History Writing

Guillotine at Fort Téremba, Moindou, Kanaky Nouvelle-Calédonie. Colonial history research. Photo credit: Karin Speedy.

Are you wanting to carry out archival research in New Zealand but can’t get here? I am an experienced archival researcher based in Wellington with access to the National Library (Alexander Turnbull Library Collections) and the National Archives. I can also travel to other libraries and archives within New Zealand and am happy to undertake archival research for historians and researchers unable to travel to New Zealand. As a member of PHANZA, I abide by their code of practice and follow ethical processes at all times.

“Karin is absolutely wonderful to work with! She is professional, communicative, efficient, and an excellent historian and researcher. While assisting me with archival research at the National Archives and Library of New Zealand, Karin provided helpful feedback regarding materials, met my shifting needs, and ensured that I received the records necessary for my project in a timely manner.”

Dr. Mary Barton, Author of Counterterrorism Between the Wars: An International History, 1919-1937, Washington, DC, USA

Do you, your family or your organisation have a story or stories from the past to tell? As a professional historian, I use my well-honed historical methods and research skills, including archival and library research (primary, secondary, and literary sources) and oral histories, to gather a wide range of historical information pertinent to your project. I then piece the fragments together, analyse and interpret the data, taking into consideration the broader historical context, and translate the information into clear, lively and engaging written histories. These can be in the shape of longer (books) or shorter (articles, web-based texts, media texts, reports etc.) pieces with differing degrees of formality depending on your intended audience.

My first book on 19th century migration from Reunion Island to New Caledonia and the creole language, Tayo. Taken in Calédo Livres, Noumea. Photo credit: Karin Speedy.

I have extensive experience researching and writing histories and have the advantage of being able to work in both English and French. I have written many academic books and articles (see below for a list of some of my historical publications) but I am also highly skilled at communicating histories in less formal outputs such as blogs, media articles, podcasts, and in creative histories, mostly poetry (see my blog for examples).

My research was recognized in 2013 when peers successfully nominated me for The John Dunmore Medal  for my “major contributions to knowledge and better understanding of the part played by the French people and French culture in the scientific, economic, historical and cultural development of the Pacific”. In the 2018 PBRF (Performance-based Research Fund in New Zealand) Quality Evaluation, my research was awarded the highest “A” grade for Humanities and Pacific Research, putting me among the very top researchers in the country. I currently have an honorary affiliation as Associate Professor/Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

My specialist interests include:
  • Colonial/Decolonial/Anti-Colonial history
  • Transnational and Trans-Imperial history
  • French and Francophone history
  • New Zealand, Australian and Pacific history
  • New Caledonian history
  • Slavery, Blackbirding and other Forced Labour history
  • African and Indian Diasporas in the Pacific
  • Indian Ocean history
  • Literary history
  • Migration history
  • Family history
  • Oral history
  • Historical linguistics
  • Biography
This book tells the history of blackbirding in the Pacific from a New Caledonian perspective. Photo credit: Karin Speedy.

I love all things historical and have a passion for writing histories. Please contact me to discuss your project.

Selected Historical Publications

Speedy, Karin. 2015 (online)/2016 (print). Georges Baudoux’s Jean M’Baraï the trepang fisherman. Sydney: UTS ePress, 145p, ISBN: 978-0-9945039-1-6, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/978-0-9945039-1-6

Speedy, Karin. 2007. Colons, Créoles et Coolies: L’immigration réunionnaise en Nouvelle-Calédonie (XIXe siècle) et le tayo de Saint-Louis. Paris: L’Harmattan, 218p, ISBN : 978-2-296-03575-1 Translated title: Settlers, Creoles and Coolies: Reunionese immigration to New Caledonia (19th century) and the Tayo of Saint-Louis

Articles and Book Chapters

Speedy, Karin. 2020. “Toppling Joubert: Exposing the colonial routes of island connectedness beneath the apparent French roots of Hunters Hill (Sydney, Australia)”, Shima, 14.2, 185-213. https://www.shimajournal.org/issues/v14n2/13.-Speedy-Shima-v14n2.pdf

Speedy, Karin. 2019. “Tracing Indian Languages in New Caledonia” in Appasamy Murugaiyan and Fred Negrit (eds.), Langues de l’Inde en diasporas Maintiens et transmissions / Indian Languages in Diasporas Retention and Transmission, Paris: SCITEP éditions, 99-118.

Speedy, Karin. 2017. “L’Ordre et la morale: looking beyond the transnational in a non-indigenous film about recent Pacific history”, Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 14.2, 34-50. http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol14iss2id334

Speedy, Karin. 2017. “Transformative Mobilities and the Non-dit: Constructing Whiteness across Two French Colonial Spaces”, Open Library of Humanities, 3.2: http://doi.org/10.16995/olh.132

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “‘Arab Castaways’/‘French Escapees’: Mobilities, Border Protection and White Australia”, Law, Crime and History, 6.2, 15-30. http://www.lawcrimehistory.org/journal/vol.6%20issue2%202016/Speedy%20final%20proofed.pdf

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “Constructing Subaltern Silence in the Colonial Archive”, Journal of Australian Colonial History, 18, 95-114.

Speedy, Karin. 2015. “The Sutton Case: the First Franco-Australian Foray into Blackbirding”, The Journal of Pacific History, 50.3, 344-364. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223344.2015.1073868

Speedy, Karin and Sahaï, Jean Samuel. 2015. “Les Indiens en Nouvelle-Calédonie: de la marginalisation à l’invisibilité”, in Jean Samuel Sahaï, Adagio pour la Da: les Indiens des Antilles de Henry Sidambarom à Aimé Césaire, Atramenta: Tampere.

Speedy, Karin. 2014. “Les Réunionnais oubliés du Caillou: un terrain de recherche multi-situé et pluridisciplinaire traversant temps et espace” in Véronique Fillol and Pierre-Yves Le Meur (eds.), Terrains océaniens: enjeux et méthodes, Paris: L’Harmattan, 267-283.

Speedy, Karin. 2013. “Mission-educated girls in nineteenth-century Saint-Louis and their Impact on the Evolution of Tayo”, Shima, 7.1. http://www.shimajournal.org/issues/v7n1/f.%20Speedy%20Shima%20v7n1%2060-79.pdf

Speedy, Karin. 2012. “From the Indian Ocean to the Pacific: Affranchis and Petits- Blancs in New Caledonia”, Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, Special Issue: Indian Ocean Traffic, 9.1. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/portal/article/view/2567

Speedy, Karin. 2009. “Who were the Reunion Coolies of Nineteenth-Century New Caledonia?”, Journal of Pacific History, 44.2, 123-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/00223340903142090

Speedy, Karin. 2008. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire: Reunionese immigrants and the sugar industry in nineteenth-century New Caledonia”, New Zealand Journal of French Studies, 29.2, 5-19.

Creative Histories and Guest blog posts on academic multi-author blogsites

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “A Pacific Blackbirding Narrative”, Guest post on the Port Towns and Urban Cultures Coastal History Blog, blog 34. http://porttowns.port.ac.uk/blog34/

Speedy, Karin. 2016. “Rites of Passage” and “Tropical Depression”, original poems in Snorkel literary magazine, issue 23. http://snorkel.org.au/023/speedy.html

Speedy, Karin. 2015. “Sydney’s Global Slavery Scandal of 1857”, Imperial & Global Forumhttp://imperialglobalexeter.com/2015/09/21/sydneys-global-slavery-scandal-of-1857/

Speedy, Karin. 2015. “Cuttings from a Pacific Garden”, “Objets Trouvés in the New Caledonian Archives”, “Flame Tree or Portrait of a Reunionese Woman in New Caledonia circa 1908”, “The Night Before Waitangi Day”, original poems in Blackmail Press, special issue on Piercing the White Space, 41, November 2015, issn1176-4791 http://www.blackmailpress.com/KS41.html

Speedy, Karin. 2009. “Remembering Paris”, invited essay in Catalogue for the Remembering Paris Exhibition, Macquarie University Art Gallery 2 July – 14 August 2009. Sydney: Macquarie University Press, 3-5.

Map of a plantation with a list of enslaved people. Copenhagen, National Museum of Denmark. Photo credit: Karin Speedy

Keywords: Professional historian, PHANZA member, Professional historian in New Zealand, French-speaking professional historian, Archival research, Archival research in Wellington, Archival research in New Zealand, Academic historian, Writing histories, Blogging histories, History writer, History blogger, Colonial history, Decolonial history, Anti-Colonial history, Transnational and Trans-Imperial history, French and Francophone history, New Zealand history, Australian history, Pacific history, New Caledonian history, Slavery, Blackbirding, Forced Labour history, African and Indian Diasporas in the Pacific, Indian Ocean history, Literary history, Migration history, Family history, Oral history, Historical linguistics, Biography

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