PROF Sarah Maddison

PROF Sarah Maddison


  • Indigenous-settler relations
  • Reconciliation and conflict transformation
  • Settler colonialism



  • Sarah Maddison was educated at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney. She taught political science at the University of New South Wales from 2004-2014, where she also held roles as Senior Associate Dean (2007-2010) and as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2011-2014). She joined the University of Melbourne in 2015. In 2018 she co-founded a research unit, the Indigenous-Settler Relations Collaboration, in the Faculty of Arts, which she co-directs with Dr Sana Nakata. Also with Dr Nakata she edits the Springer book series Indigenous-Settler Relations in Australia and the World. She has published widely in the fields of reconciliation and intercultural relations, settler colonialism, Indigenous politics, gender politics, social movements, and democracy. Her most recent book, The Colonial Fantasy: Why white Australia can't solve black problems, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2019. In 2015 Sarah published Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation (Routledge) based on comparative research in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Australia, and Guatemala, and in 2016 she published the collection (co-edited with Tom Clark and Ravi de Costa) The Limits of Settler Colonial Reconciliation (Springer). Her book Black Politics: Inside the complexity of Aboriginal political culture (2009) was the joint winner of the Henry Mayer Book Prize in 2009. Her other recent books include The Women’s Movement in Protest, Institutions and the Internet (co-edited with Marian Sawer, 2013), Beyond White Guilt (2011), Unsettling the Settler State (co-edited with Morgan Brigg, 2011), and Silencing Dissent (co-edited with Clive Hamilton, 2007). In 2017 Sarah was Visiting Chair of Politics at the University of Cape Town and has previously held visiting positions at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, the University of Connecticut, The University of Witwatersrand, and the University of Ulster. In 2009 she was awarde   


Member of

  • Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Member 2010 -


Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • 2014-2016 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (with Ravi Da Costa, York University, and Tom
    Clark, Victoria University) Non-indigenous pathways to reconciliation in Australia

    2011-2014 Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, Reconciling nations: What can Australia learn
    from the international experience of democratic dialogue?

    2010-2012 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant, Where’s the evidence? Understanding the use of
    evidence in Indigenous policy, with Professors Ilan Katz and Patrick Dodson, and Partner Organisations the
    Australian Human Rights Commission and the Lingiari Foundation

    2008-2010 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, New possibilities for Indigenous representation: The
    opportunities and constraints of conflict among leaders

    2008-2010 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (with Professor Marian Sawer, Australian
    National University) The evolution of social movements


Education and training

  • Grad Cert, University of New South Wales 2006
  • PhD, University of Sydney 2004
  • BA(Hons), University of Technology Sydney 1998

Awards and honors

  • Henry Mayer Trust Book prize for Black politics: Inside the complexity of Abroginal political culture (joint award), Australian Political Studies Association, 2009
  • University Medal, University of Technology, Sydney, 1998



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

    • I am available to supervise topics relating to:

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander politics Indigenous-settler relations Conflict transformation and reconciliation
      Social movements
      Democratic theory and democratic participation
      Indigenous politics


    • I have recently supervised doctoral projects on topics including:
      State apologies to Indigenous peoples 
      Local governance in Timor Leste
      Feminist blogging
      Environment organisations and Australian democracy
      Youth organisations in Australia and the UK


    • I have co-supervised doctoral projects on topics including:
      Petitions from Indigenous Australians
      Citizen participation in constitutional reform