After completing her Ph.D. at the University of London under the supervision of the late Dr. G. F. Nuttall in 1975, Carolyn Polizzotto continued her teaching career (begun earlier as a postgraduate student in the Department of History, University of Melbourne) at UWA until 1989. She then relinquished teaching in favour of her appointment as an Honorary Research Fellow, holding the first such position to be awarded to a non-retiree, and becoming a Senior Honorary Research Fellow in 1996.
Dr. Polizzotto’s primary research interest is Early Modern British History, specifically Puritanism in England and New England in the Civil War and Interregnum periods. Her key contribution so far is considered to have been two frequently cited articles on liberty of conscience, published in 1975 and 1987. She has also published in the fields of Australian immigrant history and Australian industrial history.
Carolyn Polizzotto has a considerable literary reputation, having three times been the recipient of national literary fellowships from the Australia Council. In 2001, she received a Creative Development Fund Award from the Government of Western Australia. For many years, she was an active campaigner on behalf of the educational rights of intellectually disabled children and their continuing pedagogical needs as young adults beyond statutory school age. Her memoir, Pomegranate Season, won the Western Australian Premier’s Award in 1998.
Currently, Dr. Polizzotto is engaged upon a re-examination of the Army Debates at Whitehall in December 1648 and January 1649. In addition, she is conducting research towards a study of the political and religious context of the first book in the English language to be published in America: The Whole Book of Psalms, commonly known as the Bay Psalm Book of 1640.