Mia Martin Hobbs

Email: mia.martinhobbs[at]deakin.edu.au

ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2330-1733

BlueSky: @miamh.bsky.social

Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University

I am an oral historian of war and its legacies, with a research focus on the Vietnam War, the War on Terror, memory, trauma, place, gender, peace, and security. I completed my PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2018, where I taught modern US and international history 2017-2020. I recently completed work as a research fellow the ARC project 'A Conceptual History of National Security in Australia since 1901' at Deakin University, and am now an Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I am currently undertaking an oral history project with women and minority veterans who fought in the US, UK, and Australian militaries since 9/11. I am also one of a group of historians on a project 'Challenging Anzac', on which I am investigating the efforts and experiences of anti-war Australian veterans from Vietnam to the present day.  Finally, I am developing a new project with people who sought asylum in Australia from conflict in countries affected by climate change. 

Return to Vietnam: An Oral History of American and Australian Veterans' Journeys

Published October 2021 by Cambridge University Press

Since the 1980s, thousands of American and Australian veterans have returned to Việt Nam. This oral history tells their story.

‘The return journeys to Vietnam of American and Australian war veterans raise complex questions involving memory, responsibility, and repentance. In this first-rate work of historical scholarship, Mia Martin Hobbs expertly addresses them. Perceptive, sophisticated, and engagingly written, Return to Vietnam is a book I've been waiting for years for somebody to write.'

Scott Laderman - University of Minnesota, Duluth

‘Original, thought-provoking, and multi-dimensional, Return to Vietnam offers readers a comparative perspective on American and Australian veteran travels to Vietnam since 1975. Mia Martin Hobbs grounds this book in rich, and sometime searing, oral histories. She succeeds in achieving an impressive balance between presenting veterans' personal accounts and offering her own powerful analysis of memory, national commemoration, personal trauma, and war.'

Jana K. Lipman - Tulane University

WINNER, Oral History Australia Book Award, 2022

Shortlisted for the Memory Studies Association First Book Award, 2023

Honorable Mention for the Memory Studies Association First Book Award, 2023

Digital Cartography

Mapping American and Australian Veterans' Return Journeys to Vietnam

As a Resident Researcher in the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne, I worked with the Melbourne Data Analytics Platform to develop an interactive spatial-temporal map of my doctoral interviews with Vietnam veterans. The map shows the movement of the veterans I interviewed back and forth from Vietnam, both during the war and afterward. Clips of their oral history interviews are embedded into their movement pathways. Explore the map here.  

Race and Gender in the War on Terror

IWM Enemies or Allies

Some early research presented at the Imperial War Museum's "Enemy Encounters" conference in July 2021.

After 9/11, Western militaries deployed the most racially and gender diverse soldier-force in history to fight the so-called War on Terror. These soldiers waged a deeply racialized and gendered war while facing epidemics of racism and sexual violence within military institutions. Through a transnational oral history project with women and minorities who served in the US, UK, and Australian militaries in the War on Terror, I aim to understand their experiences as victims and perpetrators of gendered and racialized violence and how they understand their role in increasingly diverse militaries and broader societies.

Articles and Chapters

'Healing Journeys: Veterans, Trauma, and the Return to Vietnam' Journal of American History, 110:1 (June 2023): 82-107. https://doi.org/10.1093/jahist/jaad094

'Veteran Reflections: Legacies of War in Vietnam at Peace', in The Vietnam War in the Pacific World, eds. Brian Cuddy and Frederik Lovegall, University of North Carolina Press, November 2022.

'Why soldiers commit war crimes – and what we can do about it', Lessons from History: Leading Historians Tackle Australia's Greatest Challenges, eds. Carolyn Holbrook, David Lowe, and Lyndon Megarrity, New South, July 2022.

Extract republished: 'Friday essay: why soldiers commit war crimes- and what we can do about it', The Conversation, 1 July 2022. 

'Calamity or Commodity? Conceptualizing Security in the Nuclear Debate in Fraser’s Australia', History Australia, (April 2022): https://doi.org/10.1080/14490854.2022.2057339 

'(Un)naming: Agency, Anonymity, and Ethics in Oral Histories with Veteran-Narrators', Oral History Review, 48:1 (2021), online publication 19 February 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/00940798.2021.1885982

See an interview I gave to Oral History Review expanding on the ethics explored in the article


‘“We went and did an Anzac job”: Memory, myth, and the Anzac Digger in Vietnam’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, 64:3 (October 2018): 480-97. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajph.12512

Winner, University of Melbourne School of Historical and Philosophical Studies Fellows’ Essay Prize, 2018.


I am an experienced lecturer, tutor, and coordinator, with expertise in digital pedagogy, historical simulations, and ESL.

Key teaching areas: