Dr Chris Wallace is a Research Fellow (ARC DECRA) at the National Centre of Biography, School of History, ANU.
Her DECRA project concerns diplomatic interventions and practices in pursuit of ‘smart power’ results, explored from a present in which ‘hard power’ military intervention is often a disproportionately large, reflex response to global security threats. It focuses on Australian Minister Richard Gardiner 'Dick' Casey and his wife Maie Casey who served from 1940-42 in Washington, Australia's first independent diplomatic mission, and their press aide Patricia 'Pat' Jarrett who served there 1940-1. The project maps that campaign and the interpersonal diplomacy underpinning it, incorporating a range of perspectives not so far dealt with in the existing historiography.
Wallace works in modern and contemporary political and international history with special reference to leadership, transnational lives, gender and social change. She is the author of several books including a biography of maverick Australian feminist Germaine Greer, Greer, Untamed Shrew; a biography of the then crusading neoliberal policy exponent John Hewson during his Opposition leadership in the early 1990s, Hewson: A Portrait; an exploration of the intense 30 year-long confidante relationship between Don Bradman and journalist Rohan Rivett, The Private Don; and on the left-wing Canberra print collective, Megalo, Megalomania: 33 years of posters made at Megalo Print Studio 1980-2013. She is currently reworking her doctoral thesis as a book titled, Political Biography as Political Intervention: Australia's 20th Century Prime Ministers & Their Biographers. It examines the identity and motivations of those who wrote biographies of 20th century prime ministers in Australia in the run up to, and during, these prime ministers' terms of office, and the impact on those political trajectories.