Woman Johnson, Lesley Ruth (1949 - )


12 April 1949
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Lesley Johnson is a leader in Cultural Studies, who has contributed to Australian cultural history, gender studies and sociology of education in significant ways. Johnson has also held high level leadership appointments in University administration. Born on 12 April 1949 in Sydney, to Brian Robert and Betty Dorothy Johnson, she was educated at Denistone East Public School and Ryde High School-one of the early coeducational state high schools in New South Wales. She undertook undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney on a Commonwealth Scholarship from 1966 to 1968, graduating with a BA. Johnson subsequently completed a MEd at the University of Queensland. Her first academic job was at the University of Queensland, where she held a tutorship from 1972-1973. Johnson was awarded a Commonwealth Postgraduate Award, completing doctoral studies at Monash University's Faculty of Education and was awarded her PhD for her thesis The concept of culture and the English intellectual, 1850-1975 in 1976.

Johnson took up a Lectureship at the University of Melbourne in 1976 and was promoted to Reader in Education (1990-1991). In 1992 she was appointed Professor of Communication in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney (Nepean) and in 1994 became Academic Director (Research) at the UWS. From 1995 until 2004 Johnson was Professor of Cultural Studies and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Technology, Sydney. She then served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research at Griffith University from 2004 to until her retirement in 2009. Following her retirement, Johnson has undertaken a number of part-time consultancies for a range of Australian universities and the Queensland Government. She has been Emeritus Professor, University of Technology, Sydney, since 2004 and Conjoint Professor at the University of New South Wales since 2009 and was appointed Professor Emeritus at Griffith University in 2011. In 2011 Johnson was Jubileum Professor Chalmers University Technology (Sweden).

A leader in University administration and research policy, Johnson has served on many committees and councils: University Melbourne Staff Association (1981-1988); Executive Member Federation Australian Universities Staff Association (1987-1988); Education Board Australia Universities Review (1990-1996); Chair Research Management Committee UWS (Nepean) (1992-1995); Member Humanities and Social Sciences Panel, Australian Research Council (1993-1995); Deputy Chair University-Industry Research Collaboration Committee Australia Research Council (1996-1997); Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) Standing Committee on Research (1997-1998); Member Australian Research Council (1998-2001); Chair AVCC Pro Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Committee (2004); Queensland Premier's Smart State Council (2005-2008); President, Australian Academy Humanities (2011-); and President, Australian Council of Learned Academies (2013-).

Johnson is the author of many books and journal articles, including: The Cultural Critics from Matthew Arnold to Raymond Williams (1979), The Unseen Voice: A Cultural Study of Early Australian Radio (1988); The Modern Girl Girlhood and Growing Up (1993); Home/World: Space Community and Marginality in Sydney's West, with Helen Grace, Ghassan Hage, Julie Langsworth and Michael Symonds (1997); Sentenced to Everyday Life: Feminism and the Housewife, with Justine Lloyd (2004). She is the editor of: Republicanism, citizenship, community, with Ghassan Hage (1993); Cultural politics: papers in contemporary Australian education, culture and politics, with Deborah Tyler (1984); Pluralising the Asia-Pacific, with Ghassan Hage and Justine Lloyd (1994); and An inquiry into the State of Anglo-Saxonness within the Nation, with Ghassan Hage and Justine Lloyd (1995).

She was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities in 1999 and was the recipient of a Centenary Medal (2003). In 2004 Johnson was awarded the University Technology Sydney honorary degree, Doctor of the University (honoris causa). She was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for service to education as a leading academic, administrator and author, particularly in the fields of cultural history and feminist studies, and through the establishment of research centres for a range of disciplines. Her husband is Roger William Bendall (since Dec 2004). She has four step grand children

Additional sources: Personal communication between Patricia Grimshaw and Lesley Ruth Johnson, November 2012.

Published Resources

Edited Books

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

Online Resources

See also