History of Women in the Discipline

The contribution made by women to ancient world studies in Australia and New Zealand has often been neglected. Few publications are devoted to their achievements. A notable exception is Ron Ridley’s Jessie Webb – A Memoir (Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press, 1994). Much of the history of these women has been lost. As part of its initial charter, AWAWS is committed to preserving the history of women in the discipline of classics and ancient world studies.

Preliminary work is underway but in order to do this, we need your help. We are gathering material on women in the discipline who made a significant contribution to the field and the life of classics and ancient world studies in Australia and New Zealand.

If you have any bibliography, photographs, letters, course outlines, articles, stories, or anecdotes, please contact socawaws [at] gmail.com.

In this vein, you may be interested in viewing an interview with Associate Professor Judy Birmingham of the University of Sydney, hosted by the Nicholson Museum. Judy Birmingham studied at the Institute of Archaeology in London under Sir Max Mallowan and undertook extensive fieldwork in the Middle East, Cyprus, Greece and Britain. She also pioneered historical archaeology in Australia. Here she discusses with Dr Craig Barker her career, from the pre-historic through to the historic periods in archaeology, and her involvement over five decades with the Nicholson Museum.

You might also be interested in this recent article from the Guardian by Emily Wilson on the translation into English of classical and especially ancient Greek texts by female classical scholars. An important female classical scholar and translator not mentioned in the article is Betty Radice, who edited the Penguin translations of classical texts for many years, and also contributed to the translations of Livy, Pliny and Horace. Another important female translator was (Emily) W.C. Wright, who translated Julian, Philostratus and Eunapius for the Loeb Classical Library (I thank G. Horsley from UNE for this insight). If you have any insights into the history of female translation of the classics in Australasia to share, please write to us at the email above.

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