Professor Alison Bashford

Professor Alison Bashford

Aust. Laureate Fellow (ARC)

BA (Hons, University Medal) PhD, Syd; MA (Cantab)

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of Humanities & Languages

Alison Bashford is Scientia Professor in History and Director of the Laureate Centre for History & Population. She also directs the New Earth Histories Research Program. Her work connects the history of science, global history, and environmental history into new assessments of the modern world, from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Her most recent book is An Intimate History of Evolution: The Story of the Huxley Family (Random House, 2022), one of The Economist's top books of 2022, and shortlisted for the Cundill History Prize, 2023. Alison Bashford has recently focused on the geopolitics of world population, presented in two books: The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Re-reading the Principle of Population, with Joyce E. Chaplin (Princeton University Press, 2016) and Global Population: History, Geopolitics and Life on Earth (Columbia University Press, 2014). Before taking up her Research Chair at UNSW, Alison Bashford was the Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Trustee of Royal Museums, Greenwich, UK. In 2009-10, she was the Whitlam and Fraser Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science. Alison Bashford is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Australian Academy of Humanities. In May 2018, she presented the Wiles Lectures at Queen's University, Belfast. Alison Bashford was awarded the Dan David Prize for her contribution to the history of health and medicine in 2021. 

+61 2 93854772
329 Morven Brown

Alison Bashford is currently Chief Investigator on the following projects

  • Australian Research Council, Laureate Fellowship, 2020-26,Population Policy in Modern World History: Challenges from the Asia Pacific
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project, 2021-25, Antipodean Geology: A Modern History of Southern Hemisphere Earth with Alessandro Antonello (Flinders), Pratik Chakrabarti (Manchester), Saul Dubow (Cambridge), Greg Cushman (Kansas)
  • Australian Research Council, Strategic Research Initiative, 2020-23, Rethinking Medico-Legal Border Control: From international to internal histories, with Jane McAdam (UNSW Law)
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Project, 2019-21, The Huxleys and Global Science


Shortlist, the Cundill History Prize (2023) for The Huxley's

Dan David Prize for the History of Health and Medicine (2021)

The Royal Society of New South Wales Medal for the History of Science (2020)

The Cantemir Prize (2011)



A. Bashford, An Intimate History of Evolution: the story of the Huxley family (Allen Lane, London, 2022). Published in the US as The Huxleys: An Intimate History of Evolution (University of Chicago Press, 2022).

A. Bashford and J.E. Chaplin, The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Re-reading the Principle of Population (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). Chinese translation forthcoming, The Commercial Press: Beijing, 2020.

A. Bashford, Global Population: History, Geopolitics, and Life on Earth (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).

A. Bashford and C. Strange, Griffith Taylor: Visionary, Environmentalist, Explorer (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008).

A. Bashford, Imperial Hygiene: A Critical History of Colonialism, Nationalism and Public Health (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). Second edn. 2014.

A. Bashford, Purity and Pollution: Gender, Embodiment and Victorian Medicine (London: Macmillan, 1998).


Books Edited

A. Bashford, E. M. Kern and A. Bobbette (Des), New Earth Histories: Geo-cosmologies and the making of the modern world (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023).

D. Armitage, A. Bashford, S. Sivasundaram (eds), Oceanic Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). 

A. Bashford, Quarantine: Local and Global Histories (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016)

D. Armitage and A. Bashford, Pacific Histories: Ocean, Land, People (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2014).

A. Bashford and S. Macintyre, The Cambridge History of Australia, 2 vols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

A. Bashford and P. Levine, The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

A. Bashford, Medicine at the Border: Disease, Globalization and Security from 1850 to the Present (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006). Second edn. 2014.

A. Bashford and C. Strange, Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion (London: Routledge, 2003).

A. Bashford and C. Hooker, Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 2001). Second edition: Contagion: Epidemics, history and culture from smallpox to anthrax (Sydney: Pluto Press, 2003).


Special Issues

A. Bashford, S. Fennell, D. Kelly (eds), ‘Malthusian Moments’, The Historical Journal, Inaugural Special Issue. 2019 online.

A. Bashford and S.W. Tracy (eds), ‘Modern Airs, Waters, and Places.’ Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Special issue: 86, 4, Winter 2012.


Articles and review essays

A. Bashford, 'The Disenchantment of Chiromancy: Reading Modern Hands from Palmistry to Genetics', Past & Present, 2023 (online advance).

A.Bashford, 'Malthus and Gender', Australian Economic History Review, 62, 3 (2022): 198-210.

C.C. Huang and A.Bashford, 'Vaccine Requirements Predate the COVID Pandemic by More than a Century', Migration Policy, 6 April 2022.

A.Bashford,  P. Chakrabarti, J. Hore, 'Towards a Modern History of Gondwanaland', Journal of the British Academy 9(s1) (2021)

A. Bashford,  'World History and the Tasman Sea', American Historical Review, 126, 3 (2021): 922-948;

A. Bashford, ‘The Family of Man: Cosmopolitanism and the Huxleys’, Humanity (2021). Special issue ‘Cosmopolitanism’ ed. Valeska Huber.

A. Bashford, ‘Malthus and China’, The Historical Journal (2019): 1-27 online.

A.Bashford, D. Kelly, S. Fennell, ‘Malthusian Moments: Introduction’, The Historical Journal (2019): 1-13 online.

A. Bashford, ‘Deep Genetics: Universal History & the Species’, History and Theory, 57, 2 (2018): 313-22.

A. Bashford, ‘Terraqueous Histories’, The Historical Journal, 60, 1 (2017): 1–20.

A. Bashford, P. Hobbins, A. Clarke, U. Frederick, ‘Geographies of Commemoration: Angel Island, San Francisco and North Head, Sydney’, Journal of Historical Geography, 52 (2016): 15–25.

A. Bashford, ‘Bioscapes: Gendering the Global History of Medicine’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 89 (2015): 690–95.

A. Bashford and P. Hobbins, ‘Rethinking Quarantine: Pacific History at Australia’s Edge’, Australian Historical Studies, 46, 3 (2015): 392–409.

A. Bashford and J. McAdam, ‘The Right to Asylum: The 1905 Aliens Act and the Evolution of Refugee Law,’ Law and History Review, 32, 2 (2014): 309–50.

A. Bashford, ‘Immigration Restriction: Rethinking Period and Place from Settler Colonies to Postcolonial Nations’, Journal of Global History, 9, 1 (2014): 26–48.

A. Bashford, ‘The Anthropocene is Modern History: Reflections on Climate and Australian Deep Time,’ Australian Historical Studies, 44 (2013): 341–49.

A. Bashford, ‘Anti-Colonial Climates: Physiology, Ecology, and Global Population, 1920s–50s’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 86 (2012): 595–626.

A. Bashford and C. Gilchrist, ‘The Colonial History of the 1905 Aliens Act’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 40 (2012): 409–37.

A. Bashford, ‘Malthus and Colonial History’, Journal of Australian Studies, 36 (2012): 99–110.

A. Bashford,Living with Tuberculosis: The Prehistory of HIV/AIDS’, The Lancet, 375, no. 9728 (2010): 1774­–75.

A. Bashford, ‘Population, Geopolitics and International Organizations in the Mid Twentieth Century’, Journal of World History, 19 (2008): 327–47. Translated and republished. ‘População, Geopolitica e organizaçoes internacionais em meados do século XX’, Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo, José Pedro Monteiro (orgs), Os Passados do Presente. Internacionalismo, imperialismo e a construção do mundo contemporâneo (Almedina: Coimbra, 2015), 271–94.

A. Bashford, ‘World Population, World Health and Security: 20th century trends’, Journal of Epidemiology and Population Health, 62 (2008): 187–90.

A. Bashford, ‘World Population and Australian Land: Demography and Sovereignty in the Twentieth Century’, Australian Historical Studies, 130 (2007): 211–27.

A. Bashford, ‘Nation, Empire, Globe: The Spaces of Population Debate in the Interwar Years’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 49 (2007): 170–201.

A. Bashford and C. Strange, ‘Thinking Historically about Public Health’, Medical Humanities 33 (2007): 87–92.

A. Bashford, ‘Global Biopolitics and the History of World Health’, History of the Human Sciences, 19 (2006): 67–88.

A. Bashford and J. Welshman, ‘Tuberculosis, Migration, and Medical examination: Lessons from History’, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 60 (2006): 282–84.

A. Bashford and B. Power, ‘Immigration and Health: Law and Regulation in Australia, 1958-2004’, Health and History, 7, no. 1 (2005): 86-101.

A. Bashford and S. Howard, ‘Immigration and Health: Law and Regulation in Australia, 1901-1958’, Health and History, 6, no. 1, (2004): 97-112.

A. Bashford and C. Strange, ‘Public Pedagogy: Sex Education and Mass Communication in the Mid Twentieth Century’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, 13 (2004): 71–99.

A. Bashford, ‘At the Border: Contagion, Immigration, Nation’, Australian Historical Studies, 120 (2002): 344–58.

A. Bashford, ‘Tuberculosis and Economy: Public Health and Labour in the Early Welfare State’, Health and History, 4, no. 2 (2002): 19–40.

A. Bashford and C. Hooker, ‘Diphtheria and Australian Public Health: Bacteriology and its Complex Applications, 1890-1930’, Medical History, 46 (2002): 41–64.

A. Bashford and C. Strange, ‘Asylum-seekers and National Histories of Detention’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 48 (2002): 509-27.

A. Bashford, ‘Domestic Scientists: The Negotiation of Science and Gender in Early Twentieth Century Nursing’, Journal of Women’s History, 12 (2000): 127–46.

A. Bashford, ‘ “Is White Australia Possible?” race, colonialism and tropical medicine in the early twentieth century’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 23 (2000): 112–35.

A. Bashford, ‘Epidemic and Governmentality: Smallpox in Sydney, 1881’, Critical Public Health, 12 (1999): 301–16.

A. Bashford, ‘Quarantine and the Imagining of the Australian Nation’, Health, 2 (1998): 387–402.

A. Bashford, ‘Female Bodies at Work: Gender and the Re-forming of Colonial Hospitals’, Australian Cultural History, 13 (1994): 65–81.

A. Bashford, ‘Frances Gillam Holden and the Children’s Hospital Dispute, 1887: Woman’s Sphere, Feminism and Nursing’, Women’s History Review, 2 (1993): 319–30.



A. Bashford, Empire in Oceania: Knowing the Sea of Islands’ in Islands and the British Empire in the Age of Sail, Douglas Hamilton and John Macaleer (eds). (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

A. Bashford, ‘Population Planning for a Global Middle Class’ in Christof Dejung, Jürgen Osterhammel, David Motadel (eds), The Global Bourgeoisie:The Rise of the Middle Classes in the Age of Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019), 85–101.

A. Bashford, ‘World Population from Eugenics to Climate Change’ in Nick Hopwood, Rebecca Flemming and Lauren Kassell (eds), Reproduction: From Antiquity to the Present Day (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 505–520.

A. Bashford, ‘The Pacific Ocean’ in David Armitage, Alison Bashford and Sujit Sivasundaram (eds), Oceanic Histories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 62‑84.

A. Bashford, ‘History of Public Health during Colonialism’ in S.R. Quah and W.C. Cockerham (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Public Health, 2nd edition, vol. 4, (Oxford: Academic Press, 2017), 13–18.

A. Bashford, ‘Maritime Quarantine: Linking old world and new world histories’, in Alison Bashford (ed.), Quarantine: local and global histories (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2016), 1–14.

A. Bashford and J.E. Chaplin, ‘Malthus and the new world’ in Robert J. Mayhew (ed.), New Perspectives on Malthus (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 105–127.

A. Bashford, ‘Population Politics since 1750’ in Kenneth Pomeranz and John McNeill (eds), The Cambridge World History, vol. 7 (Cambridge University Press, 2015), 212–236.

A. Bashford, ‘Panic’s Past and Global Futures’ in Robert Peckham (ed.), Empires of Panic: Epidemics and Colonial Anxieties (Hong Kong University Press, 2014).

A. Bashford, ‘George Knibbs’, in Libby Robin, Sverker Sørlin, and Paul Warde (eds), The Future of Nature: Documents of Global Change (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).

A. Bashford, ‘Insanity and Immigration Restriction’ in Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland (eds) Migration, Health, and Ethnicity in the Modern World (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2013), 14–35.

A. Bashford and P. Hobbins, ‘Science and Medicine in Twentieth Century Australia’, in Alison Bashford and Stuart Macintyre (eds) Cambridge History of Australia vol. 2 (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 263–83.

A. Bashford, ‘Julian Huxley’s Transhumanism’, in Marius Turda (eds) Crafting Humans: from genesis to eugenics and beyond (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013), 153–68.

A. Bashford, ‘Karl Haushofer’s Geopolitics of the Pacific Ocean’, in Kate Fullager (ed.) The Atlantic World in a Pacific Field: Effects and Transformation since the Eighteenth Century (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars’ Press, 2012), 120–43.

A. Bashford, ‘The Great White Plague Turns Alien: tuberculosis and immigration in Australia 1901-2001’ in M. Worboys and F. Condrau (eds), Tuberculosis Then and Now: Perspectives on the History of an Infectious Disease (Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 2010), 100–122.

A. Bashford, ‘Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Eugenics’ in A. Bashford and P. Levine (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 154–72.

A. Bashford, ‘Where Did Eugenics Go?’ in A. Bashford and P. Levine (eds) The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 539–58.

A. Bashford, ‘Australasia and Oceania’ in H. Cook, A. Hardy and S. Bhattacharya (eds), History and the Social Determinants of Health (Delhi: Orient Longman, 2008), 9–26.

A. Bashford, ‘The Age of Universal Contagion: history, disease and globalization’ in A. Bashford (ed.) Medicine at the Border: Disease, Globalization and Security (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006), 1-19.

A. Bashford, I. Convery and J. Welshman, ‘Where is the Border? Tuberculosis Screening in Australia and the UK 1950-2000’ in A. Bashford (ed.) Medicine at the Border: Disease, globalization and security, (Basingstoke: Palgrave), 97-115.

A. Bashford, ‘Gender, Medicine and Empire’ in Philippa Levine (ed.) Gender and Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 112–33.

A. Bashford, ‘Cultures of Confinement: tuberculosis, isolation and the sanatorium’ in C. Strange and A. Bashford (eds) Isolation: places and practices of exclusion, (London: Routledge, 2003), 133–50.

A. Bashford and C. Strange. ‘Isolation and exclusion in the Modern World: an Introductory Essay’ in C. Strange and A. Bashford (eds) Isolation: places and practices of exclusion, (Routledge, 2003), 1–20.

A. Bashford and C. Hooker, ‘Disinfecting Mail – from smallpox to anthrax’ in A. Bashford and C. Hooker (eds) Contagion: Epidemics, history and culture from smallpox to anthrax, (Pluto Press, 2003), 226–31.

A. Bashford, ‘Foreign Bodies: vaccination, contagion and colonialism in the nineteenth century’ in A. Bashford and C. Hooker (eds) Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 2001), 39–60.

A. Bashford and M. Nugent, ‘Leprosy and the Management of Race and Sexuality’ in A. Bashford and C. Hooker (eds) Contagion (London: Routledge, 2001), 106–28.

A. Bashford, ‘Separatist Health: Meanings of Women’s Hospitals, c. 1870-1930’ in L. R. Furst (ed.), Climbing a Long Hill: Women Healers and Physicians (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1997), 198–220.

Comments and Roundtables

A.Bashford,  ‘Pandemic Narratives and the Historian’, Los Angeles Review of Books, 18 May 2020.

A.Bashford, ‘Beyond Quarantine Critique’, Somatosphere, 6 March 2020.

A. Bashford, ‘On nations and states: a reflection on ‘Thinking the Empire Whole’, History Australia. 2019.

C. Otter, A. Bashford, J.L. Brooke, F.A. Jonsson, J.M. Kelly, ‘The Anthropocene in British History,’ Journal of British Studies 57(2018): 1–29.