CASS researchers awarded nearly $2M in ARC Future Fellowships scheme

Image Caption: Dr Tom Geue and Dr Una McIlvenna, from the ANU School of Literature, Languages & Linguistics.

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Two academics from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) have been awarded Future Fellowship grants by the Australian Research Council (ARC). Over the next four years, they will receive a combined total of almost $2 million in funding to advance their groundbreaking research projects.

Dr Tom Geue and Dr Una McIlvenna, researchers from the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics in the Research School of Humanities & the Arts, have each secured a four-year Future Fellowship from the ARC.

ARC Future Fellowships play an essential role supporting mid-career academics to undertake extended research in areas of national and international benefit.

Dr Geue, a Lecturer in Classics, will receive $836,622 in fundingfor his project, titled The Elephant in the Study: Working Latin Literature for the Enslaved.

“I'm beyond stoked to have received a Future Fellowship. It's a big vote of confidence –not just for my research, but for the future of Classical Studies in Australia,” Dr Geue said.

Aimed at transforming our understanding of Roman literature, the project will study the contribution that enslaved workers made to the Classical literary canon.

“I will examine the kinds of work done by enslaved secretaries – transcribing dictation, copying and annotating texts, reading back passages, but also in some cases co-authoring works of literature,” he explained.

“I hope to expand the field, change public perceptions of classical culture, and help generate methods to recognise the contributions of enslaved people to history.”

Dr McIlvenna, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in English, has been awarded $980,909 for her project, Singing the News: Ballads as News Media in Europe and Australia, 1550-1920.

“I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to begin this research in earnest. The funding from the Future Fellowship will allow me to focus for the next four years on what is a pretty ambitious project, covering five languages and four centuries,” Dr McIlvenna said.

“I will research how ballads were used as a primary means of disseminating the news across Europe, from the beginning of print, and how newspapers in the fledgling Australian colony used this ancient tradition to create a sense of Australian identity through ballad competitions,” Dr McIlvenna explained.

“I hope to show the centrality of song in how our ancestors made sense of the world around them.”

The College success rate on this highly competitive scheme was 40%, well exceeding the national average of 20%.

As the projects unfold, Dr Geue and Dr McIlvenna will have the potential to reshape historical narratives, making significant strides in their respective fields of study.

"This is a fabulous achievement for these individual researchers and for the research in the humanities at the ANU. These fellowships are highly sought after and the competition is immense. We are delighted to see Dr Geue and Dr McIlvenna succeed and to again demonstrate the quality of our College’s research,” CASS Associate Dean (Research) Professor Darren Halpin said. 



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Dr Tom Geue

Tom Geue is a Lecturer in Classics at the Australian National University. He grew up in Sydney, did his graduate work at Cambridge, and worked in the UK and then Italy for fourteen years before finally coming home to Australia. He has written books about anonymous authors in ancient Rome and the impact of slavery on Latin literature. His interests also stretch beyond Mediterranean antiquity to contemporary women's writing (including the novelist Elena Ferrante), as well as to the history of leftist thought in the 20th century. His new book, forthcoming with Verso Books in 2024, is an intellectual biography of the Italian classicist and Marxist Sebastiano Timpanaro (1923-2000). The wide-ranging originality of Tom's research was recognised with the award of a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2021 - on which he is still, contrary to the strictures of modesty, dining out.

Dr Una McIlvenna

Una McIlvenna is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in English at the Australian National University. Her research interests lie in the fields of early modern cultural and literary history, in particular, the tradition of singing the news. Her most recent book, Singing the News of Death: Execution Ballads in Europe 1500-1900, was recently shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s General History Award. It looks at the fascinating and long-lived tradition of execution ballads, songs that told the news of crime and their usually ghastly punishments in sensationalist and graphic terms. Una has a PhD from Queen Mary University of London, and has taught at the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Kent, and Queen Mary. Her first book, Scandal and Reputation at the Court of Catherine de Medici, explores the real-life scandals that rocked the court of Catherine de Medici, queen mother of France during the Wars of Religion.


Dr Tom Geue’s and Dr McIlvenna’s research projects are supported by the Australian Government through the Future Fellowships scheme (projects FT230100115 and FT230100537, respectively). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Australian Government or the ARC.

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