Caitlin Harvey studies the history of migration, settlement, and empire in British imperial and global context.
Her dissertation, “Bricks and Mortar Boards: University-Building in the Settlement Empire, 1840-1920” examines the expansion of university education, ahead of popular demand, in the settlement societies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. It serves as a case study of how institutions perpetuated the intellectual authority of settler-colonial states and became a part of a broader move to territorialize Indigenous land. Britain’s global empire facilitated connections between settler institutions – of students, professors, technologies, and ideas – meaning that these universities did not develop in isolation from one another. Rather, in a period of global migrations, gold rushes, and state expansion, educationalists who were oceans apart faced similar challenges and drew on imperial networks to overcome them. This financial and sociopolitical study then, reveals how these new institutions accommodated social and economic forces (along with local politics), before becoming a socioeconomic force in themselves.