Dr Ross Jones has just joined the Centre for Health Law and Society as an Associate. He held research and teaching positions at both the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney after completing his PhD at Monash University in 2001 on the history of medical and educational eugenics, Skeletons in Toorak and Collingwood Cupboards: eugenics in educational and health policy in Victoria, 1910 to 1939. He is also a Senior Fellow in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne. He is finishing a year-long tenure as the Redmond Barry Fellow, held jointly at the State Library of Victoria and the University of Melbourne.
Ross specialises in the history of medicine and science, with a particular interest in eugenics and the body. His publications on medicine and anatomy include a history of anatomy in Victoria, Humanity’s Mirror; one of the few studies on the historical uses of cadavers The Body Divided; and Power and Passion, a study of the repatriation of Aboriginal remains. Ross is determined to bring academic research into public debates, some examples being a documentary on Radio National produced with Natasha Mitchell, ‘The Eugenic Turn in Schooling’ and articles in the Age and the Conversation. In this work he has shown how powerfully eugenic thinking impacted on the foundation of secondary education in the state of Victoria in the twentieth century, casting its influence up until the present. A forthcoming chapter in Eugenics at the Edges of Empire presents his argument in detail. Ross is also presenting a public forum at the State Library on 1 August, Blood and Guts, for the opening of the exhibition, Blood, at the new Science Gallery at the University of Melbourne. His current project, which should appear next year, is a commissioned monograph for the University of Chicago Press, Anatomies of Empire: Race, Evolution and Scientific Networks in the British World: 1860-1960. In this work he examines three British-Australian anatomist- anthropologists and the profound influence they exerted over the development of attitudes to race in the English-speaking world and the importance of Australian experiences and ideas on this movement. He is looking forward to bringing his historical perspective in all these areas to the work of the Centre.