Dr James Dunk

DR. JAMES DUNK is an historian of science and medicine with particular interest in the histories of the psy disciplines. His current research explores the way the physical environment has figured in psychological paradigms and in psychotherapy. He works with scholars in health and medicine to understand how ideas of health are becoming more ecological.

His first book, Bedlam at Botany Bay (NewSouth 2019), is a study of mental health in colonial New South Wales, and the collection he edited with Barbara Brookes, Knowledge Making: Historians, Archives and Bureaucracy, will be published by Routledge in 2020.

His articles have appeared in New England Journal of MedicineRethinking History, History Australia, and Health and History, and he has written on history, fiction, and film for Australian Book Review and Rochford Street Review.


  • Nicholas Bayly: The Anti-Settler,” St. John’s Online, (2020).
  • Bedlam at Botany Bay (Sydney: NewSouth, 2019).
  • “Work, Paperwork, and the Imaginary Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum, 1846,” Bureaucracy, Archive Files and the Making of Knowledge, special issue of Rethinking History 22, No. 3 (2018): 326–355.
  • [Exhibition Review], “Louella McCarthy and Kathryn Weston, curators, “Caring for the Incarcerated,” University of Wollongong Library, Wollongong, History Australia, 14 (4), (2018): 662–665
  • “The Liability of Madness and the Commission of Lunacy in New South Wales, 1805–12,” History Australia, 15 (1), (2018): 130–150.
  • “Authority and the Treatment of the Insane at Castle Hill Asylum, 1811–25,” Health and History, 19 (2), (2017): 17–40.
  • with Angeline Brasier, “Incarceration, Migration, Dispossession, and Discovery: Medicine in Colonial Australia,” Health and History, 19 (2), (2017): 1–16.


  • PhD (History) University of Sydney (2016)
  • BA (Advanced) (Hons I) University of Sydney (2007)


  • Australian Historical Association
  • Australian and New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine
  • Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society
  • History Council of New South Wales


Follow James Dunk on Twitter@JamesHDunk