Historian James Belich heads to Oxford

Last updated 19:58 09/05/2011
New Zealand historian Professor James Belich
New Zealand historian James Belich

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A prominent New Zealand historian has been appointed to one of the top jobs in the world in his field.

Professor James Belich will take up the Beit Professorship of Commonwealth and Imperial History at Oxford University England in October.

He is currently Professor of History at Victoria University's Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies.

The Beit Professorship provides research leadership in Commonwealth, imperial and global history and is awarded to a historian of exceptional and international reputation.

The position was established in 1905 and Prof Belich will be the seventh historian to hold it.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh said today the appointment was testimony to Prof Belich's position as one of the world's leading scholars in New Zealand and, increasingly, global history.

"The appointment is richly deserved and is evidence that New Zealand history and perspectives are being taken seriously in a global context."

Prof Belich said the appointment was an honour and would allow him to take his research interests, which he described as "increasingly global" to a wider canvass.

Born in Wellington, Prof Belich gained both a Bachelor and Master of Arts from Victoria. As a Rhodes Scholar, he went on to Oxford University and graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy in 1981.

His book, The New Zealand Wars, won the Trevor Reese Memorial Prize for historical scholarship in 1987 and was later turned into a major television documentary series.

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