Jacaranda tree in the Quadrangle

Sydney scholars elected into prestigious humanities academy

20 November 2018
Recognition for excellence in the humanities
The Australian Academy of the Humanities has announced the election of three University of Sydney scholars to the Academy—the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia.

Proffessor Vanessa Smith of the Department of English was recognised for her distinguished work in 18th and 19th century literary studies, British and American novels along with historian Associate Professor Julia Kindt for her leading research in ancient Greek classical studies, specifically religion and human/animal relations in antiquity. Professor Allan Marett from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music was elected for his scholarly work in the areas of Australian Aboriginal music and Sino-Japanese music history.

“I am honoured and humbled to be elected as a new Fellow and am looking forward to getting involved in the Academy’s activities,” Associate Professor Kindt said.

In the volatile world we inhabit, it is important that the humanities retain their role as a voice of reason and critical reflection.
Associate Professor Julia Kindt

“Membership in the Academy promises to put me in touch with other scholars who speak up on important issues of past, present, and future concern," she said.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Annamarie Jagose congratulated the elected scholars and emphasised the critical importance of Humanities research today.

“It is wonderful to have another two of our colleagues recognised with these fellowships, the highest honour for achievements in the humanities in Australia,” she said.

At a time when the value of the humanities is being questioned by some politicians, Julia and Vanessa’s research records testify to the disciplinary breadth and strength that has long characterized the contribution our Faculty makes to issues of contemporary importance.
Professor Annamarie Jagose, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The Australian Academy of Humanities is one of the country’s four Learned Academies and seeks to promote excellence in the humanities in Australia and in their contribution to public policy.

The elected Fellows come from a range of diverse fields including archaeology, classics, history, philosophy, media studies, religion, Asian studies, art history, applied linguistics and musicology.

In a statement, President of the Academy, Professor Joy Damousi congratulated all newly elected Fellows, recognising their exceptional contribution to the humanities and arts in Australia and internationally.

“The work of the humanities is central to our culture, to our identity and to our future. Understanding the histories, heritages, languages and cultures of our own people, and of those around the world, will enable Australia to thrive in an ever changing and dynamic world.”

Our 2019 Australian Academy of Humanities Fellows

Prof. Vanessa Smith

Professor Vanessa Smith FAHA

Section: English

Vanessa Smith is Professor of English Literature at the University of Sydney.

She is the recipient of an ARC QEII Fellowship (2002-07) and author or editor of five distinguished books focusing on different aspects of intercultural contact in the Oceania of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in which she has opened up new areas of research and cultural theory.

She has published widely on the British and American novel and is convenor of the Novel Network at the University of Sydney.

Associate Prof. Julia Kindt

Associate Professor Julia Kindt FAHA

Section: Classical Studies

An Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney, Julia is a leading researcher in the field of Greek religion and her further research interests include ancient Greek history (from the archaic period through to Roman Greece), ancient anthropology, human/animal relations, historiography (ancient and modern), and Herodotus.

Her current projects include a monograph about ancient and modern human/animal relations, as well as several co-edited books. She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Ancient History and a senior editor of the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Religion (ORE).

Allan Marett image

Emeritus Professor Allan Marett FAHA

Section: The Arts

Allan Marett is Emeritus Professor of Musicology at the University of Sydney. He has an international scholarly reputation in two distinct fields: Australian Aboriginal music and Sino-Japanese music history. His deep passion for preserving endangered cultures has resulted in extensive publications in the field of aboriginal music; he was a leader in the development of both the National Recording Project for Indigenous Performance in Australia and PARADISEC (Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures).

His research has also helped bring about a revolution in the field of Sino-Japanese music history. He has held multiple international academic appointments, regularly presents keynote addresses and has been awarded numerous grants including 16 from the Australian Research Council.