Professor Joy Damousi AM FASSA FAHA

Dean of Arts/Director of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

Joy Damousi

Areas of expertise: intellectual history; gender history; history of emotions; internationalism; refugees; humanitarianism; migration history; war and memory

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5366-253X

Phone: +61 3 9953 3721


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Professor Joy Damousi is Director of the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences and Dean of Arts. She is an award-winning scholar of memory and war, the history of emotions, and migration history in relation to refugees, humanitarianism and internationalism. She is one of Australia's most distinguished historians and public intellectuals, and a leader in the humanities in Australia and internationally. She is the author of numerous books, including The Labour of Loss: Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia (Cambridge, 1999); Living with the Aftermath: Trauma, Nostalgia and Grief in Post-war Australia (Cambridge, 2001); Freud in the Antipodes: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in Australia (UNSW Press, 2005; winner of the Ernest Scott Prize) and Colonial Voices: A Cultural History of English in Australia 1840-1940 (Cambridge 2010). Her current research includes war, trauma and post-war Greek migration to Australia; sound and the two world wars; and child refugees and war. Joy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of her significant service to social sciences and the humanities, to history, and to tertiary education.

Explore Joy’s journey through Australian history

Select recent publications

Journal articles and book chapters

  • Damousi, J., 2023. “‘Dear Aunty Eleanor’: Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Freud and the politics of emotion in letters by children in war”, Social History, 48: 3, August, 338-362
  • Damousi, J., 2023. “‘We are still alive’: Refugees and Loneliness”, in Katie Barclay, Elaine Chalus and Deborah Simonton (eds.), The Routledge History of Loneliness, Routledge: London, pp. 471-483
  • Damousi, J., 2023. “Celebrity humanitarianism in the 1920s: Australian Women at the League of Nations”, Cultural and Social History, 20:3, 367-384
  • Damousi, J., 2023. “Greek Departures: Ships, Stowaways and the Politics of Returns”, in Balint, R., Damousi, J., R., Fitzpatrick, S (eds), When Migrants Fail to Stay: New Histories on Departures and Migration, London: Bloomsbury, pp.145-160
  • Damousi, J., 2022. “A biographer’s journey of revelation: Stuart Macintyre on Ernest Scott” in Peter Beilharz and Sian Supski (eds), The Work of History: Writing for Stuart Macintyre, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp.133-148
  • Damousi, J., 2022. “Humanitarian activism during the Vietnam war: The case of Rosemary Taylor, Elaine Moir and Margaret Moses”, in Joy Damousi, Trevor Burnard, Alan Lester (eds), Humanitarianism, Empire and Transnationalism, 1760-1995: Selective Humanity in the Anglophone World, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.283-304
  • Damousi, J., Nelli, F., Nguyen Austen, A., Toffoli, A., and Tomsic, M., 2022. “Forced migration and oceanic humanitarianism: The paradox of danger and saviour on the ocean in a Vietnamese refugee boat journey”, The Historical Journal, vol.65, Issue 2, March, pp.505-526
  • Damousi, J., 2021. “Emotions and memory in the soundscapes of World War 1”, in Joy Damousi, Deborah Tout-Smith and Bart Ziino (eds), Museums, History and the Intimate Experience of the Great War: Love and Sorrow, London: Routledge, pp. 9–27
  • Damousi, J., 2021. “Trauma, child refugees, and humanitarians in the Spanish Civil War and World War II: A Case Study on Esme Odgers, in Paula Michaels and Christina Twomey (eds), Gender and Traumasince 1900, London: Bloomsbury, pp.41-58
  • Damousi, J., 2020. “In Search of Victor: Transnationalism, Emotion and War” in Claire Langhamer, Lucy Noakes, Claudia Siebrecht (eds), Total War: An Emotional History, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.157–176
  • Damousi, J., 2020. “‘An Appeal from Afar’: the challenges of compassion and the Australian humanitarian campaigns for Armenian relief, 1900-1930”, in Joanne Laycock and Francesca Piana (eds), Aid to Armenia, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.50-65
  • Damousi, J., 2020. Silverstein, J; Tomsic, M; “‘Never forget that this happened’: Remembering and Forgetting Violence”, in TheCambridge World History of Violence, volume 4: 1800 to the Present (ed) Louise Edwards, Nigel Penn and Jay Winter, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.616-636
  • Damousi, J., 2020. “World Refugee Year 1959-1960: Humanitarian rights in post-war Australia”, Australian Historical Studies, Volume 51, no.2, pp.212-227
  • Damousi, J., 2020. “Child sponsorship, development and aid: PLAN and UNICEF in Australia, 1945-1975”, History Australia, Volume 17, no.4, pp. 711-727
  • Damousi, J., 2020. “Humanitarianism and Child Refugee Sponsorship. The Spanish Civil War and the Global Campaign of Esme Odgers”. Journal of Women”s History, 32 (1), 111
  • Damousi, J., 2019. “From humanitarian ‘Charity’ to ‘Justice’: the Australian Foster Parents Plan and Fostering Refugees in Asia during the 1970s”. Australian Journal of Politics & History, 65(4), 549. DOI: 10.1111/ajph.12625
  • Damousi, J., 2019. “Out of ‘Common Humanity’: Humanitarianism, Compassion and Efforts in Australia to Assist Jewish Refugees in the 1930s”. Australian Historical Studies, 50(1), 81-98. DOI: 10.1080/1031461X.2018.1541096
  • Damousi, J., Davidson, J. W., 2019. “From the Modern to the Digital World: New Order, New Emotions”, in A Cultural History of Emotions in the Modern and Post-Modern Age, Volume 6 (eds), Jane W. Davison and Joy Damousi, Bloomsbury, London, pp.1-18
  • Damousi, J., 2019. “Transforming Australian History: Humanitarianism and Transnationalism”, in Joy Damousi and Judith Smart (eds), Contesting Australian History: Essays in honour of Marilyn Lake, Monash University Publishing: Melbourne, pp.94-106
  • Damousi, J., 2018. “Jewish Children in Australian History”, Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, 24, 1, pp.87-108
  • Damousi, J., 2018. “The Campaign for Japanese-Australian Children to enter Australia, 1957-1968: A History of Post-War Humanitarianism”. Australian Journal of Politics and History, 64(2), 211-226. DOI: 10.1111/ajph.12461
  • Damousi, J., 2018. “Australian League of Nations Union and War Refugees:1930-1939” in Joy Damousi and Patricia O”Brien (eds), League of Nations: Impact, Legacy, History, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp.28-45
  • Damousi, J., 2017. “Gender and Mourning”, in Susan R, Grayzel and Tammy Proctor (eds), Gendering the Great War, Oxford: Oxford University Press, , pp.211-229
  • Damousi, J., 2017. “The Greek Civil War, Child Removal and Traumatic Pasts in Australia” in Robert Mason (ed), Legacies of Violence: Rendering the Unspeakable Past in Modern Australia, Berghahn: New York
  • Damousi, J., 2017. “Sound and Silence in War: Dresden and Paris in the Second World War”, in Joy Damousi and Paula Hamilton, (eds), A Cultural History of Sound, Memory and the Senses, Routledge: New York, pp.123-141
  • Damousi, J., 2017. “Building ‘healthy happy family units’: Aileen Fitzpatrick and reuniting Greek children separated by the Greek Civil war with their families in Australia, 1949-1954”, Journal of The History of the Family, Volume 22, issue 4, pp. 446-484 DOI: 10.1080/1081602X.2016.1275738
  • Damousi, J., 2017. Mothers in War: “Responsible mothering”, children, and the prevention of violence in twentieth century war. History and Theory, 56(4), 119-134 DOI: 10.1111/hith.12041
  • Damousi, J., 2017. “Gender and Mourning”. In Grayzel, S. & Proctor, T. (eds.) Gender and the Great War. Oxford University Press. Part of ISBN: 9780190271084
  • Dwyer, P. & Damousi, J., 2017. Theorizing Histories of Violence. History and Theory, 56(4), 3-6 DOI: 10.1111/hith.12034
  • Damousi, J., 2016. “‘This is against all the British traditions of fair play’: Violence against Greeks on the Australian home-front during the First World War”, Michael Walsh and Andrekos Vankos, (eds), Australia and the Great War: Identity, Memory and Mythology, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, pp.128-145
  • Damousi, J., 2016. “Universities and Conscription: The ‘Yes’ Campaign and the University of Melbourne”, Robin Archer, Joy Damousi, Sean Scalmer, Murray Goot (eds), The Conscription Conflict and the Great War, Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, Melbourne, pp.83-101
  • Damousi, J., 2016. “Sounds and silence of war: Dresden and Paris during World War II”. In Damousi, J. & Hamilton, P. (eds), A Cultural History of Sound, Memory, and the Senses. Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781315445328
  • Damousi, J., 2015. “Humanitarianism in the inter-war years: How Australians responded to the child refugees of the Armenian genocide and the Greek-Turkish exchange”, History Australia, 12, no.1, April, pp.95-115
  • Damousi, J., 2015. “John Springthorpe’s War”, La Trobe Journal, pp.103-116
  • Damousi, J., 2015. “Sexuality and the Case Study in the United States, 1940-1965”, in Joy Damousi, Birgit Lang, Katie Sutton, (eds), Case Studies and the Dissemination of Knowledge, Routledge, New York, pp.133-151
  • Damousi, J., 2014. “Mourning Practices”, The Cambridge History of the First World War, Volume 3: Civil Society at War, (ed.) Jay Winter, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp.693-746. French edition published 2015
  • Damousi, J., 2014. “Female Factory Inspectors and Leadership in Early Twentieth Century Australia”, in (eds), Joy Damousi, Mary Tomsic, Kim Rubenstein, Diversity in Leadership: Australian Women, Past and Present, ANU Press, Canberra, pp.167-184
  • Damousi, J., 2014. “Does Feminist History Have a Future?”, Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 29, No.80, pp.189-203

Books and edited books

  • Damousi, J., Balint, R., Fitzpatrick, S (eds), 2023. When Migrants Fail to Stay: New Histories on Departures and Migration, London: Bloomsbury
  • Damousi, J., 2022. The Humanitarians: Child War Refugees and Australian Humanitarianism in a Transnational World, 1919-1975, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: i+347 pp
  • Damousi, J., Tout-Smith, D., Ziino, B., (eds), 2021. Museums, History and the Intimate Experience of the Great War: Love and Sorrow, London: Routledge
  • Damousi, J., Dwyer, P., (eds), 2020. Cambridge World History of Violence, 4 Volumes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Damousi, J., Davidson, J., (eds), 2019. A Cultural History of Emotions in the Modern and Post-Modern Age: Volume 6, Bloomsbury, London
  • Damousi, J. & Smart, J. (eds.), 2019. Contesting Australian History: Essays in Honour of Marilyn Lake. Monash University Publishing
  • Damousi, J. & O’Brien, P. (eds.), 2018. League of Nations. Histories, Legacies and Impact. Melbourne University Publishing
  • Damousi, J., Hamilton, P., (eds), 2017. A Cultural History of Sound, Memory and the Senses, Routledge, New York
  • Damousi, J., Archer, R., Goot, M., Scalmer, S., (eds), 2016. The Conscription Conflict and the Great War, Monash University Publishing, Melbourne
  • Damousi, J., 2016. Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War Australia’s Greek Immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107115941
  • Damousi, J., 2015. Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War: Australia’s Greek Immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 1-261 pp
  • Damousi, J., Lang, B.; Sutton, K., (eds), 2015. Case Studies and the Dissemination of Knowledge, Routledge, New York
  • Damousi, J., Curthoys, A., (eds), 2014. What Did You Do in the Cold War Daddy? Personal Stories from a Troubled Time, UNSW Press, Sydney
  • Damousi, J., Rubenstein, K., Tomsic, M., (eds), 2014. Diversity in Leadership: Australian Women, Past and Present, ANU Press, Canberra


  • ARC Discovery Project, $448,000, ‘Aftermaths of war: Violence, trauma, displacement, 1815-1950’, with Prof Philip Dwyer, Prof Mark Edele, A/Prof Frances Clarke, A/Prof Hans Kieser, Prof Peter Gatrell, A/Prof Rebecca Plant & Dr Reto Hofmann, 2021–2025, Co-CI
  • Learned Academies Special Project, $311,539, ‘The future humanities workforce’, with Prof Jane Lydon & Prof Graham Oppy, 2017–2022, Co-CI
  • ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship, $2,472,756, ‘Child refugees and Australian internationalism, 1920 to the present’, 2014–2019
  • ARC Discovery, $260,000, ‘Hell sounds: The soundscape of war, 1914–1945’, Chief Sole CI
  • ARC Linkage, $150,000, ‘Comedy: No laughing matter: Identifying and preserving the history of comedy in Melbourne, 1960s–1980s’, 2013–2015, Co-CI
  • ARC Discovery, $626,000, ‘Making the case: The case study genre in sexology, psychoanalysis and literature’, 2010–2016, Co-CI
  • ARC Discovery, $367,972, ‘Greek War Stories: Trans-nationalism, war trauma and migration’, 2010–2012, Chief Sole CI

Accolades and awards

  • Order of Australia (AM), 2022
  • Life time Achievement Award Australian Historical Association, 2022
  • Melbourne Laureate Fellow, 2019
  • Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor (University of Melbourne), 2020–
  • ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship, 2014–2019
  • Australian Historical Associatation Ernest Scott Prize for Freud in the Antipodes: A Cultural History of Psychoanalysis in Australia (UMSW Press), 2006
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2004
  • Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, 2004

Appointments and affiliations

  • President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, 2017–2020
  • President of the Australian Historical Association, 2018–2020
  • Director of the Australian Council of Learned Academies Limited
  • Professor of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne
  • Member of History Council of Victoria 

Editorial roles

  • Labour History, board member, 2001–
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography, board member, 2011–2021
  • Gender and History, 2007–2020
  • Melbourne University Press Australian History series, series editor, 2013–2019
  • Australian Historical Studies, editor, 2002–2006; chair of the board, 2007–2010
  • Women’s History Review, associate editor, 2007–2014

Grant agency review panel

Chair, ARC Laureate Fellowship Scheme
Chair, Humanities and Creative Arts panel for Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
Chair, Humanities and Creative Arts panel for the Australian Research Council (ARC) College of Experts

Public engagement

  • Host: 'AI, Ethics, and the Future: Can the Arts and Humanities Save Us?', In Focus: Executive Dean Presents... lecture series, Australian Catholic University, 18 April 2024 Watch video
  • Panelist: 'How can the Arts and Humanities Survive and Thrive in the 21st Century?', In Focus: Executive Dean Presents... lecture series, Australian Catholic University, 2 May 2023 Watch video
  • Panelist: ‘Why the Humanities?’,The Philosopher's Zone. Rutledge, D. (Host). ABC Radio National, 14 August 2019 Listen to audio
  • Public lecture: ‘History of Child Refugees’, The University of Queensland, 2016 
  • Public lecture: ‘Child Refugees and Australian Internationalism’, The University of Melbourne, 2015
  • Fred Alexander public lecture: ‘Hell Sounds, Birdsongs and Zeppelins: Emotions, Memory and the Soundscape of the Great War’, The University of Western Australia, 2015
  • Public lecture: ‘Greek War Stories: Migration, War Trauma and Intergenerational War Stories’, Alex Condos Memorial Lecture, Brisbane, 2010


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