Skip navigation
The Australian National University

ARC Laureate Fellows


Nick Evans has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork on traditional languages of northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea. The driving interest of his work is the interplay between documenting and describing the incredible diversity contained in the world's endangered languages and the many scientific and humanistic questions they can help us answer.



Professor Sue O'Connor's recent work discovering the world's oldest evidence of deep sea fishing rewrote the history books about how hunter gatherer societies in the Southern hemisphere functioned more than 40,000 years ago.


Modern Japanese history & Korea

Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki is a leading expert on recent and modern Japanese history, as well as conflict and resolution on the Korean peninsula and migration issues across the region.

Modern Japanese history & Korea

Historical anthropology

Professor Margaret Jolly has written extensively on gender in the Pacific, exploratory voyages and travel writing, missions and contemporary Christianity, maternity and sexuality, cinema and art.

Historical anthropology

These prestigious Laureate Fellowships reflect the Australian Commonwealth's commitment to excellence in research and are the highest academic fellowship offered by the Australian Research Council.

Professor Nicholas Evans, Laureate Fellow 2013 to present

The wellsprings of linguistic diversity

Professor Evans' project tackles the riddle of how linguistic diversity arises: why there are so many languages in parts of the world like Australia and New Guinea, and so few in others, and why do languages in some parts of the world develop such radically different structures? Understanding the causes of language diversity will help the countries and communities in our region maintain their rich linguistic heritage. The project will combine on-the-ground case studies and computational modelling. It will gather detailed information on micro-variation in how people talk in speech communities in Arnhem Land (Bininj Gun-wok and neighbouring languages), the Morehead district of Western Province, PNG (Nen, Nambu and Idi) and Pentecost Island, Vanuatu (Sa and adjoining languages), as well as from comparator communities in Samoa, rural Australia and rural Latin America. Download original project description

In 2012 ANU academics were awarded four out of 17 ARC Laureate Fellowships, more than any other Australian university. Two of these awardees were CHL Professors Tessa Morris-Suzuki and Sue O'Connor.

Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Laureate Fellow 2012 to present

Informal life politics in the remaking of Northeast Asia

Professor Morris-Suzuki's Australian Laureate Fellowship will help her and her team develop a new framework for observing emerging and significant, but little understood, forms of political activity in rapidly changing areas of Asia. The research project focuses on grassroots movements in Japan, China, Taiwan, the two Koreas and Mongolia which which aim to protect local livelihood and well-being in the face of political, economic and environmental change. This cross-border research will contribute both to understanding of the Northeast Asian region at a time of crucial transformation, and to debates about social movements and their political implications. Professor Morris-Suzuki's research interests include grassroots movements and survival politics in Northeast Asia, the Korean War in regional context, and memory and reconciliation in Northeast Asia.

Professor Sue O'Connor, Laureate Fellow 2012 to present

Understanding modern human dispersal, adaptation and behaviour enroute to Australia

The Fellowship will help Professor O'Connor focus on the earliest colonisation of Island Southeast Asia and investigate modern human dispersal, adaptations and behaviour along the maritime route to Australia. The award recognises her role in humanities, arts and social sciences and provides her with additional funding to help her mentor women in science.

Professor Margaret Jolly, Laureate Fellow 2010 to present

Engendering Persons, Transforming Things:
Christianities, Commodities and Individualism in Oceania

Professor Jolly's five-year Laureate project that addresses a profound and long-debated question about the historical interaction between Oceanic and western constructs of the person and contemporary controversies about the role of Christianity in the emergence of modern individualism. It is distinctive in linking the gender of persons with gendered things. It critically evaluates the role of Christianity in relation to processes of individuation emergent from the commoditisation of land, labour and consumption, biomedical systems of health and introduced legal regimes. It will significantly enhance Australia's research capacity as well as its cultural understanding and delivery of development assistance in the region, with particular regard to gender justice, law and health.

Updated:  20 February 2015/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language /Page Contact:  CHL webmaster