Detailed career biography


DPhil (Oxford) 1959

BLitt (Oxford) 1953

BA (First Class Honours, History)

University of Western Australia, 1950


HONOURS :   Appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours June 1994



1998 – 2010  Adjunct Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Faculty of Media, Society and Culture. Curtin University of Technology and Honorary Research Fellow,2003-2008, History Department, School of Humanities, University of Western Australia

1994-1996  Director, Development Studies Research Unit, School of Social  Science and Asian Languages, Curtin University and  Visiting Professor, School of Social Sciences and Asian Languages, Curtin University of Technology

1990- 1993 Head of Politics Discipline, Flinders University of South Australia 1987-1993                   Deputy Director, CDS, Flinders University

1988-1990 External Adviser, Centre for Development Studies, University of the South Pacific

1987-2001 Editor, African Studies Review and Newsletter

2001-2004  Editor, The Australasian Review of African Studies.

1982-1987 Foundation Director, Centre for Development Studies, Flinders University of South Australia

1975-1993  Reader in Politics, Flinders University of South Australia (Appointed Lecturer, 1975, Reader, 1977)

1971-1975  Professor of Political Science, University of Zambia

1969-1971  Reader in Political Science, University of Zambia

Nov 68-Aug 69 Senior Research Fellow Institute of Commonwealth Studies,University of London

1963-1968  Senior Lecturer, Department of Government, University of Manchester, Seconded to (then) University College, Nairobi

1958-1963  Lecturer in History, Makerere University College, Kampala

1957-1958  Resident Tutor, Extra-Mural Studies, Makerere University College, Kampala

1950-1951 Research Assistant, New England University College, University of Sydney



1983-1989                   Makerere Institute of Social Research, Makerere University,

Kampala,Visiting Research Fellow

                                    University of East Anglia, Institute of Development Studies,

Visiting Research Fellow

1984-1985                   Wolfson College, Visiting Fellow

1984-1985                   Smuts Visiting Fellow in Commonwealth Studies, Cambridge                                               University, UK

1978, 81, 83 & 92       Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex,                                             Visiting Fellow, Brighton, UK

1955-1957                   Nuffield Student, Nuffield College, Oxford

1953-1954                   Goldsmith Scholar, University College, Ibadan, Nigeria.


Prof. Gertzels long term research interests derived in the first place from her direct involvement with Africa, as a university teacher and twenty two years residence on the continent. Those years were also years of rapid and fundamental change for Africa, from colonial to post-colonial state, and it is that process of change and development, both at national and local level, with which she was always been concerned. Her doctoral research was on British Colonial policy in West Africa in the nineteenth century. When she moved to East Africa (from Oxford, in 1957) she worked first of all on political and institutional changes occurring in the process of decolonisation, and with the nationalist movements that had then emerged. Through the 1960s she shifted the focus of her research, logically, to the politics of the independent state. She worked on questions of political and administrative change, including local government issues, and local-central relations. In the 1970s, Cherry became involved increasingly with social process and changing class structures, and their impact on development, and with the larger issues of structural changes that underlie the so-called development “crisis” that by the 1980s dominated African states. Her country studies reflect her residence in turn in Uganda, Kenya and Zambia. Her long-term involvement with all three states, but especially Uganda, in the context of the continuing economic and political crises across Africa through the 1980s, in turn extended her concerns to questions of conflict, war and development and to questions of process raised by the contemporary crisis as well as the current emphasis in political science on civil society, democratisation and development. This led her to extend her country-focus to the Horn and especially Sudan and Somalia and later to Rwanda and to Eritrea. Conflict resolution issues necessarily led her to work on “governance” and “democratisation” in the 1990s, especially in Kenya and Zambia. These remained a primary foci of concern, research-wise.

The second stimulus in relation to research emerged from Prof. Gertzel’s teaching at Flinders University, and especially in the context of development issues raised by the University’s multidisciplinary programme, in which she taught (jointly with others) courses on Famine, Poverty and the Politics of Disease. The result was that poverty issues also became an integral part of her research. In addition, Cherry had a long-term research interest in Australian aid policy, and, since the mid-1980s, in the internationalization of education.

When she moved to Curtin University, Cherry’s research concerns were with questions of conflict, war and development as well as the relationship between globalisation and the increased poverty and inequatlity that characterises so much of the contemporary world.

She continued to travel in Africa and to carry out fieldwork especially in Eastern Africa until just a few years before her death.



As a Visiting (1993-97) and Adjunct (1997-) Professor in the School of Social Sciences at Curtin University of Technology:

Director, Development Studies Research Unit

As Director (1994-1996) of the Development Studies Research Unit,

The establishment of the Unit, including the creation of a research seminar for the exchange of ideas and discussion of our several and overlapping concerns relating to societies in change and including questions of globalisation and change and aid. Our acitivies included:

  • The organization of a (very successful) Poverty Workshop in 1996,which brought together staff and students from a number of the Schools across Curtin as well as from welfare agencies and others concerned with poverty issues in Perth.
  • Postgraduate student assistance in the fields of development and African studies, including postgraduate graduate supervision of two students (one as chief supervisor, the second as co-supervisor) both of whom have successfully completed their degrees
  • Occasional lectures at the School (of Social Sciences) level. These included three on The Scholarly Construction of Africa to Social Sciences and Asian Languages, Sociology, Third Year unit in 1994; also one on The Political Economy of Development: in the Applied Anthropology and Development” Unit, School of Social Sciences and Asian Languages, in 1995; and one on Global Power Relations to the Murdoch University MA Program, Development and Conflict in 1997.

 Prof. Gertzel continued her own research on conflict and development with field work in Eastern Africa. Specific studies on Somalia, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Research into the internationalization of education and its implications for tertiary level education in the ‘developing’ countries.

In addition other activities included:

:Member of the Executive Committee of The Inter-University Consortium for Development Studies in Western Australia during that body’s existence from 1993 to the mid-1990s; Chairperson of a Public seminar organised by RUSSIC and the WA Development Network in cooperation with other Perth agencies on the Simons Aid Review in 1997. Active (until late 1990s) with the policy committee of the WA branch of what is now Oxfam/Community Aid Abroad.

Member of the Project Management Committee for a DEET Funded, Edith Cowan-Murdoch University Joint Project, 1996-97, The Indian Ocean Rim Region: A Prototype Virtual Library.

Since Prof. Gertzel retired from the Editorship of ARAS and finished ‘tidying up’ and handing over she worked primarily on the Uganda Historical Dictionary, and worked on a second edition with Dr T Ofkansky, (Washington) for which she wrote a long introductory essay (unpublished).  She also provided a working document relating to her own research materials and library/archival holdings which after some fifty years of working in east Africa constitute a significant holding on East African history and politics.

As an Honorary Research Fellow, University of Western Australia, History Dept (2003-:2007-8)

In connection primarily with the second edition of the Uganda Historical Dictionary (see above) Prof. Gerzel have extended her research on Uganda to the country’s pre-history. This is primarily through documentary sources and the growing body of material becoming available as a result of the increasing body of research eespecially by both archeological and historical linguists. At the same time she continued to work on the post-colonial state and in particular the regime under President Yoweri Museveni. For both projects Prof. Gertzel spent nearly three months, from October 2006 to January 2007 in Uganda at the Makerere Institute of Social Research.


African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific.(AFSAAP)

President, AFSAAP, 1982-1984.

1982-2010. Active role as a member of the Executive of the African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) and editor, of AFSAAP Newsletter through its successive reorganisations to its present status as Australasian Review of African Studies (ARAS), the transformation of which into a peer-reviewed journal. Co-organisor (with Dr Peter Limb) of the AFSAAP 1999 Annual and International Conference on New African Perspectives:Africa, Australasia and the Wider World at the End of the 20th Century held in Perth. November 1999.