Dr Joseph Zizek

BA (Alta), BSc (Alta), PhD (Berkeley)

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Senior Lecturer


My interests lie in the cultural history of eighteenth century France and the history of the French Revolution, particularly the emergence of new ways of thinking about individual and collective identity. My current research examines how perceptions of history and the past changed in the late eighteenth century, but also how new social and ritual practices (gift-giving, oath-taking, etc) helped contemporaries to rethink matters of politics, identity, and conflict.  

My research and teaching together focus on European history since c. 1700 and I am available to supervise students interested in these areas. I am also interested in supervising interdisciplinary topics focusing on any aspects of historical theory or method.

Research | Current

  • French Revolution: politics, culture, society
  • Revolutionary legacies in modern Europe
  • Life-writing, biography, and autobiography in modern Europe
  • Eighteenth or nineteenth-century European cultural or social history
  • Enlightenment history or historiography
  • Historical theory and method
  • Digital history

Teaching | Current

HISTORY 103 Global History

HISTORY 224 Old Regime and Revolution: France, 1750-1815 

HISTORY 324 Old Regime and Revolution: France, 1750-1815 


Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD supervisions

Alysha Crossan, 'Before Kinsey: US Sex Surveys and Research in the Early Twentieth Century'

Jeremiah Rankin, 'Scientific Identity and Authority in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Press'

Sheree Trotter, 'Zionism in New Zealand 1897-1948'

Completed PhD supervisions

Nina Attwood, 'Writing Prostitution in Victorian England, 1837-1901' (completed 2008)

Catherine Ballériaux, 'Reformation Strategies: Conversion, Civility, and Utopia in Missionary Writings about the New World, c.1610-1690' (completed 2012)

Sandy Callister, 'War, seen through photographs, darkly: the photographic representation of World War One from a New Zealand perspective' (completed 2005)

Genevieve de Pont, ' "Tourists like ourselves": New Zealanders' International Travel Diaries and their Journeys, 1919-1963' (Completed 2014)

Peter Hoar, 'Hearing the World: Audio Technologies and Listening in New Zealand, 1879-1939' (completed 2013)

Thomas Munro,  'The Hague's war, 1914 - 1929' (completed 2018)

Completed MA supervisions 

Laurel Flinn. 'Men well worthy of good esteem" : representations of masculinity in nineteenth-century British working-class autobiographies'

Christophe Gillain, 'Writing the Aristocratic Self: Violence, Love, and Friendship in Three Seventeenth- Century Aristocratic Memoirs' (completed 2014)

Wake Harper, 'Reformation Stories: The Sixteenth Century and the Victorian Imagination' (completed 2007)

Cyrus Kiss, 'Politics of the linguistic turn: a Derridean afterword' (completed 2013)

Karlin Nelson, 'The ‘Spiritual’ Conquest: Missionary Perceptions of Religious Conversion in Sixteenth-Century New Spain' (completed 2010)

Sasha Rasmussen. 'La Karsavina: Ballet and Visions of Femininity in Belle Époque Paris' (completed 2016)

Scott Worthy, 'Communities of Remembrance: The Memory of the Great War in New Zealand, 1915-1939'

Shen Yu, 'Nationalism in Comparison – the Chinese and the French as Personified by Jiang Jieshi and Charles de Gaulle’ (completed 2003)

Completed BA(Hons) supervisions

Ella Arbury ‘A Sound Mind in a Sound Body: Concepts of Childrearing in Eighteenth-Century England and France’ (completed 2009)

Christophe Gillain, ‘‘Le Roi est bien le Maître’: A Contemporary View of Kingship in Edmond-Jean-François Barbier’s Mémoire of the Reign of Louis XV’ (completed 2011)

Lucy Irwin, ‘Locke, Rousseau, and the Enlightened Childhood: A Comparative Study’ (completed 2015)

Alastair Kirkby, 'Musketeers versus Guards! An Analysis of the Different Portrayals of Richelieu' (completed 2017)

Janet McAllister, ‘Karen Armstrong: An Intellectual History’ (completed 2008)

Bernard Marsh, ‘The Historically Minded Witness: An Exploration of the Writings of Timothy Garton Ash’ (completed 2015)

Josie Poharama, 'Fairies and Royalty in the Tales of Countess d’Aulnoy' (completed 2016)

Sarah Russell, ' "The Mind of a Man and the Charms of a Woman": Catherine the Great through her Memoirs' (completed 2018)

Hal Thomas, ‘Jacques-Pierre Brissot: from Philosophe to Politician’ (completed 2013)

Sophie Woolrich, ‘Inciting Revolution: Ami du Peuple and the September Massacres’ (completed 2015)

Eliot Yau, 'The Sale of Commissions in the British Army: A Social, Political, and Military Investigation' (completed 2016)

Areas of expertise

French and European History

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Zizek, J. (2018). "New History": The Radical Pasts of the French Revolution, 1789-1794. In D. A. Bell, Y. Mintzker (Eds.) Rethinking the Age of Revolutions: France and the Birth of the Modern World (pp. 154-192). New York, USA: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780190674793.003.0006
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/47792
  • Zizek, J. (2017). Keith's Great Invention: The French Revolution from the Inside. Paper presented at Bakerfest: A Workshop in Honor of Keith Baker, Stanford, California, USA. 3 February - 4 February 2017.
  • Zizek, J. (2016). Revolutionary Gifts: Sacrifice and the Challenge of Community during the French Revolution. Journal of Modern History, 88 (2), 306-341. 10.1086/686200
  • Zizek, J., & Carpenter, K. (2014). Introduction. French History and Civilization, 5, 1-5.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/39102
  • Zizek, J. (2013). Revolutionary promises: The oath and political community in the French Revolution, 1789-1799. Paper presented at Australasian Association of for European History (AAEH) 23rd Biennial Conference, Victoria University, Wellington, NZ. 2 July - 5 July 2013. Related URL.
  • Zizek, J. (2012). Jean-Louis Soulavie (1752-1813): Making history for the Revolution’s future. Paper presented at 18th George Rudé Seminar in French History and Civilisation, Auckland, NZ. 12 July - 14 July 2012. Related URL.
  • Zizek, J. (2012). Une histoire digne de la nation: Jean-Louis Soulavie et le problème de l’histoire en révolution, 1789-1792. Paper presented at Histoire et Politique : Quand les révolutionnaires français prennent la plume (1789-1830), Colloque international, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France. 26 June - 26 June 2012. Related URL.
  • Zizek, J. J. (2011). Scripting Revolutionary History, 1789-1794. Paper presented at Scripting Revolutions, Stanford, California. 3 November - 5 November 2011.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/17058

Contact details

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
New Zealand