Dr Chris Wallace

Visiting Fellow, School of History; Associate Professor, 50/50 By 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra
College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 (0)2 61256851

Areas of expertise

  • Australian History (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander History) 210303
  • Australian Government And Politics 160601
  • Culture, Gender, Sexuality 200205
  • British History 210305
  • North American History 210312
  • International Relations 160607
  • Biography 210304

Research interests

Modern and contemporary political, international and global history and politics with special reference to leadership, transnational lives, and transformational change and the information strategies underlying it. Digital humanities.


Wallace is Associate Professor at the 50/50 By 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra. She works in modern and contemporary political, international and global history with special reference to leadership, transnational lives, and transformational change and the information strategies underlying it. She is the National Archives of Australia Cabinet Historian 2020-2021. Wallace's book historicising Australian Labor's shock 2019 federal election loss, How To Win An Election, was published by NewSouth Books, the trade publishing arm of the University of New South Wales Press, in 2020. It will be followed by the book of her ARC DECRA Fellowship project, Diplomatic Triangle: The Caseys in Wartime Washington. She is the author of several books including a biography of maverick Australian feminist Germaine Greer, Greer, Untamed Shrew (1997, 1999); a biography of the then crusading neoliberal policy exponent John Hewson during his Opposition leadership in the early 1990s, Hewson: A Portrait (1993); and an exploration of the intense 30 year-long relationship between Don Bradman and his confidante, journalist Rohan Rivett, The Private Don (2004). Wallace is an associate of the ANU Centre for Digital Humanities Research.

Wallace's doctoral thesis on political biography as political intervention will be published by the University of New South Wales Press in 2022. It examines the identity and motivations of those who wrote biographies of 20th century prime ministers in Australia in the run up to, and during, these prime ministers' terms of office, and the impact on the politicians' career trajectories. In the case of living prime ministers, they and their biographers have been interviewed to explore the dynamics of the subject/biographer relationship.

A first career as an economic and political journalist in the Canberra Press Gallery has contributed to Wallace's success in public-facing scholarly communications, including through The Conversation which has twice named her one of Australia's 'Top Thinkers' (2017 and 2019).

Researcher's projects

THE CASEYS IN WASHINGTON 1940-42: Smart Power Strengths and Limitations. This Australian Research Council-funded project concerns diplomatic interventions and practices in pursuit of ‘smart power’ results, explored from a present in which ‘hard power’ military intervention is often a disproportionately large, reflex response to global security threats. It focuses on Australian Minister Richard Gardiner Casey and his wife Maie Casey who served from 1940-42 in Washington, Australia's first independent diplomatic mission, and their press aide Pat Jarrett who served there 1940-1. The project maps their campaign, in co-operation with the British mission to Washington led initially by Lord Lothian then Lord Halifax, to draw the US into the war against Nazi Germany, and their contending campaign to draw the US into the Pacific at the same time contrary to Britain’s ‘Europe First’ policy. The interpersonal diplomacy of the campaign is examined, incorporating the wider Washington political and media networks in which their diplomacy was practised.

WEAPONISED INFORMATION, WORLD WARS TO DIGITAL WARS Information strategy and content, including propaganda, is a crucial element of conflict. This is true whether the conflict is formal, as with the twentieth century’s world wars, or informal as in civil and guerrilla wars and virtual policy and political conflicts online. Between World War I and World War II, crucial lessons about effective information strategy and content from the earlier conflict were forgotten, leading to a poor early performance by Britain on this front in World War II. The project draws parallels between this and inadequate responses to weaponised digital disinformation by western democracies in the contemporary era. It arises directly arises from the previous ARC DECRA project on Australian and British World War II Washington diplomacy.

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:  28 September 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers