Researcher

Professor Elizabeth Nora McMahon

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Dr Elizabeth McMahon is an Associate Professor in the School of the Arts and Media.  Her research interests are in Australian literature, Island Studies and Gender studies.

Her recent monograph, Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination (New York and London: Anthem, 2016) is the culmination of research funded by an ARC Discovery grant titled Our Island Home: The Shifting Map of Australian Literature. It won the 2017 Walter McRae Russell...view more

Dr Elizabeth McMahon is an Associate Professor in the School of the Arts and Media.  Her research interests are in Australian literature, Island Studies and Gender studies.

Her recent monograph, Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination (New York and London: Anthem, 2016) is the culmination of research funded by an ARC Discovery grant titled Our Island Home: The Shifting Map of Australian Literature. It won the 2017 Walter McRae Russell Award for the best work of literary criticism on an Australian subject published within the previous 2 calendar years; and the inaugural (2017) Australian University Heads of English Prize for Literary Scholarship.  

She has also published widely on the representation of gender and sexuality in Australian writing and is currently completing a monograph titled Transvestite Frontiers to be published by University of Sydney Press in 2020. With Dr Brigitta Olubas, she has edited series of collected critical essays, most recently on Australian author Elizabeth Harrower (University of Sydney Press) and a forthcoming collection on writer Antigone Kefala (University of Western Australia Press 2019).

Since 2008 she has co-edited Southerly, Australian oldest literary journal, and co-edits a book series titled Rethinking the Island for Rowman and Littlefield International.


My Grants


My Qualifications

BA (Hons 1st Class ) (English and Australian Literature) University of Sydney;

PhD (Australian Literature), University of Sydney;


My Awards

 

1. In 2017 Elizabeth's monograph, Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination won two awards:
     i. The Walter McRae Russell Award for 'the best book of literary scholarship on an Australian subject published in the preceding two calendar years', awarded by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature;
     ii. The inaugural AUHE Prize for Literary Scholarship, awarded by the association of the Australian University Heads of English for the best work of literary criticism by an academic at and Australian university in the calendar year. 

2. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dean's award for postgraduate supervision, 2011.

3. Vice Chancellor's Teaching Merit Award, The University of Tasmania, 2000.

4. Eva Vidak Memorial Award for the best thesis in Australian Literature (PhD), University of Sydney, 1995.

 

 


My Research Supervision


Areas of supervision

PhD Supervision:

Elizabeth has extensive experience as a supervisor with 11 successful PhD completions and 7 current students, including 2 Scientia candidates. The topics of these theses range from Australian, New Zealand and and US literature, to Foucauldian theory, and trash aesthetics. In 2011 she received a Dean's Award for Learning and Teaching for Postgraduate Supervision. The list below includes primary and joint supervisions only. She has co-supervised an additional ten candidates.

Successful PhD completions:

  • Gabrielle Dixon-Ritchie, Ecocriticism and Postmodernism, The University of New South Wales, 2018.
  • Joseph Cummins, The Space and Time of Imagined Sound: Australian Literature and Music, 1945 to Present (joint with John Napier), The University of New South Wales 2016;
  • Naomi Riddle, Anderson, Harrower, Hazzard: The Interiority of Modernity (joint with Brigitta Olubas), The University of New South Wales 2015;
  • Laura Joseph, Brimstone Flowers: Towards and Antipodean Poetics of Space, The University of New South Wales 2011;
  • Kate Mason, Paradoxes and substitutions: charting patterns in the American novels of 9/11, The University of New South Wales 2010;
  • Heather Moritz, "You are will to power and nothing besides": Nietzsche, Foucault, Yoga, and Feminist s/Self-Actualisation, The University of New South Wales 2010;
  • Helen O’Reilly, Time and Memory in the Novels of Eleanor Dark, The University of New South Wales 2009;
  • Sandra Knowles, The Performances of a Psychic Privacy: Waiting for the Real Miles Franklin, The University of New South Wales 2007;
  • Diana Jenkins, Don DeLillo’s Promiscuous Fictions: the Adulterous Triangle of Sex, Space, and Language, The University of New South Wales 2005;
  • Marita Bullock, Timely Figurations: The Metaphorics of Trash in Four Recent Australian Artists' work (joint with Dr Brigitta Olubas), UNSW 2004;
  • Angela Rockel, ReFraming: Transformations of Subjectivity through Writing, The University of Tasmania 2000.

Honours Supervisions

Elizabeth has successfully supervised 34 Honours students, many of whom have progressed to complete PhD theses at UNSW and at other universities in Australian and internationally.


Currently supervising

Current PhD supervisions:

  • Rebecca Hamilton, Women and Homelessness (joint with Mette Jakobsen)
  • Celeste White, Postcolonial Gothic (joint with Fiona Morrison)
  • Sarah Pope, The Australian Girl;
  • Penelope Stavrou, The Writing of Antigone Kefala (joint with Brigitta Olubas);
  • Xiaxia Zhang: The Writings of Brian Castro (joint with Brigitta Olubas).
  • Bonaventure Munganga, Australian Indigenous Speculative Fiction (joint with Brigitta Olubas).
  • Maria Jackson, Slave Narratives (joint with Brigitta Olubas).

My Engagement

Elizabeth is a member of the Australian Association of the Study of Australian Literature.

She is on the editorial board of Studies in Australian Cinema and on the Editorial Advisory Committee for the Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature.

Elizabeth was an elected member of The University of New South Wales Council 2010-2012. 

Editorial roles

Since 2008 Elizabeth has co-edited Southerly, Australia's oldest literary journal. Southerly includes peer-reviewed scholarly essays, new creative fiction and poetry, and is funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and the NSW Ministry for the Arts. Issues edited by Elizabeth include:

  • The Sister Arts, 68.2 (2008)
  • Southerly at Seventy, 69.2 (2009) 
  • Romance, 70.2 (2010) 
  • Modern Mobilities, 71.1 (2011) 
  • Mid-century Women Writers, 72.1 (2011)
  • Islands and Archipelagos, 72.3 (2012)
  • Forward Thinking: Utopia and Apocalypse, 74.1 (2013)
  • Elemental, 75.1 (2014)
  • Naked Writer 2, 75.2 (2015)
  • War and Peace, 75.3  (2015) co-edited with David Brooks
  • Words and Music, 76.1 (2016) co-edited with Hannah Fink
  • Questionable Characters, 77.1 (2017) co-edited with David Brooks
  • Mixed Messages, 77.3 (2018) co-edited with Michelle Hamadache

From 1997-2007 Elizabeth edited Australian Humanities Review, an AVCC-funded initiative to take Australian debate in the humanities online and showcase research to an international readership.

Elizabeth co-edits a book series titled, Rethinking the Island for Rowman and Littlefield International.

Elizabeth served on the executive of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature for 6 years, with 2 years as President. 


My Teaching

Elizabeth teaches Australian literature, women's writing and contemporary critical and cultural theory.

PhD Supervision:

Elizabeth has extensive experience as a supervisor with 10 successful PhD completions and 5 current students, including 2 Scientia candidates. The topics of these theses range from Australian, New Zealand and and US literature, to Foucauldian theory, and trash aesthetics. In 2011 she received a Dean's Award for Learning and Teaching for Postgraduate Supervision.

Current PhD supervisions:

  • Gabrielle Dixon-Ritchie, Ecocriticism and Postmodernism;
  • Sarah Pope, The Australian Girl;
  • Penelope Stavrou, The Writing of Antigone Kefala (joint with Brigitta Olubas);
  • Maria Jackson, Slave Narratives (joint with Brigitta Olubas).

Successful PhD completions:

  • Joseph Cummins, The Space and Time of Imagined Sound: Australian Literature and Music, 1945 to Present (joint with John Napier) The University of New South Wales 2016;
  • Naomi Riddle, Anderson, Harrower, Hazzard: The Interiority of Modernity (joint with Brigitta Olubas), The University of New South Wales 2015;
  • Laura Joseph, Brimstone Flowers: Towards and Antipodean Poetics of Space, The University of New South Wales 2011;
  • Kate Mason, Paradoxes and substitutions: charting patterns in the American novels of 9/11, The University of New South Wales 2010;
  • Heather Moritz, "You are will to power and nothing besides": Nietzsche, Foucault, Yoga, and Feminist s/Self-Actualisation, The University of New South Wales 2010;
  • Helen O’Reilly, Time and Memory in the Novels of Eleanor Dark, The University of New South Wales 2009;
  • Sandra Knowles, The Performances of a Psychic Privacy: Waiting for the Real Miles Franklin, The University of New South Wales 2007;
  • Diana Jenkins, Don DeLillo’s Promiscuous Fictions: the Adulterous Triangle of Sex, Space, and Language, The University of New South Wales 2005;
  • Marita Bullock, Timely Figurations: The Metaphorics of Trash in Four Recent Australian Artists' work (joint with Dr Brigitta Olubas), UNSW 2004;
  • Angela Rockel, ReFraming: Transformations of Subjectivity through Writing, The University of Tasmania 2000.
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Location

223, Level 2 Robert Webster

Contact

+61 2 9385 1164
+61 2 9385 6812

Research Activities

This project will show how Australia's unique status as an island continent has shaped Australian literature. Key questions posed are: How was the colonial cartography of the Australian mainland and islands represented in literature? Why did Australia increasingly identify as an island rather than a continent from the 1940s? How did this shift in emphasis re-form Australian literature? How do these fluctuations position Australian literature at this second great era of globalisation?

This project will show how Australia's unique status as an island continent has shaped Australian…