Mia Martin Hobbs
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2330-1733
Research Fellow, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University
Resident Researcher, Digital Studio, University of Melbourne
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 am currently a research fellow on the ARC project "A Conceptual History of National Security in Australia since 1901" at Deakin University. I am also undertaking a project with women and minority veterans who fought in the US, UK, and Australian militaries since 9/11, and 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
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 below.
Race and Gender in the War on Terror
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
“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.
"'We did it so badly...it's now backfired': Women and minority US forces reflect on the invasion of Iraq - now 20 years ago',
The Conversation, 20 March 2023.
"'National security' once meant more than just conjuring up threats beyond our borders",
The Conversation, 24 February 2022.
“Echoes of Vietnam: Counterinsurgency, 'warrior hero' culture, and war crimes in Afghanistan",
Australian Policy and History, 24 November 2020.
“What Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ gets wrong about veterans returning to Vietnam”,
The Conversation, 15 July 2020.
“Soldier Recognition, Trauma, and the Australian War Memorial”,
Australian Policy and History, 26 November 2019.
"The battle over Long Tan’s memory – a perspective from Việt Nam”,
The Conversation, 18 August 2016.
I am an experienced lecturer, tutor, and coordinator, with expertise in digital pedagogy, historical simulations, and ESL.
Key teaching areas:
Modern US history
Memory, trauma, and violence in history
Vietnam War (transnational approach)