Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Associate Professor Robert Reynolds

+Robert ReynoldsAssociate Professor

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)

Office: W6A 404
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:
  • The Past in the Present: Gay and Lesbian Life Stories
    With my colleague Dr Shirleene Robinson I am writing up the results of an ARC Linkage Project with the National Library of Australia which collected sixty oral history interviews of gay men and lesbians across Australia. A book from the project will be published in 2016 with Black Inc entitled, Gay and Lesbian, Then and Now: Australian Voices from a Social Revolution.
  • Volunteers in Crisis: Analysing Responses to HIV/AIDS in Australia
    An ARC Discovery Project with Dr 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:

  •  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:

  • 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

  • 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

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