Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Professor Robert Reynolds

BA (Hons), University of Melbourne
PhD, University of Melbourne, 
Certificate of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy - from the Australian College of Contemporary Psychotherapy, and a Master of Counselling (UWS)Robert Reynolds

Office: AHH Building Level 2 South Wing
Phone: +61 2 9850 7861
Fax: +61 2 9850 6064

My field is post-ww2 Australian History with a particular emphasis upon identity politics and sexuality. I undertook my PhD at The University of Melbourne, studying under two of Australia's leading gender historians, Professor Patricia Grimshaw and Professor Joy Damousi. I took up a post-doctoral fellowship in 1999 at Sydney University and a five year Australian Research Council Fellowship at the University of New South Wales in 2004. In recent years I have moved into oral history, deploying this method to understand how individuals are shaped by  history - as well as shaping it. The historical construction of the self fascinates me, and I have taken this interest into my other (part-time) life as a psychotherapist. I've written on psychoanalytic theory, but I come at this more as a practitioner than an academic. 

With my colleagues here in Modern History, I am committed to supervision and mentoring; the size of the department encourages integration of both graduates and early career researchers. I am happy to supervise projects that are set against the context of post-war Australian culture, politics and society from a variety of methodological approaches, but especially oral history and life history methods. I also have a strong secondary research interest in post-war America. Much of my research on Australian gay life has required knowledge of social and political change in the United States and, to a lesser degree, Great Britain.


Current Research Projects

I am currently working on a number of inter-related research projects:

  • Gender and Sexual Politics: Changing Citizenship in Australia since 1969:
    Personal and intimate stories have become a prominent part of Australian public culture; the identities they anchor have sought a variety of new rights and protections. This ARC funded project, conducted with Associate Professor Michelle Arrow and Dr Leigh Boucher at MQ and Associate Professor Barbara Baird at Flinders University, will provide a critical genealogy of how these claims have both opened up and challenged Australian citizenship. 
  • Volunteers in Crisis: Analysing Responses to HIV/AIDS in Australia
    An ARC Discovery Project with Associate Professor Shirleene Robinson and Associate Professor Paul Sendzuik (Adelaide University) this study investigates the vital contribution volunteers made to Australia's world-leading response to the HIV/AIDs epidemic and shows the impact of this volunteerism on individuals and non-profit organisations.
  • The Plague Years: A History of the Emotional Impact of HIV/AIDS on Sydney Gay Life 
    This brings together my research on Australian gay life and my interest in emotional life. Much has been written about the Australian experience of HIV/AIDS from policy, social movement and behavioural perspectives, but little on the emotional impact of AIDS (at least in non-fiction). This project will fill that gap.



  • Reynolds, R. and Robinson, S. (2016). Gay and Lesbian, Then and Now: Australian Voices from a Social Revolution. Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Reynolds, R. (2007). What Happened to Gay Life? Sydney: UNSW Press.
  • Reynolds, R. (2002). From Camp to Queer: Remaking the Australian Homosexual. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.

Edited Collections:

  • Featherstone, L., Jennings, R. and Reynolds, R. (2014). Acts of Love and Lust: Sexuality in Australia from 1945-2000. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Featherstone, L. and Reynolds, R. (2013). Special Issue: Histories of Sexuality. History Australia, 10 (1).
  • Evans, T., Reynolds, R. And Roberts, T. (2012) Special Issue: Biography and Life Writing. Australian Historical Studies.
  • Britain, I. and Reynolds, R. (2004). On Psychology. Meanjin, 63(4).
  • Damousi, J. and Reynolds, R. (2003). History on the Couch: Essays in History and Psychoanalysis. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Reynolds, R. and Sullivan, G. (2003). Gay Men's Sexual Stories. New York: The Haworth Press.

Journal Articles:

  • Reynolds, R. and Robinson, S. (2016). Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories. Australian Feminist Studies, 31(89): 363-376.
  • Newman, C.E., de Wit, J.B., Reynolds, R., Canavan, P.G., Kidd, M.R. (2015) 'Who's coming up next to do this work?' Generational tensions in accounts of providing HIV care in the community. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine , DOI: 10.1177/1363459315583155
  • Lea, T., de Wit, J., & Reynolds, R. (2015). "Post-gay" yet? The relevance of the lesbian and gay scene to same-sex attracted young people in contemporary Australia. Journal of Homosexuality, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2015.1037139
  • Newman, C.E., de Wit, J.B., Crooks, L., Reynolds, R., Canavan, P.G., Kidd, M.R. (2014) The challenges of providing HIV care in general practice. Australian Journal of Primary Health, no. 3,
  • Lea, T., de Wit, J., & Reynolds, R. (2014). Minority stress in lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults: Associations with psychological distress, suicidality, and substance use. Archives of Sexual Behavior 43, (8), 1571-1578.
  • Persson, A., Newman, C.E., Hopwood, M., Kidd, M.R., Canavan, P.G., Kippax, S.C., Reynolds, R., de Wit, J.B. (2014). No Ordinary Mainstream Illness: How HIV Doctors Perceive the Virus Today. Qualitative Health Research, 24(1): 6-17.
  • Reynolds, R. (2013). Transforming Gay Subjects, Sydney 1970s-2000s. History Australia 10, (1), 175-196.
  • Newman, C.E., Reynolds, R., Kippax, S.C., Gray, R.M., de Wit, J.B., Canavan, P.G., McMurchie, M., McMoy, R., Kidd, M.R. (2013). Surviving an epidemic: Australian GPs on caring for people with HIV and AIDS in the 'early years'. Australian Family Physician, 42(10): 734-738.
  • Newman, C.E., Persson, A., de Wit, J.B., Reynolds, R., Canavan, P.G., Kippax, S.C., Kidd, M.R. (2013). At the coalface and the cutting edge: General practitioners' accounts of the rewards of engaging with HIV medicine. BMC Family Practice, 14: 39
  • Hopwood, M., Newman, C., Persson, A., de Wit, J.B.F., Reynolds, R., Canavan, P., Kippax, S., and Kidd, M. (2013). The contribution of HIV general practice nursing to the 'extraordinary story' of HIV medicine in Australia. Primary Health Care Research and Development, 15 (2), 180-189.
  • Lea, T., Reynolds, R., & de Wit, J. (2013) Alcohol and other drug use, club drug dependence, and treatment seeking among lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people in Sydney. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32, 303-3011.
  • Lea, T. Reynolds, R., & de Wit, J. (2013). Alcohol and club drug use among same-sex attracted young people: Associations with the lesbian and gay scene and other bars and nightclubs. Substance Use & Misuse, 48, 129-36.
  • Newman, C.E., Kidd, M.R., Kippax, S.C., Reynolds, R.H., Canavan, P.G., de Wit, J.B. (2013) Engaging non-HIV specialist general practitioners with new priorities in HIV prevention and treatment: qualitative insights from those currently working in the field.  Sexual Health, 10 (3), 193-198.
  • Reynolds, R. (2012). Trauma and Life History Interviewing. Australian Historical Studies, 43 (1), 78-88.
  • Reynolds, R. And Evans, T. (2012). Introduction: Special Issue on Biography and Life-Writing. Australian Historical Studies, 43 (1), 1-8.
  • Newman, C.E., de Wit, J.B., Kippax, S.C., Reynolds, R.., Canavan, P.G., Kidd, M.R. (2012). The role of the General Practitioner in the Australian Approach to HIV care: Interviews with 'Key Informants' from Government, Non-Government and Professional Oganisations. Sexually Transmitted Infections 88 (2), 132-135.
  • Newman, C.E., Kidd, M.R., de Wit, J.B., Reynolds, R.., Canavan, P.G., Kippax, S.C. (2011). What Moves a Family Doctor to Specialise in HIV? Interviews with Australian policy key informants.  Culture, Health and Sexuality, 13 (10), 1151-1164.
  • Lea, T., Reynolds, R, de Wit, J. (2011). Methadrone Use Among Same-Sex Attracted Young People in Sydney, Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review.
  • Reynolds, Robert. (2010). Activist Emotions: Gay Radicalism and Melancholic Attachments. Australian Historical Studies, 41 (3), 286-301.
  • Reynolds, R. (2009). Endangered Territory, Endangered Identity: Oxford Street and the Dissipation of Gay Life. Journal of Australian Studies, 33(1), 79-92.
  • Reynolds, R. (2008/9). Unremarkably Gay: Post-Gay Life in Sydney. Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, 6(2/3), 201-236.
  • Reynolds, R. (2008). Imaging Gay Life in the Internet Age. International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society, 6(1), 2-13.
  • Reynolds, R. (2007). How Does Therapy Cure? The Relational Turn in Psychoanalysis. Counselling, Psychotherapy, and Health, 3(2), 127-50.
  • Reynolds, R. (2007). The Demise of Sadness: Melancholia, Depression and Narcissism in Late Modernity. Australian Humanities Review, (41).
  • Reynolds, R. (2004). Dangerous Sorrows. Meanjin, 63(4), 146-153.
  • Reynolds, R. (2004). Post-Gay in the USA. Australasian Journal of American Studies, 23(2), 92-106.
  • Reynolds, R. and Sullivan, G. (2003). Homosexuality in Midlife: Narratives of Desire and Embodiment. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 15(2), 153-170.
  • Reynolds, R. and Sullivan, G. (2003). Truth and Sex in Gay Men's Narratives. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 15(2), 142-152.
  • Reynolds, R. (2002). Through the Night. Meanjin, 61(2), 67-73.
  • Reynolds, R. (2002). Reviewing the Sixties: Homosexual Law Reform and the Limits of Liberalism. Change: Transformations in Education - Citizenship Edition, 3(1), 68-79.
  • Reynolds, R. (1999). Postmodernising the Closet. Sexualities, 2(3), 346-349.
  • Reynolds, R. (1999). Living the Gay Life: Identity and Politics in Twentieth Century Australia. Island, 77, 53-62.
  • Reynolds, R. (1996). Confessing to Change: Gay Liberation and the Deployment of Therapeutic and Confessional Practices. Meanjin, 55(1), 138-152.
  • Reynolds, R. (1995). Writing Queer Cultural History. Critical Inqueeries, 1(1), 69-84.

Book Chapters:

  • Boucher, L. and Reynolds, R. (2017). Thinking Transnationally about Sexuality: Homosexuality in Australia or Australian Homosexualities. In A. Clarke, A. Rees and A. Simmonds (Eds), Transnationalism, Nationalism and Australian History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Boucher, L. and Reynolds, R. (2017). Same Sex Love in Late Modern Australia. In H. M. Teo (Ed.), The Popular Culture of Romantic Love in Australia (341-367). Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Press.
  • Reynolds, R. and Robinson, S. (2017). HIV/AIDS, Loss and the Australian Gay Community. In R. Mason (Ed.), Legacies of Violence: Rendering the Unspeakable Past in Modern Australia (162-182). New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Reynolds, R. (2013). Hope and Homosexual Generations. In Carolyn D'Cruz and Mark Pendleton (eds), After Homosexual: Sexual Liberation Forty Years On (231-237) Perth: UWA Press
  • Reynolds, R. (2005). Dangerous Sorrows. In Robert Dessaix (ed.), Best Australian Essays (208-215). Melbourne: Black Inc.
  • Reynolds, R. (2003). The Inner and Outer World of Queer Life. In Joy Damousi and Robert Reynolds (eds), History on the Couch: Essays in History and Psychoanalysis (47-59). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Damousi, J. and Reynolds, R. (2003). Psychoanalysis, Histories and Identities. In Joy Damousi and Robert Reynolds (eds), History on the Couch: Essays in History and Psychoanalysis (1-16). Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
  • Grimshaw, P., Reynolds, R. and Swain, S. (2001). The Paradox of Ultra Democratic Governments: Indigenous Civil Rights in 19th Century New Zealand, Canada and Australia. In Diane Kirkby (ed.), Law, History, Colonialism: The Reach of Empire (78-90). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Reynolds, R. (2000). CAMP Inc and the Creation of the "Open" Homosexual. In David Phillips and Graham Willett (eds),Australian Homosexual Histories: Gay and Lesbian Perspectives 5 (133-150). Sydney: Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research.
  • Reynolds, R. (1997). Queer Histories. In Wayne Hudson and Geoffrey Bolton (eds), Creating Australia: Changing Australian History (52-60). Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
  • Reynolds, R. (1997). Engendering Gay Liberation. In John Foster Festschrift (268-292). Melbourne: History Department Monograph Series, The University of Melbourne.
  • Reynolds, R. (1993). Postmodernism and Gay/Queer Identities. In Garry Wotherspoon (ed.), Gay Perspectives 2 (245-274). Sydney: Sydney University Press.

Research Grants

  • 2017 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (Reynolds, Arrow, Baird, Boucher). Project Title: Gender and Sexual Politics: Changing Citizenship in Australia since 1969. $285,000 over 3 years.
  • 2016 Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (with Robinson and Sendzuik). Project Title: Volunteers in Crisis: Analysing Responses to HIV/AIDS in Australia. $214,131 over 3 years.
  • 2013 Macquarie University ARC Safety Net Grant (with Robinson). Project Title: HIV/AIDS and Voluntarism in Australia. $25,000 over 2 years.
  • 2012 Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (with Robinson, Jennings, Moore, Willett, Bradley). Project Title: The Past in the Present: Australian Lesbian and Gay Life Stories. Industry Partner: National Library of Australia. $148,939 over 3 years.
  • 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council Grant (with De Wit, Kidd, Kippax, Newman). Project title:Investigating the GP Workforce Providing HIV Care. $451,000 over 3 years.
  • 2008 The University of New South Wales Faculty Research Promotion Grant. Project title: The Plague Years: The Emotional Impact of HIV/AIDS on Sydney Gay Life. $3655.
  • 2007 The University of New South Wales Major Research Equipment and Infrastructure Initiative (with Kippax, Donovan and Chan). Project title: HIV Australian Material Digital Archive. $163,000.
  • 2003 Australian Research Council Australian Research Fellowship. Project title: Living with Uncertainty: Creating the Postmodern Self in Contemporary Australia. $500,000 over 5 years.
  • 2002 The University of Sydney Research Grant. Project title: Gay Men and Intimacy. $15,000.
  • 2000 The University of Sydney Education Faculty Research Grant. $3900.


Director of Research, MHIPR