Specialisation: social theory, culture, socialism, labour movements, critical theory
Professor Peter Beilharz is Professor of Culture and Society at Curtin University and Professor Emeritus at La Trobe University.
After completing teacher training, Professor Beilharz worked with Alastair Davidson at Monash, completing a PhD on Trotskyism in 1983. He fell into the company of sociologists, many of whom were historians at the Phillip Institute in 1983. In 1987 he took up a postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Melbourne with Stuart Macintyre. In 1988 he took up the position vacated by Agnes Heller at La Trobe, rising from lecturer to personal chair in 1999. In 1999-2000 he acted as Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard, returning to Harvard in 2002 to act as William Dean Howells Fellow in American Literature 1880-1920. He is currently affiliated with the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Study; the Yale Center for Cultural Sociology; with the Bauman Institute at Leeds, and is Professor Emeritus at La Trobe. Over these years he actively encouraged cultural traffic across the Atlantic and across the south, with especial reference to New Zealand, South Africa, Delhi and Manila, in his work as Director of the Thesis Eleven Centre 2002-2014 and as editor, or curator of the journal Thesis Eleven. He is engaged in collaborative work with Sian Supski, on the Melbourne subculture called the sharpies, and on the city writing of Ivan Vladislavic. He is working with Jon Stratton and other Curtin colleagues on a WA issue of Thesis Eleven.
Professor Beilharz comes from a tradition that reaches back to Marx and the dialectics of culture and technology. This lineage travels through critical theory and what he would now call southwestern marxism, whose signal thinker is Gramsci. Subsequently he was influenced by the Budapest School and Castoriadis. As part of this path he founded Thesis Eleven, the journal of international social theory, in 1980, and continues to edit it today, with a team of talented and good humoured colleagues based in Melbourne. He joined Curtin in 2015, an exciting new prospect for him. Hitherto he has worked in cultural and historical sociology at La Trobe. His great enthusiasm at Curtin is for the prospect of working with others around the clusters on writing and cities.
Professor Beilharz is best known for his work on maverick critical thinkers such as Bernard Smith and Zygmunt Bauman, and on the history of socialism, modernity and the history of ideas more generally. He has published 27 books and 200 papers, as well as much journalism and reviewing. His most recent books, 2015, are Thinking the Antipodes, and The Martin Presence, the latter with Trevor Hogan and Sheila Shaver. At Curtin he takes as his remit the sphere of Culture and Society, a nod to Raymond Williams, and a wink to the frames of culture, technology, words, texts, and contexts. He will be working on books of essays on Marx and Gramsci, and on a monograph called The Rationalization of the World.
- 1999-2000, Professor of Australian Studies, Harvard University.
- Beilharz, P. (2000) The Bauman Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
- Beilharz, P. (2000) Zygmunt Bauman - Dialectic of Modernity. London: Sage.
- Beilharz, P. wi th C.Nyland (1998) The Webbs, Fabianism and Feminism. Aldershot: Ashgate.
- Beilharz, P. (1997) Imagining the Antipodes - Theory, culture and the Visual in the Work of Bernard Smith. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.