Congratulations to Susan Best and Catherine Speck on their election to the Australian Academy of the Humanities
Leading experts in arts and culture are among 23 leading figures in the humanities to be elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities – the highest honour for achievement in the humanities in Australia.
“I am delighted to welcome our new Fellows, elected in recognition of their outstanding scholarship and practice in the humanities disciplines,” said newly elected President of the Academy, Professor Joy Damousi FASSA FAHA. “Their expertise is central to our capacity to understand and engage with cultures and communities both in Australia and around the world.”
The 23 elected Fellows represent the ever-evolving nature of the humanities as a dynamic field of inquiry. They are leaders in their areas of study and come from a range of diverse disciplines including art and ancient history, theatre, literature and literary traditions, media and communications, European languages, religion and politics, Indigenous history and language, Chinese law and cultural politics, archaeology and heritage, linguistics, practical ethics and moral responsibility, and academic publishing.
Susan Best is a leading feminist art historian, known internationally for theorising the affective dimension of late modern and contemporary art as well as for re-examining the relevance of aesthetics in feminist thinking about art. Her research has been widely acclaimed as constituting a major methodological innovation in art history, demonstrating how the work of key women artists of the 1960s and 70s transformed the avant-garde protocols of the period by introducing an affective dimension to the vocabulary of late modern art. The recipient of several distinguished grants and awards, including Australian Research Council and Australia Council grants, Professor Best’s current work focuses on dance and performance crossovers. Her first book ‘Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde’ won the Australian and New Zealand Art Association prize for best book in 2012; it was also short-listed for the American College Art Association Frank Jewett Mather Award. Her most recent work further develops the analysis of affect in art, focusing on the importance of shame and the role of photography in addressing shameful national histories. She is currently Professor of Art Theory and Fine Art at Griffith University.
is an art historian whose work focuses on the gendered representation of war and wartime in Australian art. Her publications have won critical praise for their outstandingly original re-envisaging of the landscape of war through the humane gaze of numerous women artists, both minor and major. Professor Speck’s work is also highly regarded for being culturally comparative and statistical, giving her scholarship a broader and more effective argument. She developed the concept of ‘Australian art without borders’, which defines the contribution of expatriate artists to art history and national narratives. Among Professor Speck’s significant achievements at the University of Adelaide and for the professional association of art historians are: RJ Hawke Fellow 1999; Chancellor’s Award; Barbara Hanrahan Community Tapestry, University of South Australia; 2000 National Executive AAANZ 1994 -2014 ; Chair, Nexus Multicultural Arts Centre, Adelaide, 2000-2004. She is currently Professor of Art History at the University of Adelaide.