Originally from Australia, I am a Medical Historian with a particular interest in disease control in international shipping, migration, and concepts of risk. My work conceptualises ports as particular geographical and representational spaces where notions of national, racial and biological borders were negotiated. I focus, primarily, on how different attempts to regulate and deregulate this space were informed by the often conflicting demands of national and international interests and varying concepts of ‘indigenous’ and ‘exotic;’ and how the exigencies of medical border controls interplayed with contemporary understanding of disease and ‘the diseased.’
My new project takes my interests in ideas about perceived and real dangers, borders and category making, in a different direction. Focusing on the dangerous native animals of Australia, I place Europeans in the penal colonies, as well as later free settlements, within a landscape of creatures that helped to set the spatial boundaries of settlement while not not always respecting the creation of colonized space or ‘civilised’ domains. My interest lies in the small, scuttling and slithering creatures that hid in the woodpiles and under the floors of European homes and workplaces, and lurked just beneath the surface of the water that surrounded the settlements.