Sociologist and cultural historian of Japan Mark McLelland passed away on 18 November 2020 in Wollongong, New South Wales.
Professor McLelland was well-known for his groundbreaking and influential work across a range of fields, including the cultural history of sexualities in Japan, the global history of the internet, and media and cultural studies. He also made scholarship from Japan accessible through various translation projects.
Professor McLelland was the author of Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan (2000), Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age (2005), and Love, Sex, and Democracy in Japan during the American Occupation (2012). He was also the editor or coeditor of Japanese Cybercultures (2003), Genders, Transgenders, and Sexualities in Japan (2005), AsiaPacifiQueer (2007), Queer Voices from Japan (2007), Internationalizing Internet Studies (2009), Boys Love Manga and Beyond (2015), The Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia (2015), The End of Cool Japan (2017), and The Routledge Companion to Global Internet Histories (2017).
Professor McLelland graduated from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in 1988, majoring in Theology and Religious Studies, after which he spent two years in Japan as a Monbushō scholar affiliated with the Department of Sociology at the University of Tokyo, where he researched new religious movements in Japan. After completing a graduate diploma in Japanese language studies at the University of Sheffield and an MA from Cambridge, he went to the University of Hong Kong, where he completed a PhD in Japanese Studies in 2000, beginning his research on male homosexuality in twentieth-century Japan for which he would first become known.
Following two consecutive postdoctoral fellowships, the latter of which was an Australian Research Council (ARC) postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Queensland, Professor McLelland began his career at the University of Wollongong as a Lecturer in Sociology in 2006. He was promoted to Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2012. McLelland was named Professor Emeritus in 2020, following his retirement after thirteen years at Wollongong.
Professor McLelland has also held teaching and research positions in Japan and the U.S., where he was the 2007–2008 Toyota Visiting Professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan. He has also received numerous grants and fellowships, including an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship, which he held from 2013 to 2017.
Over his career, Professor McLelland served on a number of advisory and editorial boards and brought a wide range of scholars together through his organization of conferences and symposia as well as his many edited collections. He was particularly supportive of graduate students and early career researchers as well as scholars working outside Anglophone academia. He was a founding member of the AsiaPacifiQueer collective in the early 2000s, which held pioneering conferences and workshops and produced several edited collections. He served as a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts between 2015 and 2018. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2019.
Professor McLelland will be remembered for his intellectual curiosity, his collegiality, and his scholarly generosity. He will be sorely missed by his many colleagues and friends.