Woman Paisley, Fiona (1958 - )

Aberdeen, Scotland

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Fiona Paisley is a history academic who has contributed to Australian history in several ways, especially history of human rights and the politics of race and gender in a variety of early twentieth century imperial and colonial settings.

Fiona Paisley was born in 1958 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her family moved between Australia and England, and within each country every two to three years throughout her childhood. As a result, Paisley attended a range of primary and secondary schools before moving to Melbourne where she commenced her tertiary studies at Monash University. After graduating with a BA (Hons) with Honours in History in 1980, Paisley completed a Diploma of Education in 1982. While working as a high school teacher for the next five years, she completed a Bachelor of Education and then Master of Education in the Sociology of Education at the University of Melbourne. Having left teaching, Paisley undertook a PhD in History at La Trobe University. Her doctoral thesis Ideas have Wings: White Women Challenge Aboriginal Policy 1920-1937 was supervised by Marilyn Lake.

While completing her postgraduate studies, Paisley worked as a researcher and a tutor, taking up her first university appointment in Women's Studies at the Geelong Campus of Deakin University soon after submitting her thesis in 1995. Two years later Paisley moved to Canberra to take up a Lectureship in Women's Studies at the Australian National University (ANU), where she taught courses on postcolonial theory and settler colonial history and gender. In 1998 she was awarded a one year postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research at the ANU to prepare her doctoral thesis for publication, followed by an ARC postdoctoral fellowship to continue her work on international women's networks. Paisley took up an appointment at Griffith University in 2003 and was Deputy Director of the Centre for Public Culture and Ideas at Griffith University from 2004 to 2007. Paisley is currently Associate Professor in the School of Humanities at Griffith and Program Leader of the Transnational Histories program at the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research. She is a member of the International Federation for Research in Women's History Executive (2010-2015).

Paisley is the author of Loving Protection? Australian Feminism and Aboriginal Women's Rights 1919-1939 (2000); Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women's Pan-Pacific (2009); and The Lone Protestor: AM Fernando in Australia and Europe (2012).The latter was shortlisted for the Australian Historian Association's Ernest Scott Prize. She is also the editor of Uncommon Ground: White Women in Aboriginal History, with Anna Cole and Victoria Haskins (2005). In 2012 Paisley was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant for her project Worldly Encounters: Australian Internationalists and the Future of World Civilization in the Twentieth Century Pan-Pacific ARC Discovery Project (2013-2015).

Additional sources: Personal communication between Sharon Harrison and Fiona Paisley, September 2013.

Published Resources


  • Paisley, Fiona, Loving Protection: Australian Feminism and Aboriginal Women's Rights 1919-39, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 2000. Details
  • Paisley, Fiona, Glamour in the Pacific: Cultural Internationalism and Race Politics in the Women's Pan-Pacific, 3rd edn, University of Hawai’I Press, Honolulu, United States of America, 2009. Details
  • Paisley, Fiona, The Lone Protestor. AM Fernando in Australia and Europe, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2012. Details

Book Sections

  • Maynard, John, '"Light in the Darkness": Elizabeth McKenzie Hatton', in Cole, Anna; Haskins, Victoria and Paisley, Fiona (eds), Uncommon Ground: White Women in Aboriginal History, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, 2005. Details

Journal Articles

  • Paisley, Fiona, 'Cultivating Modernity: Culture and Internationalism in Australian Feminism's Pacific Age', Journal of Women’s History, vol. 14, no. 3, Autumn 2002. Details

Online Resources

See also