New Book in the Department of History

A belated congratulations to Dr. Sophie Loy-Wilson on the publication of her book, Australians in Shanghai: Race, Rights and Nation in Treaty Port China (Routledge, 2017).
australians in shanghai.jpeg Sophie.jpeg
This work focuses on a diverse community of Australians who settled in Shanghai in the first half of the twentieth century and forged a ‘China trade’, circulating goods, people and ideas across the South China Sea, from Shanghai and Hong Kong to Sydney and Melbourne. In following the life trajectories of these Australians, the book addresses one of the pervading tensions of race, empire and nation in the twentieth century: the relationship between working-class aspirations for social mobility and the exclusionary and discriminatory practices of white settler societies.
The book has already featured in an ABC news story, which you can read here, and/or listen to the Earshot program produced by Sophie and Tamson Pietsch.
More information about the book can be found here.
We look forward to launching the book at the University of Sydney when Sophie returns from maternity leave. Many congratulations.

History on Monday – Seminar Series Semester 1, 2017

The Department of History at the University of Sydney presents:
History on Monday
Seminar Series for Postgraduates and Faculty
Held at 12.10-1.30
in Woolley Common Room, Woolley Building A22
(Enter Woolley through the entrance on Science Road and climb the stairs in front of you. Turn left down the corridor, and the WCR is the door at the end of the hall)
Click here for map
2016 Coordinator:
Professor Dirk Moses
The semester at a glance
Semester 1 2017
13 March
Max Paul Friedman (American University, Washington, DC)
The Containment of the United States: Latin America and the Limits of Principle
20 March
Adrian Vickers (Asian Studies/University of Sydney)
Art and Politics in 1950s Indonesia
27 March
Daniela Helbig (History and Philosophy of Science/University of Sydney)
Life without Toothache: Hans Blumenberg on History of Science as Theoretical Attitude
3 April
Andres Rodriguez (History/University of Sydney)
Listening to Minorities: Citizenship and Ethnic Representation in Early Post-War China (1945-49)
10 April
Nicholas Baker (Macquarie University)
Trust, Risk, Credit: Taking Chances on the Future in the Renaissance Marketplace
17 April AVCC Common Week
24 April
Anna Clark (University of Minnesota)
Rethinking Individualism in New Zealand and the British Empire
1 May
Alanna O’Malley (Leiden University)
Internationalism and the Challenge to the Liberal World Order: The United Nations and the Rise of the Global South, 1955-1981
8 May
Jamie Martin (Laureate Research Program in International History/University of Sydney)
Governing Global Capitalism in the Era of Total War
15 May
Hans-Lukas Kieser (University of Newcastle)
Holy Scripture and Apocalypticism in Today’s Levant
22 May
Mélanie Lamotte (University of Cambridge)
Before Race Mattered: Ethnic Prejudice in the French Empire, c. 1635-1767
29 May
Tim Allender (Education/University of Sydney)
Racial Cure and Pious Learning: Gender, Feminism and Empire
5 June
Maartje Abbenhuis (University of Auckland)
Fence Sitting? Asking Questions of Neutrals and Neutrality in International History
For updated details, please see our website.

Book Launch – Miranda Johnson

Miranda Johnson: The Land is our History (Oxford University Press, 2016)
Johnson book.jpegMiranda.jpg
The Land Is Our History tells the story of indigenous legal activism at a critical political and cultural juncture in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In the late 1960s, indigenous activists protested assimilation policies and the usurpation of their lands as a new mining boom took off, radically threatening their collective identities. Often excluded from legal recourse in the past, indigenous leaders took their claims to court with remarkable results. For the first time, their distinctive histories were admitted as evidence of their rights.
Miranda Johnson examines how indigenous peoples advocated for themselves in courts and commissions of inquiry between the early 1970s to the mid-1990s, chronicling an extraordinary and overlooked history in which virtually disenfranchised peoples forced powerful settler democracies to reckon with their demands. Based on extensive archival research and interviews with leading participants, The Land Is Our History brings to the fore complex and rich discussions among activists, lawyers, anthropologists, judges, and others in the context of legal cases in far-flung communities dealing with rights, history, and identity. The effects of these debates were unexpectedly wide-ranging. By asserting that they were the first peoples of the land, indigenous leaders compelled the powerful settler states that surrounded them to negotiate their rights and status. Fracturing national myths and making new stories of origin necessary, indigenous peoples’ claims challenged settler societies to rethink their sense of belonging.
Miranda Johnson is a historian of indigenous peoples and settler colonialism in the Anglophone post/colonial world, most specifically in North America and the Pacific. At the University of Sydney, She holds an appointment as a lecturer in the Department of History. She was previously Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and in the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, as part of Professor Warwick Anderson’s ARC Laureate Fellowship project, “Race and Ethnicity in the Global South”. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan.
Tues. 28 March, 5pm-6.30pm, REGS Western Tower Balcony, Quadrangle
Please see the link below for an invitation to a book launch for Miranda Johnson’s The Land is Our History: Indigeneity, Law, and the Settler State published by Oxford late last year.
Download file
All are warmly invited to join us at REGS on Tuesday 28 March, at 5pm. Duncan Ivison will launch the book.
Please RSVP to Michael McDonnellPosted on Categories Department News and Events

New Postgraduate Seminar Series: ‘History on Thursday’

The postgraduate reps and community have now launched a new postgraduate seminar series called History on Thursday. These seminars are designed to give postgraduate students a chance to practice presenting their work and engage in giving and receiving feedback. The next seminar will be on Monday 6 April, see below for details. They are also looking for expressions of interests for presenters for the May sessions. If you are interested please send an email with an abstract of your proposed talk.
Thurs. 6 April, 1-2pm, The Refectory (downstairs in the Quad, directions/map here)
Presenter: Darren Smith – The early Middle Ages between the World Wars: Pirenne’s Mahomet et Charlemagne and the vision for a new Europe.
Please bring your lunch and join us in the Refectory to hear this week’s presenter. This is also a chance for you to hone your question-asking skills and get to know other post-grads in our mingling time after the talk.

New Research Students in the Department of History

The Department of History at the University of Sydney is pleased to introduce our new PG students who have joined us in the latter part of last year or in the past few weeks.
Below you’ll find a list of new students, their topics, and their email addresses in case you wanted to reach out to them.
I’m delighted we have such a strong cohort of new students who I am sure will enrich the department with their work in the coming months and years.
There will likely be one or two more students joining us in the coming months. We’ll keep you posted.
Many thanks,
Mike M.
Madeleine Dowd (joined us in October): Master of Arts (Research). Supervisors: James Curran and Mark McKenna. I’m undertaking an examination of Paul Keating and Radical Nationalism – so this is looking at a radical display of the Australian self. At this relatively early stage, this involves an understanding of radical nationalist Australian history, and where it came from in Keating’s context. I’ll also focus on how this manifested in terms of policy and an overarching worldview. Contact email:
Amy Jelacic: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: Andrew Fitzmaurice and Chris Hilliard. I’m studying the intellectual history of free trade and liberalism in the British Empire, concentrating on the mid-19th century. I’m particularly interested in investigating the history of economic ideas outside of canonical texts of political economy.
Emma Wallhead: PhD, PT. Supervisor: Chris Hilliard. Working title of topic: If ‘I am woman’, what is man? Western masculinities 1963-1989.” The period from the early 1960s has been popularly associated with a number of transnational movements that challenged a wide range of social and cultural norms including beliefs about the proper roles of men and women. It was also during this era that masculinity was identified by scholars as a category of historical analysis. Despite the significance of this period to the concept of masculinity, there are relatively few works examining dominant norms of masculinity during the period from a historical perspective. The project will research dominant expectations of masculinity, together with the lived experience of masculinity, through the perspective of the women who cared for, lived with, worked with, loved, hated, and sought or avoided men during the three decades.
Jacob Mark: Master of Arts (Research), full time; Supervisor: Chris Hilliard. My thesis looks to explore the reception of Australian and New Zealand democracy in Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century,
Orla McGovern: Master of Arts (Research). Supervisors: Nicholas Eckstein John Gagne. I’m looking at material cultures of beauty during the Italian Renaissance and their relationship between socially ascribed ideals of beauty and womanhood.
Luke Tucker: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: Julie Smith and Nick Eckstein. I am researching the educational practices and philosophy of the devotio moderna, a 14th and 15th century lay piety movement located mainly in the Netherlands.
Samuel Murdoch Webster: PhD, FT. Supervisors: James Curran and Mark McKenna. My thesis will seek to map the changes in Australian security doctrines during the post-British and post-Vietnam period, where the ‘great powers’ featured in Australian geo-strategic imagination, and how these squared with Australian economic interests up to the year 2001.
Ryan Cropp: PhD, full-time, supervisor: Mark McKenna. I am working on a biographical study of the Australian journalist, social critic and public intellectual Donald Horne.
Darren Smith: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: John Gagné (Nick Eckstein acting), Hélène Sirantoine. In the 1530s, François I of France established formal relations with Ottoman sultan Süleiman as well as a permanent embassy in Constantinople/Istanbul. My project looks at France’s evolving engagement with the Islamic/Ottoman East throughout the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and how concepts of ‘the Turk’ and Islam figured in the French imagination (print media, political discourse, material culture, even theatre). I’m interested in the period ‘book-ended’ by the late crusades, on the one hand, and the Bibliothèque Orientale project of Barthélemy d’Herbelot, on the other.

New PhD Completions – Congratulations

During the break, we learned that Claire Sellwood, Bruce Baskerville, Addie Leah Lui-Chivizhe, and most recently, Lizzie Ingleson, have all successfully completed their PhDs. This is fantastic news, and makes for a great start to the new year – and inspiration for the incoming cohort as well as those seeing some light at the end of the tunnel in the new year.
Individual citations for the theses can be found below, as well as links to the theses or abstracts via Sydney e-repository. But on behalf of the Department of History, I want to extend a warm congratulations on a huge achievement. This is a mighty accomplishment for each of these four excellent students – or now, ex-students. The product of many years of toil and often difficult work. The glowing examiners’ reports also reflect this achievement. Though not technically official until graduation, I think I can safely offer congratulations to Dr. Sellwood, Dr. Baskerville, Dr. Lui-Chivizhe, and Dr. Ingleson!
Bruce Baskerville’s thesis was entitled “The Chrysalid Crown: an un-national history of the Crown in Australia.” He was supervised by James Curran. This thesis sets out to examine some of the ways in which the crown in Australia has been imagined and contested since the early nineteenth century. Looking at five case studies of cultural interaction relating to the exercise of crowned power the thesis explores the evolving civic personality, communal identities and popular representations’ of the crown in Australia’s cultural and social life, and how these have changed over time. As examiners noted, “this is an original and thoughtful doctoral thesis on a critical, but often misunderstood subject in Australian history.” It is “full of insights and compelling arguments about the place of the British crown in Australian history.” “Riveting.” An “excellent” and an important historiographical intervention in the historiography of the monarchy in Australia, and “represents a substantial and original contribution.” One examiner noted that they were looking forward to it being published, “so that a wider audience can gain from its creative and well-researched findings.” Another said “the candidate is to be commended for his dextrous research, well-written prose and challenging arguments. Further information about Bruce’s thesis can be found here:
Claire Sellwood’s thesis was supervised by Frances Clarke and entitled, “A series of Piteous Tales: Divorce Law and Divorce Culture in Early Twentieth-Century New South Wales.” It examines the social and legal understandings of divorce in late nineteenth and early twentieth century New South Wales, through a study of the law courts, and media representations of trials. As the examiners noted, the thesis “draws on a strong range of primary sources, including legal documents from the law courts and a significant study of a range of popular media papers and journals.” The “candidate has an exhaustive catalogue of secondary readings, and makes excellent use of these, both in terms of the direct topic and as useful context.” “This is a welcome and important study,” one that brings “significant new knowledge to existing feminist scholarship and a new understanding of the law as it was employed and worked for or against women.” Another wrote: “This thesis is highly impressive in its interdisciplinary research design, the wide-ranging scope of its analysis and the selected source materials which are ingeniously conjoined, its argument is original and contributory and it is impeccably documented and presented. Sellwood is an assured and promising scholar and an unmediated writer.” She has provided an “entirely novel framework through which to consider women’s agency, sexual regulation and liberalisation, legal reform and gender and class relations in public and private space it is fascinating and productive reading.” Details of Claire’s thesis can be found here:
Addie Leah Lui-Chivizhe’s thesis, supervised by Jude Philp and Iain McCalman, was entitled “Le op: An Islander’s history of Torres Strait turtle-shell masks.” The thesis provides a “rich and highly original” history of Torres Strait turtle-shell masks, which encompasses biological and ecological considerations, the practical and symbolic importance of turtles for Islanders, and the artistic skill and imagination of mask-makers and performers. Turtle-shell masks are shown to be central to Islanders’ engagement with each other and the natural world. The examiners noted it was “powerfully evocative” and an “insightful and nuanced narrative based on solid scholarly research” in which she “skilfully combines archival and object based research with fieldwork in the Torres Strait, oral histories, site visits and archaeological findings.” “The writing style delights as it informs,” and “the thesis is a substantial original contribution to the history of the Torres Strait Islands.” When it is published as a book, one examiner noted, it will bring “much joy” to those wishing to find out more about this oft-neglected part of the world.
Lizzie Ingleson’s thesis was also supervised by Frances Clarke and entitled, “The End of Isolation: Rapprochement, Globalisation, and Sino-American Trade, 1972-1978.” It looks at the diplomatic rapprochement that followed President Richard M. Nixon’s famous trip to China in 1972, which culminated with formal diplomatic normalization in 1978. In focusing on trade relationships between the two countries, the thesis sheds fresh light on diplomatic events, and tells a new story about the political origins of the interdependent economic relationship between the US and China, which began to take shape after 1980, and today very much anchors global capitalism. Examiners noted that it was “an impressive doctoral thesis, distinguished for its depth of research and interpretive reach and potential significance,” particularly given the “immense stakes” of the argument. Another commented that the thesis was “an extremely original approach to a topic that has only received limited attention to date by historians.” Ingleson contributes to a “growing literature on the role of non-state actors in diplomatic relations,” and her research is “extensive and fruitful” “In addition to being thoughtfully argued and well researched, this thesis is also quite well written.” “The author has a lively voice and a great eye for interesting anecdotes
that speak to larger trends or issues.” Information about Lizzie’s thesis can be found here:

Upcoming Events in the History Department

Postgraduate welcome drinks
Mon. 13 March, 4:30pm, REGS battlements
Kick off the new year and meet our incoming students at these drinks for postgraduate students and history staff. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

Postgraduate Professional Development Seminar

Wed. 22 March, 3-5pm, SOPHI common room
Bringing together a panel of historians including Professor Shane White, Professor Andrew Fitzmaurice and Dr. Sarah Walsh, this seminar will engage with the translation of archival material into an historical argument. Topics will range from the rituals of writing to the decision making process behind selecting which documents should be included and which should be omitted. The first hour of the seminar will be dedicated to panel presentations and the second to question and answer discussion. Afternoon tea will be provided.
Please RSVP (for catering purposes) to: Sarah Dunstan (

Women in Academia Seminar

Thu. 23 March, 4:30-6pm, New Law Annexe – Room SR340
Join Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick and Dr. Chin Jou at the inaugural session of Women in Academia, a forum designed to discuss the challenges and issues specific to women pursuing a higher degree. Hear from these historians about their research and career, and their expertise on topics including publishing and grant funding, and the differences between working in Australia and overseas. You will have the opportunity to ask questions in the second half of the session. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.
Please RSVP (for catering purposes) to: Hollie Pich ( or Marama Whyte (
Miranda Johnson The Land is our History book launch
Tues. 28 March, 5pm-6.30pm, REGS Western Tower Balcony, Quadrangle
Come along to help celebrate the launch of Miranda Johnson first book The Land is our History, recently published by Oxford Press. All are warmly invited to attend, please see our previous email for the further details.
Please RSVP to: James Dunk (

History Now Seminar Series

Dear History Colleagues,
Melissa Bellanta (ACU), Anna Clark (UTS) and Hannah Forsyth convene the History Now Seminar Series on the second Thursday of the month, 5.30-7pm at UTS. Previously this was focused on Australian history. What we enjoyed most about these sessions was the opportunity to discuss history with colleagues from across greater Sydney. We have decided to experiment in 2017 by extending the scope beyond Australia.
We have lined up a program, for which we have sought to recruit speakers from as many of our institutions as we can (we have thus far covered Sydney, UTS, UNSW, UoW, Newcastle, WSU, ACU) and to think about History Now – as it affects those who do history, connecting with one another on topics that are relevant to our changing and volatile political, economic and environmental conditions. Our topics are Political History Now, History of Class Now, History of Sexuality Now, Indigenous History Now, Public History Now, History beyond humans, Feminist History Now, History of Genocide Now and Environmental History Now. The program is attached.
I am hoping that you will think this is a good idea and invite your history colleagues, postgraduates and honours students to come and participate. I am also hoping that this year’s speakers, who are included here, will also want to come to sessions other than their own.
In addition, today’s job is to alert you to our first seminar (which does not conform to the normal pattern) at 5.30pm on Thursday 2nd February, 2017, Room 03.470–which is just up one flight of stairs from the entrance hall of Building 10 on Jones St at UTS.
After the shocks of Brexit and Trump, we wanted to kick off the year by thinking about Political History Now. What do contemporary events mean, in the big historical picture – and what do they mean for us, as historians and scholars? Associate Professor Michael Ondaatje from ACU will present on this topic. Michael is the author of, among other things, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) and he has been a high-profile commentator on the recent US election, in the Australian media. We will invite Michael to offer us a more details abstract closer to the date. For now, I hope you will add this to your diary, in anticipation of further details.
I expect we will continue our tradition of heading to the pub for dinner afterwards and collecting donations for wine and cheese, at the seminar. If you would like to come to dinner on 2nd Feb, please let me know –
Best wishes,
Hannah Forsyth
History Now Seminar Series 2017

Sydney Historical Research Network (Previously Australian Studies Research Network)
Second Thursday of the month, 5.30-7pm, UTS (Room TBC)
2 February: Political History Now (after Trump)
Michael Ondaatje, (ACU)
9 March: History of Class Now
Terry Irving (UoW), Elizabeth Humphrys (UTS), Hannah Forsyth (ACU)
13 April: History of Sexuality Now
Alison Moore, (WSU)
11 May: Indigenous History Now
Mike McDonnell, Miranda Johnson (Sydney), Leah Lui-Chivizhe, (UNSW)
8 June: Public History Now
Anna Clark, Robert Crawford, Anna Funder, Kiera Lindsay (UTS)
10 August: History Beyond Humans, Now
Warwick Anderson (Sydney), Eben Kirksey (UNSW)
14 September: History of Empire Now
Invited TBC
12 October: Histories of Genocide Now
Dirk Moses (Sydney), Lyndall Ryan (Newcastle)
9 November: Environmental History Now
Grace Karskens (UNSW), Iain McCalman (Sydney Environment Institute)

PG History Seminars

Dear History PG students and supervisors,
Once again, this coming semester the department of History is pleased to run a number of fortnightly advanced postgraduate seminars for your benefit. Chin Jou and Julie Smith have also kindly offered to open up their Honours Seminars to any postgraduate students wishing to audit them. We recommend and strongly encourage all PG students to attend at least one of the other seminars on offer. You might want to consult with your supervisor about the best choice for you. In addition to these seminars, students are also welcome and encouraged to attend the American Cultures Workshop at the USSC. Details for this is listed below.
NOTE: First year students should attend Chris Hilliard¹s weekly seminar, and not the other seminars (you will have already been contacted about this).
We are also opening up the “Finishing the Thesis” workshop to interested students. Places are limited though, so please do contact me if you are interested.
Once you have chosen a seminar, please contact the coordinator, who will shortly send further details, including the room in which to meet and the full schedule of meetings (if not already listed below). Please take careful note of the start dates listed below and get in touch with the relevant coordinator ahead of time ­ especially the seminars that start next week.
Any questions about all of this, please let me know.
Mike McDonnell
PG Coordinator
Reading Evidence in a ‘Post-Truth” Age
Associate Professor Julia Horne
Wednesdays, 3-5 pm
Start Date: March 15
Christopher Hitchens wrote of George Orwell’s determination to seek “elusive but verifiable truth”. But how do historians approach truth, and how do they verify the elusive? This postgraduate seminar explores the use of evidence in history, the idea of historical truth, and the theoretical, ethical and methodological hurdles along the way. Key readings include those by Timothy Garton Ash, Northrop Frye and Joan Scott along with others on critical evaluation, the socially constructed archive and the history of the footnote.
Seminars will be held 3-5pm fortnightly on Wednesdays from 15 March.e
Modern International History
Dr. Jamie Martin
Tuesdays, 2-4 pm
Start Date: March 14
This seminar offers a grounding in new approaches to the study of international history. It has two major aims: first, to introduce students to international history as a historiographical field, one that has focused largely on Europe and its relationship with the wider world since the early nineteenth century; and second, to consider international history as an approach to historical scholarship that has applications in many different geographical and thematic sub-fields. It will look, in particular, at new works in international history — both European and non-European — and at methodological debates about writing the history of international institutions, empire, and global capitalism. It also will look at the relationship between international history as it’s now practiced and the methods of diplomatic and military history that once dominated the writing of European history.
Historical and Anthropological Approaches to Food and Eating
Dr. Chin Jou
Mondays, 2-4, Bosch 192
Start Date: March 6
Food has been central to lived experience. It has shaped history through events and phenomena such as famines, uprisings, imperialism in search of commodities and markets, and population surges though more efficient methods of agricultural production. It has informed the development of structures of labour along lines of race, gender, and class; it has, of course, also been an essential part of daily life. In this seminar, we will consider examples of how historians and anthropologists have written about food and eating in order to illuminate broader historical developments, social relations, and identity. Readings will cover a variety of chronological and geographic contexts, although a disproportionate share of readings will focus on the United States since the early-twentieth century.
NB: If any PG students are interested in auditing the seminar, please advise them to email me ASAP, because there are required readings for the first week (i.e. this coming Monday). Although one of those readings can be accessed online, there is a reading that I would need to email them.
Reading Travel Writing
Dr. Julie Smith
According to Mary Carruthers [The Witness and the Other World], “The travel book is a kind of witness”. However, witnessing and ways of seeing are culturally and historically inflected. For centuries, travellers (whether explorers, pilgrims, ambassadors, merchants, missionaries, tourists) have related their experiences for a variety of audiences, and have claimed authority as eyewitnesses, “I have seen”. Thus travel writing cannot be satisfactorily understood unless it is historicised against contemporary understandings of visuality, of ways of seeing. If travel writers from other places and times were seeing for others, how should this inform our reading of their works? The seminar readings and discussions will take into account matters such as author-audience relations, geographical knowledge, gender, faith, cross-cultural contacts. Individual projects will offer opportunities for students to study travel writings and eye-witnessing from their particular research field and period.
American Cultures Workshop
Dr Alix Beeston, Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney
Dr Lucas Thompson, Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney
Contact Email:
Wednesdays, 5:30-7:00 pm
Start Date: March 15
Becoming a Historian: First-Year Introductory Postgraduate Seminar
Professor Chris Hilliard
Mondays, 2-4pm
SOPHI Common Room
Start Date: Monday, March 6
Finishing the Thesis
Associate Professor Michael McDonnell
Wednesdays, 3-5pm
Start Date: Wednesday, March 22
Please note: this seminar is open to PhD and MPhil students who are within a year of submission. Places are limited so please contact Mike if you¹d like to join.

Postgraduate Drinks

Dear Historians,
Welcome to the 2017 academic year! We would like to invite you all to our welcome drinks for postgraduate students and history staff on Monday 13 March. We hope this event will provide everyone with the opportunity to meet our incoming students and to kick off the new year.
Warwick Anderson has kindly allowed us to host the drinks at REGS on the battlements again this year. Drinks and nibbles will be provided. If you are planning on coming along please let us know via email to help us confirm numbers for catering.
Time/date: Monday March 13 at 4.30pm
Location: REGS battlements (directions attached)
Looking forward to seeing you all then,
Emma Kluge, Hollie Pich and Marama Whyte
Postgraduate Representatives 2017
Department of History