture, and Power in Colonial New South Wales (UWA Press 2011). An edited collection with Professor Elizabeth Webby (Sydney University) Eliza Hamilton Dunlop: Writing from the Colonial Frontier (Sydney University Press 2021) has been 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:

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.

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

  • 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.


  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours Class 2A, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Arts, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all 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