Introducing our new assistant editors

VIDA recently appointed a pair of talented postgraduate students – Georgina Rychner and Marama Whyte – as assistant editors to help administer the blog. Read more about them below.

Since VIDA launched in July 2016 it has posted over a hundred blogs and enjoyed much success as a public forum for sharing feminist historical research, as well as discussion about recent events and issues in historical practice and academic life. To ensure VIDA continues to thrive into the future, it was recently decided that two postgraduate students would be appointed to assist managing editors Dr Alana Piper and Dr Ana Stevenson in running the blog.

Many promising and able students applied for the role; and we are very pleased to announce that Georgina Rychner (Monash University) and Marama Whyte (University of Sydney) have been appointed. We hope you will join with us in warmly welcoming them to VIDA!

Georgina Rychner 

Who are you and what do you research?

I’m an MA candidate in history at Monash University. My work examines colonial psychiatry in nineteenth-century Australia, driven by an interest in how cultural judgments have intersected with what in the past was thought to be empirical science. My honours thesis looked at how Victorians identified ‘madness’ in women, how this identification could be informed by gendered expectations, and the interaction between psychiatric institutions and women’s agency.

With my MA thesis, I’ve moved from the asylum to the criminal courtroom, where I’m researching the use of the insanity defence in colonial criminal trials, and the ways in which defence was often accepted or rejected by the public depending on categories of crime, gender, race and class. Through these projects I’ve engaged with histories of Victorian medicine, women’s suffrage, colonial law, as well as histories of policing and public space.

What brought you to VIDA?

I found VIDA through Twitter, and the blog stood out to me for two reasons: the high quality of the posts and their readability. Here is a site where Australian historians can share their current research in a really accessible way – I could read fascinating pieces on the Essex Poisoning Ring or the Australian hatpin scare while waiting in line for coffee. I found that I could send pieces to friends outside of academia, and rather than be put off by academic jargon or dense pieces of text, they would actually read and enjoy them!

I think there’s also a level of engagement with female academics that comes out of the blog. I appreciate the interview-style pieces with current academics and HDR students that foster a sense of community in what can sometimes feel like solitary work. Last year I was impressed with the series that came out of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence; the pieces on Australia’s history of domestic violence have been of particular interest to me.

What are you excited to see more of on the blog in future?

I’m excited to see what everyone is working on! In a field where projects take considerable time to develop into polished publications, this blog is a great place to share your current research, or that incredible story you’ve uncovered in the archives recently that you just need to let people know about. There’s impressive research being produced at the moment by both established scholars and students, and I’m looking forward to hearing new voices on an array of different topics.

Where can we find you online?

I recently published an article on insanity and infanticide in colonial Victoria – you can find it in the 2017 edition of Lilith. My academic profile can be found on Academia, and I’m usually procrastinating on Twitter @rychnerd.


Marama Whyte

Who are you and what do you research? 

I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney, where I am the History Postgraduate Representative. I also co-run a seminar series designed to connect women HDR candidates with emerging and established women academics, and foster interdisciplinary conversations and connections across the humanities and social sciences.

My dissertation, “Women in Print: A History of Gender and the U.S. Media, 1960-1980,” explores attempts by female journalists in the United States to create a more inclusive media landscape in the post-World War II years through feminist and labour activism connected to litigation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I am interested in the changing discourses around gender and the media, and the role of labour activism and legal tactics more broadly in the ‘second wave’ feminist movement.

What brought you to VIDA?

I joined the Australian Women’s History Network in 2016 after presenting at the network’s Melbourne symposium, ‘Intersections in History.’ I have since eagerly followed VIDA as it became a central resource of both historiography and methodology for historians of women, feminism, and gender.

As an Americanist, I particularly appreciate VIDA as a platform for Australian feminist scholarship. The blog frequently introduces me to fascinating work by historians and scholars I may otherwise not encounter in my own research.

What are you excited to see more of on the blog in the future?

My favourite VIDA feature is the popular series, ‘Day in the Working Life of a Historian.’ For HDR students, academia as a profession can often feel incredibly nebulous and ill-defined. Series like this help to demystify the day-to-day workings of this career (and give us some reassurance that procrastinating writing isn’t necessarily a trait confined to being a student!).

In addition to VIDA’s focus on disseminating important scholarship, I hope to see growth in these practical and process-focused series. There are so few spaces, either within universities or online, for women academics to address the specific obstacles they face within the profession. VIDA provides a fantastic platform to progress those conversations in necessary directions.

Where can we find you online?

From 2012 to 2017 I was a writer, editor, and podcaster for, an online U.S. entertainment magazine, where I wrote articles on feminism, diversity, and historical representations in popular culture. I have published an article based on my current research in the popular history magazine History Today, and recently reviewed the 2016 film Hidden Figures for the Australasian Journal of American Studies. You can also find me on and on Twitter @maramawhyte.

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