Born: Established: 1954 ;
After tutoring at the University of Sydney from 1976 to 1980, Robert Dixon subsequently worked at Newcastle, Curtin, James Cook and the University of Southern Queensland (where he was the inaugural chair of English) - 'circumnavigating the continent', as one colleague put it. Dixon spent the next four years as an Australian Research Council professorial fellow in English, Media Studies and Art History at The University of Queensland. In 2007 he was appointed to the Chair of Australian Literature at the University of Sydney.
Commenting on this appointment, Geordie Williamson said: 'He sees the return to Sydney as a closing of the circle: the culmination of a career which has straddled traditional research in Australian literature and the wider field of cultural studies, in the hope of tracing what he describes as a "poetics of colonialism". Recognition for his roles as teacher, editor and author - he has published three titles and edited as many more - has come in the form of a past-presidency of ASAL (the Association for the Study of Australian Literature), and his election as a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2004. His books, The Course of Empire (Oxford, 1986), Writing the Colonial Adventure (Cambridge, 1995) and Prosthetic Gods (2001), form a trilogy on Australia's colonial culture from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Ranging widely across the fields of Australian and postcolonial literatures, cultural studies and art history, the titles represent a body of work notable for its nimble shuttling between disciplines, and for its willingness to address key issues in the nation's literary and cultural history' ('Dixon the Defender', Sydney Alumni Magazine, Autumn 2007, p.12). Another major research interest has been the work of Australian photographer, explorer and film-maker, Frank Hurley and he has published widely on this subject, including Photography, Early Cinema and Colonial Modernity: Frank Hurley's Synchronized Lecture Entertainments (London: Anthem Press, 2011). Since 2007, Professor Dixon has also been actively involved in the development of a national secondary school curriculum.