Professor Rosalind Smith

DPhil (Oxon)
Professor of English and Head of Discipline; Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • British And Irish Literature 200503
  • Australian Literature (Excl. Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Literature) 200502

Research interests

My key contributions in the field of early modern studies focus on the ways in which early modern women used their writing to intervene in the literary, social, political and religious cultures of sixteenth and early seventeenth century England, Scotland and France. I have a particular interest in the forms in which women made such interventions, and am a leading international expert on the sonnet, the sonnet sequence, marginal annotation and complaint, as well as on the reception of early modern women’s writing from the sixteenth century to the present. This work is at the forefront of what is known as the material turn in early modern studies, scholarship that attends to the material forms in which early modern writing was produced, circulated, transmitted over time, and read. My research projects always combine formal, material and theoretical approaches with digital methods, exploring how digital forms can make us view the past in new ways. I am interested in the intersection of digital humanities with traditional literary scholarhip, and my current research includes scholarship on digital editing, archival longevity, and new bibliographical tools for the digital age.



Professor Rosalind Smith is the Chair of English at the Australian National University and Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies. Her primary research area focuses on the intersection of form, politics and history in early modern women’s writing, examining women’s participation in large formal categories in order to rewrite literary histories of genres (the sonnet), modes (complaint) and textual practices (marginalia), Her secondary research area focuses on true crime, specifically true crime in Australia and women and true crime in the English Renaissance.

She has a sustained record in academic leadership, including as Acting Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation (2019), Assistant Dean Research and Research Training (2013-17), Director of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities (2018) and Deputy Head of School Teaching and Learning (2012).In 2008, Ros co-founded the Early Modern Women’s Research Network (EMWRN) with Dr Patricia Pender. Under their leadership EMWRN has become a internationally renowned centre for innovative early modern research, using methods combining theoretical, material and digital scholarship. 

She has served on the HCA panel of the ARC College of Experts (2015-17) and has over $3 million in external research funding, including a current Future Fellowship (2019-23).  She is also the lead CI on a 2019 ARC Linkage Project grant with State Library Victoria, lead CI on a current ARC Discovery Project, and was CI5 on an ARC LIEF project in 2020. She is also a CI on a nationwide ARDC grant in 2021 on humanities mapping in Australia. In 2012 she led a large international team examining the material cultures of early modern women's writing, also funded by the ARC Discovery scheme. She has also been awarded funding from the Marsden Trust and was a Senior Common Room Fellow at Merton College Oxford 2019-20. In 2019, Ros was appointed general editor of the Palgrave Online Encyclopaedia of Early Modern Women’s Writing, the largest project of its kind in the world, with over 400 entries, 15 section editors and a million plus words. In 2021, she became the editor of the journal Parergon.




Researcher's projects

Funded research:

2020-24: FT180100371: Marginalia and the Early Modern Woman Writer, 1530-1660. $1066079 (CI1)

2019-23: LP180100704: Transforming the Early Modern Archive: The Emmerson Collection at State Library Victoria. $247000 (CI1)

2020: ARDC: Time-Layered Cultural Map of Australia. $100000 (CI9)

2019-20: LE190100019: Time-Layered Cultural Map of Australia. $420000 (CI5)

2017-20: DP170103439: Early Modern Women and the Poetry of Complaint, 1540-1660: $116000 (CI1)

2012-15: DP Material Cultures of Early Modern Women's Writing, 1540-1660. $211000 (CI1) 


Current student projects

Rayner, Emma. Early Modern Women and Discourses of Civility. PhD (2021-2024)

Upton, Hannah. Early Modern Women's Education and Marginalia. PhD (2021-2024)

Rodwell, Julia. Digitising the Emmerson Collection at State Library Victoria. PhD (2021-2024)

Greaves, Laura. Finding Caroline: Silent victims and gender bias in true crime writing. PhD (2019-2023)


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  19 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers