Associate Professor Deirdre Howard-Wagner

Senior Fellow
College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 61253748

Areas of expertise

  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Policy 160501
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Law 180101
  • Race And Ethnic Relations 160803
  • Urban Sociology And Community Studies 160810

Research interests

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy

overcoming urban Indigenous disadvantage

poverty governance

innovative Indigenous justice

urban Indigenous development, governance and self-determination

international urban Indigenous social movements

urban place-based Indigenous success

urban First Nations organisation-based success

urban and regional locality-based Indigenous service delivery, including service delivery enablement

Indigenous invisibility in the city

comparative international studies

whiteness, racism and race relations

state governmentality in the neoliberal age


Associate Professor Deirdre Howard-Wagner is a sociologist and socio-legal scholar and Senior Fellow in the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR).

She has a strong track record of applied collaborative research with First Nations people, adapting sociological methodologies by foregrounding Indigenous research principles and designing research to provide evidence-based knowledge that will improve public policy understandings in the areas of overcoming Indigenous disadvantage, justice, a right to the city, community development, and service delivery in urban areas. She has applied the knowledge gathered to draw attention to not only policy limitations but also First Nations people, communities and organisation’s innovative approaches to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage, including Indigenous-led community building and development. Research that has been beneficial to Indigenous peoples and reached end-users (service providers and policy actors).

Over the last 20 years, working at the intersections of critical Indigenous political philosophy, sociology, Socio-Legal Studies, and critical race and whiteness studies, her academic publications adopt a critical and analytical lens to understand the Australian Government’s policy approach to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage, justice, service delivery, development, reconciliation, racism, and urban governance. This includes, but is not limited to, a series of journal articles and book chapters analysing Australian Indigenous policy in relation to Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, and analysing urban Indigenous policy issues. Research published in Q1 and Q2 international and national journals, such as the lead international sociological journal in her field Ethnic and Racial Studies Journal (2018, Q1, 1386 reads & 19 citations) and first article, first issue for the year in lead international Indigenous policy journal, International Journal of Indigenous Policy (2019, Q1, 193 downloads and 1 citation). Her analysis of and observations in relation to Indigenous policy development in Australia has been taken up and cited in 301 national and international journal articles and by scholars in Canada, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands (see Google Scholar citations).




Researcher's projects

ARC DP18 (July 2018-June 2021) NPM, Aboriginal organisations and Indigenous rights ($299,000) Howard-Wagner Lead CI with Ass Prof Janet Hunt (ANU) and Dr Karen Soldatic (UWS)

Commonwealth Indigenous Languages and Arts Program (2019-2020) Two Way Project ($148,200) to run a series of collaborative arts projects over the next two years with First Nations peoples and organisations in the ACT and Queanbeyan (Lead CI Dr Kirrily Jordan) with Annick Thomasin, Deirdre Howard-Wagner, Chris Sainsbury, Sean Perera and Alison Alder.

ANU Futures Scheme Award (Sept 2017 - Aug 2020) Urban Indigenous-driven development ($450,000) Lead sole CI

ARC Discovery Early Career Research (March 2012 - July 2016) Aboriginal societies, governance and wellbeing: a study of Aboriginal community success in addressing disadvantage and promoting wellbeing 

OLT Grant (Innovation and Development) Indigenous online cultural teaching and sharing ($220,000) Professor Janet Mooney, Dr Lynette Riley, Dr Deirdre Howard-Wagner, Associate Professor Moira Sim, Toni Wain and Dr Cat Kutay (2011-2014)

SSHRCC Connection Grant - Law on the Edge ($50,000) Cunliffe E (British Columbia) McMillan J (St Francis Xavier) Duncanson K (La Trobe), Harris D (British Columbia), Mawani R (British Columbia), Howard-Wagner D (Sydney), Rumble W (Waikato), Leiboff M (Wollongong) (2013).

NSW Government - Evaluation of Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) - Motor Accident Authority ($560,000) - CIs Professor Ted Wright and Dr D Howard-Wagner (2004-2006).


Current student projects

Sarah Ciftci (PhD) Aboriginal Care Circles (University of Sydney)

Craig Ritchie (PhD) Culture and Policymaking: Toward better Aboriginal policymaking

Jack Gibson (PhD) The Reconstruction of Indigenous organisations (University of Western Sydney)



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

Return to top

Updated:  18 April 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers