History in the Making

In History in the Making, one of our three undergraduate capstone units, students write an essay of 4500 words on a research topic of their own devising in any field of history. Here we bring together the abstracts of papers crafted over the past semester, 2018, showcasing the breadth and depth of historical research this unit inspires. This year, the unit was coordinated and taught by Professor Penny Russell and Dr. James Findlay
Where their authors have granted permission, the essays themselves can also be read. We are excited to present this rich collection, as an inspiration to future students and a tribute to the present generation of historians in the making.
Struggle within a Struggle: The Palestinian women’s movement
Gladys Agius

The Palestinian women’s movement for equality and equal rights moved slowly in the decades after the Oslo Peace Accord failures. Israel imposed extreme restricting conditions on Palestinians’ freedom of mobility and encroached on agricultural land to establish settlements for Jewish communities. At the same time Palestinian males experienced excruciating high levels of unemployment and women faced restrictive job opportunities producing further crisis in Palestinian society and family life. Women were faced with intense pressures, to contribute to the family’s budget, seek employment in unfavourable conditions, and maintain family harmony. The progress for gender issues is hindered by patriarchy. Muslims mainly subscribe to strict shari’a laws which are opposed to liberal concepts of women’s independence and equal rights. Consequently education and training for women became extremely important to raise women’s voice in politics. Post Oslo the intervening years were marred by confusion and disagreements of leaders and factions which weakened Palestine’s government (PA) voice and power. Subsequently prominent women academics called for women to be returned to the national forum to represent all Palestinians. At this stage women’s journey to equality and human rights is a “work in progress” and is held firmly in the sights of twenty-first-century Palestinian women.
The Ngô Đình Diệm Coup d’État: Exposing the façade of the United States Nationalist Globalist mission in Vietnam?
William Bailey

Under the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, the world was told that in accordance with its Nationalist Globalist ideology the United States was escalating its involvement in the Civil War between North and South Vietnam. Nationalist Globalism is the ideal of America’s divinely ordained mission to bring freedom and liberal democracy to all nations of the world. Was the U.S. in Vietnam for this two-sided mission? This paper looks at the U.S. policy makers’ decision to support a coup against South Vietnam’s President that took place on November 1st, 1963. It argues that although some did believe in America’s mission, the fact that they supported this coup diminishes the significance of the American Nationalist Globalist ideology in association with their goals.


A Solution to Exclusion and Instability in the Periphery? The application of steamships between Britain and India in the 1830s
Elisabeth Barber

The application of steam to British-India mail-routes in the 1830s was a pivotal moment in the development of imperial policy. Historians have often dismissed the rhetoric that led to this development, and in turn have overlooked the imperial concerns raised by this debate. This article approaches the rhetoric through Cain and Hopkins’ metropole-periphery analytical framework, to argue steam implementation was the merchant and government solution to insufficiencies of the imperial model. In doing so, it refutes the argument of historians who suggest steam was merely a tool to conquer. Rather, its integration of India into the empire through improved communication resolved the destabilising effect of peripheral distance from metropole administration. Within this argument, the article identifies concerns traditionally raised by historians in steam’s development; namely, imperial communicative limitations and Indian ‘morality’. However, it advances these ideas by contextualising the isolated concerns within a broader imperial anxiety that the metropole-periphery distance exposed India to invasion and corrupt Company charter rule, thus weakening the empire’s integrity.
Women’s Voice in the Afghan Media
Mary Bokey

This essay discusses the role women in Afghanistan have played in promoting women’s cultural, social and political empowerment through the Afghan media. Historiographical inquiry into the plight of women in Afghanistan has tended to focus on the actions taken by Western military, humanitarian and political agents to achieve gender equality, rather than acknowledging the widespread activism undertaken by Afghan women themselves. Therefore, my research focuses its lens on the activism of Afghan women who have shown courage and agency in shaping their own lives rather than the role of Western intervention. In doing so, I hope to offer a ‘real’ and culturally authentic portrayal of the experiences of women in Afghanistan. The work presented draws on archives from female run Afghani newspapers, magazines, radio and television shows and social media platforms to offer insight into the way a discourse of women’s rights and agency have re-entered the public sphere, positively influencing the lives of women across Afghanistan.
Redfern’s National Black Theatre and Decolonisation
Joe Boneham

Aboriginal activism in Australia has continued to be a driving force for change since the arrival of British colonisers. The activism is almost always in response to the Imperial structures that have developed and been put into place in Australia. This essay focuses on a particular period in the 1970s with the creation of the National Black Theatre. The Theatre’s creation and developing impact is often ignored by historians in the grander scale. This essay argues that the National Black Theatre has had a deep resounding impact in the ongoing attempt to decolonise both Australian individuals, and the broader population.
Importance of Leisure Activities for Australian Nurses in World War One
Annabel Burns
The experience of nurses in World War One has made its way into literature more recently after having been previously overlooked in favour of soldiers. Consequently, there are many avenues that remain to be explored deeply. This essay picks up on one such area, the experience of nurses whilst off-duty, and the importance of this. It is evident that many aspects of the war placed a great burden on nurses. This meant that leisure activities were more than just a way to pass time, but essential to building resilience to continue nursing work in spite of this strain. There were a range of activities and places on offer for nurses, including rest houses, travel and concerts which removed nurses from the hospital setting, serving to build resilience. This was key primarily for the nurses themselves, but also for the soldiers in their care and families on the home front.
Fantasy v. Reality: The increasing visibility of Sydney’s LGBTQI community
Olivia Cashmere
In 1978, a group of homosexual activists took to the streets of Sydney to defend their rights and ‘reclaim the streets’. Forty years later, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the biggest gay and lesbian event in the world and one of the biggest tourist events in Australia. Much has changed since the first Mardi Gras: homosexuality has been decriminalised, anti-discrimination laws are in place, society’s attitudes towards homosexuals have evolved and become more accepting and encouraging and most recently, marriage equality has been achieved. It is undeniable that the visibility of Australia’s LGBTQI community has increased since 1978, but how much agency has the LGBTQI community had over this change? This paper will reflect on key changes over the past forty years that have impacted significantly on the visibility of the Mardi Gras festival and the LGBTQI community in Australia. By reflecting on how these changes occurred within their historical context, this paper will attempt to address the question of agency and discuss the role and influence the LGBTQI community had over these changes.
Was there a Japanese plot to ‘poison China’ with narcotics in the period 1914-1937?
Laurence Chappell
Drug smuggling in China is most often associated with the Opium Wars of the 19th century, and the role of Japan has been somewhat neglected as a result. Japan’s involvement in the drug trade in China in the first half of the twentieth century was common knowledge at the time, with many commentators quick to accuse Japan of using narcotics to undermine their country. Contemporary historians have been reluctant to subscribe to this idea, preferring to describe opium as a consequence rather than a tool of Japanese imperialism. However, an analysis of newspaper articles and other primary sources about Japanese settlements in major Chinese cities indicates that not only did narcotics indirectly contribute to furthering Japan’s expansion in China but that Japan’s colonial policy also had the effect of supporting the drug traffic.
Oscar Grant: Sounds and silences of the Black and mainstream media
Sean Clarkstone
The 2009 police shooting of an African American man, Oscar Grant, was protested in the black media, the streets of Oakland, and the court of law. However, mainstream media articles tended to understate the tragedy of Grant’s death or ignore it entirely. This article explores the various media narratives that emerged in the wake of Grant’s death, either to garner empathy for Grant’s death or to undermine the outrage that his death elicited. This article concludes that mainstream media, in spite of the occasional outlier, attempts to mitigate the capacity through which Grant’s death demonstrates the continuation of an American law enforcement and judicial system that discriminates against black citizens.
“A great feeling of Insubordination”: Riots in Van Diemen’s Land’s Female Factories
Pola Cohen
Convict women in Van Diemen’s Land’s Female Factory system were notoriously unruly, a cause of great concern for colonial authorities. The Inquiry into Female Convict Prison Discipline 1841-1843 documented the government’s lack of control over women in the Factories, detailing riots, trafficking and sexual relationships between women. What was the meaning of these dissident acts in the context of convict women’s lives? Previously, scholars have understood female convicts’ disorderly behaviours as homogenous in purpose – all forms of insurgence against the colonial system as a whole. However, not all morally unacceptable acts were deliberate protest. Instead, riots served to defend the Female Factories’ internal power system, economy and culture, as convict women carved out a space in which to exert their own agency.
‘Harlem on My Mind’: Inside or outside American contemporary culture
Emma Collins
In January 1969, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) opened its door to one of the country’s most controversial modern exhibitions, entitled Harlem on My Mind: Cultural Capital of Black America 1900-1968. In its attempt to reveal a cultural and political history of the Harlem borough, the exhibition traversed the rich histories and developments of Harlem, but was critiqued for its exclusion of African-American artistic opinion in the planning process and for its racially insensitive exhibition catalogue. While the Met held iconic status and influence within the art world, it suffered harsh criticism for not meeting the expectations of its surrounding public. By comparing the opinions of the public and that of the institution, this analysis of Harlem on My Mind reveals how museum practices and the societal responses to the exhibition are inherently interdependent. The exhibition itself disclosed the way in which the art community will always be fundamentally linked to the opinions of the rest of society, whilst giving insight into the necessity of continually acknowledging the foundational role of art, which is to evidence the uniting bond of humanity despite our innumerable differences.
9/11 ‘Inside Job’ Conspiracy Theories as Political Activism
Aidan Conlon
The 9/11 inside-job conspiracy theory can be used as a framework for understanding the role of power structures in constructing historical truth. Those that adhere to this theory are informed by historical instances of conspiratorial politics in the United States government. The formulation of the ‘truther movement’ cemented a conspiracy subculture that focussed on exposing the alleged involvement of the Bush administration in the September 11 attacks in 2001. This subculture provides significant insight into the ways in which state-sponsored information is disseminated and received by society. What is considered an ‘official account’ and a ‘conspiracy theory’ is explicitly related to power inequalities between government and their citizens.
Self-Care or Selfish Consumerism: Teenage girls shaping wellness culture from 1988 to 2018
Penny Cummins
The wellness movement in the United States began as a radical project undertaken by feminist, New Left and civil rights activists looking for an alternative to discriminatory medicine practices. However, by the 2010s it had grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry, with scholars of American studies and sociology critiquing wellness as symptomatic of a pervasive cultural narcissism originating in the neoliberal economic policies implemented by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. This essay aims to illuminate the role played by two teenage girls’ magazines, Rookie and Sassy, in resisting the commodification of wellness from the late 1980s until the present. It argues, contra other scholars of teenage girls’ body projects, that young women have been active agents in continuing the work of 1960s’ and 70s’ wellness advocates.
The Impact of the Spanish Flu on the Relationship between New South Wales and Victoria, Australia
Keshini De Mel
There is a small but growing body of work that has begun to shed light on the Spanish Flu epidemic in Australia. This essay contributes to that work. Specifically, it analyses the impact of the epidemic on the relationship between the two most antagonistic states in the Commonwealth: Victoria and New South Wales. Both states were bound by an agreement signed in November 1918 that provided for the steps to be taken in the event that influenza appeared in Australia. However, the states failed to implement the agreement and adopted policies for their own self-preservation, which turned them against each other. I argue that the relationship between New South Wales and Victoria was delicate due to historic differences over economic and political issues and was too weak to withstand a threat such as the influenza outbreak. While absolute causation is impossible to prove, I argue that the tensions in the relationship between the two states contributed to the instability of the national and federal bonds between them, which explains why the November Conference could not compel them to cooperate and they were so quick to turn upon one another during the 1919 Spanish Influenza epidemic.
A Tale of Two Freaks: The case for agency in the nineteenth-century exhibition of the disabled
Elissa Donnellan
The exhibition of abnormal bodies in freak shows was a popular entertainment from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries in Australia. This practice has been viewed as the exploitation of people with physical disabilities. However, international scholarship has proposed that there was opportunity for human exhibition to be an empowering process for individuals whose physiology prevented them from other forms of civic engagement. This essay examines the lives of two Australian freak performers, James Wrench and William Osman, to identify the impact of intersectionality in their experiences. Using the records of their respective exhibition found in newspapers, and the autobiography of Wrench, the drastic differences in their stories will be highlighted. It is argued that bodily limitations were not the only factors that shaped these experiences and that their lifestyles were greatly affected by the influences of class, familial support, education, geographic location and capacity to contribute productively. Despite the disadvantages that these factors were able to impose, freak performers were able to negotiate their circumstances from this unlikely position and in various ways demonstrate agency.
Dark Nationalism in the Museum: Fostering identity through Australia’s prison museums
Indigo Dunphy-Smith
The overrepresentation of bushrangers in Australian museums reflects the nation’s wider obsession with normalising historical narratives associated with violence. The growing academic field of dark tourism has focused on the fascination visitors have with places associated with physical and emotional suffering. Scholarly work relating to nationalism has focused on a similar phenomenon in regard to bushrangers, namely how their character has come to represent central traits such as anti-authoritarianism. ‘Dark nationalism’ links these two fields together. By drawing the ‘pull’ of punishment in tourism into a national framework, this essay suggests how central violence is to the imagining of Australia’s national identity. Through the study of bushrangers and their representation in museums, the essay considers how this is achieved, why it is done and what the consequences of such a practice are. The article concludes with a discussion of how the encouragement of alternative readings in museums can engage and challenge the visitor to reimagine their history and break down this tendency to glorify violence.
More than a Game: How the ‘Bodyline’ series affected imperial relationships
Harry Guest
The dramatic outcry resulting from the 1932-33 Bodyline Cricket Series offers a captivating platform for the investigation of Australia’s burgeoning national identity. This research paper follows the series chronologically, investigating primary sources in the form of diplomatic communication and the emotive press that stimulated and reflected an unease in imperial relations. Focus is placed particularly on the telegram communication between the Australian Cricket Board of Control and the Marylebone Cricket Club, and its representation in journalism, to better understand how sporting misconduct led to an ultra-politicisation of the series and positioned the Australian public to pass judgment on imperial values and character. Australia, through a uniting voice of dissent against the English, led by Douglas Jardine, formed an early expression of a robust nationalism that began to replace the former language of imperial identity.
(Mis)reporting Famine: How Western correspondents in the Soviet Union shaped perceptions of the Holomodor
Elizabeth Heffernan
The Holomodor was Stalin’s man-made famine in the Ukraine between 1932 and 1933 that killed four million people. It was vehemently denied by the Soviet administration and reporter Walter Duranty, to the extent that until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, very little was known about the famine and its victims. This essay seeks to understand how Duranty and the press had such power over Western perceptions of the Soviet Union and the Holomodor. It argues that Duranty’s reputation ensured his reports garnered more support than journalist Gareth Jones’ exposé, and that the contextual factors of the fostering of Anglo-Soviet diplomatic relations, the Great Depression, and the Metropolitan-Vickers show trial made critiquing the Soviet Union at this time politically impossible. Ultimately this essay will investigate the responsibility of the press in reporting tragedy, ending with a critique of the legacy left behind by Duranty’s sixty-year concealment of the famine-genocide.
The Chinese ‘Comfort Women’: The complexities of searching for a resolution
Ho Yimei Charlotte
During the Second World War, Japanese forces throughout Asia-Pacific sexually enslaved more than 200,000 women – culminating in what would become known as the “comfort women” system. Amongst those who were enslaved, a majority were Chinese citizens. Despite the silence that once shrouded the former Chinese “comfort women”, many have stepped forth in hopes for closure. With the gradual passing of former “comfort women”, the search for a resolution has proven to be highly complicated. Therefore, my research seeks to explore the difficulties that surround the Chinese comfort women as they manoeuvre through the numerous political barriers in search of closure for the immense sufferings they have previously endured. In doing so, this essay argues that the politicization of this historical issue serves as a double-edged sword to the plight of the Chinese comfort women. Whilst politics has illuminated the plight of the comfort women on a global stage, the focus on nation-state centric perspectives in fact perpetuates the sense of historical denialism that has long surrounded the comfort women issue.
‘Learning Truth from Fact’: Investigating the ideological underpinnings of Deng Xiaoping’s political and economic reforms
Nicholas James Hulme
Deng Xiaoping is widely acknowledged as the driving force behind China’s emergence into the modern world, and his economic and political reforms have been integral components in the formation of China as we know it today. Despite his achievements, Deng has been maligned as an apolitical, visionless pragmatist, an enabler of good policy choices rather than a facilitator or driver of them. This essay will challenge this representation of Deng, exploring the political and economic reforms and policy changes he instituted while comparing them to his published work in the forms of speeches and writings to identify possible ideological or political beliefs that underlie his policies. This essay will also explore the political continuity between Zhou Enlai, Deng’s initial patron within the Chinese Communist Party, and Deng, investigating possible relationships between the ideas of Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and the policies instituted by Deng, in order to establish whether Deng’s established political and ideological beliefs influenced his policy choices directly, rather than him simply opening the door for others to walk through. Developing a more thorough understanding of Deng as a person and as a political leader may lead to a fuller understanding of the system his policies were fundamental in creating.
‘Mungo Man’: Controversies associated with collecting and studying Indigenous human remains in Australia, and the ethical considerations that have influenced their repatriation.
Jessica Incollingo
The discovery of Australia’s oldest human remains in 1974 was a crucial turning point for Indigenous society, culture and understanding in the twentieth century. Through the excavation and study of the archaeological evidence that was found at this time, we are now privy to a wealth of knowledge about this ancient community, ultimately engendering a sense of historical pride within Aboriginal people. Contrary to this positive response, however, was the emergence of a new era of Indigenous endorsement for the repatriation of these sacred ancestral remains to country. The issue of custodianship and return is incredibly divisive for historians and key stakeholders, yet what remains certain is the fact that this particular event was a major catalyst for initiating Aboriginal advocacy and unity in the latter half of the century, up until the present day. This essay provides evidence to support this claim, drawing upon historical significance, ethical issues, and critical reception to examine the arguments of different groups in relation to the scientific analysis and eventual repatriation of ‘Mungo Man’.
The Journey of an Immigrant Painting: How Blue Poles was and is held in Australian consciousness
Madison Jackson
Blue Poles was a divisive part of Australian History before it was even on Australian shores. In this essay, I aim to chart the history of the Jackson Pollock artwork from why it was bought, what the reaction was at the time, and what the modern concerns of the piece are. Australian PM Gough Whitlam saw the purchase as a way to align his domestic politics with his international goals. The media reacted with intensely passionate vitriol, both over the high price tag of $1.3 million, and the foreignness of Abstract Expressionism. In modern memory, the painting still stirs up issues of economic responsibility, cultural imposition and legacy, and what it means to be politically tied to a work of art. Blue Poles ultimately provides a great case study for how something can be so intrinsic to a nation’s history, and still be removed from it.
American Beauty: How the introduction of African-American-owned beauty companies and parlours transformed and redefined perceptions of ‘Black beauty’ in Southern American states from 1900 to the 1930s
Stephanie Leahy
The opening of Madam C. J. Walker’s Beauty Manufacturing company and others like it at the turn of the twentieth century revolutionized the black beauty industry and challenged perceived notions of what constituted ‘beautiful’ amongst Southern American states. This essay explores how black-owned beauty companies in Southern United States of America empowered African American women to be financially independent, politically active and beautiful. Through this empowerment, African American women used the new black beauty industry as a weapon against racial stereotypes displayed in Southern media. Beauty parlours became spaces of safety and political activism in Jim Crow South and allowed black women the opportunity to find a sense of community and self-worth throughout a period in which society consistently acted to shame female black bodies. This essay aims to reveal how the opening of African American owned beauty companies and parlours transformed and redefined perceptions of ‘black beauty’ in Southern American states throughout the first few decades of the twentieth century.
Malcolm X: The influence of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism on the rise of the Black Power Movement
Gary Le
Malcolm X was a prominent human rights activist who advocated for African American rights in the 1960s, through his Black Nationalist and pan-Africanist Ideology. This essay deeply explores X’s racial ideologies through the rhetoric of his speeches. It will explore the rationale behind his ideologies and how he intended to carry them out. Additionally, the essay will demonstrate how X’s ideologies of Black Nationalism and pan-Africanism related to the rise of the Black Power Movement, through exploring the ideology of the Black Panther Party, the main organisation of the movement. By comparing the similarities of the ideologies, it will conclude by Malcolm X made a significant ideological impact on the rise of the Black Power Movement.
That’s Just Not Cricket: Understanding colonialism through the lens of sport
Edward L’Estrange
The diffusion of cricket throughout the British Empire in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries offers fascinating insights into the social relations and interactions that underpinned imperialism. This paper will seek to examine how cultural products such as cricket sustained the norms and values of British colonial rule. To achieve this, the paper will look at the appropriation of cricket in India, and how this reflected the British imperial project through the notion of ‘game ethics’. In this manner the paper will ultimately recognise the power of ‘imagined communities’ in colonial regions, and the transformative effect this had in connecting the core and periphery.
Strong Independent Women for a Strong Peaceful World
Julia Liotta
History has revealed war and peace are gendered processes. Historian have identified how equating war and masculinity with action, courage, violence, and domination compared to defining peace and femininity as passive, domestic, tranquil, and dependent have influenced the shape of wars and peace action. Understanding the role of women in peace processes is useful to understanding how and what, make, peace movements more effective. This study aims to further understand how gender and military structures of domination are linked. Specifically, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) organization is used as a lens through which to look at how gender informs the strategy of women peace activists in Australia during the Vietnam war. These sources reveal that affecting one structure of domination influences the other, thus making it a useful strategy to further the cause of peace and consequently also feminism.
Politics and Press Representation of the Korean War POWs
Loh Ke Yun
The truce talks during the Korean War was met with a stalemate for 15 months. The main point of contention was the repatriation of prisoners of war, where the northern alliance (Soviet Union, China and North Korea) called for “forced repatriation” while the United Nations pressed for “voluntary repatriation”. This essay seeks to examine the ways in which American and Chinese press framed and represented the repatriation issue, and what the differences could tell us about the motivations behind China and America’s stance. I contend that their respective representations were largely informed by the wider political context. A comparative analysis reveals that the United States was not merely concerned with humanitarian rights but was driven by the fear of communism, and that the Chinese government pressed for forced repatriation because of political tensions between the communists and nationalists in China.
Artistic Commodities: UK publishers and the publication of anglophone West African writing from the 1960s-1980s
Ryan Maguire
During the 1960s-1980s much of the anglophone literature emanating from West Africa was published by commercial publishing companies based in the UK. This period witnessed significant changes in the UK publishing business as the industry and some of its major players became increasingly internationalised and sought to capitalise off the back of a flourishing educational sector both at home and abroad. The ‘entanglements’ between West Africa’s British colonial past and its contemporary postcolonial present influenced the publication, dissemination and circulation of anglophone writers. Taking a Bourdieusian approach to postcolonial criticism and incorporating extensive contextual statistical information, this essay will show that, as agents of cultural production, UK publishing companies commodified the literary and artistic outputs of West African writers to such an extent that even their anthologised musings and commentaries would become situated within a broader educational discourse.
Politics and Media in Sport: The mechanisms preventing African American athletes from changing American society
Kieran McAdams
The integration of African Americans into professional sport in 1947 has created an industry which has been dominated by the athletic prowess of black athletes. With the majority of professional athletes being African American, the ability for these athletes to raise awareness of issues surrounding civil rights is more effective through the athletic stage. However, what contests this stage is the political notion that sports, its corresponding athletes should represent values that coincide with pollical beliefs enforced by the current government. In this essay, the interreference of politics and media within sports will be explained by two events of athletic activism. The anthem protests of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and the 2016-17’ NFL season. While the political nature of sports has been extensively explored from the standpoint of its lawfulness, what is yet to be touched is the implications that consequentially impede the growth of equality to all races in the US and specifically African Americans.
A Gendered Genocide: How and why the Rwandan Genocide was gendered and what this meant for Tutsis
Emily Moo
Through interrogating how gender functions in genocidal processes, historians have detected clear continuities between genocides. Specifically, that genocides are a gendered experience affecting men and women differently. Though in agreement with this conclusion, this essay contests historians’ primary focus on acute genocide consequences through a case study of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, as told by the testimonies of Tutsi female genocide survivors. It argues that Tutsi men and women were victimised differently via the Hutus gendered genocide techniques, with Rwanda’s pre-genocide gender crises contributing to such gendering. This essay ultimately concludes that historians should adopt a longitudinal methodology when researching the gendering of genocide. Only when this approach is taken can historians gain a more comprehensive understanding of the acute and long-term ramifications of genocide, which forces us to consider Tutsi women not just as survivors, but as victims too.
How unity in political ideology contributed to the victory of the Nationalists and the defeat of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War
James Newnham
The Spanish Civil War fought between 1936 and 1939 reflected deep divisions within Spanish society and in international politics. The war was however not merely Monarchist against Republican or Fascist against Communist. Divisions and factionalism plagued both the Nationalists and Republicans as much as Spain as a whole. Unity or disunity was to prove the decisive factor in the war. Military efficiency was ultimately decided by political unity. The Spanish left was subject to intense infighting, with Stalinists, Trotskyists and Anarchists all viewing the others as ‘deformed’ socialist ideologies. At the outbreak, the Right enjoyed a greater level of popular support and a more unified set of goals. By the War’s end Franco had cemented himself as the undisputed master of Nationalist forces. Often is the Spanish Civil War overlooked, even more neglected are the power struggles and political machinations that would destroy the Spanish Republic.
The Female Factory and its Role in Moral Purity
Amy Shai Nicholson
Historians have widely agreed that the Parramatta Female Factory played an important and multifaceted role in Sydney’s colonial society, as a prison, a workhouse and a marriage bureau in the early nineteenth century. Analysis of a collection of reports published by and for various select committees on transportation in London highlights how the behaviour of convict women was openly criticised during the nineteenth century. Due to the perceived issues stemming from the female convicts, the role of the Female Factory evolved past that of merely a prison. Given that the complex acted as a home at some point to almost all convict women who entered the colony, officials identified an opportunity to convert its use to something that would benefit the society’s moral purity: a marriage bureau.
The First Black President: Clinton, the Lewinsky scandal and black media
Tad Nolan
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” On January 26 1998 President Bill Clinton delivered these words to a curious nation and a ravenous media. Over the following year, the president endured a relentless firestorm of speculation and accusations, and was even asked to resign. But for the black media, a different narrative emerged. President Clinton was portrayed as the victim of a new form of white supremacy, lynching updated for the modern era. In this essay, I will explore how and why black newspapers decided that this white president was emblematic of the black oppressed masses. I conclude that the black media framed President Clinton as a black man in order to engage and energise their readers, blurring the lines between blackness and race.
Racial Bias in the African American experience of the AIDS epidemic in New York
Miranda Norman
The colour of AIDS in America is black. Of the approximately 1.2 million people in the United States currently living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), nearly half (46%) are black as are nearly half of all people newly infected with HIV each year, even though African Americans account for only 12% of the total US population. The experience of the African American community during the AIDS epidemic in New York is indicative of the broader racist sentiment of the United States towards the minority. The first methods of infection (homosexual sex, multiple partners and intravenous drug use), created an unease within the broader United States society, which many facets – government, medical and civilians – struggled to grapple with. Due to racial and social inequality prevalent in America prior to the outbreak (in areas such as housing insufficiency, poverty, ineffective access to healthcare and lower standard of living), the African American community in the United States suffered significantly in the epidemic, as an already marginalised and struggling community in New York.
The Degenerate Art Exhibition, Munich 1937
Meg O’Donnell
The Degenerate Art Exhibition was organised by the Nazi Party in 1937 and was staged in Munich for four months. With the purpose of being viewed comparatively with the Great German Art Exhibition, this derogatory display presented a collection of modern artworks which were in opposition to Nazi ideals and were thus labelled as degenerate. This essay aims to investigate the Degenerate Art Exhibition, demonstrating that it played a fundamental role in Hitler’s artistic regression. It will be argued that Hitler staged this exhibition in order to create an artistic dichotomy, convincing the German people that all modern art was ‘bad’, and that a return to the stylistic techniques of classical antiquity was the only way forward for German culture. This clearly highlights a particular ideological contradiction within Hitler’s fascist regime, as a key aspect of his ‘youthful revolution’ and his creation of a new German era involved a conservative retreat to the classical past.
Bulgarian Memories of Communism: Re-active Reminiscence
Alice Petch
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Bulgaria was one of many Eastern European countries to have its communist system replaced by a democratic and capitalist one. However, Bulgarians’ memories of the communist period are distinct, being dichotomously divided between criticism and disdain for its totalitarian tyranny and nostalgic reminiscence for its socialist ideals. This essay investigates the forces behind that divide, considering individuals’ post-1989 testimonial assessments of the communist government’s enactment, or failure to enact, the socialist promises of economic, political, racial and gender equality, and comparing these with statistical studies of Bulgarians’ satisfaction with democratic life and certain demographic groups’ feelings towards the past. This process of research and analysis reveals that the memories of individuals with greater distance from the communist regime, whether generationally, geographically or intellectually, more commonly fall into the former, critical memory camp, while the memories of individuals constrained or disillusioned by the current democratic system typically align with the latter camp of nostalgia.
Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City 1945: A continuation of brava gente
Lauren Pisani
The Italian national identity has been centred around the brava gente myth, that Italians are good people, incapable of brutality and evil. This national myth resurfaced during Italy’s period of reconstruction after the devastation of fascism. It became a necessary tool, as a historical function, reformulating moments of national shame, so as to the rebuild the nation. Roberto Rossellini’s Roma, Citta Aperta was the world first Italian Neorealist film, set and shot immediately post liberation in Rome 1945-1946. The story captures the heat of the nation at this time, whilst documenting the conditions of post-war Italy. Given the film’s unprecedented success, this essay will argue that the film is an important piece of history as it builds on national identity myths that had been in existence since unification. I will seek to understand how this film influences the memory of war for Italians and how it aids their reconstruction period post-war. I will argue that this film’s continued enjoyment today propels an amnesia of history which has detrimental consequences for the politics and policies of the nation in the present day.
The case of the forged Alien Registration Certificates and Truth’s campaign against Asian immigration during the early 1950s in Sydney
Justin Pooley
The case of the forged Alien Registration Certificates and Truth’s campaign against Asian immigration reveals much about the status of the White Australia policy and how it operated in Australia during the early 1950s. This essay will show that although the campaign was full of hysterical and racist stereotyping it did serve to highlight a number of important points: that Harold Holt and the government were wary of encouraging any sort of public debate about the White Australia policy because they were scared of a community and political backlash; the idea that the ‘whittling down’ of the policy was a conspiracy among political elites that was never put to the Australian people; and that the policy, while very effective, was never wholly ‘white’ and that there had always been an element of non-European immigration since Federation. Scholars point to the early 1950s period as the time when ‘White Australia’ started to break down. But it was also a time when the Government placed further restrictions on unskilled non-Europeans entering the country and this essay will also speculate that the Truth’s campaign played a role in these restrictions being introduced.
People-Smuggling and Mandatory Sentencing in Australia
Lamya Rahman
While activists lobby for the removal of mandatory minimum penalties for people charged under the offence of people-smuggling in s233A of the Migration Act (1958), politicians argue that the legislative measure is necessary to combat transnational organised crime. This essay intends to provide a historical perspective to the debate. Analysing the parliamentary debates over the bill which passed mandatory sentencing, Border Protection (Validation and Enforcements) Bill 2001, it will extract and evaluate the initial justifications for these judicial measures. This essay will conclude that mandatory sentencing was not a response to an overwhelming surge of criminality in Australian courts, or the incoming threat of transnational crime: rather, it was seen as a way to deter unauthorised boat arrivals, discussed primarily in the context of a ‘national security threat’ and a need to ‘stop the boats’.
The Motivation behind Indian Military Service in World War One
Pradeesha Ranatunge
Over two hundred thousand Indian soldiers served in the British forces during the First World War, one of the largest levels of participation in the entire. Their service sheds a light on their attitudes towards their rulers and towards the British Empire. Even though their service was used in later years by Indian nationalists to argue for further concessions, autonomy, and the devolution of power by their British rulers, the soldiers themselves were not motivated by this. Rather, the soldiers were motivated by loyalty to King and Empire, by their own cultural standards surrounding honour and masculinity, by tradition and by offers of land and wages.
Astrology and the Plague: How did Islamic astrology influence Western plague medicine in the late Middle Ages?
Kenneth Robinson
Islamic astrology, through the availability and translation of classical and Eastern works of natural philosophy, was able to influence Western natural philosophy and medicine through, in turn, the translation of these works into Latin. This new astrological knowledge was made available in the West during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but the means of this general but not clearly defined “reception of Greek and Arabic science” in the West is not often specified. In this essay a review of plague documents from the fourteenth century shows the means of transfer of the newly available and quantifiable astrological theory of revolutions and conjunctions to Western medicine. The acceptance of the role of this aspect of astrology in Western plague medicine is shown to be based on the investigations and interpretations of Islamic natural philosophy by Western natural philosophers, and not as would have been expected, directly between medical practitioners. On the other hand, the acceptance in Western medicine of judicial astrology, which involved predicting the future at a more personal level than did conjunctions and revolutions, was limited. This was due to the church and its influence on Western natural philosophers, as it challenged the role of individual free will.
Armenian Motivations for Involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
Michael Rodgers
The 1988-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was of deep importance to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Armenian Diaspora, and this essay examines the motivations for Armenian involvement in the conflict. The essay examines pre-war civilian activists, and soldiers and government actors. The memory of the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide, and Armenian resistance in the form of the fedayi guerrilla movement was deeply important to these motivations. The memory of the movement was revived in response to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The essay examines perceived threats, nationalism and memory, and concludes that the main motivations for Armenian involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was a desire to halt a feared potential genocide of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, and to reclaim lost Armenian territories.
Esther Wait: Culture, heritage and loss Download file
Aaron Ronalds
This essay analyses the life of Esther Wait (1898-1973), who hid her Aboriginal heritage to avoid the harsh treatment faced by Aboriginal people throughout this period. Wait used her position as “White” to engage with modern cultural and political life. Despite this, she still engaged with Aboriginal culture, sometimes disguised as Romantic primitivism, and drew strength from this connection to her Aboriginality and to other Aboriginal people. This essay argues that her life reflects the intense emotional distress experienced by those who chose to hide their Indigenous heritage to ‘pass’ as White and a complex, tenacious, modern Aboriginal response to the extreme pressures of this period.
Jean de Léry’s A history of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Otherwise Called America and the Religious and Social Climate of Sixteenth-Century France
Anna Stancic
The 1578 book A History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Otherwise Called America, written by Huguenot missionary Jean de Léry, reveals the extent to which the complex religious context of sixteenth-century France influenced his impressions of the native Tupinambà during his voyage to Brazil in 1557. While much historical enquiry into the subject has focused on the new information learned about the Tupinambá, this essay centres instead on the unique perspective of Jean de Léry and how the experiences he endured after his return home, including the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572 and the subsequent Siege of Sancerre, gave him a more critical attitude towards his own European society and in turn influenced his judgements and appraisals of the Tupinambá. The essay concludes that de Léry’s experiences afforded him a more open and objective reception of the Tupinambá in his evaluations of their society, cultural customs and humanity, making this text significant for a better understanding of the time period and religious context.
Lust, Caution: China’s discourse on memory of the Sino-Japanese War (1939-1945)
Nurul Afiqah binte Sulaiman
This paper will investigate how China remembers and makes sense of the Sino-Japanese War through a close analysis of the audience and critical reception of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. Using the concept of collective memory, this paper argues that Lust, Caution depicts unconventional and controversial narratives that were perceived by the audience to ridicule and dishonour the memories of Chinese resistance during the war. Additionally, I intend to investigate how the film’s censorship reflects the state’s need to reassert control over the representation of memories while reaffirming that its official collective memory continues to be propagated in popular culture.
Actors and their Agency within the Guatemalan Genocide
Michelle Su
The treatment of the Guatemalan counter-insurgencies in the 1980s as genocide is infrequent and contested, and remains a topic lacking in comprehensive and extensive historical scholarship. This essay aims to provide an actor-based historical analysis of the genocidal conflict and to understand how the inter- and intra-relationships of these agents created the conditions for ‘genocide’. Most useful for understanding the complex dynamics of the civil war, counter-insurgencies and genocide is the three-level framework (macro-, meso- and micro-), and this grants greater depth into the intersecting relations between the Cold War paradigm, Guatemalan state terror/COIN and the Mayan Indians as the ‘other’. Invoking the theme of memory constructing history, this study will find the genocide to emerge from an intersecting nexus of relations between different agents and structural factors. In so doing it will challenge traditional assumptions of the Mayan victim and the Guatemalan army perpetrator.
Violence and Propaganda in the Asylum: Callan Park Hospital for the Insane and the Royal Commission of 1961
Shannon Sweeney
Perceptions of people with mental disabilities have often been classified throughout history with names like ‘the irrational lunatic’, and insane asylums have been designed within the public eye to be dark and scary places. In an attempt to counter this forgetfulness and negative view of the asylum, the Callan Park Hospital for the Insane in 1955 began to publish a series of magazines written by patients called ‘The Park Periodical’. However, newspaper articles and letters from family members of patients reveal a less pleasant depiction than the magazine, and the Royal Commission into the Hospital in 1960 confirmed its poor standards of living. Historians have analysed the relationship between families and the insane asylum in the US, New Zealand and Australia, but this essay examines Callan Park’s publication of ‘The Park Periodical’ as a form of propaganda. The many discordant accounts of the Hospital tell historians today how inefficient and corrupt mental institutions functioned in the mid-20th century and give a glimpse at why a change in the management of mentally ill people in Australia needed to take place.
What specific policies and events impacted the relationship between Nazi Germany and German Jews between 1933-39 culminating in the commencement of the Holocaust?
Charles Taylor
The relationship between the Nazi war machine and the Jewish population could well be the most fractured relationship in history. In a time of desperation where a nation was diminished from the events of World War One, Hitler’s nationalist socialist party paved the way for hope and new beginning, however this all came at a great expense with Judaism being put to the sword as the reason behind the nation’s failures. What then ensued between 1933-39 could be described as a progressive downfall in hope and salvation, as the Nazi party implemented steps aimed at eradicating the Jewish population and cemented their racial intentions leading into World War Two and the final solution. The essay highlights this social and economic downfall and with the assistance of the Yad Vashem website explores the major aspects that led to the commencement of the final solution.
Evatt’s Manifesto or Curtin’s Empire: The Australian-New Zealand Agreement of 1944
Colin Taylor
In January 1944 representatives of the Australian and New Zealand governments met in Canberra to discuss their nations’ futures in the impending post-war world. Historians have largely dismissed the conference as an affair primarily driven by Australia’s external affairs minister H.V. Evatt. This essay challenges conventional views by examining the role of Prime Minter John Curtin who alongside Evatt was a key actor in the conference. In three chronological stages spanning the conference’s prelude, commencement and the signing of the Anzac treaty, it argues that although Australian policy makers were united in how they defined the nation through its Britishness, they were bitterly divided in how they identified its security interests. It concludes by recognising that these divisions merely reflected different means of achieving a common goal of safeguarding Australia as a British nation in the South West Pacific.
For Scottish emigrants to Australia in the mid-nineteenth century, where and what was home?
Celeste van Gent
The personal letters and diaries of Scottish emigrants to colonial Victoria provide rich insight into their ideas of home. By investigating the diaspora of the mid-nineteenth century, through the experiences of Niel Black, Ambrose Dale Stuart, Katherine Kirkland and several highland emigrants, we can gain insights into the way these Scottish emigrants encountered feelings of home and homelessness in colonial Australia. This essay will reveal how for some emigrants, conditions in Australia embedded home in Scotland, and their feelings of home were emotional. It will consider the reverse, where unfamiliar conditions forced them to create new meanings of home; one that was experienced materially. Ultimately, the investigation will reveal how most Scottish emigrants understood home as a hybrid concept of imagined and remembered place that was fused with their present expatriate experience. Their encounters are important in understanding the legacy that persists today — whereby Scotland is an imagined and desired homeland that is longed for by those who have never visited the country. In considering modern scholarship on heritage tourism and return migration, in conjunction with the experiences of early colonial emigrants, we can understand how Scotland has come to be idealised as a near mythic site of homecoming.
Ministry of Truth: The post-Soviet manufacture of history
Natasha Walker
This paper examines the role of history education as an implement of textual mediation in the construction of national identity and collective memory in post-Soviet Russia. It will argue that Russian president Vladimir Putin has developed a nuanced and manipulative approach to the handling of the national curriculum that has recently become disappointingly familiar. By making school history textbooks the fulcrum of this essay, the writer will argue that prevalent patterns within these texts work together in univocal synthesis to elicit feelings of patriotism and loss. These, in turn, encourage political support for a regime that conducts aggressive international foreign policy. This essay will acknowledge and analyse the range of approaches adopted by history textbooks. Doing so will facilitate a discussion regarding the narratives that have influenced the development of national identity in Russia after the chaos of the fall of the USSR and elucidate the overwhelmingly powerful tool that history education can be for the leaders of a nation.

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