Three elected as Humanities Fellows

9 December 2010

Three University of Sydney academics have been elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, one of the highest honours available in the humanities in Australia.

Professor Alison Bashford, Associate Professor Alison Betts and Professor Moira Gatens have been honoured by the prestigious organisation for their leading contribution to research in their fields.

Fellows elected to the Academy are residents of Australia who have achieved the highest distinction in scholarship in the humanities across a range of disciplines: Archaeology; Asian Studies; Classical Studies; English; European Languages and Cultures; History; Linguistics; Philosophy, Religion and the History of Ideas; Cultural and Communication Studies; and The Arts.

Professor Alison Bashford is a Professor in Modern History in the University of Sydney's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and was recently the Chair of Australian Studies in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. Having published widely in the cultural history of medicine and public health, Professor Bashford's most recent work analyses the problem of world overpopulation in the 1920s. She has also introduced a particularly Australian perspective to scholarship on the history of nationalism and imperialism through the history of disease management, medicine and science.

Associate Professor Alison Betts is an Associate Professor in West Asian Archaeology, Chair of the Department of Archaeology and Director of the University's Central Asian Programme. Particularly interested in the archaeology and history of nomadic peoples, Associate Professor Betts' research has led her down a wide variety of paths including the prehistory of the North Arabian steppe, rock art, hunting traps and water harvesting systems, the origins of nomadic pastoralism in the Near East, nomad-state relations, the Bronze Age of Central Asia and the early development of the Zoroastrian faith. She has directed three major field projects in the east Jordan desert.

Professor Moira Gatens is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and an ARC Professorial Fellow. Professor Gatens is internationally recognised for her research in social and political philosophy, ethics, 17th century philosophy (especially Dutch philosopher Spinoza) and feminist theory. This year, she held the prestigious Spinoza Chair at the University of Amsterdam, and has previously held fellowships at the University of Christchurch and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. Professor Gatens' current research project brings together Spinoza, Feuerbach and George Eliot.

"Election to the Academy is a wonderful acknowledgement of the very significant contribution these colleagues have made to their disciplines and to the humanities more generally," said Dean of Arts at Sydney, Professor Duncan Ivison.

"It's a great honour for each of them individually, but also for our Faculty and the University more generally. We are passionate about the role of the humanities in Australia and these colleagues exemplify that commitment."

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