History Chair among top scholars

Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, Chair of History at Flinders, has been elected to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA).

She is among 46 Australian social scientists elected to the Academy in 2017 for their distinguished contributions to their disciplines and to society.

This group of elite academics was comprised equally of 23 men and 23 women, taking the membership of the Academy to a total of 637 distinguished social scientists.

Professor Oppenheimer will be formally welcomed and inducted at the Academy’s General Meeting and Annual Symposium to be held in Adelaide from 18-20 October 2017.

On learning of her election to the ASSA, Professor Oppenheimer said:

“This is as much an honour for Flinders University as it is for me.

“Being elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia is a humbling experience.

“It is a recognition by one’s peers and encourages me to work harder; to continue to foster excellence through my own research and that of others; and to mentor younger historians and social scientists at Flinders.

“I am looking forward to becoming an active fellow of the Academy and to participating in promoting the work of the ASSA both in Australia and internationally.”

Professor Oppenheimer’s association with the ASSA dates back to February 2000 when, as a young academic, she helped to convene the first workshop sponsored by the ASSA which was held at the University of Western Sydney (now Western Sydney University).

The theme of the workshop was on volunteers and volunteering and offered a detailed exploration of the future for volunteering at the beginning of the new millennium.

It resulted in her first edited collection, Volunteers and Volunteering, published by The Federation Press in 2000.

Melanie’s centenary history of the Australian Red Cross, The Power of Humanity – 100 Years of Australian Red Cross, 1914-2014, was later published by HarperCollins in 2014.

More recently, Professor Oppenheimer collaborated with Professor Bruce Scates from the Australian National University to co-author The Last Battle – Soldier Settlement in Australia, 1916-1939, published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.

Her latest work is a multi-edited volume with Mandy Paul and Margaret Anderson entitled South Australia on the Eve of War, which was published by Wakefield Press in 2017.

Professor Oppenheimer continues to research and write on aspects of volunteering from both an historical and contemporary perspective.

She regularly engages with local communities and their volunteer organisations, and works with governments at all levels to promote and enhance policies and practices that concern volunteering and other forms of unpaid labour.

Professor Oppenheimer is also a current member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts.

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