Australian Academy of the Humanities Media Release

Announcing new Academy President

AAH News Fellows in the news, Media release

Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA was elected President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities on 18 November.

Professor Damousi is one of Australia’s preeminent historians. She is a leading expert on memory and the aftermaths of war, the history of emotions, and migration history in relation to refugees, humanitarianism and internationalism. In 2014 she was awarded the prestigious Australian Research Council Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship, recognising her outstanding research leadership and scholarly excellence.

“I am deeply honoured to have been elected the next President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities”, said Professor Damousi. “In our ever changing and dynamic world, the humanities remain central to our culture and to our identity.”

“The humanities define who we are and where we are going”, she said. “In fact, I would say they drive it. They give pause for reflection and offer ways of building new perspectives.”

Professor Damousi is the third female President of the Academy. Her appointment cements her position as one of the leading women in the Australian research sector. Elected in 2004, Professor Damousi has been a dedicated Fellow of the Academy, and champion of research excellence and early career humanities researchers. She has been a member of the Academy’s Awards Committee since 2012, served as Head of the Academy’s History Section (2008-11) and has been a member of Council since 2016.

Professor Damousi sees a strong role for the Academy in engaging with contemporary issues such as the impact of digital disruption and the challenges of globalisation, and promoting the vital skills the humanities workforce contributes to industry and to broader society, now and into the future.

“Supporting the next generation of humanities scholars is a critical role for the Academy”, said Professor Damousi.

Professor Damousi succeeds Professor John Fitzgerald FAHA. “John has been a visionary leader during his term as President, especially in promoting the principles of academic freedom. The Academy will continue his vital work in closely collaborating with and building on crucial partnerships with international academies and other bodies, especially in the Asia region.”

Professor Damousi is currently Professor of History in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne, and Chair of the University’s Research Higher Degrees Committee. She has served as inaugural Head of the School of Historical Studies, Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Arts, and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at The University of Melbourne, and Chair of Humanities and Creative Arts panels of the Australian Research Council College of Experts and ERA.  She is also former editor of Australian Historical Studies (2002-06) and chair of its board (2007-10) and served as associate editor of Women’s History Review (2005-14). She is currently on the editorial boards of Labour History, Australian Journal of Politics and History and Gender and History and is a board member of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and Honorary Associate of the Museum of Victoria.

Learn more about Professor Damousi from a recent blog posted by The University of Melbourne.

New Council member

The Academy also welcomes Professor Bronwen Neil FAHA to Council, elected at the recent Annual General Meeting. Bronwen Neil is Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University and a former Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung. She concurrently holds an ARC Future Fellowship for her Discovery Project ‘Dreams, Prophecy and Violence from Early Christianity to the Rise of Islam’ (2014-18) and is immediate past president of the Australian Association for Byzantine Studies. Professor Neil is also the convenor of the Academy’s 49th Symposium Clash of Civilisations? Where are we now? to be held in November 2018 in Sydney.

Professor Neil joins the following Council members:

  • Honorary Secretary and Vice-President—Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin FAHA
  • International Secretary and Vice-President—Professor Ian Lilley FSA FAHA
  • Treasurer—Emeritus Professor Richard Waterhouse FAHA
  • Editor—Emeritus Professor Graham Tulloch FAHA
  • Immediate Past President—Professor John Fitzgerald FAHA
  • Members—Professor Bridget Griffen-Foley, Professor Jane Lydon FSA FAHA, Professor Graham Oppy FAHA, Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner FAHA