Emeritus Professor Tim Rowse

Professor Tim Rowse with trees and the Female Orphan School in the background.Professor Tim Rowse is a former Professorial Fellow in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and is Emeritus Professor in the Institute for Culture and Society.

Although much of what he writes can best be described as History, his formal training has been in Government, Sociology and Anthropology. He has taught at Macquarie University, the Australian National University and Harvard University (where he held the Australian Studies chair in 2003-4), and he has held research appointments at the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland and the ANU. Since the early 1980s, his research has focused on the relationships between Indigenous and other Australians, in Central Australia (where he lived from 1989 to 1996) and in the national political sphere. In the 1990s, this and other interests led him to write two books about the life and works of Dr H.C. Coombs.

^ Back to top


PhD, 1991, University of Sydney

MA, 1977, The Flinders University of South Australia

BA Hons, 1974, University of Sydney

^ Back to top

Honours and Awards

Awarded a Centenary Medal by the Australian Government in 2003 for work in Australian and Indigenous Studies.

Awarded the Henry Mayer Prize in 2010 by the Australian Political Studies Association for the best article published in 2009 in the APSA journal Australian Journal of Political Studies.

Member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities

Fellow of the Australian Social Science Academy

^ Back to top

Areas of Expertise

Australian history - particularly the indigenous, colonial story; and twentieth century Australian history - including government policies towards Aboriginal people, and Aboriginal responses to colonisation (both nationally and with reference to Central Australia); cultural policy; and the history of official statistics.

Australian intellectuals in social science and public policy.

Comparative settler colonial Indigenous policy.

^ Back to top

Selected Publications


Rowse, T 2017, Indigenous and other Australians since 1901 (opens in a new window), NewSouth Press, Sydney.

Rowse, T 2012, Rethinking social justice: from 'peoples' to 'populations' (opens in a new window), Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.

Ford, L & Rowse, T 2012, Between settler and indigenous governance (opens in a new window), Routledge, London.

Goot, M & Rowse, T 2007, Divided nation? Indigenous affairs and the imagined public (opens in a new window), Melbourne University Press, Carlton.

Rowse, T 2002, Nugget Coombs: a reforming life, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

Rowse, T 2002, Indigenous futures: choice and development for Aboriginal and Islander Australia, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney.

Rowse, T 2000, Obliged to be difficult: Nugget Coombs' legacy in Indigenous affairs, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

^Back to top

Book Chapters

Rowse, T & Watt, E 2017, ‘“The North” – colonial hegemony and Indigenous stratification’, in J Gregory, L Layman & S Macintyre (eds), A historian for all seasons: essays for Geoffrey Bolton (opens in a new window), Monash University Publishing, Clayton, pp. 204-235.

Rowse, T 2017, ‘Indigenous citizenship and the historical imagination’, in J Mann (ed.), Citizenship in transnational perspective: Australia, Canada and New Zealand (opens in a new window), Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 159-174.

Rowse, T 2017, ‘The Indigenous redemption of liberal universalism’, in BA Hendrix & D Baumgold (eds), Colonial exchanges: political theory and the agency of the colonized (opens in a new window), Manchester University Press, Manchester, pp. 133-155.

Rowse, T & Watt, E 2017, 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander opinion of the Franchise, 1961', in B Griffen-Foley & S Scalmer (eds), Public opinion, campaign politics & media audiences: new Australian perspectives (opens in a new window), Melbourne University Publishing, Carlton, Victoria.

Rowse, T 2016, 'Nation', in  K Huppatz, M Hawkins & A Matthews (eds), Identity and belonging (opens in a new window), Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire.

Rowse, T 2015, 'Indigenous incorporation as a means to empowerment', In S Brennan, M Davis, B Edgeworth, & L Terrill (eds.), Native title from Mabo to Akiba: a vehicle for change and empowerment?, Federation Press, NSW, pp. 184-198.

Rowse, T 2015, 'The indigenous redemption of liberal universalism', Modern Intellectual History, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 579-603.

Rowse, T 2015, 'Coombs the Keynesian', In S. Furphy (ed.), The Seven Dwarfs and the Age of the Mandarins: Australian Government Administration in the Post-war Reconstruction Era, Australian National University Press, ACT, pp. 143-167.

Rowse, T 2012, 'Australasia', in B Ishakhan & S Stockwell (eds), The Edinburgh companion to the history of democracy, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 245-56.

Rowse, T 2012, 'The identity of Indigenous political thought', in L Ford & T Rowse (eds), Between settler and indigenous governance (opens in a new window), Routledge, London, pp. 95-107.

Rowse, T 2012, 'Aboriginal Australians', in P Beilharz & T Hogan (eds), Sociology: Antipodean perspectives (opens in a new window), Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 434-38.

Finnane, K & Rowse, T 2012, 'Alice Springs', in P Beilharz & T Hogan (eds), Sociology: Antipodean perspectives (opens in a new window), Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 115-20.

Rowse, T 2011, 'Global indigenism: a genealogy of a non-racial category', in A Holland & B Brookes (eds), Rethinking the racial moment: essays on the colonial encounter, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, pp. 229-53.

Rowse, T 2011, 'The ontological politics of closing the gaps', in T Bennett & C Healy (eds), Assembling culture (opens in a new window), Routledge, London & New York, pp. 30-45. [republication of 2009 journal article of same title]

Rowse, T 2010, 'Re-figuring "Indigenous culture"', in J Altman & M Hinkson (eds), Culture crisis: anthropology and politics in aboriginal Australia, UNSW Press, Kensington, pp. 153-78.

Rowse, T 2010, 'Bonner, Neville Thomas (1922-1999)', in A Millar & G Browne (eds), The biographical dictionary of the Australian Senate, vol 3: 1962-1983, UNSW Press, Kensington, pp. 356-64.

Finnane, K & Rowse, T 2010, 'Alice Springs', in P Beilharz & T Hogan (eds), Sociology: Antipodean perspectives, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, pp. 115-20.

Rowse, T 2010, 'The complexity of the object of consent: some Australian stories', in J Webber & C McLeod (eds), Between consenting peoples, University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, pp. 115-40.

Rowse, T 2009, 'Indigenous politics', in RAW Rhodes (ed.), The Australian study of politics, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 314-24.

Rowse, T 2009, 'The uselessness of "race thinking" to settler Australians', in B Attwood & T Griffiths (eds), Frontier, race and nation (opens in a new window), Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 232-59.

Rowse, T 2008, 'Indigenous culture: the politics of vulnerability and survival', in T Bennett & J Frow (eds), The Sage handbook of cultural analysis, Sage, Los Angeles, pp. 406-26.

Rowse, T 2008, 'Nugget Coombs', in P Cochrane (ed.), Australian greats, William Heinemann Australia, Melbourne, pp. 173-76.

Rowse, T 2008, 'A gift of nature? Historical perspectives on Australia's northern border', in P Lagayette (eds), Rencontres Australiennes, Sorbonne, Paris, pp. 175-95.

Rowse, T 2008, 'After the dreaming: the Boyer lecturer as social critic', in M Hinkson & J Beckett (eds), An appreciation of difference: WEH Stanner and aboriginal Australia, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, pp. 251-70.

Rowse, T 2007, 'The problem of Indigenous jurisdiction', in J Altman & M Hinkson (eds), Coercive reconciliation: stabilize, normalize, exit Aboriginal Australia (opens in a new window), Arena, North Carlton, pp. 47-61.

Rowse, T & Goot, M 2007, 'Inclusion, equality and difference: continuities in public opinion about Indigenous Australians', in D Gare & D Ritter (eds), Making Australian history: perspectives on the past since 1788, Thomson Learning, Melbourne, pp. 533-41.

Rowse, T 2007, 'Family and nation: the indigenous/non-indigenous relationship', in J Jupp & J Nieuwenhuysen (eds), Social cohesion in Australia (opens in a new window), Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, pp. 90-107.

Rowse, T 2006, 'From enforceability to feel-good: notes on the pre-history of the recent treaty debate', in P Read, G Meyers & B Reece (eds), What good condition? Reflections on an Aboriginal Treaty 1986-2006 Aboriginal History Monograph 13 (opens in a new window), ANU Press, Canberra, pp. 71-88.

Rowse, T 2006, 'Towards a history of indigenous statistics in Australia', in BH Hunter (ed.), Assessing recent evidence on indigenous socioeconomic outcomes: a focus on the 2002 NATSISS, CAEPR Monograph No. 26 (opens in a new window), ANU Press, Canberra, pp. 1-11.

Rowse, T 2006, 'What if the Bruce-page government had created a model aboriginal state', in S Macintyre & S Scalmer (eds), What if? Australian history as it might have been, Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 89-114.

Rowse, T 2006, 'The politics of being "practical": Howard's fourth term challenge', in G Cowlishaw, E Kowal & T Lea (eds), Moving anthropology: critical indigenous studies, CDU Press, Darwin, pp. 167-83.

Rowse, T 2005, 'The colonial encounter', in W Arthur & F Morphy (eds), The Macquarie atlas of indigenous Australia, Macquarie Library, Macquarie, pp. 210-19.

Rowse, T 2005, 'The certainties of assimilation', in T Rowse (ed.), Contesting assimilation, API Network, Perth, pp. 237-49.

Rowse, T 2005, 'The post war social science of assimilation 1947-1966', in T Rowse (ed.), Contesting assimilation, API Network, Perth, pp. 151-68.

Rowse, T 2005, 'Aboriginal respectability', in T Rowse (ed.), Contesting assimilation, API Network, Perth, pp. 49-67.

Rowse, T & Nile, R 2005, 'Introduction', in T Rowse (ed.), Contesting assimilation, API Network, Perth, pp. 1-24.

Rowse, T & Altman, J 2005, 'Indigenous affairs', in P Saunders & J Walter (eds), Ideas and influence: social science and public policy in Australia, New South Publishing, Sydney, pp. 159-77.

Rowse, T 2005, 'The indigenous sector', in D Austin-Broos & G Macdonald (eds), Culture, economy and governance in aboriginal Australia (proceedings of a workshop of the Academy of Social Sciences), Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 207-24.

Rowse, T 2004, 'Notes on the history of the Aboriginal population of Australia', in JD Moses (ed.), Genocide and settler society, Berghan Books, New York, pp. 312-25.

Rowse, T 2004, 'Elusive middle ground: a political history of Commonwealth arbitration', in JE Isaac & S Macintyre (eds), The new province for law and order: centennial history of Commonwealth arbitration, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, pp. 17-54.

Rowse, T 2003, 'Britons, settlers and Aborigines: civil society and its colonized "other" in colonial, post-colonial and present-day Australia", in J Harris (ed.), Civil society in British history, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 293-309.

Rowse, T 2003, 'The social democratic critique of the Australian settlement', in J Hocking & C Lewis (eds), It's time again: Whitlam and modern Labor, Circa, Melbourne, pp. 219-43.

^Back to top

Journal Articles

Rowse, T 2018, 'The moral world of the Native Mounted Police', Law & History, vol. 5, no. 1, p. 1-23.

Rowse, T 2017, 'The statistical table as colonial knowledge' (opens in a new window), Itinerario, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 51-73.

Kelly, M & Rowse, T 2016, 'One decade, two accounts: the Aboriginal Arts Board and "Aboriginal literature", 1973-1983' (opens in a new window), Australian Literary Studies, vol. 31, no. 2.

Rowse, T 2015, 'The Indigenous redemption of liberal universalism', Modern Intellectual History, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 579-603.

Rowse, T 2015, 'Historical reasoning about Indigenous imprisonment: a community of fate?', Australian Review of Public Affairs, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1-21.

Rowse, T 2015, 'Protests, land rights and riots: postcolonial struggles in Australia in the 1980s; Fighting hard: the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League', Australian Aboriginal Studies, vol. 2, pp. 71-76. 

Sluga, G & Rowse, T 2015, 'Global liberalisms : introduction', Modern Intellectual History, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 523-528

Rowse, T 2014, ' Indigenous heterogeneity', Australian Historical Studies September, vol. 45, no. 3, pp.297-310. 

Rowse, T 2014, '"Rooted in demographic reality": the contribution of new world censuses to Indigenous survival', History and Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 2, pp.246-262. 

Rowse, T 2014, ' Population knowledge and the practice of guardianship', American Nineteenth Century History, vol. 15, no. 1, pp.15-42

Rowse, T 2014, 'Self-determination as self-transformation' (opens in a new window), E-International Relations, pp. 42-51. 

Rowse, T 2013, 'The politics of "Aboriginal society"', History Australia , vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 136-58.

Rowse, T & Shellam, T 2013, 'The colonial emergence of a statistical imaginary', Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 55, no. 4, pp. 922-54.

Rowse, T 2011, 'Debating the categories of remote indigenous sociality', Alternatives: Global, local, political, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 39-47.

Mitchell, MM & Rowse, T 2011, 'Police officers' experience of indigenous "capacity"', Australian Indigenous Law Review, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 34-46.

Rowse, T 2010, 'Knowing and not knowing: the Ngarrindjeri dilemma' (opens in a new window), Life Writing, vol. 7, no. 3, pp.  245-58.

Rowse, T & Smith, L 2010, 'The limits of "elimination" in the politics of population', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 90-106.

Rowse, T 2010, 'The reforming state, the concerned public and Indigenous political actors', Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 66-81.

Rowse, T 2009, 'Book review:  Sutton, P, The politics of suffering', Aboriginal History, no. 33, pp. 234-44.

Rowse, T 2009, 'The ontological politics of "closing the gaps"', Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 2, no. 1&2, pp. 33-48.

Rowse, T 2009, 'The reconciliation barometer and the indigenous imaginary'(opens in a new window), Australian Policy Online, <http://apo.org.au/research/reconciliation-barometer-and-indigenous-imaginary>.

Rowse, T 2009, 'Official statistics and the contemporary politics of indigeneity', Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 193-211.

Rowse, T 2006, 'The public occasions of indigenous selves: three Ngarrindjeri autobiographies', Aboriginal History, no. 30, pp. 187-07.

Rowse, T 2006, 'Modernism, indigenism and war: a comment on The Black Swan of Trespass', Australian Cultural History, vol. 25, pp. 27-56.

Rowse, T 2006, 'The public occasions of indigenous selves: three Ngarrindjeri autobiographies', Aboriginal History, vol. 30, pp. 187-207.

Rowse, T & Mitchell, D 2005, 'From social issue to social policy; engaging professionals and the public', Australian Journal of Social Issues, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 155-80.

Rowse, T 2004, 'Indigenous autobiography in Australia and the United States'(opens in a new window), Australian Humanities Review, no. 33, <http://www.australianhumanitiesreview.org/archive/Issue-August-2004/rowse.html>.

Hannah, M, L Smith & Rowse, T 2004, 'Queensland's exceptional approach to cross-race marriage?: a reply to Katherine Ellinghaus'(opens in a new window), Aboriginal History, vol. 28, pp. 239-43.


» Contact Professor Tim Rowse

^ Back To Top
ICS Website Feedback