Biography and writings

Short Career Biography of Cherry Gertzel (1928 – 2015)

After her Honours degree in History and English at the University of Western Australia Cherry Gertzel went in 1951 to Oxford for doctoral studies.  More importantly, two years later, in 1953, she went as the first Goldsmiths Scholar to the then University College of Ibadan in Nigeria being the first overseas postgraduate student at that university.  Ibadan introduced her to Africa, began her transition from history to politics and started a life-long career in African studies.  By the time she returned to Australia in the mid-seventies she had more than twenty year of research and teaching behind her, in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and Zambia.

Dr. Gertzel was a member of the Politics Discipline in the Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide from 1975 until 1993; and from 1982 until 1987 was the founding director of the Development Studies Centre in the School of Social Sciences in that university.  Throughout those years while her teaching and research remained focused on Africa, her intellectual interests expanded increasingly into the broader field of development studies.  She continued active field work across Eastern and Central Africa.  Regular visits for field work and to African conferences enabled her to maintain and to extend her links with those universities where she had taught and with many of her former students.  Through those years she also spent time as a Visiting Research Fellow at The Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex at Brighton, United Kingdom and at the University of East Anglia.  In 1984 she was Smuts Visiting fellow in Commonwealth Studies, Cambridge University.

Dr..Gertzel was a foundation member of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific set up by Africanists in Australia in 1978, and President from 1982 – 1986.  She was editor of the Association’s Review and Newsletter from 1987 – 2004.  In 1984-85 she was Smuts Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies at Cambridge University.  She retired from Flinders in Mid-1993 and returned to Perth where she became an Adjunct Professor at Curtin University in the then School of Social Sciences and Asian Languages.

In 1994 Prof. Gertzel was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia, Queen’s Birthday Honours, for her contributions to Australian-African relations.

Prof. Gertzel continued with her research on particular areas of African development and visited and travelled in Africa until just a few years before her death in 2015.

Read a more Detailed Career Biography of Prof. Gertzel’s academic qualifications, honours, academic appointments, awards and fellowships, scholarly pursuits and activities.

Go to a comprehensive list of:  Publications by Cherry Gertzel