Professor Diane Kirkby

Emeritus Professor

College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce

Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Archaeology and History

DMB E113, Melbourne (Bundoora)


BA (UNSW), PhD (Univ of California).



Membership of professional associations

Member of the Executive of the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society

Area of study


Brief profile

Professor Kirkby currently holds an Australian Research Council grant to undertake a history of international maritime unionism. Her research interests revolve around labour history and gender; women's paid work as journalists,barmaids, seafarers; the intersection of law and history; the history of feminism. Professor Kirkby won the WK Hancock Prize for her book Alice Henry: The Power of Pen and Voice. She was awarded a Fulbright postdoctoral award to the University of Wisconsin,Madison, and has held fellowships at the Humanities Research Centre, State University of New York at Stony Brook,  and Wolfsohn College Oxford. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Research interests

Art History

- US and Australian art 20th century

Australian History

- 20th Century, social cultural and legal history

Gender, Culture, Sexuality

- history of gendered work cultures

North American History

- US social and cultural history; women and labour;

Teaching units

  • HIS1MLH - Myth, Legend, and History
  • HIS2/3AWV - America's War in Vietnam: Culture and Politics.
  • HIS2/3AWA - Andy Warhol's America: Pop Art, Politics and Popular Culture.
  • HIS2/3MAM - Making America: From Pocahontas to Prohibition.

Recent publications

  • Kirkby,D and Reiger, K.,2014, 'A design for learning?: ...the hidden costs of organisational change,' in M.Thornton, ed Through a Glass Darkly: the Social Sciences Look at the Neoliberal University, ANU Press, 211-28
  • Kirkby, D.2013, "those knights of the pen and pencil":  Women journalists and cultural leadership...', Labour History, no.104, May, 81-100
  • Kirkby, D. and Garner,A., "Never a machine for propagands"?: the Australian-American Fulbright Program and Australia's Cold War, ' Australian Historical Studies, 44:1,March, 117-33
  • Kirkby,D.,2013,  ' "As this painting suggests": the power and perspective of the visual in law and history,' Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society E Journal,  paper no.7
  • Kirkby, D. (ed)., 2012, Past Law, Present Histories, ANU Press
  • Kirkby,D.,2011, 'Sex discrimination, workplace opportunities, and law's transformative promise,' Australian Feminist Law Journal, 34, June,131-49
  • Kirkby,D. Luckins,T &McConville, C., 2010, The Australian Pub, UNSW Press
  • Kirkby, D 2008, Voices From the Ships: Australia's Seafearers and Their Union. Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Kirkby, D and Luckins, T (eds), 2007, Dining on Turtles; Food Feasts and Drinking in History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Kirkby, D 2008, ‘From Wharfie Haunt to Foodie Haven: Modernity and Law in Changes to the Australian Working Class Pub’. Food Culture and Society. 11(1): 30-48.
  • Kirkby,D.,2007, "Ocker Sheilahs" and "Bloody Barmaids":...Gender history in 1970s Australian film,' Australian Historical Studies, 38:130, October, 279-95
  • Kirkby,D. 2007, 'Honorary Chinese? Women whiteness and labour legislation in the early Australian commonwealth,' Social Identities, 13:6, November, 801-18
  • Kirkby,D., 2006, ' "This isn't a novel, it's a life!": Dymphna Cusack and Caddie, the Sydney barmaid,'  Australian Literary Studies, 22:4, December, 495-506
  • Kirkby,D. and Golder, H.,2004, 'Settler colonies embrace married women's property rights "in the manner of English precedent",' Australian-Canadian Studies,  22:1, 77-93
  • Kirkby,D.and Golder,H.,2003, 'Mrs Mayne and her boxing kangaroo: A married woman tests her property rights in colonial NSW,' Law and History Review, 21:3,Fall, 595-605
  • Kirkby,D., 2003, 'Law[yer]'s history: Conversationally speaking,' Australian Journal of Legal History, 7, 47-52
  • Kirkby, D and Coleborne, C (eds), 2001, Law History Colonialism: The Reach of Empire. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Kirkby, D 1997, Dealing With Difference: Essays in Gender, History and Culture. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Kirkby, D 1997, Barmaids: A History of Women's Work in Pubs (1790-1990s). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kirkby, D (ed), 1995, Sex, Power and Justice: Historical Perspectives on Law in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Kirkby, D 1991, Alice Henry: The Power of Pen and Voice: The Life of an Australian-American Labor Reformer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Research projects

  • Married women, paid work and property reform in Australia;
  • Martime unions and international organising for safety and wage justice, c.1912-2012
  • Fostering women's leadership through educational exchange:  the Carnegie and Fulbright Programs in Australia c.1930s-1980s.
  • Women's work in non-traditional occupations