About Dr. Claire E. F. Wright.

Business historian.
DECRA Fellow.

I want to make the world a more equal and prosperous place through innovative research and evidence-based practice.

I am an early career researcher in Australian business history. I have worked across economics, history and management, studying the way Australia’s socio-cultural structures have affected corporate networks, accountability and diversity.

I began in an economics group at the University of Wollongong, where I fell in love with undergraduate education and making economics principles useful and accessible to a wide student base. My Honours project pioneered the use of social network analysis in the history of economic thought, using this technique to understand the community of scholars in interwar Vienna. I found the language barrier a little challenging, but carried an interest in knowledge, communities and networks with me.

I then (sort of by accident) moved to the history department at UOW for my PhD, where I was surrounded by a passionate and talented group of humanities scholars, with particular strength in cultural, imperial and transnational histories.

I learnt there the value of immersion in archives, being an active reader of sources, and being just as attuned to what is missing from recorded material as to what has survived. My PhD project combined my existing expertise in history of economic thought with my new-found basis in Australian history, to use a range of techniques to understand interdisciplinary professional communities in the Australian economic history field. This formed the basis of my first book, Australian economic history: Transformations of an Interdisciplinary Field (June 2022).

After my PhD I was fortunate enough to work on an ARC Linkage grant, partnered between the Universities of Wollongong, Sydney and Melbourne, and the Macleay and Australian Museums, on “reconstructing museum specimen data through the pathways of global commerce”. I was the main person working day-to-day at the museums to understand the trade of natural history specimens, and it was fascinating to see how these institutions operate. I learnt more than I probably needed to about arsenic and how to preserve dead bats!

 

In 2019 I began a Macquarie University Research Fellowship (MQRF) in their management department on “Networks of trust, knowledge and power: Interlocking directorates in Australian corporations over the twentieth century”. It was fantastic to be in a business school that had such strength in unorthodox and historical research, and I learnt so much from my colleagues in leadership, strategy, corporate governance and international business. I examined an important but neglected area of scholarship – Australia’s corporate elite, the nature and cause of inter-firm connections, and the various impacts of companies that are too closely connected to one another. Understanding the lives and careers of top company board members identified some women with formal company roles since the 1980s, and the importance of family and marriage for women’s agency in the corporate sector throughout the twentieth century.

The data and insights of the MQRF was the basis of my current Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow (2022-25), “Above the glass ceiling: Australian women in corporate leadership, 1910 – 2020”. I have happily remained in a management department, but have moved to the UTS Business School to continue learning and growing as a scholar and colleague. I am thrilled to be teaching again, this time in ‘Business and Social Impact’, as part of the Business School’s extensive Masters suite. I also coordinate diversity and inclusion courses, doing my best to make activist and changemakers of our undergraduates!

claire e. f. wright lessons from history business history business historian economic historian UTS
claire e. f. wright lessons from history business history business historian economic historian UTS
Outside of my research and teaching, I serve on the executive of the Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand (EHSANZ), managing their online platforms to disseminate new research to their broad academic and public audience. I have also established an economic history stream at the annual Australian Historical Association (AHA) conference. Through this work I advocate for economic history as a broad, eclectic, interdisciplinary agenda, connected to parent disciplines and contemporary issues.

When I’m not at work, I quite like outdoorsy things (hiking, swimming, photography), indoorsy things (music and theatre) and a combination of indoorsy and outdoorsy things (looking after my plants)!

claire e. f. wright lessons from history business history business historian economic historian UTS

BOOKS

ARTICLES

MEDIA

Currently

 

ARC DECRA Fellow at UTS Business School

 

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. In particular, I acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded lands of the Dharawal and Gadigal people. This always was, and always will be Aboriginal land. I pay my respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples today.

All thoughts and opinions posted on this website are my own, and not reflective of the institutions I may represent.

Copyright 2022 Claire E. F. Wright