Emeritus Professor Mark McLelland

Vale Emeritus Professor Mark McLelland

Vale Emeritus Professor Mark McLelland

Renowned cultural and social historian passes away after illness

The University of Wollongong is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Emeritus Professor Mark McLelland, a long-serving academic who made a significant contribution to teaching and research at UOW.

Professor McLelland died peacefully last week (Wednesday 18 November) at Port Kembla Hospital, following treatment at the Melanoma Institute Australia.

A renowned social and cultural historian, Professor McLelland is remembered as a groundbreaking leader in gender and sexuality studies as well as a dedicated mentor and teacher.

He joined UOW in 2006, following an esteemed academic career that began in the late 1980s. In 2019, he retired from UOW, the last seven years of which he spent as Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in the School of Humanities and Social Inquiry.

That same year, Professor McLelland was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, having served a three-year term on the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts. 

Just two months ago, Professor McLelland’s immense contribution to the University was recognised and celebrated with an Emeritus Professorship

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. 

Professor McLelland held visiting positions in Australia and internationally, including as the Toyota Visiting Professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan.

In 1988, he graduated from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom with a degree in Theology and Religious Studies.

For the next two years, he was a Monbusho Scholar affiliated with the Sociology Department at the University of Tokyo, where he researched New Religious Movements in Japan.

Professor McLelland completed a PhD in Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Throughout his distinguished career, he has been invited to deliver talks at universities throughout the world, focusing on his pioneering history of sexual minority cultures in Japan.

Professor Glenn Salkeld, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, said Professor McLelland was a groundbreaking researcher in his field and a tremendous colleague.

“It is a sad day for Mark’s colleagues at UOW. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and close friends.

“In addition to his outstanding research, Mark was also a generous and hardworking member of staff. His commitment to supporting the careers of PhD students and emerging academics was matched by his advocacy for his colleagues. 

“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. He will be deeply missed.”