University of Sydney Postgraduate History Conference Wrap-up

On the 23 and 24 November 2016 the Department of History successfully hosted the annual University of Sydney Postgraduate History conference. The theme for the conference this year was ‘Historical Identities’.
The keynote was delivered by Dr Sarah Walsh from the centre for Race and Ethnicity in the Global South (REGS) at the University of Sydney. Her paper ‘Latinizing Whiteness: Race, Nation, and Visual Culture in Latin America’, focused on constructions of whiteness in relation to national identity in nineteenth and twentieth-century South America, with particular focus given to Chile. Through Walsh’s exploration of how racial identity is both constructed and utilised her paper offered a stimulating beginning to the conference.
The conference was well attended with over fifty papers delivered over the two days. Presenters came from local universities, interstate and even as far as New Zealand. Sessions contemplated the concept of ‘identity’ and how it might be used to historically investigate in a variety of time periods and geographic locations, from the ancient world to the twentieth century, to Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
Special thanks to the team of volunteer postgraduate students, headed by our 2016 postgraduate representatives, Sarah Bendall and Georgia Lawrence-Doyle, who organised the conference, and to the department of history for generously funding the conference.
We look forward to hosting another successful conference next year.
To see the organising committee and past conference programmes, please visit our website:

Miller Technology Prize Ceremony

In August this year, Year 11 students from Miller Technology and Granville Boys High School presented the results of their History Investigative Projects to their peers, mentors, and teachers. On Wednesday, 30 November, Miller Technology held a prize ceremony to acknowledge the best essays and presentations submitted by Miller students for their projects.
The school welcomed back former Miller student and USYD graduate, Annie Ha, to talk about her university experience after successfully completing a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science and landing a full-time teaching role at a nearby school. Annie also gave advice on applying for scholarships and encouraged the students to pursue their interests at university. Mike McDonnell followed Annie’s speech with a talk about the plethora of options available at university, and the many places that studying the humanities especially can take lead.
Mike and History teacher Tony Podolsak awarded prizes for the most outstanding Year 11 Ancient History essays. In first place was Lan Pham, who the judges found, ‘made a clear and compelling case for the the value of comparative history’ in her essay on the sun gods of Ancient Egyptian and Aztec civilisations.
Melissa Clement and Tanya Nguyen came in equal second place, with well-written and researched essays on Constantine’s role in Christianity, and the importance of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism in Chinese history, respectively.
The best presentations from August were also recognised during the prize ceremony: Gabriella Puruto won first prize for her extremely well-delivered presentation on Classical Greek architecture, with Marcelo Locardi-Rauth coming in a close second place. Marcelo’s presentation was on the topic of Pompeii.
To give an indication of the calibre of these presentations, Gabriella presented her work to the assembled students and teachers, as well as the principal, Ken Edge. As had been clear during her August presentation, Gabriella demonstrated that she knew her topic extremely well and displayed an enviable level of comfort with public speaking.
It was a fantastic note on which to end the year, and we wish the students all the best with their HSC studies in 2017.