Dr Agnieszka Sobocinska is the Director of the Menzies Australia Institute and Reader in International History and Historical Geography. She joined King’s in 2022, having previously worked at Monash University and the University of Sydney.
Agnieszka’s research explores the intersections between history, politics and geography in the contexts of international development, North-South contacts, and Australia-Asia relations. She is particularly interested in the politics of non-elite mobility and interpersonal contact through foreign aid, development volunteering, and tourism.
She is the author of 'Saving the World? Western Volunteers and the Rise of the Humanitarian-Development Complex' (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and 'Visiting the Neighbours: Australians in Asia' (UNSW Press, 2014). She is currently working on histories of grassroots resistance and organised opposition to foreign aid projects across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Before coming to the UK, Agnieszka held multiple research fellowships in Australia, including an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (2016-2021) and a National Library of Australia Fellowship (2016). She was also part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Project team exploring Australian garrison communities in decolonising Southeast Asia.
- Histories of foreign aid, international development and humanitarianism
- Histories and politics of non-elite mobility, travel and tourism
- Historical and contemporary Australia-Asia relations
- Non-elite and popular engagement with international affairs
Agnieszka applies an interdisciplinary methodology to examine how people and ideas moved between nations and global blocs, and how they were received. At present, she is researching grassroots and community responses to foreign aid projects introduced in villages and towns in India and Indonesia.
She is interested in how, and why, Western models of development were perceived and how local actors mobilised to modify or contest projects implemented by Western NGOs including Oxfam, Western aid agencies such as AusAID, and multilateral agencies including UN FAO.
Agnieszka is available to supervise postgraduate students at master's and PhD level in the following areas:
- Histories and geographies of development, humanitarianism and foreign aid
- Australia and the World
- Histories and geographies of mobility, travel and tourism
- Non-elite experiences of decolonisation and globalisation
See Agnieszka's research profile