Professor Susan Magarey

Professor Susan Magarey
  • Biography/ Background

    Susan Magarey AM, FASSA, PhD, has degrees in English Literature and History from Adelaide University and the Australian National University. She was Lecturer-in-charge of the Women's Studies Programme at the Australian National University (1978-83) and the Director of the Research Centre for Women's Studies at Adelaide University (1983-2000), where she is now Professor Emerita in History.

    She is a member of the Editorial Boards of Women's History Review (UK), Gender & History (UK) and the Journal of Historical Biography (Canada), and in 2014 concluded nine years as a member of the Board of Trustees of HistorySA.

    In 2006, she was made a member of the Order of Australia for her work in establishing Women's Studies as a new field of intellectual endeavour.

    She is Founding Editor of the still flourishing journal, Australian Feminist Studies (1985-2005) and remains a member of its Editorial Board; founder of the Magarey Medal for Biography; and is writing a history of the Women's Liberation Movement in Australia. For fun, she gardens, cooks and listens to classical music.

    She describes her life as 'Ambivalent, ambiguous, androgynous, amorous, ironic'.



  • Publications

    Dangerous Ideas: Women's Liberation - Women's Studies - Around the World (Adelaide University Press) 2014-15 'An important work that will make a vital contribution to the history of Women's Liberation and Women's Studies' Professor Lyndall Ryan, Founder of the Gender and Women's Studies Association; 'a timely memoir, drawing from her rch experience, enabling us to better protect and preserve our most important recent histories' Professor Kim Rubenstein, Inaugural Director of the ANU Gender Institute.

    Unbridling the tongues of women (1985), winner of the Walter McRae Russell Award 1986, republished with a new Introduction (Adelaide University Press) 2010.

    Looking Backward: Looking Forward. A History of the Queen Adelaide Club 1909-2009 (Queen Adelaide Club) Adelaide, 2009.

    Roma the First: a Biography of Dame Roma Mitchell (Wakefield Press) Adelaide, 2007, revised imprint 2009, with Kerrie Round. '[A]n excellent biography of a very important figure ... It is also an intricate, authoritative and highly engaging story of a place and a society, which must be of interest to all Australians (Alan Atkinson), 'quite the most outstanding book I have read for a long while' (Sr Deirdre O'Connor, Eureka Street).

    Passions of the first-wave feminists (UNSW Press) Sydney, 2001. 'Her enthusiasm for her subject is infectious, her direct and often humorous voice is engaging and insightful, and the individual stories that carry the book are full of complex significance' (P. Russell, The Drawing Board: An Australian Review of Public Affairs). 'By exploring what "passion" meant for these first-wave feminists, Magarey has set a new agenda for future feminist historicns ((D. Deacon, Australian Feminist Studies). 'She makes wonderful use of contemporary fiction to show how widespread the discussion of marriage and women's sexuality, women's work and their demands for independence currently were. Although emphasising the importance of discourses about the body to first wave feminists, Magarey rejects the idea that there was any single dominant interest or approach amongst those involved in the Women Movement, insisting rather on the need to recognise the breadth of their concerns. The great merit of this approach lies in its emphasis on the context for early feminist protests and campaigns, and in its capacity to show why some women felt so very strongly about the need for emancipation and how disruptive and subversive their ideas and activiies were in the eyes of others' (B. Caine, Australian Historical Studies.) See chapters under Files below.

    Founding Editor of the quarterly journal, Australian Feminist Studies 1985-2005.

    Eight collections of articles edited including Women in a Restructuring Australia: Work & Welfare (1995) with Anne Edwards, and Debutante Nation: Feminism Contests the 1890s (1993) with Sue Rowley and Susan Sheridan.

    Seventy-plus articles and book chapters. Among the most recent are

    'Women's Liberation was a Movement not an Organisation', Australian Feminist Studies, December 2014.

    'Leadership in the Women's Liberation Movement', J.I. Smart and S. Swain (eds), Australian Women and Leadership. Online Encyclopedia at 2014.

    'Tampon' in Margaret Henderson and Alison Bartlett (eds), Things that Liberate: An Australian Feminist Wunderkammer (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2013.

    'Sex and Citizenship: From ballot boxes to bedrooms' in Rob Foster and Paul Sendziuk (eds), Turning Points in South Australia's History (Wakefeld Press) Adelaide. 2012.

    'Literary Friendship: a Tale of Two Catherines: A Tribute to Margaret Allen', Australian Feminist Studies, vol.27, no.73, September 2012.

    'Gender Studies and Social Analysis', with Margaret Allen, in Nick Harvey, Jean Fornasiero, Greg McCarthy, Clem Macintyre and Carl Crossin (eds), A History of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Adelaide 1876-2012 (Adelaide University Press) Adelaide, 2012.

    'Louisa Lawson' in the Dictionary of Sydney

    '"To Demand Equality Is To Lack Ambition": Sex Discrimination legislation: contexts and contradictions' in Margaret Thornton (ed.), Sex Discrimination in Uncertain Times (ANU E Press) Canberra, 2010.

    'The private life of Catherine Helen Spence 1825-1910' in Graeme Davison, Pat Jalland and Wilfrid Prest (eds), Body and Mind in Modern British and Australian History: Essays in Honour of FB Smith (Melbourne University Publishing) Melbourne, 2009. 

    'Dame Roma Mitchell's Unmentionables: Sex, Politics and Religion', the Fourth History Council of South Australia Lecture, 2007, in History Australia, 2008;

    'When it changed: the beginnings of Women's Liberation in Australia', in David Roberts and Martin Crotty (eds), Turning Points In Australian History (UNSW Press) Sydney, 2008;

    Three Questions for Biographers: Public or Private? Individual or Society? Truth or Beauty?, Journal of Historical Biography (Canada), no.4, Autumn 2008;

    'The invention of juvenile delinquency in early nineteenth century England', Labour History, 1978, republished John Muncie and Barry Goldson (eds), Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice, 3 vols (Sage Publications), London 2008.








  • Files

  • Media Expertise

    CategoriesHuman Rights & Civil Liberties, History
    ExpertiseLate 19th and early 20th century; history; feminism (history of women's movements, women's suffrage in Australia, women's liberation, equal rights)
    NotesAlt phone: (08) 8303 5611

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Entry last updated: Sunday, 3 Oct 2021