14 June 2022Share
Trailblazing historian Professor Joy Damousi has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In a career spanning more than three decades, Professor Damousi’s work has been integral to our understanding of Australian social and cultural history. She was recognised for her significant service to social sciences and the humanities, to history and tertiary education.
She said it was “truly a great honour to be recognised”.
“To be included in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List is very humbling,” Professor Damousi said.
“I have been greatly privileged to be given opportunities where I could make a difference through scholarship, advocacy and mentoring.”
Professor Damousi was born into a family of Greek migrants and couldn't speak English until she went to school. Her father worked in boot manufacturing and her mother as a dressmaker. Neither of her parents had more than a rudimentary education, but the transformative power of education was recognised in her family.
After gaining her Bachelor of Arts (Hons) at La Trobe University and a doctorate at the Australian National University, Professor Damousi had a long and illustrious career at the University of Melbourne - joining as one of only half a dozen women in the History Department.
Her research is impressively varied, traversing diverse subjects such as feminism and transnationalism, trauma and the senses, violence and psychoanalysis, refugees and migration.
Professor Damousi is recognised as one of the nation’s most distinguished historians and public intellectuals; an award-winning scholar who, in 2014, received the Australian Research Council’s coveted Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellowship for her research leadership and scholarly excellence.
She is a former President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Australian Historical Association.
Professor Damousi now leads ACU's Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences, where one of her main goals has been to position the humanities and social sciences at the fore of public and academic debate, producing cutting-edge research on migration, gender and post-colonial history.
"A world without culture, without the arts and humanities, is a very desolate world, and I think what the pandemic demonstrated — interestingly and unexpectedly — is the fundamental importance of these things to our wellbeing,” Professor Damousi said.
“Without a sense of history — an understanding of where we’ve come from and how that has shaped us — we have no sense of identity or purpose or connection, and it can be incredibly dangerous as well, because we can take lessons from history in order to avoid repeating things we don’t want to repeat.”
Australian cricket captain and ACU alumnus Meg Lanning was also awarded a Member of the Order of Australia.
Meg led Australia to consecutive T20 World Cup titles and was recognised for significant service to women's cricket at the elite level.
Meg completed a Bachelor of Exercise and Health Science at ACU and was a member of the university’s Elite Athlete and Performer Program (EAPP).
EAPP supports more than 430 student athletes and performers to balance their dual careers. The program provides financial scholarships as well as academic support and flexibility to ensure students can achieve excellence on and off the field.
Other former ACU staff, alumni and supporters honoured in the Queen’s Birthday 2022 Honours List include:
ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis congratulated the recipients of Queen’s Birthday Honours on their well-deserved honours.
“This recognition of ACU staff, alumni and friends among the very best of Australia is a testament to the impact that our colleagues and students have in the community, and indeed, on Australia as a nation,” Professor Skrbis said.
“To those recipients whose life has connected with ACU over the course of history - we are proud to acknowledge your distinguished years of service to Australia, which at some point, aligned with us through study, work, or governing commitments.
“As a Catholic university, ACU is dedicated to the research of all aspects of truth, and to share this knowledge for the betterment of humanity, and it is with joy that we celebrate those who have this week been named serving their country with selflessness and dedication.”
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