Professor Mark McLelland

Emeritus professorship for scholar of gender and sexuality studies

Emeritus professorship for scholar of gender and sexuality studies

Professor Mark McLelland honoured for his contribution to UOW and to teaching and research

Sociologist and cultural historian Professor Mark McLelland has been made an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong (UOW) for his distinguished and remarkable career and contributions to the University and the teaching and research community.

Professor McLelland retired in 2019 after 13 years of service at UOW and a distinguished academic career that began in the 1980s. For his last seven years at UOW, he was Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry.

Originally trained in sociology, Professor McLelland brought an interdisciplinary approach to his research, making important contributions to several fields including the cultural history of sexualities in Japan, the global history of the internet, and media and cultural studies.

His research has been published in highly ranked and influential academic journals in Australia and overseas. He has also authored a number of books – Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan, (Curzon 2000); Queer Japan from the Pacific war to the Internet Age (Rowman and Littlefield 2005); Love, Sex and Democracy in Japan during the American Occupation (New York: Palgrave 2012) and co-edited several others.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to his field of gender and sexuality studies, Professor McLelland—a former ARC Future Fellow—was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia in 2019.

Professor McLelland has also made an outstanding contribution through his commitment to supporting and fostering early career academics and PhD students, both at UOW and internationally. He was a founding member of the AsiaPacificQueer collective, which provided a supportive environment for emerging scholars in Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Asia-Pacific region through many pioneering conferences, workshops, edited collections, and mentoring support.

UOW Executive Dean of Business and Law Professor Colin Picker, formerly Executive Dean of the Law Humanities and the Arts, said Professor McLelland’s multidisciplinary training in humanities, social science and language was the foundation of his formidable international reputation.  

“Professor Mark McLelland is internationally renowned for his leadership in the fields of Japan Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies,” Professor Picker said.

“His research into post-war minority sexualities in Japan has transformed the future for the scholarship of sexual identity in Japan and has been recognised in his election in 2019 as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

“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 [Excellence in Research for Australia] narrative at UOW while contributing to national research governance and international advisory boards.

“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.”

Professor McLelland graduated from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom in 1988 with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies. He 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.

Professor McLelland has held teaching and research positions in Australia, Japan and the US, where he was the 2007/08 Toyota Visiting Professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan. His pioneering work on the history of sexual minority cultures in Japan has been the topic of invited presentations at universities in the US, UK, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Japan.

In addition, Professor McLelland has served on a number of scholarly and advisory bodies including a three-year term on the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) College of Experts (2015-18). He has also served as an expert reader for the ARC Discovery Grants scheme and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.