James is a historian who works on the history of knowledge and history of universities. His work reaches across the history of university governance, university disciplines, the heritage of university campuses, and the changing influence of campus life and culture on the student experience.
Additionally he takes in the historical connections between universities and the state, industry and community groups. Among his other work has been the production of two Witness Seminars on the University's recent past, on the 1959–1960 Immigration Reform Group and the HIV/AIDS crisis in Australia in the 1980s.
His history of the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, Australian Universities (with Gwilym Croucher), was published by UNSW Press in September 2020, and his history of the Melbourne University Union is contracted to be published by Australian Scholarly in 2022. With Kate Darian-Smith he edited a collection on the interwar university professions, The First World War, the Universities and the Professions in Australia, 1914–1936 (MUP, 2019).
He has also published histories of lobby groups and professional and community organisations, including Improving Justice: A History of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA, 2014), Liberty: A History of Civil Liberties in Australia, with Stuart Macintyre (UNSW Press 2011), and The Family Club: A Short History (Carlton: The Family Club Cooperative, 2018) a history of Australia's first university childcare centre.
James is an investigator on the ‘Expert Nation’ and ‘Universities and Post-war Recovery’ research projects, tracing the careers of university graduates who served in the First and Second World Wars, funded by the Australian Research Council.
He maintains the University’s history page: https://about.unimelb.edu.au/our-history
Kate Darian-Smith and James Waghorne, The First World War, the Universities and the Professions in Australia 1914-1939, Melbourne University Press, 2019 (forthcoming).
James Waghorne, The Family Club: A Short History, Melbourne University Family Club Co-op, 2016.
James Waghorne. Improving Justice: A History of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration. Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, 2014.
James Waghorne and Stuart Macintyre. Liberty: A History of Civil Liberties in Australia. University of New South Wales Press, 2011.
Darian-Smith, K. and Waghorne, J.(2016). ‘Australian universities and the commemoration of the First World War’, History of Education Review, vol. 45, no. 2, pp.239-255.
Darian-Smith, K. and Waghorne, (J. 2016). ‘Australian-Asian Sociability, Student Activism, and the University Challenge to White Australia in the 1950s’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 203-218.
Kate Darian-Smith and James Waghorne, ‘Australian universities and the commemoration of the First World War’, History of Education Review, vol. 45, no. 2, 2016, pp.239-255
Kate Darian-Smith and James Waghorne, ‘Australian-Asian Sociability, Student Activism, and the University Challenge to White Australia in the 1950s’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 62, no. 2, June 2016, pp. 203-218
James Waghorne. ‘Civil liberties and the Referendum’. Australian Historical Studies, vol. 44, no. 1, April 2013.
‘“Tempering the Wind”: Brian Fitzpatrick and the Australian Council for Civil Liberties under the Curtin Labor Government’. In Sheila Fitzpatrick and Stuart Macintyre, eds, Against the Grain: Brian Fitzpatrick – Manning Clark & Australian History. Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 2007.
Witness Seminar, ‘Communication and Health Policy Creation during the Australian AIDS Crisis’, 20 July 2014 [producer].
Witness Seminar, ‘Remembering the Immigration Reform Group’, 19 June 2013 [producer].