Verity Nancy Burgmann (born 17 September 1952) is Professor Emerita in the School of Political and Social Inquiry at Monash University. In 2013 she was Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack Visiting Professor of Australian Studies in the Institut für Englische Philologie at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Burgmann was born in Sydney, Australia, the daughter of Victor Burgmann and Lorna Bradbury. In 1971 she left home to attend the London School of Economics, where she completed a B.Sc (Econ) with a major in politics. In 1980 she completed her Ph.D, Revolutionaries and Racists: Australian Socialism and the Problem of Racism, at the Australian National University.
During the 1970s, Burgmann became actively involved in 'radical' politics, most notably the anti-apartheid campaign, and the campaign for aboriginal land rights. In 1971, along with her sister Meredith, she was ejected from the Sydney Cricket Ground after disrupting play during the controversial 1971 Springbok tour of Australia. Burgmann's activism continued during her time in the United Kingdom, where she devoted her efforts to the International Socialists and the Socialist Workers Party (Britain).
She lived with Peter Hain, who was then leading the STST (Stop The Seventy Tour) campaign in Britain against the visits of racially selected sporting teams from South Africa. Upon returning to Australia, Burgmann became involved with Women Behind Bars (in support of female prisoners), gay and lesbian rights (she is a veteran of the first mardi gras march in 1978), and after moving to Melbourne in the early 1980s, People for Nuclear Disarmament.
During the 1990 federal election campaign, opposition leader Andrew Peacock visited her sons' creche for a photo opportunity where Burgmann greeted him with her middle son on her hip, holding a children's blackboard reading: "I don't want Mr Peacock to kiss my baby." The focus of Burgmann's recent activism has been the defence of public education (she is on the executive of the Public Education Group) and trade unionism.
Verity Burgmann began her academic career teaching British Government at South London College in 1975. Between 1978 and 1980 Burgmann worked at both the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney, before moving to the Political Science Department at the University of Melbourne in 1981. In 2003, she was appointed Professor of Political Science. Burgmann was Deputy Dean of the Arts faculty at the University of Melbourne between 2004 and 2006. She retired in 2013, taught in Berlin for a semester and was then appointed Professor Emerita at Monash University,.
Burgmann's research interests are the history and politics of the Australian labour movement, radical political ideologies, contemporary protest movements, environmental politics, racism, anti-globalization and anti-corporate politics. She has established a significant reputation both as a labour historian and as a political scientist of social movements and social change.
- (with Hans A. Baer) Climate Politics and the Climate Movement in Australia, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012.
- Power, Profit & Protest: Australian Social Movements and Globalisation, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2003.
- (with Meredith Burgmann) Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation, University of NSW Press, Sydney, 1998.
- Revolutionary Industrial Unionism. The Industrial Workers of the World in Australia, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1995.
- Power and Protest. Movements for Change in Australian Society, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1993.
- In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885-1905, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1985.
- Andrew Milner, Simon Sellars and Verity Burgmann, Changing the Climate: Utopia, Dystopia and Catastrophe, Arena Publications, Melbourne, 2011.
- Burgmann, Verity; Lee, Jenny (1988). Staining the Wattle. A people's history of Australia since 1788. Penguin Books Australia. ISBN 978-0140110586.
- Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee, Constructing a Culture, A People's History of Australia since 1788, McPhee Gribble/Penguin, Melbourne, 1988.
- Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee, Making a Life, A People's History of Australia since 1788, McPhee Gribble/Penguin, Melbourne, 1988.
- Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee, A Most Valuable Acquisition, A People's History of Australia since 1788, McPhee Gribble/Penguin, Melbourne, 1988.
- The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 1971.
- The Guardian, 22 August 1972.
- The Age, 27 February 1990.
- Who's Who in Australia 2009, ed. Leanne Sullivan, Crown Content, Melbourne, 2009, p. 1480.
- Verity Burgmann, "Solving the Riddle of History" in Bain Attwood (ed.), Labour Histories, Monash University Publications in History No.17, Monash University, 1994, pp. 28-42
- Burgmann's University of Melbourne staff profile
- Burgmann, Verity (1952 - ) in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia