Demography at ANU has a long and distinguished history starting with the appointment of WD Borrie to the Research School of Social Sciences in 1947. Then, in 1952, the Department of Demography was created with Borrie as its head. Subsequently, he occupied the world’s first specifically designated Chair in Demography in 1957 and was Vice President of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) and President of the UN Population Commission. In the 1960s, the ANU Department of Demography, besides having a strong focus on the demography of Australia, became recognised as a world leader in the demography of developing countries and in the sociology of international migration.
From 1970 to 1988, the Department was headed by Jack Caldwell, widely regarded as one of the world’s leading demographers. Caldwell focussed the work of the Department more heavily on South and Southeast Asia, and on West Africa. Many students were trained from these areas of the world and many ANU demographers went out to these countries to participate in training and research. In the 1970s, the Department also provided a home for the National Population Inquiry, the largest inquiry ever undertaken on the demography of Australia. Caldwell was elected President of the IUSSP for the years 1994-1997. Gavin Jones, a prominent expert on the demography of Southeast Asia led ANU Demography for 1988 to 1995, Peter McDonald from 1996 to 2013 and James Raymer from 2013.
In recognition of this long history of achievements, we are pleased to announce the formation of an ‘ANU Demography’ group that will bring together the many scholars across ANU working on population-related issues. This will include a common website, newsletter and seminar series.
We are also pleased to announce the renaming of the ‘Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute’ to create a new ‘School of Demography,’ effective on 1 October 2015. Over the next year, the new school, located in the Research School of Social Sciences and headed by James Raymer, will be handing over the convenorship of the Master of Social Research to the Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods, and will be creating a new Master of Demography program starting in 2017. The School will continue to train undergraduates through a Minor in Demography and PhD students.
To celebrate these two initiatives, we hope you will join us for an event we plan to organise in November. Formal invitations will be sent soon.
James Raymer and Peter McDonald