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Mark McLelland

Emeritus Professor

Citation delivered by Professor Colin B. Picker, Executive Dean of Business and Law at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Mark James McLelland as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 21 September 2020.


Deputy Chancellor, I present to you Professor Mark McLelland.

Professor Mark McLelland is internationally renowned for his leadership in the fields of Japan Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. His research into postwar minority sexualities in Japan has transformed the future for the scholarship of sexual identity in Japan and his groundbreaking interdisciplinary research on the early Internet in Japan has been recognised in his election in 2019 as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

The intellectual capacity that sustains his work across discipline boundaries is a hallmark of the stellar career that brought Mark to the University of Wollongong. After graduating from Cambridge in 1988 with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies, Mark spent the next two years in Japan as a Monbusho scholar affiliated with the Sociology Department at the University of Tokyo, where he researched New Religious Movements in Japan. He then undertook graduate Japanese language studies at the University of Sheffield, before completing a PhD in Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong. In October 2003 he was awarded an Australian Postdoctoral Award at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland under the leadership of Professor Graeme Turner, and his Australian career began with highly innovative postdoctoral research into Japanese minority sexualities and internet culture.

This multidisciplinary training in humanities, social science and language is the foundation of Mark's formidable international reputation and his contributions to the diverse fields of East Asian histories of sexuality, internet studies—especially of the non-Anglophone internet—media and cultural studies in Australia, and his UOW home discipline of sociology. It is also the substance of his engaged critique of Australian policy formation in relation to media regulation, exemplified in his Australian Research Council Future Fellowship project, “National Media Regulation and Global Cultural Literacy: International Perspectives on the Regulation of Young People’s User-Generated Content”.

His scholarly reputation has resulted in numerous visiting research positions and keynote invitations at leading universities in Australia, the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, Canada, Australia and Japan. Of particular note is his 2007/08 Toyota Visiting Professorship of Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan.

This has been accompanied by practical and hardworking generosity in service, from supervising research students, giving masterclasses and supporting his colleagues’ research, to crafting the successful ERA narrative at UOW while contributing to national research governance and international advisory boards.

Among his memberships of numerous scholarly and advisory bodies are the Australian Research Council funded Cultural Research Network, a three-year term on the Australian Research Council's College of Experts (2015-18), and expert readership for the Australian Research Council and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong. Mark has also served on the editorial board of the new journal Internet Histories and the advisory board of Asiascape: Digital Asia. He was a founding member of AsiaPacifiQueer, which is a scholarly network devoted to the study of sexualities in the Asia-Pacific region. Mark’s Australian Research Council Discovery funded research projects, and especially his Future Fellowship from 2012-2017, have resulted in monographs, articles in leading journals and edited collections, and the editorship of significant reference works. His three key monographs on the history of sexuality in Japan chart his development of a place in scholarship for minority sexualities in postwar— a cultural history that had previously been overlooked or misread. His articles have appeared in such leading journals as The Journal of the History of Sexuality, Sexualities, Japanese Studies, Japan Forum and The International Journal of Cultural Studies.

Through these publications, Mark has shared the labour of his deep and meticulous archival research— particularly in rare and ephemeral collections—and he has paved the way for future scholars in the field that he has pioneered. His personal archive of historical sexological ephemera is one of the premier collections in the world, and he is donating this archive to the University of Yale to enable this vital scholarship to continue. Mark retired at the end of 2019 after 13 years of service, which included the final seven as Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry. He has made an extraordinary contribution to knowledge, and to the reputation and research future for Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

Deputy Chancellor, for his distinguished and remarkable career and contributions to the University of Wollongong and the teaching and research community, it is a pleasure and privilege to present Mark McLelland for admission as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.

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