Ben MaddisonBen Maddison

Ben Maddison teaches Australian history and historical and social theory, especially focussing on issues of class, colonialism and commodification. His major research interest is in polar and exploration history and he is currently completing his monograph Class and Colonialism in Antarctic Exploration 1750-1920 (forthcoming, Pickering and Chatto 2014). Another major area of research expertise lies in the history of common land in colonial societies, and he is writing a monograph on the history of colonial commons in Eastern Australia. He is also slowly undertaking the research on the life of Eric Dark for a monograph titled ‘The landscapes of Eric Dark’. Ben Maddison lives in the Blue Mountains NSW, and also writes on his lifelong passion for rock climbing and mountains, and journeys regularly to Antarctica where he also teaches history.

Recent Publications 

Searchable RIS publications from 2000 to date

  • ‘Radical commons discourse and the challenges of colonialism', Radical History Review, no. 108, 2010, pp. 29-48.
  • ‘Labour commodification and classification: an illustrative case study of the New South Wales boilermaking trades, 1860-1920. International Review of Social History August 2008.
  • ‘Deskilling the 1891 census in New South Wales and Tasmania’, Australian Journal of Politics and History (December 2007)
  • '“The skilful unskilled labourer”: the Decline of Artisanal Discourses of Skill in the NSW Arbitration Court, 1905-15’, Labour History No 93, November 2007, pp. 73-86.
  • ‘“A kind of joy bell”: common land, wage work and the 8 hours movement in 19th century New South Wales’ in J. Kimber and P. Love (eds), The Time of Their Lives: the Eight Hour Day and Working Life, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History (Southwood Press, Sydney, 2007), pp. 181-195

Potential Topics for HDR & Honours Supervision

  • Antarctic history/exploration history
  • Australian social
  • Working class and environmental history
  • Colonialism and the British Empire
  • Historiography
  • Hhistory and theory
  • Critical and Marxist theory



Last reviewed: 5 February, 2014