Vella Bonavita, Helen

Edith Cowan University
Following graduation from the University of Western Australia, Helen worked for three years at the John Curtin International Institute, Curtin University of Technology in Western Australia. She subsequently moved to the University of Wales, Lampeter as a Visiting Fellow in the Humanities , and was the Head of the Department of English and Creative Writing from 2007 – 2010. She has taught in a range of subjects within the discipline of English literature and in a variety of media including blended learning. Helen has held a number of research positions including a short-term Visiting Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. She is currently the Associate Dean, International, for the Faculty of Education and Arts at Edith Cowan University. Her research interests include past and present forms of citizenship, illegitimacy, national identities, editing sixteenth century texts, and representations of the Ottomans in sixteenth century literature.


  • Articles
    This paper argues that illegitimacy is a concept that relates to almost all of the fundamental ways in which Western society has traditionally organised itself. Sex, family and marriage, and the power of the church and state, are all implicated in the various ways in which society reproduces itself from generation to generation.  All employ the concepts of legitimacy and...Read more
  • Editorial
    Illegitimacy is a multifaceted concept, powerful because it has the ability to define both itself and its antithesis; what it is not. The first three definitions of the word “illegitimate” in the Oxford English Dictionary – to use an illegitimate academic source – begin with that negative: “illegitimate” is “not legitimate’, ‘not in accordance with or authorised by...Read more