An introduction to new team member Amy Way

The Research Centre for Deep History was pleased to welcome Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr. Amy Way in February this year. Amy specialises in the history of human antiquity and deep time in Australia, and its conceptualisation within geology, archaeology, anthropology and public discourse. She received the Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence for her PhD dissertation (2020), and in 2021, was awarded the Australian Historical Association’s Ann Curthoys Prize for her study of Aboriginal antiquity in Australian anthropology.

RCDH: What drew you to the Centre for Deep History?

Amy: I have always been fascinated by Australian history, and especially the narratives settler-Australians choose to tell themselves about the past. The Centre for Deep History shares my concern with deepening historical narratives, questioning traditional periodisation, transforming the scale of history, and bridging the gap between the deep past and the present. But what really drew me to the Centre is not just how the team use their research to reshape how we think about history, but how their work platforms, and is led by, Indigenous voices. Deep history in Australia goes beyond settler epistemology to be first and foremost an embodied, living history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s enduring connection to Country.

RCDH: What will you be working on?

A: I’ll be working on turning my doctoral research into a book, while also helping the team finish the Centre’s digital deep history atlas. I’ll be conducting fieldwork on Country, collecting oral histories, and searching through collections for artefacts that help communicate deep history beyond the colonial archive. I am also running training workshops, and co-convening the Deep Conversations: History, Science, Environment seminar series with colleagues in the Centre for Environmental History.

RCDH: What were you doing before you came to Re?

A: Before I moved to Canberra, I lived in Sydney and taught Australian history at Macquarie University and the University of Notre Dame (Ultimo). I also worked as an Education Officer for Macquarie University’s fantastic history incursions program, Studying the Past, which delivered ancient and modern history workshops to high school students. Outside of teaching, I was (and still am) working on a biography of paleontologist and museum director Robert Etheridge Junior (1846-1920), in partnership with the Australian Museum and Etheridge descendants.

Amy’s work has been published in History Australia and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science. She is a Visiting Fellow with the New Earth Histories Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Follow Amy on twitter: @amywayness