Woman Jolly, Margaret Anne (1949 - )

12 April 1949
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Written by Sharon M. Harrison, The University of Melbourne

Margaret Jolly is a leader in the anthropology profession, who has written extensively on gender in the Pacific, on exploratory voyages and travel writing, missions and contemporary Christianity, maternity and sexuality, cinema and art.

Margaret Anne Jolly was born on 12 April 1949 in Sydney. She was raised in a working-class family; her father was a storeman; her mother a factory worker before marriage. Jolly grew up in Sydney's inner western suburb of Drummoyne, attending the Drummoyne public school followed by Riverside Girls High at Gladesville in north western Sydney. She was school captain and dux in her graduating year. Jolly was educated at the University of Sydney, winning the Frank Bell Prize for Anthropology in 1967. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Anthropology in 1970. During her undergraduate years, she was active in the Sydney anti-Vietnam war, student and women's movements in late 1960s and 1970s. Jolly undertook her first ethnographic research in Vanuatu (then New Hebrides) in the 1970s and was awarded her PhD from the University of Sydney for her thesis Men, women and rank in South Pentecost in 1980.

Jolly worked as a Tutor and Senior Tutor in Anthropology at Macquarie University, while completing her doctoral studies. After completing her PhD, she was appointed Lecturer at Macquarie University (1980-1986). In 1983 she took up an appointment as Visiting Fellow on a Project on Gender Relations in the South West Pacific, Anthropology, in the Research School of Pacific Studies at the Australian National University (ANU). Jolly was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1987. She was seconded to the Anthropology, Comparative Austronesian Project, Research School of Pacific Studies, at the ANU as a Visiting Fellow (1989-1991) and then returned to Macquarie University for a year, before taking up another secondment at the ANU where she was appointed a Visiting Fellow and Convenor, Gender Relations Project, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (1992-1995). She was subsequently appointed to a permanent position as a Senior Fellow and Head, Gender Relations Centre, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, ANU (1995-2009). In 1999 Jolly was promoted to Professor in Gender and Cultural Studies/Pacific Studies, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU. She was awarded an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship for her project Engendering persons, transforming things: Christianities, Commodities and Individualism in Oceania (2010-2015) in 2009.

Jolly has held several visiting appointments at international institutions including Burns Distinguished Visiting Chair, History, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (1998); Resident Scholar, Centre for Cultural Studies, University of California at Santa Cruz (2000-2001); Visiting Professor, Department of Art History, University of California at Santa Cruz (2002-2002); and Poste Rouge/Visiting Professor Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris and Marseille (January 2009-June 2009).

Her publications include: Women of the Place, Kastom, Colonialism and Gender in Vanuatu (1994); Sites of Desire, Economies of Pleasure: Sexualities in Asia and the Pacific, co-edited with Lenore Manderson (1997); Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Postcolonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific, co-edited with Kalpana Ram (1998); Borders of Being: Citizenship, Fertility and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, co-edited with Kalpana Ram (2001); Birthing in the Pacific: Beyond Tradition and Modernity?, co-edited with Vicki Lukere (2001); Oceanic Encounters: Exchange, Desire, Violence, co-edited with with Serge Tcherkézoff and Darrell Tryon (2009); and Engendering Violence in Papua New Guinea co-edited with Christine Stewart and Carolyn Brewer (2012).

Jolly was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1999. She is Vice-President of the Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies and currently editor of its e-journal PacifiCurrents. She is on the editorial boards of several journals including The Asia-Pacific Journal of Anthropology, Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, and The Australian Journal of Anthropology and the Pacific Studies board of ANU E-Press. In 2007 Jolly was awarded the inaugural prize for excellence in graduate supervision, College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU. She is a member of Australian Anthropological Society; American Anthropological Association; Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania and the European Society for Oceanists.

Jolly has one daughter, Anna, and one granddaughter Chloe.

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Online Resources

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