Michael Ondaatje

Michael is National Head of the School of Arts, and Associate Professor of History, at the Australian Catholic University.

Michael was awarded his PhD, with Distinction, from the University of Western Australia in 2008. His thesis on African American conservatism was recognized with the Robert Street Prize for the most outstanding PhD across all of the University’s disciplines. In 2010 Michael’s first book, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America, was a Top 20 bestseller in US history. In 2011 the book was recognized with the Newcastle Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence, and in 2012 it was shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association’s Hancock Prize.

Michael has been a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University and a Researcher-in-Residence at the United States Studies Centre (University of Sydney). In 2012 the Australian Academy of the Humanities awarded him the Max Crawford Medal, ‘Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities’. The Crawford Medal is ‘granted to early career researchers for outstanding scholarly achievement in the humanities in Australia, and to those whose publications make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of humanities disciplines by the general public’. Michael is also the winner of several teaching awards at the national and university level, and has supervised more than twenty Honours and PhD theses to completion.

Michael is a regular media commentator on US politics. He has been interviewed on more than 200 occasions on television and radio since 2008. He has appeared on the ABC, Channel Ten, Sky News, Sky Business, 2GB (Sydney), Monocle 24 (United Kingdom), and on a number of stations in the United States. Michael’s writing has appeared in the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age (online), the Canberra Times (online), the Newcastle Herald, The Conversation, the Chronicle of Higher Education (US), the New Matilda, and very recently in The Independent newspaper in the UK. Michael has also delivered a large number of public lectures, including the Annual Human Rights Day Address at the United Nations Association of Australia in 2011.

In 2013 Michael was selected by the US Embassy in Australia for the International Visitor Leadership Program, the premier professional exchange program of the US government. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Historical Association and a former Head of History at the University of Newcastle.