Thomas Buchanan

Dr Thomas Buchanan

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Tom has a long-term interest in the history of capitalism. His early work focused on the history of enslaved people in the midst of America's nineteenth-century market revolution. It analysed how capitalist transformation created tensions within the steamboat economy of the Mississippi River that facilitated intensified slaveholder exploitation of enslaved people while it simultaneously created new possibilities for resistance. Currently, he is researching the culture of capitalism in the context of twentieth-century Australia. He is studying how Broken Hill Proprietary Company, Inc. (BHP) worked to shape the country in its own image, projecting corporate values onto many aspects of Australian life. The project will reach transnational dimensions in its later stages as it follows the impact of the 'Big Australian' on the global South. 

  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2014 Award Named a "Legendary Lecturer' by the University of Adelaide students

Tom does not pursue government research grants and believes in self-funded, independent research. 

Tom has an interest in educational approaches that empower and engage students. In terms of his current teaching roles, he coordinates courses in American history and global history. He also maintains both a scholarly and teaching interest in historiography and conveying the grand tradition of historical research to undergraduate and honours students. 

He coordinates and lectures in the first year courses 'Empires in World History' and 'Revolutions that Changed the World'. His second year courses include 'Modern America: Capitalism and Democracy' as well as 'New York City in Revolution: Reacting to the Past'. The later course is distinctive for incorporating small-group discovery through the entire fabric of the course through role immersion and game play. Check out the promotional video 'Learn History and Win'. Tom is currently studying ways to improve the student experience of role immersion in the course via blended learning. In third year he coordinates 'Human Trafficking: Atlantic Trade to Contemporary' which connects past and present in the study of capitalism and slavery.  At honours level he has taught the historical methods course as well as reading courses on American capitalism. In the future, he plans to offer a course at the honours level on environmental history. 

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Principal Supervisor Consider “anti-Tom” novels as proslavery propaganda in comparison to slave narratives. How did these texts represent female sexuality and motherhood within the plantation system? Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Miss Jacqueline Victoria Cook
    2021 Co-Supervisor Merchants of pre-revolutionary Russia: their role in the life of the empire and influence on society Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Tatiana Sazonova
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Banking on Hearts and Minds: American Banks, Popular Confidence, and the Public Sphere During the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Thomas Ashley Mackay
    2010 - 2017 Co-Supervisor ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ The British Press and Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kylie Galbraith
    2009 - 2018 Principal Supervisor SLAVERY AND THE ORIGINS OF LOUISIANA’S PRISON INDUSTRY, 1803-1861 Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Kelly Birch
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83134682
  • Email: thomas.buchanan@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83134341
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor 5
  • Org Unit: History

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