Woman Darian-Smith, Katherine (Kate) (1961 - )

25 February 1961
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Kate Darian-Smith is a leader in the fields of history and Australian studies who has contributed to Australian cultural and social history, especially in the areas of war and Australian society and history and memory.

Kate Darian-Smith was born on 25 February 1961 in Sydney. Her father, Ian Darian-Smith, is a neuroscientist and was successively the Professor of Physiology (1972-83) and of Anatomy (1983-92) at the University of Melbourne. Her mother was a journalist. Educated at Kew High School. Darian-Smith then completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree with majors in History and English in 1983, as well as a PhD (1988) and a Diploma of Education (1992) from the University of Melbourne.

In 1989 she was awarded the George Johnson Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of History, Sydney University. She was Australian Studies Project Officer/Lecturer in Humanities and Social Sciences, Division of Arts, Education and Humanities, Ballarat University College from 1991 until 1992 and then served as Deputy Director, Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the University of London (1992-1994). In 1995 Darian-Smith was appointed Lecturer in History, at the University of Melbourne; promoted to Senior Lecturer, The Australian Centre and History Department (shared appointment) in 1997; Associate Professor in 2001; and Professor in 2004. Darian-Smith was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2008. Since early 2013 Darian-Smith has held a joint professorial appointment Professor of Australian Studies and History, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts, and Professor of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

Darian-Smith has been appointed to a number of academic leadership roles at the University of Melbourne. From 1998-2005 and from 2011-2 she served as Director of the Australian Centre. She has also held a number of administrative positions at the Faculty of Arts: Acting Head of the School of Historical Studies (2010); Associate Dean (International) (2002-2006); Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts (2007); Chair, History of the University Unit Advisory Board; and Chair, Board for the Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers since 2008. In recognition of her contribution to research higher degree supervision, Darian-Smith was awarded the University of Melbourne 2010 Award for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision (the Peter McPhee Award) and an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for 'commitment to supervision ensuring the success of diverse postgraduate students researching across disciplines in humanities and creative arts, institutionally and nationally'.

Darian-Smith has fostered ties between Australian academics and international scholars teaching in the area of Australian Studies. She has been involved in the teaching of Australian Studies abroad, spending periods of time as a Visiting Academic/Professor at universities in Europe (especially in the Czech Republic, Hungary and France) in the 1990s; and more recently in Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia. Darian-Smith was the President of the International Australian Studies Association (InASA) from 2002 to 2007 and Vice-President (2008-). Since 2004, she has chaired the Australian Selection Committee, Visiting Professor in Australian Studies, University of Tokyo (in consultation with Australia-Japan Foundation/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and was appointed to the Board of the Australia-Japan Foundation in 2010. She is also a member, International Committee, Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

Darian-Smith has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Australian Studies (1995-), Public History Review (1997-), Journal of Grainger Studies, International Journal of Play (2011-) and is Section Editor, Australasia & and Pacific for History Compass. She has been a member of the Meanjin Editorial Advisory since 2000 and chaired the Meanjin Board of Management from 2000 to 2007. She is also on the Advisory Council of the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Federal Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (2009-), is a Research Associate, Museum Victoria (both History & Technology and Indigenous Studies programs) and has been appointed to the Advisory Committee, Australian Children's Folklore Collection, Museum Victoria. Darian-Smith is a Member, Steering Committee, Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres (ACHRC) (2011-).

Darian-Smith's research focuses on Australian cultural and social history, particularly in the twentieth century, encompassing war and Australian society, with reference to gender; the relationship between memory and history, museum studies and exhibiting histories and cultures; ideas of community, society and the build environment in Australia; comparative colonial discourse and postcolonial studies; and rural and urban Australia. She is the author of On the Home Front: Melbourne in Wartime 1939-1945 (2nd edn 2009); Agricultural Shows in Australia: A Survey, with Sara Wills (1999); The Australian outback and its people, with David Lowe (1994); and Captured Lives: Australian Captivity Narratives, with Kay Schaffer and Roslyn Poignant (1993). Darian-Smith is also editor of several edited collections, Children, Childhood and Cultural Heritage, with Carla Pascoe (2013); Misremembering Television: History, Memory and Technologies, with Sue Turnbull (2012); and Britishness abroad: transnational movements and imperial cultures, with Patricia Grimshaw and Stuart Macintyre (1994).

Darian-Smith is married to secondary school teacher Dr Nicholas Vlahogiannis; they have two daughters.

Published Resources

Edited Books

  • Who's Who in Australia, Crown Content, Melbourne, Victoria, 1927 - 2013. Details

Online Resources

See also