Profile with Lisa Hill

Lisa Hill (Tasmania & University 1985) is a Professor of Politics at the University of Adelaide. She was previously a Fellow at the Australian National University’s Research School of Social Science and a Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Sydney. Her current interests are in political theory, the history of political thought, electoral law and Australian politics. She holds a DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford.

Rhodes Project: What was the last book you read for pleasure?

Lisa Hill: Anyone Who Had a Heart, a biography of the one and only Burt Bacharach.

Rhodes Project: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Lisa Hill: A singer.

Rhodes Project:  What was the first job you ever held?

Lisa Hill: I was a guitar teacher and cleaner.

Rhodes Project:  If you hadn’t studied Politics, what else might you have done?

Lisa Hill: Rock & roll, or talk show hostess!

Rhodes Project:  What’s the best part of your job now?

Lisa Hill: I enjoy researching and travelling abroad to give papers and meet other scholars. I love the freedom of academic life and I also like lecturing to students when they’re motivated and switched on – it’s a great feeling when you see light-bulbs going on over heads.

Rhodes Project: What’s the most challenging part of your job now?

Lisa Hill: Dealing with the assault on academic values and this strange idea that students are just customers. But other than that, I really do love my job. It’s fantastic and I wouldn’t want any other – not even in rock & roll!

Rhodes Project: What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from your students?

Lisa Hill: That everyone has their story. And the really good ones give you hope for the future.

Rhodes Project:  If you had unlimited resources to devote to any one issue, global or local, what would it be and why?

Lisa Hill: I really hate homelessness; sexism, obviously; and political corruption. So, three issues really.

Rhodes Project: Who is your favorite fictional or historical heroine?

Lisa Hill: I think Susan Moller Okin is great. She challenged the idea of group rights and the bad effect they could have on women when it was considered very un-cool to do that. I also love Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1857-1806). She had a wild streak, was original, clever and witty and loved politics, fashion, geology, gambling and literature. She was a pioneer of comfortable clothing and mad headgear and was extremely tolerant and forgiving.

Rhodes Project: What’s something you’re looking forward to right now?

Lisa Hill: I’m looking forward to taking a day off to paint and going to Chicago in August to give a paper at a Politics conference. But the main thing I’m looking forward to is watching my son’s life unfold.

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