Assistant Professor of History
Laura Seddelmeyer's primary research interest focuses on the modern legacy of the British Empire in Australia by questioning how Britain’s declining global role in the 20th century affected its relationship with the wider British World. In her research and teaching, she focuses on the strategic, political and economic effects of European and Asian transformations while recognizing that cultural and social connections also change over time.
Seddelmeyer grew up in a small town in Northeast Indiana (New Haven), and her appreciation for small, liberal arts colleges developed as a history major in Rhode Island. As an undergraduate, her study abroad experience in Wollongong, Australia, piqued her interest in the different responses that former British colonies and current Commonwealth countries had to British presence.
As a nation of Western heritage on the edge of Asia, Australia’s experience within the far-flung British Empire (and later Commonwealth) differed quite a bit from other colonies due to its location in the Asia-Pacific. The expansion and contraction of British power offers important lessons about the complex nature of global changes, alliance relationships and interdependence. Her current research examines Australia’s place within a changing global environment by questioning how British withdrawal from east of the Suez Canal and changes in American policy toward Asia affected the close relationship between English-speaking allies in the 1960s and 1970s. Australia’s particular experience in the 20th century also explains how smaller, regional powers exerted their own influence on a global scale through strategic relationships with larger powers.
When she is not teaching or researching, she enjoys traveling within and outside of the United States, crafting, and watching football, among other activities.