Professor Penny Edmonds

Dean (Research) and Matthew Flinders Fellow

College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

place Humanities
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Professor Penelope Edmonds is a Matthew Flinders Professor and Dean of Research in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. Her research is distinguished by over two decades of creative and interdisciplinary work in the areas of empire and colonialism, with a critical theory perspective on race, gender, law, humanitarianism, transnational Australian and Pacific-region histories, performance, and heritage. She has qualifications in history and heritage studies, including a PhD in History from the University of Melbourne.


Before moving to Flinders University, Penny was Associate Professor of History and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Humanities, University of Tasmania (2012-2017). She was a Lecturer and Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne (2006–2011).

Penny has served on the Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts Humanities and Creative Arts panel (2013-2015), and on the ARC Engagement and Impact panel for Humanities and Creative Arts (2018). She was co-editor of Australian Historical Studies journal (2015–2018), Australia’s oldest and most highly regarded academic journal of Australian history.

Penny has broad industry and professional experience in the field of history and the arts and cultural heritage sector, and has worked in museums both nationally and internationally. She was Senior Conservator, and later Curator, at Museum Victoria 1994–2003, and was an Andrew Mellon Fellow in Advanced Heritage Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. for three years (1991–1994). She is a member of the Board of Trustees, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, an honorary member of Museum Victoria, and an Affiliate of Purai Global Indigenous History Centre, University of Newcastle.

Honours, awards and grants

Penny was awarded the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society inaugural ‘Theory, Race and Colonialism Essay’ (TRACE) award for best article. In 2017 Penny delivered the esteemed Trevor Reese Memorial Lecture in Australian History at the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Kings College, London, titled ‘Heart, Power, Treaty, Truth: Affective, Political Performances in (post) Reconciliation Australia’. She is the recipient of the 2014 Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) Paul Burke Award for panel C (History, Philosophy, Law, and Political Science) for her ‘multi-disciplinary approach to settler colonialism’ and ‘theoretical depth and originality’. She was awarded the Australian Women's History Network Mary Bennett Prize in 2012.

Penny has published in journals including Postcolonial Studies, Commonwealth and Imperial History, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Law and History, Australian Historical Studies, Journal of Australian Studies, Australian Humanities Review, and The Conversation.

Key responsibilities

As Dean (Research) and a member of the College's leadership team Penny provides strategic leadership to advance the pursuit of high quality, vibrant, and creative academic research activity within the College and more broadly within the University.

The Conversation