Scholarship and leadership

Illuminating the relationship between academic scholarship and social transformation motivates the work of Professor Vera Mackie, one of the leading international scholars of Asian history, gender and sexuality studies and cultural studies. 

Since arriving at UOW in 2010 to undertake an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship project on human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Mackie has fostered a group of emerging scholars working on human rights-related research in her role as Director of the Centre for Critical Human Rights Research in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. 

Mackie’s interest in Asian history began in high school studying the Japanese language. She went on to complete degrees in Japanese Studies and Linguistics from Monash University and in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Adelaide. 

Since then, she has established an impressive record of international publications, grant successes and professional service. 

Her body of work on the history of feminism in Japan and on transnational feminism has been influential, leading to international invitations to present keynote addresses and contribute to reference works. She has been active in bringing together the fields of gender and sexuality studies and Asia-Pacific studies, in such works as The Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia, in collaboration with colleague Professor Mark McLelland. 

The saliency of her work is demonstrated by her current research on a collaborative ARC Discovery Project investigating the global experience of IVF and Assisted Reproductive Technologies. She is also an investigator on an ARC Linkage Project ‘Fostering Women Leaders through Educational Exchange, 1930-1980’, her contribution building on her academic interest in gender, diversity and equal opportunity and her experience in women and leadership programs. 

Throughout her academic career, she has actively encouraged the next generation of scholars through mentoring and career support, especially early career women.  

Mackie established and co-ordinated a university-wide women and leadership program for academics, professional staff and TAFE teachers in her time at Victoria University. She also contributed to the Australian Technology Network’s Women’s Executive Development program while at Curtin University. She continues to take an active role in fostering early career researchers at UOW.