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2007-2008 TASA Executive Committee Bios

The TASA Executive Committee (EC) governs the Association and
manages its daily business as outlined in the Constitution and by
established policies. To find out more about TASA Executive Committee
positions, the scope of EC work, and previous Executive Committees, click here.

The 2006-2007 TASA Executive Committee office holders are listed below, followed by a biography of each member:

President: Prof. Michael Gilding

Immediate Past President (Ex-Officio): Associate Professor Roberta Julian

Vice-President: Dr Tim Marjoribanks

Secretary: Eileen Clark

Treasurer: Dr Wendy Hillman

TASA Postgraduate Member: Dr Angela Dwyer

General Executive Members:
Tara McGee – Also TASAweb Editor
Dr Debra King

Journal of Sociology Editors (ex officio): 2005-2008
Dr Peter Corrigan (TASA Representative – 2006)
Dr Margaret Gibson
Dr David Plummer
Dr John Scott (TASA Representative – 2005)
Dr Steve Thiele (TASA Representative – 2007)

Book review editors: Dr Gail Hawkes, Dr Jennifer Rindfleish, & Dr David Gray

Nexus Editor (ex officio): 2007-2008
Dr Nicole Asquith
Christopher Fox

TASA 2007 Conference Convenors (Joint TASA and SAANZ Conference – Auckland):
Bruce Curtis
Steve Matthewman
Tracey McIntosh

Jean Martin Award Convenor 2007:
Dr Zlatko Skrbis

Stephen Crook Memorial Prize Convenor (ex officio): TBA

Public Officer (ex officio): Dr Dorothy Broom

Health Sociology Review editors:
Dr Fran Collyer

TASA Executive Officer (ex officio):

  • Postal address:
    TASA Office, School of Social Science,
    The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, 4072, AUSTRALIA
  • Ph: +61 7 3365 7516
  • Fax: +61 7 3365 1544

Executive Biographies


Michael Gilding I have a vivid memory of my first encounter with TASA. The year was 1991. I had already completed my PhD on the historical sociology of the family (supervised by Raewyn Connell at Macquarie University), my PhD had been published as a book (by Allen & Unwin), and I had been working as a sociology lecturer for about six years (at Ballarat College of Advanced Education, then Monash University, and then Swinburne University of Technology). I decided that it was time to attend the annual conference of the professional organisation, although I cannot recall what led me to this decision. In retrospect, I’m surprised that I had proceeded so far without having had anything to do with TASA!

At any rate, I turned up at Macquarie University where the TASA conference was being held, and made my way to the welcome drinks. When I made my entrance, it seemed as if everybody in the room knew each other. Indeed, they all seemed to know each other very well! Unfortunately, I did not recognise a single person. As I walked into the room my brisk walk turned into a shuffle. Then I shuffled around in an arc, and walked out of the room – slowly at first, then briskly. I seem to remember breaking into a run at some point, but more likely than not this memory simply reflects the flight of my mind. In the end I had a great conference. Above all, I recall its sociability. I met lots of people. Some of them I got to know very well. Others I just got to know by name. I loved meeting people who were doing research in my area and had their own angle on it. I also loved the wider conversation – about other sociologists, other sociology departments, and other universities. I even went to the Annual General Meeting – tamely following in others’ footsteps! I guess it was my induction into a wider community of sociologists.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I’m still at Swinburne University of Technology, but my current position is Deputy Dean Research in the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, a faculty ranging from biochemistry to philosophy. I am also the Director of an interdisciplinary research centre, the Australian Centre of Emerging Technologies and Society, which publishes an online journal (The Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society) and operates a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing facility (doing high-quality random surveys for our own purposes and other researchers).
I’ve kept my research interest in the sociology of the family (including a 1997 textbook), but I’ve extended my research to economic sociology (including a 2002 book on the ‘super rich’) and the sociology of science and technology. I’ve also extended my methodological repertoire from historical and qualitative methods to quantitative methods, including network analysis. My most recent work has involved two ARC funded projects: one on the network structure of the Australian biotechnology industry, and the other on the social implications of DNA paternity testing. I’m currently working on a book with Lyn Turney on paternity testing, tentatively titled Rampant Misattributed Paternity: The creation of an urban myth.

I’m honoured to take on the position of President of TASA for 2007-08. TASA plays a tremendously important role in the health and vitality of Sociology in Australia. Over the past few years the TASA Executive has done some great work. The membership has grown, the Thematic Groups have formed, and the institutions of the Association (from its journals to the conference) have flourished. I want to make sure that they continue to do so.

Of TASA’s various institutions, I must admit that I have a particularly soft spot for the annual conference, the site of my uncomfortable first encounter all those years ago. TASA has also become one of my ‘personal communities’ and the conference is an opportunity to catch up with this community. I invariably encourage my PhD students to join TASA and attend the annual conference. But I also warn them never to attend their first welcome drinks on their own, and always to travel in gangs!

exec-timTim Marjoribanks I am a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Melbourne. My research, conducted collaboratively with colleagues in disciplines including sociology, politics, law, and media and communications, currently engages with four areas related to media and sport: comparative research on news production and defamation law; organisational restructuring in the Australian Football League; the construction of race and nation in media coverage of sport; and news production and objectivity. I teach in undergraduate and Masters degrees in areas including media, social research strategies, organizations, work and health. I also supervise Postgraduate and Honours students in these related areas.

As Vice President of TASA, I see key challenges for the Association as being to continue and to further develop the excellent work of the current and previous TASA Executives. Key issues that I believe face sociology and TASA over the coming years include ensuring that sociologists are active participants in public and policy debates, creating processes to strengthen the connections between sociologists located in diverse settings, and promoting the research and teaching profile of sociology. I believe TASA has a critical role to play in engaging with these challenges, both in listening to and learning from the experiences of colleagues, and in developing and implementing strategy.

In terms of my organisational experience with TASA, in addition to being a member for a number of years, I was an organiser of the Inaugural TASA Public Lecture in 2005, and I am a member of the organisational team for the 2008 TASA conference, being held at Melbourne University. I am also a co-convenor of the TASA Thematic Group on Media. I am now very excited by the opportunity to continue the work of making TASA an important organization for sociologists and the broader community.

exec-eileenEileen Clark I am a Lecturer at La Trobe’s campus at Wodonga in the School of Nursing and Midwifery (although I am not a nurse). I teach sociology, human ecology and research methods in the undergraduate program, and research methods in the postgraduate program. Being located in the School of Nursing means that I might suffer a degree of professional isolation, and I find TASA is invaluable in keeping me in touch with my discipline.

Research interests include the social aspects of land use in the Victorian Alps, particularly the disputes over cattle grazing and ski resort development. In recent years I have been working with Dr Terence McCann of Victoria University in Melbourne, investigating the meaning of wellness for residents of retirement villages, attitudes of Emergency Department nurses towards patients who deliberately self-harm, and the behaviours, knowledge and attitudes of nursing students to tobacco smoking. My research interests also include innovative methodologies such as oral history and photo interviewing, and the ethics of research activities. This interest led me to prepare TASA’s submission to the NHMRC’s review of ethical conduct in research involving humans.

I will be continuing as a member of the TASA Executive but in the new role as Secretary. I am looking forward to maintaining the high standards of administration that TASA has achieved in recent years and continuing the role of liaison between Thematic groups and the executive. I also hope to use the experience I have gained since joining the Executive in 2004 to help TASA position itself to assist members facing the challenges thrown up by the fast-changing environment in universities and the wider world of work.

exec-wendyWendy HillmanI joined TASA in 1997, when I was a Masters Research student. The first conference I attended and presented at was at the University of Wollongong in 1997. I have also attended and presented at the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 conferences. For the 2004 conference at the La Trobe Beechworth campus, I was awarded a 2004 TASA/AASR Postgraduate Conference Scholarship, which paid for my conference registration and the registration for the Postgraduate Day. It was a privilege to be awarded such a prize, and I am extremely grateful to the TASA Executive of 2004 for this award.

During my postgraduate years, my research focus has been on the sociology of travel and tourism, in between a large and diverse teaching load. For my research Masters, I investigated the reasons backpackers seek an ‘authentic’ experience while travelling Australia. I then received a PhD scholarship from Tropical Savannas CRC, and contributed to sociological accounts of the Australian outback and ecotourism industry.

I then worked at the University of Queensland, where I held the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences. I worked on a three year ARC Linkage project entitled, ‘Families on the Fringe’. Currently, I am a Lecturer in Sociology at Central Queensland University.

As the Treasurer on the 2007-2008 TASA Executive, I plan to maintain an active and practical role in this position. With support from current and previous Executive members and Noelle Hudson (the Executive Officer), this will be an achievable goal.

exec-angelaAngela Dwyer I have been working as a sessional academic at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, for over seven years, particularly in the Faculties of Education, Law, and Creative Industries. My areas of ‘expertise’ include gender and sexuality issues, the body, youthful/subcultural identities and social justice, popular culture, and qualitative research methodologies. I would like to pursue research post-doctorally on how youthful/sexual/subcultural embodied identities are regulated/produced in government policy. I am also very interested in pregnant embodiment and would like to do further research on how young girls specifically experience pregnant embodiment.

I studied sociology at QUT, and went on to study Honours under the supervision of then Dr Gavin Kendall. It was through studying Honours that I realised my passion for social research and attended my first TASA conference in 1998. I have most recently graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy from the Faculty of Education at QUT. Entitled ‘Teaching girls a lesson: The fashion model as pedagogue’, my thesis argues for reconceptualising the fashion model/young girl relationship as a pedagogical encounter. As I moved from the social science faculty to the education faculty for the purposes of supervision of my PhD research, building networks with other sociologists became a key concern and lead to my interest in postgraduate issues.

I have since served as Postgraduate Representative for the Postgraduate Students Association and, most recently, the Higher Degrees Research Committee at QUT. In this role, I successfully organised a conference (‘New Researchers for New Times’) for postgraduate students in the education faculty at QUT in October 2005. In preparation for this conference, I organised a series of skills workshops leading up to the conference, and secured funding to video these workshops as a DVD set so external students could access this resource. I was also successful in having some conference papers published in The Journal of Learning Design at QUT.

Aside from the conference, I worked to educate postgraduate students about career paths that were available to them. I chaired panel discussions with senior academics/professionals to enhance the career prospects of postgraduate students, and worked with the Careers section at QUT to convene workshops about postgraduate career planning. This culminated in my speaking on making the best of postgraduate study as part of the 2005 TASA Postgraduate Day Workshop.

Now that I have completed my PhD and am seeking full-time employment, I am even more committed to educating postgraduate students about making the most of their postgraduate experience. In my current role as Postgraduate Member for the TASA Executive Committee, I am hoping to flag key issues for postgraduate students with the Executive so that universities as well as postgraduate students understand the value of postgraduate research in competitive labour markets. I endeavour to continue to strengthen the excellent work that TASA has been doing to support Honours, Masters, PhD and Professional Doctorate students, starting with the TASA Conference and Postgraduate Workshop in Perth in December.

exec-taraTara McGee I am a Lecturer in the School of Justice at the Queensland University of Technology with research interests in the areas of developmental criminology and aggression. My broader teaching areas are research methods, life-course criminology, youth justice and forensic psychology.

I have had a long involvement with TASA. Prior to my role as TASA Postgraduate Member on the TASA Executive (2005-2006), I worked as the TASA Executive Officer (2001-2004). In 2005, I convened the Postgraduate Workshop in Hobart and developed the program of the 2006 Postgraduate Workshop. In the interests of attracting Honours and Masters students to TASA membership, I developed a flyer that was distributed throughout Australian sociology departments. I have also assisted in the promotion and administration of the TASA/AASR Postgraduate Scholarship and with the assistance of Kate Riseley spent some time helping out in the TASA Office. I have also held the role of TASAweb editor in recent years and in this role have redesigned the look of TASAweb, developed the Thematic Group pages of TASAweb, and also developed the TASA online election system.

In 2007, I will hand over the reigns of the TASA Postgraduate Member position to Angela Dwyer and take up the position of General Member on TASA Executive Committee. The focus of my new role as a General Executive member will be TASAweb. The first projects will be establishing a ‘history’ page, which will provide information on the history of the sociology as a discipline in Australia. I will also be working with former TASA president, John Germov, on collating sociology student enrolment and graduation data, with comparison data from other disciplines. I look forward to hearing suggestions for future development or improvement for TASAweb from members.

exec-debDebra King I first became involved with TASA as a postgraduate student when I received a scholarship to attend the annual conference. Since then I have been a regular participant at TASA conferences, and have been invited to speak on a couple of panels (one as a postgraduate student, one as an early career researcher). In 2000 I convened the TASA conference at Flinders with Jason Pudsey, at which I discovered my penchant for supplying affordable, good quality food and refreshments at public functions. This has since become a trademark of the events I organise and I fear it may even exceed my reputation as a ‘serious’ sociologist!! I was on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Sociology from 2001-2005 and have reviewed articles for JOS and for various Sections in the conference proceedings. In 2006 I convened the TASA Public Lecture at which we (once again) enjoyed bountiful food and wine after hearing Anthony Elliott speak. I have been on the TASA committee since early in 2007.

I am currently a Senior Research Fellow in the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University. This is a multi-disciplinary team in which I provide a sociological (in particular, a qualitative) perspective on issues relating to work and employment. I have several interests within this field, including the role of emotion in the organisation and experience of work, the relationship between work and well-being, and understanding more about women’s work (especially care work). Before being appointed at NILS earlier this year, I was a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Flinders, which I combined with a research development role. Prior to working at Flinders, I was a lecturer in Research Education at the University of South Australia.

I have a keen interest in supporting disciplinary strengths within multi-disciplinary teams and in the issues facing early and mid career researchers within the current higher education context. These are issues that are relevant to many TASA members and I am well placed to see how these can be investigated further. I am very supportive of TASA’s efforts to increase the public profile of TASA members, and sociology more broadly, within the Australian context and look forward to contributing to their work in this area.