Women's Studies Program, Australian National University. Australian National University. (1976-)

Also known as
Centre for Women's Studies. (1976-)
Centre for Women's Studies. (1976-2000)
Women's Studies Program, Australian National University. Australian National University. (1976-2000)
Women's Studies Unit. Australian National University. (1976-)
Function
Tertiary education institution
NLA Persistent Identifier
https://nla.gov.au/nla.party-1477299

Biographies

The Women's Studies Program was established at the Australian National University in 1976 as the result of activism and political pressure applied by students who were connected to the Women's Liberation movement. In the first instance, the program's key aims were to explore the position and representation of women in Australian and other societies, the forces producing female subjectivity and women's experiences of femininity. Moving the examination of these questions into the academy was an important step in the development of a feminist critique of existing disciplines and institutional structures and the development of feminist scholarship in general.

The introduction of the Women's Studies Program was approved by the Faculty of Arts and the Board of the School of General Studies at the Australian National University in 1974 as an interdisciplinary course for advanced-year students. In January 1976, Dr Ann Curthoys was appointed as a Lecturing Fellow 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). The Program was administratively attached to the History Department.

After two years of teaching the course, Curthoys transferred to the University of Technology Sydney in February 1978 (she returned to ANU as Professor of History in 1994) and Dr Susan Magarey succeeded her as lecturer. The early years of the program featured a number of lecturers from a range of departments such as History, English, Psychology, Philosophy, Demography, Sociology and Anthropology, as well as guest lecturers Senator Susan Ryan, Sara Dowse (who had been head of the Women Affairs Unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 1974-77) and Jenny Macklin (later a Labor minister). Magarey was later joined by Julia Ryan as a temporary lecturer (1981-82). In 1983, Magarey went to the University of Adelaide as the founding Director of the Research Centre for Women's Studies.

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. It also supported a Resource Unit on Women and Gender which developed teaching bibliographies to inject gender issues into other Faculty of Arts courses.

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. At that time, there were four lecturers: Dr Jill Matthews, Dr Rosanne Kennedy, Dr Fiona Paisley and Dr E Wilson.

On 7 April 2000, the ANU Council approved a general restructure of the Faculty of Arts which abolished the Centre for Women's Studies as an administrative unit with effect from 1 July 2000. In 2001, the 25th anniversary of the Women's Studies Program was celebrated with a seminar featuring current and former staff including Ann Curthoys, Susan Magarey and Liz O'Brien.

View the full record at Australian Women's Register

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Resources for Women's Studies Program, Australian National University. Australian National University.

Selected resources (10)

Australian Women's Register

  1. Women's Studies Program, Australian National University
    Published: National Foundation for Australian Women
    Series: IspartOf The Australian Women's Register
  2. Orphans of the storm: The attrition of the ANU women's studies program
    Matthews, Jill Julius and Broom, Dorothy
    [1991]
    Series: IspartOf Australian Universities’ Review
  3. Women's Studies at the Australian National University: The early years
    Curthoys, Ann
    [1998]
    Series: IspartOf Australian Feminist Studies
  4. From Lady Denman to Katy Gallagher: A Century of Women's Contributions to Canberra
    Australian Women's Archives Project
    [2013]
    Published: Australian Women's Archives Project
  5. Jill Matthews papers
    [1966 - 2008]
    Series: Australian National University Archives
    16 type 1 boxes, 1 type 2 and 26 oversize items. Further 18 boxes unprocessed. The records include teaching and course material from history and women's studies courses at ANU and other universities; correspondence; conference material; publications on feminism and sexuality; recorded lectures on audio cassettes and posters.
    AU ANUA 424
  6. Material relating to 25th anniversary celebrations of ANU Women's Studies Department
    [0.1 m : 2001]
    Series: Australian National University Archives
    This folder includes publicity material, program and annotated attendance list for the 25th anniversary celebrations of Women's Studies at the University held on 3 May 2001.
    AU ANUA 102
  7. ANU Women's Studies Program audiovisual material and photographs
    [0.5 m : 1976 - 1982]
    Series: Australian National University Archives
    The series includes cassette tapes of seminars and lectures, reel-to-reel tapes, reels of film, slides and photographs of staff, students and events. The photographs and slides have been placed in an archival album.
    AU ANUA 22
  8. Australian National University Council minutes
    [4.2 m : 1946 - 2008]
    Series: Australian National University Archives
    The original signed minutes of both the Interim Council (1946-1951) and the Council (from 1951) are bound in dark blue hardback volumes. For the period 1946 to 1962 there are both originals (Box 1) and an unsigned duplicate set (Boxes 2 and 3).
    AU ANUA 198
  9. Women's Studies
    [1974 - 1994]
    Series: Australian National University Archives
    AU ANUA 249-169
  10. Women's Studies - Tenth Anniversary at ANU - Dr. Dorothy Broom, Dr. Jill Matthews, Dr. Susan Magarey, Ms. Wang Ying, Ms. Wu Lintao, Ms. Xu Xuehai, Ms. Liu Maoshu, Ms. Lian Lijuan, Kathleen Taperell & others
    [1983 - 1986]
    Series: Australian National University Archives
    AU ANUA 226-558

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