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Matthews, Jill Julius 1949-

MATTHEWS, Jill Julius 1949-


Born January 15, 1949.


Office—University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia; Australian National University, Haydon-Allen Building 22, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia. E-mail—[email protected].


Author, editor, and educator. Australian National University, Canberra, reader in history.


Good and Mad Women: The Historical Construction of Femininity in Twentieth-Century Australia, Allen & Unwin Australia (North Sydney, NSW, Australia), 1984.

(Editor) Sex in Public: Australian Sexual Cultures, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, NSW, Australia), 1997.

Contributor to journals. Serves on the International Board of Advisors for Journal of Women's History, published by Indiana University Press and the advisory board for Signs, published by the University of Chicago Press, Journals Division.


A project on Americanization, commercial popular culture and gendered modernity in Australia.


Jill Julius Matthews is an instructor at the Australian National University, where she lectures on the history of femininity, sexuality, and modernity. She has devoted her career to studying these and related issues. In her first book, Good and Mad Women: The Historical Construction of Femininity in Twentieth-Century Australia, she explores the unattainable ideal of femininity in twentieth-century Australia through the use of case notes of women who were admitted to a psychiatric hospital between 1930 and 1975. She also edited Sex in Public: Australian Sexual Cultures, a collection of thirteen essays on such topics as lesbian art by C. Moore Hardy and Elizabeth Ashburn, "Men's Bodies and AIDS" by Gary Dowsett, bisexuality by Mackenzie Wark, and lesbian separatism by Judith Ion. Tea A. Corinne in the Lesbian Review of Books considered Hardy's "studies of lesbian mothers and of women who identify as butch … especially complex and intriguing." Dennis Altman in the Journal of Australian Studies remarked, "This is a book which is worth reading by everyone interested in current debates on sexuality and gender." He cited both the strength and weakness of the collection as being "a quick way into the current 'sex debates' as they are understood in the intellectual ghettoes of our inner cities." Pointing to Matthews's admission that the contributors to the book were primarily not straight and from the Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra area, Altman felt that this "suggests a real lack of ambition" on her part to find a more diverse group of contributors. While he was frustrated by "the almost total absence of interest in what is happening anywhere in the world outside the North Atlantic," on the part of the contributors, Altman thought that the collection "deserves to be read seriously by precisely those people who are not part of the particular worlds it describes." Overall, he found that "within its limits" the work is "a lively and engaging book."



Journal of Australian Studies, September-December, 1997, Dennis Altman, review of Sex in Public: Australian Sexual Cultures, pp. 229-230.

Lesbian Review of Books, spring, 1999, Tea A. Corinne, review of Sex in Public. *

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