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Personal profile


Michelle Arrow is a historian with particular expertise in cultural history, the history of popular culture, and the history of the women's movement. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney in 1999, and her thesis, a social and cultural history of some of Australia 's leading women playwrights, was revised and published as Upstaged: Australian Women Playwrights in the Limelight at Last in 2002. Upstaged was shortlisted for five national prizes in 2003. In 2001, Michelle held the NSW History Fellowship for her research project on the history of the ABC radio serials Blue Hills. In 2004, she was a presenter on the ABC TV series Rewind. Michelle was awarded an ALTC Citation for an Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in 2010. From 2008-2012, Michelle served as one of the five members of the advisory panel for the Prime Minister's Prize for Australian History. Her second book, Friday on Our Minds: Popular Culture in Australia Since 1945, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Australian History prize in 2010. In 2014, she was the winner (with Catherine Freyne and Timothy Nicastri) of the NSW Premiers' Multimedia History Prize for her radio documentary Public Intimacies: The 1974 Royal Commission on Human Relationships. Michelle's third book, The Seventies: The Personal, The Political and the Making of Modern Australia was published in 2019 by NewSouth and it won the 2020 Ernest Scott Prize for Australian History.

Research interests

Michelle is an historian of post-war Australia, and her research examines the ways that culture constructs and represents individual and national identities and responds to social and political change. Michelle has published on a wide range of topics, from the impact of the History Wars on history television, to histories of Australian popular culture and changing representations of the Lindy Chamberlain case on screen. More recently, she examined the landmark public inquiry, the 1974 Royal Commission on Human Relationships, investigating its enactment of a feminist politics of personal experience on a national stage. Michelle is the author of three books, most recently The Seventies: The Personal, The Political and the Making of Modern Australia(NewSouth, 2019), and she has published her research in Journal of the History of Sexuality, Women’s History Review, Rethinking History, Australian Feminist Studies, Australian Historical Studies and History Australia. She is currently working on a biography of the writer, journalist and broadcaster Anne Deveson.


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