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: