Professor Lisa Ford

Deputy Head of School Learning and Teaching

BA(Hons 1)/LLB(Hons 1) (UQ), MA, MPhil, PhD (Columbia)

School of Humanities & Languages


+61 2 9385 3669
338 Morven Brown
Fields: North American History, History and Philosophy of Law and Justice, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History, British History

Professor Ford's research centres on ideas and practices of order in the post-1763 British Empire and the early national United States.

Her prize-winning first book, Settler Sovereignty (Harvard UP, 2010), explains how and why North American and Australasian settler polities defined their sovereignty against indigenous customary law after 1800. Her second book, Rage for Order (Harvard UP, 2016), co-authored with Professor Lauren Benton, explores the constitutive intersections among imperial legal reform, international law and global order in the early nineteenth century.

Professor Ford is currently working on a third book, The King's Colonial Peace (contracted with Harvard UP) which will show that conflicts about peace keeping in the British Empire from 1763-1840 produced new and contested understandings of the nature of the imperial constitution. With colleagues, she is also commencing a pan-imperial study of commissions of legal inquiry which visited nearly every British colony between 1817 and 1827. This project will also test the value of corpus linguistics analysis in understanding shifts in bureaucratic legal language in empire.

Professor Ford received the 2012 Max Crawford Award, recognising 'outstanding achievement in the humanities by young Australian scholars... whose publications contribute towards an understanding of their discipline by the general public.' Her work has been funded by three major ARC grants: DP110103832, Empire and Order (2011-2013); DE120100593, Protecting the Peace (2012-2017); and DP180100537, Inquiring into Empire (2018-2022).



    • Benton L;Ford L, 2016, Rage for Order, Harvard University Press
    • Ford L;Rowse T, 2012, Between indigenous and settler governance,
    • Ford L, 2010, Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788-1836, 1, Havard University Press, Cambridge, MA

    Book Chapters

    Journal articles

    • Ford L;Roberts DA, 2019, 'New Migrant Histories', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 50, pp. 1 - 2,
    • Benton L;Ford L, 2018, 'Island Despotism: Trinidad, the British Imperial Constitution and Global Legal Order', Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 46, pp. 21 - 46,
    • Ford L;Roberts DA, 2016, '‘Mr Peel’s Amendments’ in New South Wales: Imperial criminal reform in a distant penal colony', Journal of Legal History, vol. 37, pp. 198 - 214,
    • Booth K;Ford L, 2016, 'Ross v Chambers: Assimilation law and policy in the Northern Territory', ABORIGINAL HISTORY, vol. 40, pp. 3 - 25,
    • Brawley S;Clark J;Dixon C;Ford L;Nielsen E;Ross S;Upton S, 2015, 'History on trial: Evaluating learning outcomes through audit and accreditation in a national standards environment', Teaching and Learning Inquiry, vol. 3, pp. 89 - 105,
    • Ford L;Roberts DA, 2015, 'Legal Change, Convict Activism and the Reform of Penal Relocation in Colonial New South Wales: The Port Macquarie Penal Settlement, 1822-26', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 46, pp. 174 - 190,
    • Brawley S;Clark J;Dixon C;Ford L;Nielsen E;Ross S;Upton S, 2015, 'History on Trial: Evaluating Learning Outcomes through Audit and Accreditation in a National Standards Environment', TEACHING & LEARNING INQUIRY-THE ISSOTL JOURNAL, vol. 3, pp. 89 - 105,
    • Ford L, 2014, 'Anti-Slavery and the Reconstitution of Empire', AUSTRALIAN HISTORICAL STUDIES, vol. 45, pp. 71 - 86,
    • Ford L;Roberts DA, 2014, 'New South Wales penal settlements and the transformation of secondary punishment in the nineteenth-century British Empire', Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, vol. 15, pp. n/a,
    • Brawley S;Clark J;Dixon C;Ford L;Ross S;Upton S;Nielsen E, 2013, 'Learning outcomes assessment and History: TEQSA, the after Standards Project and the QA/QI challenge in Australia', Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, vol. 12, pp. 20 - 35,
    • Brawley S;Clark J;Dixon C;Ford L;Grolman L;Ross S;Upton S, 2011, 'Applying Standards to Tertiary-Level History: Policy, Challenges and the After Standards Project', History Australia, vol. 8, pp. 177 - 194,
    • Ford L, 2011, 'Thinking big about New South Wales history: colonial law in global perspective.', Australian Bar Review, vol. 34, pp. 204 - 213
    • Ford L, 2010, 'Featured Review: James Belich. Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Anglo-World, 1783-1939', The American Historical Review, vol. 115, pp. 1106 - 1108
    • Ford L;Salter B, 2008, 'From Pluralism to Territorial Sovereignty: The 1816 Trial of Mow-watty in the Superior Court of New South Wales', Indigenous Law Journal, vol. 7, pp. 67 - 86
    • Ford L, 2008, 'Indigenous Policy and its Historical Occlusions: The North American and Global Contexts of Australian Settlement', Australian Indigenous Law Review, vol. 12, pp. 69 - 80
    • Ford L, 2006, 'Empire and Order on the Colonial Frontiers of Georgia and New South Wales', Itinerario: journal on the history of European expansion and global interaction, vol. 3, pp. 95 - 113
    • Ford L, 2003, 'Yellow(s) (Im)Peril(ed): Reinventing the Colonial Nightmare', Australian Studies, vol. 18, pp. 67 - 114
    • Ford L, 1999, 'Heroes, Villains and Wicked Priests: Authority and Story in the Histories of Simon Schama', Clio - a Journal of Literature History and the Philosophy of History, vol. 29, pp. 23 - 46


    Conference Presentations

    • Ford L;Doherty S, 2017, 'Inquiring into empire: Corpus linguistics and the constitution of empire', presented at Invited seminar at Duke University, Duke University, NC, USA, 07 - 07 October 2017

Teaching and Supervision

2014-2015: Slavery and Freedom
2010-11: Australia: Protest & Memory
2009-11: Introduction to History: The Big Picture (World History)
2009: Winners & Losers: Welfare & Poverty in Australian History

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