An old, weather piece of paper that has typewriter text on it detailing the first few parts of the fourth drafts of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea

Join Dr Anna Dziedzic as she presents a lecture on her 2021 National Library Fellowship research about the movement of constitution texts and ideas across Oceania.

Entry is free to this event but bookings are essential.

The talk will be available to view live online via the Library's Facebook and YouTube pages. You do not need to book a ticket to watch the event online.

Dr Anna Dziedzic is a 2021 National Library of Australia Fellow, supported by the Stokes family.

About Dr Anna Dziedzic's Fellowship research

There is a long history of constitution-making across the islands of the Pacific. Pacific polities produced some of the world’s earliest written constitutions in the 19th century. Decolonisation in the latter part of the 20th century produced a second wave of written constitutions as colonial territories became independent states. Efforts to make and renew constitutions continue today.

The independence constitutions of Pacific island states are often characterised as ‘transplants’, based on templates provided by the departing colonial authorities and accepted by Pacific states as a necessary step towards independence. Recent studies in Pacific histories, however, provide good reason to resist this assumption. They urge us instead to pay attention to the mobility and agency of Indigenous peoples across the Pacific and the diverse ways in which they advocated and practiced independence within the constraints of colonial power imbalances.

The National Library of Australia holds the working papers of JW Davidson and CJ Lynch, who between them provided advice on independence constitution-making across 7 Pacific states from the 1960s to 1980s. These papers, together with the significant collection of primary and secondary materials relating to the history of the Pacific islands, will be used to develop an understanding of second wave constitution-making that moves beyond official accounts by paying attention to the people, relationships and contexts that lie behind constitutional texts. This research is part of a larger project that traces the patterns and connections between written constitutions, narratives about past constitution-making events, and the development and interpretation of constitutions today.

About Dr Anna Dziedzic

2021 National Library of Australia Fellow Dr Anna Dziedzic undertakes research in the area of comparative constitutional law and judicial studies, with a particular focus on the Pacific region. She is a Convenor of the Constitution Transformation Network at Melbourne Law School and Co-Editor of the Blog of the International Association of Constitutional Law. Dr Dziedzic holds a PhD from Melbourne Law School and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laureate Program on Comparative Constitutional Law at Melbourne Law School in 2022 and a Global Academic Fellow at the Hong Kong University Faculty of Law from 2019-2021. She is the author of Foreign Judges in the Pacific (Hart 2021) and co-editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Foreign Judges on Domestic Courts (forthcoming). In addition to her academic research, she has provided advice and assistance to constitution-making and law reform processes across the Asia-Pacific region.

About National Library of Australia Fellowships

The National Library of Australia Fellowships program offers researchers an opportunity to undertake a 12-week residency at the Library. This program is supported by generous donors and bequests.

Image credit: Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea - Fourth draft of 10 May 1975 (renumbered and revised), Papers of C.J. Lynch 1901-1985, MS Acc11.0776 Box 6 Folder 2/38

Type Fellowship presentation