Dianne Newell

Professor Emerita

Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
Department of History

Interim Director, Centre for Indigenous Fisheries


BA Hons. Social Sciences
MA Canadian Studies
Ph.D. History

Contact Information

Email: d.newell@oceans.ubc.ca
Office phone: 604-822-9890
Websites: biography; Centre for Indigenous Fisheries

Research Unit

Centre for Indigenous Fisheries


Dianne Newell is an historian of technology and society who has spent her career examining the diffusion of knowledge in disciplines across the social sciences and humanities. She has held numerous leadership positions internationally and at the University of British Columbia, including chair of the editorial board of the Canadian Historical Review, founding member of the International Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study at the Technical University of Munich (2006-2012), and Associate Dean and Chair of the Killiam Post-doctoral Awards in the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies (1996-1998), Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC (2003-2011), and inaugural Principal of the UBC Emeritus College (2018-2019). She was appointed Interim Director of the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries in January 2021.

She is a leading expert in Canadian Native case law in the area of fisheries, has served on the Research Management Committee of AquaNet: Canada’s Network of Centers of Excellence in Aquaculture, and also as an Independent Evaluator for the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Commission.

Newell was named Interim Director of the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC in 2003 and appointed Director in 2006, ending in 2011. She was 2012 Residential Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch, South Africa, and since 2012 holds an ongoing appointment as Visiting Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Technical University of Munich.

Newell joined the History Department of the University of British Columbia in 1980, was appointed Professor Emerita in 2014 and a founding faculty member of UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries in 2015, where she lead the initiative to establish the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries. As Associate Dean of Graduate Studies she was responsible for all scholarships and awards and oversaw approximately 600 PhD examinations. She contributed significantly to the establishment of the UBC Emeritus College (2018), first of its kind in Canada.

The Dean of Arts Faculty Award for excellence and transformative contributions to the Faculty of Arts this year went to Margaret Schabas in Philosophy. Each year the award is named after an Emeritus Professor, chosen by the recipient, who has made a significant contribution to the Faculty of Arts and has been an inspiration to the award recipient. For 2022-2023, it has been named after Dr. Newell.


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