Social Sciences

Marie Reay

Having won a scholarship to the newly-established Australian National University in 1953, Reay was one of the first research scholars in what was then the Department of Anthropology and Sociology in the Research School of Pacific Studies. Directed by SF Nadel and supervised by WE Stanner, Reay went to the Wahgi Valley in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, where she did pioneering field work among the Kuma.

Jean Craig (Martin)

In 1955 Jean Craig became one of the first women to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. She was appointed as lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney in 1956, Professor of Sociology at La Trobe University, Melbourne from 1966-1974, and Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology, Research School of Social Sciences at the ANU in 1974.

Her major publications were Refugee Settlers (1965), Community and Identity (1972), The Migrant Presence (1978) and the results of her research into the first Vietnamese refugee immigrants were published as The First Wave: The settlement of Australia's first Vietnamese (1985). She was president of the Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand, 1969-1971, and was also elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences in 1971.

Diana Howlett

Diana Howlett completed her PhD in Geography at the Australian National University in 1963. She was Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography from 1982 to 1996, and appointed to Chair before her retirement. At the time, she was only the second woman to be appointed to a Chair at the ANU. Professor Howlett is author of studies on the geography of Papua New Guinea and the ANU’s Diana Howlett Prize is awarded to the student with the most outstanding result in Honours in Geography.

Women’s Studies Program

The introduction of a Women’s Studies Program at the ANU was approved by the Faculty of Arts and the Board of the School of General Studies in 1974 as an interdisciplinary course for advanced-year students. Dr Ann Curthoys was appointed as a Lecturing Fellow in January 1976 to develop and teach the course as a full-year single unit. It was described at the time as ‘concerned with the study of women in society, and the biological, psychological, social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of gender differentiation’ (ANU Calendar, 1977).

In 1978, when Curthoys transferred to the University of Technology Sydney, Dr Susan Magarey succeeded her as lecturer. Magarey was later joined by Julia Ryan as a temporary lecturer (1981-1982). Magarey went to the University of Adelaide as the founding Director of the Research Centre for Women’s Studies in 1983.

In 1984, Dr Dorothy Broom (Department of Sociology) was appointed lecturer and convenor of the program.

Dr Jill Julius Matthews (Department of History) was also appointed lecturer in 1984, becoming convenor in 1987, a role which alternated between them. By the late 1980s, the program offered four annual and two semester units, a 4th year honours program, a Graduate Diploma, a Master of Letters and higher degrees by research.

After a period of financial cutbacks and uncertainty about the Program’s longevity, a review of the Program resulted in the ANU Council resolving in September 1995 that the Program be designated the Centre for Women’s Studies, with Matthews as Director (she had been promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1991 and Reader in 1994). Dr Jan Jindy Pettman (Department of Political Science) was appointed Director and Reader from the beginning of 1997.

In recent years, Women’s Studies was been taught as a Gender, Sexuality and Culture major in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, and as Gender and Cultural Studies in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. In 2011 the ANU Gender Institute was established as a cross-campus virtual institute to bring together researchers in this field.