Julie is a social theorist with a wide interest in contemporary social and political debates. Her research is informed by feminist theory, social movement theory, memory studies and the emerging area of maternal studies.

Her publications include two books and numerous articles investigating:

  • cultural activism and memory
  • changing meanings of the maternal
  • the social dimensions of mothering
  • feminist oral history
  • the reshaping of emotions and care under neo-liberalism.

She also has a research interest in the theory and clinical field of psychoanalysis.



Stephens, Julie (2012) Confronting Postmaternal Thinking: Feminism, Memory and Care (New York: Columbia University Press)

Stephens, Julie (1998) Anti-Disciplinary Protest: Sixties Radicalism and Postmodernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Refereed articles

Stephens, Julie (2017) 'Shape-shifting around the Maternal: A Response', Australian Feminist Studies, Vol 31, Issue 90, pp. 501-512

Stephens, Julie (2016) 'Social Movements: Shadow Structures of a New Social Order', Arena Journal, No. 45/46, pp. 259-270

Stephens, Julie (2015) ‘Reconfiguring Care and Family in the Era of the “Outsourced Self”’, Journal of Family Studies, Vol 21, Issue 3, pp. 208-217

Stephens, Julie (2015) ‘Cryopreservation for the Corporation: Corporate Imperatives and Choice-Feminism Reshaping Motherhood’, Arena Magazine, Issue 137, pp.15-20

Stephens, Julie (2010) ‘Our Remembered Selves: Oral History and Feminist Memory’, Oral History, Spring, 38 (1) pp. 81-90

Stephens, Julie (2010) ‘The Industrialised Breast: How Neo-liberalism Milks Female Labour’, Overland, 201, pp. 77-81

Stephens, Julie (2008) ‘The SIEV X Memorial: Memorial Activism, A People’s Project’, Arena Magazine, No 93, Feb- March 2008, pp. 43-45

Book chapters

Stephens, Julie (2018) ‘Shape-shifting Around the Maternal: A Response’ in Maria Fannin & Maud Perrier (eds) Refiguring the Postmaternal: Feminist Responses to the Forgetting of Motherhood, London, Routledge, pp.119-131. ISBN: 978-0-8153-9205-7.

Stephens, Julie (2016) ‘Shadow Structures of a New Social Order’ in John Hinkson, et.al., Cold War to Hot Planet: Fifty Years of Arena, Melbourne: Arena Publications, pp. 259-271.

Other articles

Stephens, Julie (2015) ‘Review: Powers of Possibility: American Experimental Writing Since the 1960s by Alex Houen’, Chicago Journal of Modern Philology, vol. 113, no.2, pp.133-135.

Stephens, Julie (2015) ‘Tamed and Untamed Political Emotions: A Review Essay’, Australian Review of Public Affairs

Stephens, Julie (2015) ‘Yesterday’s Future: The Troubled Mothers in Mad Men’, The Conversation, 29 June

Stephens, Julie (2013) ‘Passionate Mothering and Its Discontents’, Australian Review of Public Affairs

Stephens, Julie (2012) ‘Home is Where Someone Else’s Heart Is: Outsourcing Care’, The Conversation, 21 November

Postgraduate research supervision

Julie has a record of excellence in research supervision and has supervised nine students to successful completion of their PhDs with two more under examination in 2016. She has also supervised numerous honours students and minor Master of Public Advocacy and Action, Master of International Community Development and Master of Asian and Pacific Studies theses. Research topics have included:

  • transnational social movements
  • environmental sustainability and place
  • women’s political participation in Samoa
  • breast cancer culture
  • parentification
  • neoliberal ideologies and social entrepreneurship
  • feminism
  • ‘food femininities.’

Research grants

Academy of Social Sciences in Australia Workshop Grant with VU colleagues (2013)

Harold White Fellowship, National Library of Australia (2007)

Professional memberships

  • Consulting editor, Arena Magazine
  • International Editorial Board, Studies in the Maternal
  • Member of the Australian Centre for Psychoanalysis
  • Member of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI)
  • Member of the Australian branch of MIRCI (AMIRCI)
  • Member of the Melbourne Maternal Scholars Group

Areas of expertise

  • Cultural studies
  • Gender studies
  • Globalisation
  • Maternal Studies
  • social movements
  • Social theory