Two Australians for prestigious Harvard position

Professor Nicholas Jose: appointed Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University for 2009

Professor Nicholas Jose: appointed Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University for 2009
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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Two distinguished Australian scholars will share the honours in being appointed to the prized annual Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University for 2009.

University of Adelaide's Professor Nicholas Jose and the University of Sydney's Associate Professor Alison Bashford will simultaneously take up the role of Chair of Australian Studies from September 2009, Associate Professor Bashford in Harvard's Department of the History of Science and Professor Jose in Harvard's Department of English. It's the first time more than one Chair has been appointed.

The Visiting Professorship was first established by a gift from the Australian Government to Harvard in 1976 in commemoration of America's Bicentennial, and famous past post-holders have included Manning Clark, Gough Whitlam and Geoffrey Blainey.

Professor Graeme Davison, Chair of the Australian Nominating Committee, said: "We are thrilled that two such outstanding scholars will be occupying the Chair. With the recent announcement that Harvard intends to sponsor joint conferences of Australian and American researchers, we expect that the post will grow even further in influence."

Professor Jose is Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide, a novelist, critic and General Editor of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature, to be published in 2009.

"It's a great opportunity to familiarise North American scholars and students with contemporary developments in Australian literature, including Indigenous writing and writing that engages with our environment and our region," Professor Jose said.

Professor Jose was Cultural Counsellor at the Australian Embassy, Beijing 1987-1990, has written widely on contemporary Asian and Australian culture and has published several acclaimed novels as well as short stories, essays and translations. At Harvard, he will teach courses in Australian fiction, fiction from the Asia-Pacific region, and creative writing.

Alison Bashford is Associate Professor in History at the University of Sydney and has published widely on the history of infectious disease management and its links with regulation of immigration and global movement. She will be the first Australian Studies chair to be hosted by Harvard's Department of the History of Science.

At Harvard she will be teaching as well as completing two books: one is on the world population problem over the 20th century and the second is a large collaborative history of eugenics, with Associate Professor Bashford heading a team of 35 international science historians.

"This fellowship represents a fabulous opportunity to develop my research. I can discuss the findings at length with experts at Harvard, utilise the resources available, and get both these projects a range of public airings," Associate Professor Bashford said.

The endowment for a Visiting Professorship in Australian Studies was given to Harvard to "maintain such teaching, research and publication as will help to promote awareness and understanding of Australia in the United States".


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