Mia Martin HobbsStaff member
Mia Martin Hobbs is an oral historian of war and its legacies. Her research interests include the Vietnam War, the War on Terror, memory, trauma, place, gender, peace, and security.
Mia completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2018. Her doctoral project was a transnational oral history with Australian and American Vietnam veterans who returned to Viêt Nam after the War. Her first book, Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys, was published by Cambridge University Press in October 2021. Through a researcher residency in the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne, she is developing an interactive spatial-temporal of veterans’ journeys.
Mia is currently undertaking a second transnational oral history project with women and minorities who served in the US, UK, and Australian armed forces in the War on Terror. She has published on veteran memories and war narratives in The Australian Journal of Politics and History and Oral History Review, and written on contemporary issues surrounding veterans’ returns to Vietnam for Australian Policy History and The Conversation.
Mia’s doctoral project was a transnational oral history of American and Australian Vietnam veterans who returned to Vietnam after the war. Her book, Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys, is the first historical study of veterans’ journeys. It examines why veterans returned and how they reacted to their former enemies, allies, and battlefields as the war receded into history and memory. Through their stories, the book explores the continuing effects of the Vietnam War on Australian, American, and Vietnamese culture, politics, and foreign relations.
Mia is a Resident Researcher in the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne, working with the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform to develop an interactive spatial-temporal map of her doctoral interviews with Vietnam veterans. Users will be able to watch the trajectory of veterans’ return journeys across time, and the map will include clips of interview data for users to open and listen to. From this pilot map, the team hopes to develop a research mapping platform for analysis and visualization of spatial-temporal data.
Mia’s current research project is a second transnational oral history, this time with women and minority veterans who served in the US, UK and Australian armed forces in the so-called War on Terror. After 9/11, Western militaries deployed the most racially and gender diverse soldier-force in history to fight the War on Terror. These soldiers waged a deeply racialized and gendered war while facing epidemics of racism and sexual violence within military institutions. Through a transnational oral history project with women and minorities who served in the US, UK, and Australian militaries in the War on Terror, Mia aims to understand their experiences as victims and perpetrators of gendered and racialized violence and how they understand their role in increasingly diverse militaries and broader societies.
Publications and Media
2021. Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans’ Journeys, Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108972987.
- “(Un)naming: Agency, Anonymity, and Ethics in Oral Histories with Veteran-Narrators”, Oral History Review, 48:1. https://doi.org/10.1080/00940798.2021.1885982 With an interview Mia gave to Oral History Review expanding on the ethics explored in the article
- ‘“We went and did an Anzac job”: Memory, myth, and the Anzac Digger in Vietnam’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, 64:3, 480-97. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajph.12512 [Winner, University of Melbourne School of Historical and Philosophical Studies Fellows’ Essay Prize, 2018.]
- “Echoes of Vietnam: Counterinsurgency, “warrior hero” culture, and war crimes in Afghanistan”, Australian Policy and History, 24 November 2020.
- “What Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ gets wrong about veterans returning to Vietnam”, The Conversation, 15 July 2020.
- “Soldier Recognition, Trauma, and the Australian War Memorial”, Australian Policy and History, 26 November 2019.
Awards and Prizes
- 2021, Australian Historical Association Patrick Wolfe Bursary
- 2020, International Australian Studies Association ECR Publication Subsidy
- 2020, Contemporary Histories Research Group Australian Policy & History Award
- 2020, Honorary Research Fellow, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne
- 2019, Herbert and Valmae Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry Small Grant Scheme
- 2019, Digital Chamber Residency, University of Melbourne
- 2018, Gilbert Postdoctoral Career Development Fellowship, University of Melbourne
- 2018, Australian Historical Association-Copyright Agency Early Career Mentorship Scheme
- 2018, Fellows’ Essay Prize, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne
- 2016, Alma Hansen Scholarship, University of Melbourne
- 2016, Norman Macgeorge Scholarship, University of Melbourne
At the University of Melbourne, Mia taught in the areas of modern US history and international history. She has expertise teaching ESL, historical simulations, and online pedagogy.