Michael McDonnell is Professor of History at the University of Sydney, which is built on Gadigal lands that were taken from the without their consent, treaty, or compensation. He is particularly interested in exploring the histories of often ignored actors and the hidden ways in which they exert powerful influences on major historical turning points. He is also committed to widening participation at Universities, especially in the face of increasing government efforts to raise barriers to accessing education.
Professor McDonnell is the author of two prize-winning books, Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America (2015) and The Politics of War: Race, Class, and Conflict in Revolutionary Virginia (2007) - which won the NSW Premier's History Prize. He also is an editor or co-editor of three other works on the Age of Revolution, including Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age, with Kate Fullagar (2018), and Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation-Making from the Revolution to the Civil War, with Frances Clarke, Clare Corbould, and W. Fitzhugh Brundage (2013). His work has also been featured in the Organization of American Historians' (OAH) Best American History Essays.
McDonnell is currently at work on several projects, including an examination of the place of the American Revolution in Black American life (with Clare Corbould), a study of Revolutionary War memoirs written by lower-class veterans of the conflict, and a three-volume Cambridge History of the American Revolution.