Series 197 - Minutes of ANU Joint Faculty Board and Faculty meetings

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Minutes of ANU Joint Faculty Board and Faculty meetings


  • 1951 - 1965 (Creation)

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0.2 m (1 type 1 box)

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Name of creator

(1948 -)

Biographical history

The Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies was established in 1948 as the Research School of Pacific Studies, changing its name in 1994. It is Australia’s pre-eminent centre for research and postgraduate training in the Asia-Pacific region, with one of the largest concentrations of expertise in the world. Priority areas for research are Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Research is multidisciplinary and is focused on anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, human geography, international relations, linguistics, political science, resource management and strategic defence studies. In 1947 New Zealander Raymond Firth, an anthropologist who had published widely on the Pacific and Southeast Asian region, was invited by the Interim University Council to act as the Academic Advisor for Pacific Studies with the hope that he would take on the job as Foundation Professor. Firth’s initial plans for the School of Pacific Studies were that it would have an emphasis on human studies and be concerned mainly with the Pacific Island territories for which Australia was responsible. In contrast to this, proposals put forward by Sir Frederick Eggleston to the Academic Advisory Committee, before Firth’s appointment, called for a school that was to also have an Asian focus and concentrate on political problems in the Pacific. In 1949 Firth resigned from the Academic Advisory Committee, deciding not to make the move permanently to Australia from England, giving Eggleston the opportunity to substitute a broader scope for the School including India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. In mid-1949 Firth was persuaded to resume his role as Academic Advisor and made the initial appointments of chairs to Siegfried Frederick Nadel (Anthropology and Sociology), Walter Russell Crocker (International Relations), James Davidson (Pacific History), and Oskar Spate (Geography) and the appointments of Readers W.E.H. Stanner (Comparative Social Institutions) and C.P. Fitzgerald (Far Eastern History). Further departments were added: Economics (1960), Linguistics (1968), Prehistory (1969), and the New Guinea Research Unit (1961). The Geography Department reformed as two departments in 1968: Biogeography and Geomorphology, and Human Geography. Its name was changed to the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies in 1994, to reflect the balance of research activity in the School which had shifted significantly from the Pacific towards Asia.

Name of creator

(1949 -)

Biographical history

The Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) is Australia’s major institution for theoretical and empirical research in the social sciences. It provides a distinctive multi-disciplinary environment for research. In 1947 Australian-born Professor of History W.K. Hancock was chosen to be the Academic Advisor for the School of Social Sciences with the eventual hope that he would take on the job as Foundation Professor. His initial plans for the structure were for nominal departments in Economics, Statistics, Population and Health Studies, Law, Political Science, Social Anthropology, Psychology, History and Philosophy, Sociology and Geography. Initial failure in trying to find suitably qualified individuals to take up posts and the resignation of Raymond Firth from the Academic Advisory Committee led, at the end of 1948, to Hancock advocating that the Pacific Studies and Social Sciences schools be established under one head until the Council decided that each had grown enough to be separate. This proposal was rejected because the emphasis on Pacific Studies was seen as one of the major points that had persuaded the government to accept the university proposal. This event was to prove the catalyst for a parting of ways between Hancock and the Committee. Sir Frederick Eggleston took the opportunity to begin to draw up new plans for the Social Sciences School with K.C. Wheare, Gladstone Professor of Government and Public Administration at Oxford, as advisor. The interim council accepted his proposal of chairs in Political Science, Economics, Social Philosophy, Law and History; with Readers in Demography and Statistics. The first appointment in Social Sciences was that of W.D. (Mick) Borrie with the title of Research Fellow in Demography in 1949, with professorial appointments in 1950 including Geoffrey Sawer in Law and Trevor Swan in Economics. Three readers were also appointed: Laurie Fitzhardinge in Australian History, L.C. Webb in Political Science, and H.P. (Horrie) Brown in Economic Statistics. In 1952 P. A. P. Moran was appointed chair in Statistics and and P. H. Partridge as chair in Social Philosophy. Later departments included Economic History and Sociology, and the Education Research Unit, the History of Ideas Unit, the Urban Research Unit, the Australian Dictionary of Biography, and the Archives of Business and Labour.

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Scope and content

These are minutes of meetings of the Joint Faculty Board (1951-1960) and the Joint Faculty (1951-1965) of the two Research Schools.


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Chronological, single number imposed

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Open access under a thirty-year rule

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There are separate runs of Faculty Board and Faculty minutes for the Research School of Social Sciences (ANUA 206) and the Research School of Pacific Studies (ANUA 283)

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Prepared by Maggie Shapley on 16 October 2007




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