Clare Corbould

Staff member

Clare Corbould is an Associate Professor of history and co-convenor of the Contemporary Histories Research Group. Her expertise is in United States history with an emphasis on race, racism, and African American history. She is author of the award-winning Becoming African Americans: Black Public Life in Harlem (Harvard, 2009) and co-editor of Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History and Nation Making from Independence to the Civil War (Massachusetts, 2013). Clare appears regularly in broadcast media, including ABC radio and television. She contributes to press media including the Conversation, the Guardian, and the Washington Post.



  • Research

    Clare’s core research focus is twentieth-century African American history. Her monograph, Becoming African Americans, focuses on complex relationships between Black Americans, Africans, and Africa. Other work examining interwar Black life includes articles and chapters on: the sounds of Harlem’s streets; newspaper cartoonist E. Simms Campbell; artists’ model Maurice Hunter; and African American playwrights’ interpretations of the Haitian Revolution and terror in the American South. In recent years, Clare’s work has also included pieces on the impact of the 1977 miniseries Roots both in the United States and in Australia.

    With the support of an Australia Research Council Future Fellowship, a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society, an A. Bartlett Giametti Fellowship at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, and a Gilder Lehrman Senior Scholar Fellowship, Clare is writing a book about the revolution in public knowledge about American slavery that took place between the 1920s and 1970s. It is tentatively titled “Making the Slave Anew.”

    Research for this project also resulted in a collaboration with Charlotte Greenhalgh (Waikato), Warwick Anderson (Sydney), and Catherine Waldby (ANU) on the history of social surveying, supported by the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. An edited collection on that topic is under contract with Berghahn Books.

    With Michael McDonnell at the University of Sydney, Clare is writing a book to tell the story of African Americans’ service during the American Revolution and the ways they have mobilised accounts of that service—and American ideals supposedly forged during the nation’s founding—ever since. That project is supported by an ARC Discovery Project grant awarded to them both and to Fitzhugh Brundage at UNC Chapel Hill. It also resulted in a 2013 co-edited book, Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation Making from Independence to the Civil War.

    Clare also writes about unfree labour in Australia, especially in relation to Atlantic slavery and slavery in the United States. She is collaborating on this project with Hilary Emmett (University of East Anglia) and Anna Arabindan-Kesson (Princeton University).

  • Select publications

    In addition to the aforementioned monograph and edited book, Clare’s publications include:

    For a full list of publications please see Clare’s staff webpage.

  • Teaching

    Students’ feedback on Clare’s units has resulted in consistent ‘University Recognition of Exceptional Undergraduate Student Satisfaction’. Her senior teaching includes chairing the unit African American History from Slavery to Black Lives Matter. The unit focuses on African Americans’ own experiences and introduces students to the history of both the making of the idea of race and anti-racist struggle.

    Drawing on her expertise in twentieth-century history, Clare also coordinates the first-year unit The Modern World: Globalisation and Fragmentation. The themes of this unit are drawn from the most challenging issues the world faces today, including climate change.

    In previous years, Clare has taught units for first-year, senior, Honours, and Masters level students. Topics include: United States Imperialism; American History from Lincoln to Clinton; American Studies Foundations; and the History of History (approaches and methods).

  • Supervision

    Clare is an experienced supervisor at all levels. She has overseen the theses of more than two dozen Honours students. At Deakin, Clare co-supervises Angus McCallum’s PhD thesis on the Bundy family and US political affiliation. Previous students include David Longley’s PhD thesis on the African American press during World War II, which won the Monash University Mollie Holman medal, and Michael Thompson (as Associate Supervisor) at the University of Sydney. David has published an article here and Mike’s list of publications is here.

    If you are interested in researching United States history, please get in touch with Clare by email:


  • Awards, fellowships, and honours

    • 2019-2020. Member, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Network on Black Female Intellectuals, led by Rebecca Fraser, UEA, and Imaobong Umoren, LSE
    • 2018-   Nominated to the National Center for Institutional Diversity: Diversity Scholars Network, University of Michigan
    • 2012-2017. Australian Research Council Future Fellowship
    • 2011. Larkins Research Fellowship (full-time, year-long, research-only position)
    • 2010. A. Bartlett Giametti Fellowship, Beinecke Library, Yale University
    • 2010. Biennial Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for First Book of History
    • 2010. Commended, W. K. Hancock Prize, Australian Historical Association
    • 2009. Shortlist, 2009 NSW Premier’s General History Prize
    • 2009. Choice (magazine of the American Library Association), ‘Outstanding Academic Title’
    • 2007. University of Sydney Research Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences Writing Fellowship
    • 2005. University of Sydney Faculty of Arts Teaching Excellence Award
    • 2005. Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, Senior Scholar Fellowship
    • 2003. Fulbright American Studies Institute Award, New York University


    Service to the discipline

    • Clare has worked with others to organise over a dozen conferences, including two of the biennial meetings of the Australia New Zealand American Studies Association and, most recently, The Global Plantation, at Princeton.
    • Clare edited the Australasian Journal of American Studies from 2012 to 2015 and has since served on its editorial board. She has also served since 2015 on the editorial board of American Studies (Kansas).
    • In the United States, Clare has served on the International Committee and Lawrence W. Levine Award Committee of the Organization of American Historians. From 2018-2020, she was a member of the Program Committee, Berkshire Conference on the History of Women.
  • Media and public events

    Clare has contributed articles to the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the Conversation. She has appeared on ABC local radio and Radio National including PM, the Bookshelf, Rear Vision, Stop Everything!  Once she appeared on ABC’s The Drum and recommends live TV if you like to set your heart racing.

    Her public talks include at Grovedale College and North Sydney Boys High School, the Lyceum Club in Melbourne, Museum Victoria, History Council of Victoria, and the State Library of NSW.




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