Associate Professor Saliha Belmessous

Associate Professor of History
Licence, Université Lyon III-Jean Moulin; MA Université Lyon III and Université de Montréal; Ph.D. Histoire et Civilisations, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris).
School of Humanities & Languages


9385 2362
Room 362, Morven Brown
Kensington Campus


By appointment
Fields: North American History, History: European, History: African, British History, History of Ideas
Tags: Understanding Past Societies

I am born in France and educated at the Université Lyon III, the Université de Montréal and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

I joined the University of New South Wales  in 2011. Prior to this, I had held research fellowships and visiting positions in France, the United States and Australia, including the Newberry Library, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Library, and the University of Sydney.


I research and write about European colonial ideologies and the imperial experiences of indigenous peoples. I am currently working on a ARC-funded project which aims to challenge long-held ideas about empire and the role of subject peoples. It endeavours to question the view that resistance was the obvious way in which colonised peoples responded to European domination. It is designed to explore the proposition that colonised peoples engaged with empire, its structures and values in more complex and various ways than has been assumed. Individuals and communities worked inside the structures of imperial rule and identified opportunities whereby they could improve their lives and work towards their emancipation and that of their communities. This project will focus on the entire period of French rule in Algeria (1830 to 1962).

Over the last few years, I have also been engaged in a research project that focuses on Indigenous and European legal interactions. This research aims at breaking with the Eurocentric and teleological represesentation of the dispossession process. It shows that, from the 16th century onwards, Indigenous and European peoples engaged in a continuing political conversation using legal arguments and sometimes violence to advance their claims to territory [see  Native Claims (OUP, 2012, ppbk 2014)]. I have recently focused on treaty-making as a global process of negotiation between European and Indigenous actors [see Empire by Treaty (OUP, 2015); and ‘The Treaty of Waitangi in Historical Context', in Mark Hickford and Carwyn Jones, ed., Indigenous Peoples and the State: International Perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi (Routledge, 2018)].










ARTS 1270 Global History

ARTS 2272 The European World, 1500-1800

ARTS 3290 Empires in World History

Areas of Research Supervision for Honours, Masters and PhD students:

  • colonial history
  • comparative history of European empires
  • comparative indigenous histories
  • history of ideas and history of political thought
  • Native American history
  • European history
  • American history
  • global history

Honours and prizes


Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, 2015-2019
2014 UNSW Dean's Award for Best Monograph for Assimilation and Empire: Uniformity in French and British Colonies, 1541-1954 (Oxford University Press)
Visiting Professorship, Université Paris 8, April 2014
2013 New South Wales Premier's General History Prize for Assimilation and Empire: Uniformity in French and British Colonies, 1541-1954 (Oxford University Press)
Future Fellowship, Australian Research Council, 2011-2015.
National and State Libraries Australasian Honorary Fellowship, 2011.
US Studies Centre Research Grant, 2010.
University of Sydney Bridging Fellowship, 2009.
Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2006-2008.
Georges Lurcy Fellowship, 1995.
Lavoisier Program of Excellence Fellowship, 1994.
Fulbright Fellowship, 1994.

Professional contribution

Assessor for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Assessor for the European Research Council

Assessor for the Australian Research Council

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