Christine Hansen


Department of Historical Studies
Visiting address
Renströmsgatan 6
41255 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 200
40530 Göteborg

About Christine Hansen

Christine is an historian with cross-disciplinary interests in critical heritage studies and the environmental humanities. She has an Honours degree in Aboriginal Studies from UWS and completed her PhD in History at the Australian National University in 2010.

She has been a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University and a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Critical Heritage Studies at Gothenburg University. Her current research project in Gothenburg, funded by Formas - the Swedish Research Council, focuses on Aboriginal knowledge systems in relation to fire in south-eastern Australia. She also has an active research interest in Australian Aboriginal collections held by European ethnographic museums.

Areas of expertise

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander museum collections Aboriginal social history Environmental history Critical heritage studies


Centre for Environmental History, ANU National Museum of Australia Research Centre Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre

Current projects

Critical Heritage and the Environmental Humanities text seminar, convenor

The theme of this text seminar is the intersection between critical heritage and the environmental humanities. As emerging fields of inter-disciplinary scholarship, both domains are asking new questions of traditional knowledge regimes: the environmental humanities ask ethical, cultural and historical questions of environmental science, seeking to formulate new capacity with which to meet emerging global challenges; similarly, critical heritage examines our relationship to cultural and historical formations as they are employed in contemporary circulation. At the intersection of these fields is a question of how our framing of the past determines the way in which we understand and interact with the environment into the future. How do we negotiate an approach to environmental issues through the use (and appropriation) of heritage? How do we configure the past to resist or encourage change? How do we understand and occupy ‘place’ as an historical accumulation? Within this nexus, these and other broad ranging questions reach towards new understandings of how to live in a rapidly changing world.

People of the Flume: living with fire in a changing climate

This project addresses one of the most critical urban development issues being faced by the cities in south-eastern Australia: how to understand and live with bushfire. Melbourne, a city of almost 4.5 million people located in the south-east corner of Australia, sits in one of the most dangerous fire zones on Earth. On the morning of 7th February, 2009, the worst bushfires in the nation’s history swept through 4,500 square kilometres of land on the city fringe, claiming 174 human lives, injuring 5,000 people, killing countless animals and destroying 2,029 homes. While mega-fires such as this are predicted to increase in frequency due to a warming climate, the expanding population of Melbourne is pushing the urban fringe further into the danger zone. If a repeat of this disaster is to be avoided then deep cultural change needs to be instituted. Yet the type of knowledge generated by fire scholarship, based as it is within a physical paradigm, does not as a rule directly address communities at risk. This project reverses that bias. Taking the small locality of Healesville as a case study I examine its relationship to fire within three themes: ecology, history and architecture. In doing so I will offer a methodology for working with communities in danger zones more broadly, bringing to light the need for integrative research methods based in local knowledge.

Critical Curatorship: Objects, Archives and Collections in Ethnographic Museums

Although there has been intense review of ethnographic museums and their founding discourses over the past four decades, most often through analysis of exhibitions and public programs, the museological practices surrounding catalogues, archives and object magasins/storehouses have been subject to less scrutiny. The critical curatorship project (centred around a week long PhD workshop, 19-23 May 2014, convened by Critical Heritage Studies at Gothenburg University) will skip over an examination of ethnographic museums’ much analysed public interface and instead go ‘behind the scenes’ to look at the deep ideologies rooted in collections and their archives and catalogues. Using historic material from the stores, we will explore the complications and possibilities of ethnographic objects within the shifting politics of the contemporary world.