Associate Professor Elizabeth McMahon

Deputy Head of School

BA (Hons) (English and Australian Literature) USyd; PhD (Australian Literature), USyd

School of the Arts & Media

Contact

+61 2 9385 1164
+61 2 9385 6812
223, Level 2 Robert Webster
Kensington Campus
Fields: Cultural Studies, Literary Studies
Tags: Languages and literature, Other Cultural Understanding

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 recently edited, with Dr Brigitta Olubas, a new collection on Australian author Elizabeth Harrower. 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. .

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.

Publications

    Books

    • McMahon EN, 2016, Islands, Identity and the Literary Imagination, 1, Anthem Press, London and New York
    • McMahon EN; Olubas B, (eds.), 2010, Remembering Patrick White: Contemporary Critical Essays, 1, Rodopi, Amsterdam, New York
    • McMahon EN; Olubas B, (eds.), 2006, Women Making Time: Contemporary Feminist Critique and Cultural Analysis, First, University of WA Press, Perth

    Book Chapters

    • McMahon EN, 2017, 'Moments of Being in the Fiction of Elizabeth Harrower', in McMahon E; Olubas B (ed.), Elizabeth Harrower: Critical Essays, edn. Sydney Studies in Australian Literature, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 135 - 145
    • McMahon EN, 2017, 'Identity, Perversity and Literary Subjectivity: Teaching Patrick White's The Twyborn Affair', in Birns N; Moore N; Sheriff S (ed.), Teaching Australian and New Zealand Literature, Modern Languages Association, New York, pp. 133 - 144
    • McMahon EN;Olubas B, 2017, '"Rediscovering Again: Reading Elizabeth Harrower Across Time"', in McMahon EN; Olubas B (ed.), Elizabeth Harrower: Critical Essays, edn. Sydney Studies in Australian Literature, Sydney University Press, Sydney, pp. 1 - 7
    • McMahon E, 2016, 'Parallel: Parallax-the melancholy dialectics of Dionne Brand', in Literary Careers in the Modern Era, pp. 113 - 128, http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137478504
    • McMahon EN, 2012, 'Continental Heartlands and Alex Miller’s Geosophical Imaginary', in Dixon R (ed.), The Novels of Alex Miller, edn. Original, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, pp. 125 - 137
    • McMahon EN, 2010, 'Author, Author! The Two Faces of Kate Grenville', in Kossew S (ed.), Lighting Dark Places: Essays on Kate Grenville, edn. 1, Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 39 - 54
    • McMahon EN, 2010, 'The Lateness and the Queerness of The Twyborn Affair: White's Farewell to the Novel', in McMahon E; Olubas B (ed.), Remembering Patrick White: Contemporary Critical Essays, edn. 1, Rodopi, Amsterdam, New York, pp. 77 - 94
    • McMahon EN, 2009, 'Homesick: Cloudstreet and the death drive', in Ways of Teaching, edn. Original, English Association Sydney, Sydney, pp. 35 - 46
    • McMahon EN;Olubas B, 2006, 'Introduction', in McMahon E; Olubas B (ed.), Women Making Time: Contemporary Feminist Critique and Cultural Analysis, edn. First, University of WA Press, Perth, pp. 1 - 13
    • McMahon EN, 2006, 'Wasted Memory and Generational History: Tasmania`s abandoned places', in McMahon E; Olubas B (ed.), Women Making Time: Contemporary Feminist Critique and Cultural Analysis, edn. First, University of WA Press, Perth, pp. 43 - 62
    • McMahon EN, 2003, 'The Guilded Cage: from utopia to monad in Australia`s island imaginary', in Edmond R; Smith V (ed.), Islands in History and Representation, edn. First, Routledge Press, London, pp. 190 - 202

    Journal articles

    Conference Papers

    • McMahon EN, 2008, 'Longing in Belonging: Emily Dickinson`s Poetics of Distance', in New Directions, English Association Sydney, University of Sydney, presented at English Association English Teacher's Conference 2008, University of Sydney, 28 May 2008

Teaching and Supervision

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

She has supervised ten PhD theses to successful completion and is currently supervising five PhD theses. In 2011 she received a Dean's Award for Learning and Teaching for Postgraduate Supervision.

Successful 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.

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).

Honours and prizes

In 2017 Elizabeth's monograph,Islands,Identity and the Literary Imaginationwontwo awards:

1. The Walter McRae Russell Award for 'thebest 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;

2. The inaugural AUHE Prize for Literary Scholarship awarded by the Australian University Heads of English.

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

Teaching Merit Award, The University of Tasmania, 2000.

Engagement and Professional contributions

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.

Related news

Other information

In 2009 Elizabeth received an ARC Discovery grant for her project 'Australia, Our Island Home'.

From 2009 -2015 she was a Chief Investigator on the AUSTLIT project, an ARC LIEF project.

Elizabeth is the Deputy Head of School, Learning and Teaching in the School of Arts and Media at the University of New South Wales.