Vera Christine Mackie
Citation delivered by Professor Glenn Salkeld, Executive Dean, Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Vera Christine Mackie as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 28 April 2021.
Deputy Chancellor, I present Senior Professor Vera Mackie.
Vera Mackie is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost scholars of Asian history, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies, fusing academic rigour with societal impact for genuine change.
An early interest and training in Japanese and women’s studies underpin Vera’s unique and powerful contribution. When she joined UOW in 2010, she brought an already impressive record of international publications, grant successes and professional service. She had previously held key academic roles including Director of the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, a selection of senior executive positions at Curtin University culminating in her tenure as Dean for the Centre for Research and Graduate Studies.
She has also held several international visiting professorships and fellowships and an Australian Research Council Australian Professorial Fellowship at the University of Melbourne.
Arriving at UOW as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Vera’s research sought to shift the paradigm for addressing human rights inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. She became founding Director of the Centre for Critical Human Rights Research, where she fostered a dedicated team of scholars to advance human rights-related research and discourse through quality publishing and influential symposia and workshops.
Vera has championed the conjunction of gender and sexuality studies with Asia-Pacific studies, and her body of work on the history of feminism in Japan and on transnational feminism has been fundamental to the development of the field. She has secured significant research funding, shaped emerging areas of study through prodigious output as both an author and esteemed editor, and been an invited speaker at leading institutions and forums worldwide. Vera has also brought insight and expertise to her contribution as a board member of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History and National Convenor for the Australian Women’s History Network. In recognition of her standing, she was elected to the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Society of NSW, and in 2016 was named a UOW Woman of Impact.
In recent years, Vera’s focus has moved beyond Asia-Pacific Studies into more ambitious transnational history projects exploring women’s activism, IVF and assisted reproduction, and building women’s professional leadership capacity through international exchange.
Vera has made an indelible mark on research governance and strategy at the University, including as Associate Dean Research in the former Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. She was also a member of UOW’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) Executive Committee, where she was instrumental in multiple ERA submission rounds and to the University achieving and maintaining an ERA ranking of 4 for History.
Her role in mentoring and nurturing the next generation of feminist scholars is an achievement of which Vera is justifiably proud. She has facilitated workshops and professional development seminars for early career researchers right across Australia, and established Victoria University’s highly successful Women in Leadership Program while on a visiting professorship. Vera also received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research Supervision in 2018, and despite her retirement in 2020 continues to provide outstanding supervision, advocacy and support to research students and colleagues.
Deputy Chancellor, Vera Mackie has demonstrated a sustained commitment to academic scholarship and professional leadership to solve pressing global social problems. In her role as Emeritus Professor, I am confident she will continue to enhance the University’s research reputation and inspire future generations to pursue meaningful impact.
It is a privilege to present Senior Professor Vera Mackie to be admitted as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.