Associate Professor Emma   Christopher
Scientia Fellow (Level D)

Associate Professor Emma Christopher

Ph.D., 2002, University College London, 'The Sons of Neptune and the Sons of Ham: a history of slave ship sailors and their captive cargoes.'

Arts,Design & Architecture
Humanities & Languages

Emma Christopher’s latest book is called Freedom in White and Black and is the story of the only two men shipped to Australia as convicts for the crime of slave trading, and the enslaved men, women and children rescued from them. She previously published Slave Ship Sailors and their Captive Cargoes (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006) and A Merciless Place (New York / Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011; Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2010), which won both the Kay Daniels and Ernest Scott prizes. She is the co-editor, with Marcus Rediker and Cassandra Pybus, of Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

Emma is also a documentary filmmaker and is the director, producer and researcher of They Are We, (New York: Icarus Film, 2014) which won five Best Documentary Awards, featured widely in the media, and was chosen as the United Nations’ Remembrance of Slavery film 2015. It has screened in more than 70 countries around the world. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the film and Emma’s work as, ‘an inspiration; a victory over slavery’.

She is an anti-slavery campaigner and previously worked at Anti-Slavery Australia at UTS. She has held both four and five year ARC fellowships as well as two other Discovery Grants. She is currently an Australian Human Rights Institute Associate.



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They Are We:

  • Best Documentary: Sierra Leone National Entertainment Awards, 2017
  • Best Documentary, Miami Documentary Festival, 2014
  • Best Educational Documentary, Bare Bones Film and Music Festival, 2014
  • Best Documentary, Bronze Lens Atlanta, 2014
  • Audience Choice Award, London Latin American Film Festival, 2014
  • Best Foreign Feature Film, nomination, San Diego Black Film Festival, 2014
  • Best Chronicle, nomination, Maverick Movie Awards, 2014

A Merciless Place:

  • Kay Daniels Prize, 2011
  • Ernest Scott Prize, 2011
  • New South Wales Premier’s Prize, shortlisted, 2011
  • Queensland Premier’s Prize, shortlisted, 2011

Humanitarian Award for Anti-Slavery Research in West Africa, University of Minnesota, 2010.


  • Scientia Fellow, UNSW, 2018-2021
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, 2017-19
  • Australian Research Council 5-year Fellowship, 2010-2014
  • Gilder Lehrman Research Fellowship, Yale University, 2010
  • Sawyer Mellon Foundation Grant (joint application)
  • Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, 2008-2010
  • Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2006-2009
  • Caird Fellow, National Maritime Museum, London, 2004
  • Atlantic World Research Fellowship, Harvard University, 2004
  • Mellon Fellow, Huntington Library, California, 2003
  • Paul Cuffe Memorial Scholarship, Mystic Seaport Museum, Connecticut, 2001-2
  • University of Pennsylvania visiting research position, 2001-2
  • Arts and Humanities Research Board Award, British Academy, 2000