Associate Professor Deirdre Howard-Wagner

Senior Fellow
ANU 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

Associate Professor Howard-Wagner's expertise are in the areas of justice, development, locality-based service delivery, whiteness, racism and race relations, and state governmentality in the neoliberal age.

Her scholarship is best categorised as critical and analytical Indigenous policy relevant research with a social and socio-legal focus and comparative Indigenous policy research. Her critical and analytical approach draws on critical social theory, critical Indigenous political philosophy and standpoints, and a race and whiteness studies approach and her applied research methods adapt sociological methodologies by forefronting Indigenous research principles.

She has engaged in collaborative research in relation to urban First Nations development; urban First Nations organisations and service delivery enablement; racism, whiteness and race relations; urban indigenous justice; innovative indigenous-led justice; international urban Indigenous social movements, organisations and self-determination; urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, state governmentality and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy practices, invisibility in the city; and, neoliberalism in urban contexts.


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

She is a sociologist and socio-legal scholar, who is making an important contribution to knowledge about race relations, indigenous disadvantage, indigenous policy practices, community development, and neoliberalism in urban contexts. This began with her PhD fieldwork followed by an ARC DECRA, which took her work in innovative and new directions. It did so through a collaborative in-depth place-based study of indigenous ‘success’ in addressing Indigenous disadvantage and promoting wellbeing in the Australian city of Newcastle. 

She is establishing urban indigenous development as a new sub-field of indigenous development and governance research in CAEPR and at the ANU.

Dr Howard-Wagner also has broad and internationally recognised experience carrying our critical and analytical Indigenous policy relevant research with a social focus. This includes, but is not limited to, a series of journal articles and book chapters analysing various aspects of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response laws and related initiatives, as well as ongoing policy and legislative changes, analysing Australian Indigenous policy in relation to Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage, and analysing urban Indigenous policy issues.

She is President of the Law and Society Association of Australia and New Zealand and Co-Editor of the Australian Journal of Social Issues.


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



Projects and Grants

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

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Updated:  24 April 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers