Dr Michael Ondaatje

Lecturer in US Politics


Dr Michael L. Ondaatje is is head of the National School of Arts, and associate professor of history at the Australian Catholic University. He is also a Research Associate at the United States Studies Centre at Sydney University.

Ondaatje was awarded his PhD, with Distinction, from the University of Western Australia in 2008. His thesis on African American conservatism was recognised with the Robert Street Prize for the most outstanding PhD across all of the University’s disciplines. In 2010 Michael's first book, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America, was a Top 20 bestseller in US history. In 2011 the book was recognised with the Newcastle Vice-Chancellor’s award for research excellence, and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Australian Historical Association’s (AHA) Hancock Prize.

Ondaatje has been a senior visiting research fellow at Oxford University. In 2012 the Australian Academy of the Humanities awarded him the Max Crawford Medal, "Australia’s most prestigious award for achievement and promise in the humanities." The Crawford Medal is "granted to early career researchers for outstanding scholarly achievement in the humanities in Australia, and to those whose publications make an exceptional contribution to the understanding of humanities disciplines by the general public."

Ondaatje is the winner of several teaching awards at the national and university level, and has supervised twenty Honours and PhD theses to completion. A regular media commentator on US politics, Michael has also delivered numerous public lectures, including the Annual Human Rights Day Address at the United Nations Association of Australia in 2011.

Ondaatje is co-editor of the Australasian Journal of American Studies, and a member of the Executive Committee of the AHA. He is a former head of history at the University of Newcastle. In 2013 Michael was selected by the US Embassy in Australia for the International Visitor Leadership Program, the premier professional exchange program of the US government.