Recent Postgraduate Completions

The following Department of History postgraduates had their PhD and MA theses passed in 2019-2020.

Adrienne Tuart, “Discrimination and Desire: Italians, Cinema and Culture in Postwar Sydney” (MA supervised by Chris Hilliard).

As Michelle Arrow of Macquarie wrote: ‘This is an original and engaging contribution to the historiography of post war Sydney, the Italian migrant experience, and Australian cultural history. Through a focus on cinema exhibition and consumption, the thesis offers a new approach to the history of migration and migrant experiences in postwar Australia, which also sheds light on the cultural and social history of cinema-going.’

Sam Gribble, “The “Radical Underworld” of the Mediterranean: William Eton, Malta, and the British Mediterranean Empire, 1770-1806″ (PhD supervised by Cindy McCreery).

As one of Sam’s examiners wrote, ‘Gribble’s dissertation certainly made me think about the Mediterranean and its role not only in the British Empire but in the history of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Europe more generally, besides offering sharp insights into the character of empire(s), and the doing of history.’

Simon Graham, “Cold War Collaborations: An International History of East German Intelligence Sharing with Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, 1948–89” (PhD supervised by Glenda Sluga).

Examiners praised Simon’s thesis as ‘a hugely impressive research effort in Russian, Czechoslovak and German archival sources,’ one that ‘will have a significant impact on the field of intelligence history,’ and one that offers a ‘fresh perspective [on] several issues that have long been debated in the field of Soviet and East European history, but which are rarely backed up or supported by archival evidence’ [such as what he was able to accomplish].

Rohan Howitt, “Ideological Origins of the Australian Antarctic, 1839-1933” (PhD supervised by Andrew Fitzmaurice).

As examiner A/Prof Frances Steel of the University of Wollongong wrote of Rohan’s thesis: ‘This is an astute contribution to the emergent historiography of “Australia’s Empire,” as well as the broader international literature on imperialism and state formation…This is a nuanced and well‐argued piece of historical scholarship, closely attuned to context without losing sight of the “big picture.” It makes an important contribution to the still‐emergent oceanic, imperial and global framings of Australian history and advances them in new directions.’

Emmet Gillespie, “Vanguard State: Labour, radicalism, and third-party politics in Minnesota, 1934-1944” (PhD supervised by Thomas Adams).

Examiners noted that Emmet’s “excellent” dissertation was “lucidly written,” “erudite, original and fun to read,” and praised it as a “deeply researched, skillfully argued, and important” work which will make for a “fantastic book.” All three examiners commented on Emmet’s ability to weave “four distinct case studies into a seamless state-level narrative that has even wider implications for a number of historiographical fields. One noted that it will “force us to rethink common assumptions about the interrelated histories of the left, organized labor, the Democratic Party, and the civil rights movement.” Another wrote that “the thesis makes an important intervention and will find interest from a broad range of scholars interested in labor, liberalism and social movements in the 20th century United States.” As one said, it is “demographically complex, examining the role of race, ethnicity and immigration” and “politically nuanced as well.” Finally, one concluded, “this will make a fantastic book.

Pamela Maddock, “Venereal Disease Control in the Progressive Era US Army: Managing Gendered Labor and Leisure in Imperial Context, 1870-1920” (PhD supervised by Warwick Anderson).

Pamela’s three examiners are among the world’s leading historians of medicine. One writes that her thesis is ‘deeply researched, clearly presented, and cogently argued,’ and that it makes ‘critical new insights into intensive debates about emerging policies of sexual relations.’ A second examiner writes that Pamela’s thesis is ‘one of the best examples of historical research that melds understandings of masculinity, and imperial and wartime exigencies, to sexuality and venereal disease.’ The third examiner describes Pamela’s thesis as “well-argued and with a solid archival grounding,’ declaring it ‘a substantial and commendable accomplishment.’

Katharine Blake, “Sacred–Political Imagery in Fifteenth-Century Florence” (PhD supervised by Andrew Fitzmaurice).

One examiner described Katharine’s thesis as ‘a thought-provoking, imaginative, and impressively wide-ranging dissertation… Ms. Blake ranges over an impressive number of paintings and sculptures, texts, and ideas’.  Another commented that: ‘This is a remarkable dissertation… In fact, it is close to publishable as it is.… Ms. Blake has looked more carefully and more fruitfully at the Donatello sculptures than her predecessors, excavating details that we previously saw as decorative features, but didn’t think to investigate in terms of meaning. Over and over I noted how keen her seeing was and how fruitfully it was tied to new meaning. I think Ms. Blake has given Donatello’s sculptures new life and that her work will invigorate the fields of art history and Renaissance studies in the future.’

Heather Christie, “‘The Meek Shall Inherit The Earth…’ – Vocations of Humility in the Early Franciscan Order” (PhD supervised by Julie Smith).

One examiner described Heather’s thesis as “very well-researched…show[ing] a thorough command of the relevant literature…mak[ing] a real contribution to the field of Franciscan studies by her emphasis on humility as the major interpretive principle of Franciscan history.” Another examiner praised the thesis for its “original theme,” “clear thesis and demarcation of the research question,” “correct and straightforward presentation,” and “good argumentative use of primary sources.” “I admire and congratulate [Ms Christie] for the amount of work she has poured into this enterprise,” a third examiner wrote. 

Minerva Inwald, “‘Drawing on Each Other’s Strengths to Overcome Each Other’s Weaknesses’: Professional Artists, the Masses, and Artistic Culture of the People’s Republic, 1962-1974” (PhD supervised by Helen Dunstan and Andres Rodriguez).

One examiner wrote that Minerva “successfully takes a new approach by looking at the process of artistic creation and by examining how the works of art were displayed in exhibitions in Beijing. Her thesis “contributes to a growing trend in art historical scholarship relating to China to consider the significance of the creative process as a connected social activity in generating meaning, and how artistic value might be understood differently to better align with a multidisciplinary approach to history and knowledge formation.” Examiners also praised Minerva’s thesis as “excellent,” “original,” “enjoyable [to read],” and “based on very strong research.”

Tim Briedis, “Education for Liberation Not World Domination: Student Protest in Australia, 1985-2006” (PhD supervised by Penny Russell).

Tim’s thesis contested the notion that the 1960s were the high point of student protest movements in Australia, arguing instead that students continued to mobilise from the mid-1980s against the commodification and marketisation of higher education. Examiners welcomed his ‘new and original account of student protest in the period long after protest’s stereotyped era’, notable for its ‘thematic breadth’ and ‘truly national coverage’. They were especially impressed by the rich array of sources that underpin the argument, including extensive oral history interviews and student magazines. The thesis is ‘an excellent example of “history from below,”’ wrote one examiner, offering ‘a counter-narrative to the history of the university in Australia as we know it’. It provides insight into ‘the wellsprings of political commitment’, wrote another. All three praised the thesis for its vibrant, lively style and narrative flair, with one commenting: ‘The writing is lucid but impassioned, and the protagonists are given space to speak, while the overarching argument remains taut and analytically sharp.’

Richard Cardinale, “Soviet Human Rights and American NGOs: Transnational Networks and the Kindness of Strangers” (MPhil supervised by Marco Duranti).

One examiner said Richard’s history of the Helsinki Watch ‘is one of the best [accounts] out there, with new details about the personal connections that made it happen.’ The examiner commented that, Richard ‘is to be commended for a beautifully presented, richly researched, and fascinating thesis that makes a significant contribution to historical understanding of U.S. Helsinki Watch and the development of human rights activism more broadly.’ The second examiner praised the thesis for being ‘a major contribution to the field – and in some respects, deliver[ing] on elements that even much celebrated and cited works on Helsinki have not fully addressed.’ This examiner added that Richard’s thesis ‘is very well written, interlacing its narrative and analytic dimensions with skill,’ with a ‘prose style that is already well within the range of what one would encounter in a strong monograph.’

Rose Cullen , “Restoring, Renovating and Conserving Old Houses: Homeowners and Historical Consciousness in Australia 1960-2018” (PhD supervised by Mark McKenna).

As Professor Andrew May remarks in his examiner’s report on Rose Cullen’s thesis, “the best theses always provoke as many questions as they answer, and this is one of those”. Cullen’s thesis has attracted exceptional praise from examiners. Professor May lauded Cullen’s work as “an expansive, coherent, convincing and overdue exploration of an underexplored aspect of urban material culture—the ways in which Australians have valued old houses…It is structured and written…with confidence, elegance, intellectual novelty, research acuity and attention to detail, and it certainly adds to a growing body of innovative social historical analysis on the everyday meanings of heritage in Australian cities and towns”. Dr. Ky Gentry was “particularly impressed with the volume of oral history undertaken toward this thesis, and equally the employment of social history as the dominant frame of the thesis”. Cullen has made “a valuable contribution to the literature”, he noted, building on and “challenging the existing literature in the area”. Professor Graeme Davison pointed to Cullen’s originality, pursuing her topic “thoroughly and resourcefully, approaching it from different angles, tapping a range of documentary and oral sources across the period, and making case studies from several states of the Commonwealth”. All three examiners recommended that the thesis be published, either as a book, or in a number of articles. Rose Cullen is to be congratulated for making an original and provocative contribution to historical scholarship. Her thesis has significantly deepened our understanding of the historical consciousness of Australians in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Andrew Mason-Jones, “The Collapse of Australian Cold War Policy: John Gorton’s Management of the American-Australian Alliance in a Time of Crisis” (MA supervised by James Curran).

One examiner praises Andrew’s thesis as ‘interesting, clearly structured, and well-written…address[ing] an under-researched aspect of Australian foreign policy—the role played by Prime Minister John Gorton in managing Australia’s ever so important partnership with the United States.’ As this examiner adds, ‘in filling the gap in the current literature on Australia’s foreign relations, [Andrew] makes a timely and valuable contribution to the scholarship in this field. He should be congratulated for doing so.’ Another examiner writes that Andrew’s thesis is ‘well written, identifies a clear research question and addresses an important gap in the historical record regarding post Menzies, pre Whitlam Australian foreign policy….[and that it offered] important insight into the somewhat neglected figure of John Gorton and his attempt to recalibrate Australian strategic posture in the wake of Nixon’s Guam Doctrine and the British decision to close its bases East of Suez.’ This examiner adds that Andrew ‘draws on an impressive array of primary and secondary literature,’ including ‘the use of archive material to show the considerable difficulties the Gorton administration faced in the wake of the fluidity and uncertainty of American strategic thinking in the aftermath of the Tet offensive of January 1968.’

Marama Whyte, “The Press for Equality: Women Journalists, Grassroots Activism, and the Feminist Fight for American Media” (PhD supervised by Michael McDonnell).

Through a series of innovatively researched case-studies, the thesis looks at the formal and informal strategies of women in the news media in the 1970s as they fought for equal treatment in the workplace. Examiners were impressed with the “deep archival and oral history research” on which it is based, along with its “strong legal and social movement analysis,” and found it an “authoritative and polished” dissertation that unearths “very telling details” about the ways in which women organised and pressed their cases. The great strength of the thesis, argued another, is its “very careful reconstruction and narrative of events and the attention to the agency of women in formulating tactics and embarking on action.” By situating this story within broader legal, labour, and feminist historiographies, and “carving a clear analytical space for her own important interventions,” “the thesis makes a valuable contribution to knowledge” and “offers a model for a new generation of scholars.”  In sum, examiners called the thesis a “major work of scholarship” and a “wonderful story, well told.” Another asserted that it was “one of the best doctoral theses I have ever read.”  

Deirdre O’Connell, “The World of Crickett Smith: Remembering a Forgotten Trumpeter and Traveler (1881-1947)” (Phd Supervised by Shane White)

Deirdre’s thesis has been described by one of her examiners as ‘“a careful and sensitive rumination on the extraordinary life of an African American, who left America to spend much of his career blowing his trumpet in France, Russia and India. One experienced American examiner noted that he had reviewed many theses but “rarely have I enjoyed the process as much as I did in this case.” He thought it “a spectacular piece of work,” one of “extraordinary range,” adding further that “I honestly cannot think of any doctoral thesis I have ever read that rests upon such an extraordinarily broad research foundation.” Another examiner described the thesis as being “of exceptional originality, rigor and significance,” a work “brilliantly illuminat[ing] Smith’s engagements with commercial, avant-garde and anti-colonial worlds.” She added that it was “beautifully written with sophisticated and effective argumentation,” and, when published, will become “essential reading it its myriad overlapping fields for decades to come.”’

Mentoring Help

Dear First-Year students,

Feeling a bit lost as Uni starts? Worried about how to manage your workload? Nervous about speaking up in tutorials? Anxious about assessments? Unsure of who to ask for advice? 

We are here to help!

This year, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) has introduced a new peer mentoring program“Communities of Support”, designed to offer you guidance and support as you as you navigate your first full year of university study.

Communities of Support offers all FASS first years regular mentoring sessions with senior undergraduate students who have volunteered to provide you the benefit of their experience, enthusiasm, and encouragement as you settle in to life at university. By participating in the program, you will learn a lot about how University works, what skills, strategies, and ‘life-hacks’ might help you to do well in your studies, and be guaranteed the support of a university peer who is invested in your general welfare and wellbeing.You will also get the chance to meet other first year students in a friendly and supportive environment.

Mentoring sessions begin in Week 3 of Semester 1 and will take place in small groups for one hour per week. (Semester 2 mentoring will take place fortnightly.) The day and time of your session will be scheduled according to your availability.

To sign up for this valuable mentoring experience, register your interest here: Spots are limited, so we recommend you register as soon as possible.

Once you have registered, we will be in touch with the time, day, and location of your first mentoring session and contact details for your assigned mentor.

Thanks in advance for your participation. We hope you find the experience rewarding, and please do feel free to contact our CoS Project Officer, Mr Simon Wyatt-Spratt if you have any questions (


Dr Kieryn McKay | LINK Project Manager

Department of English | The University of Sydney

Room S353 | John Woolley Building A20 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

t: +61 2 9036 9957; f: +61 2 9351 2434; e:

History on Wednesday Seminar Schedule: Semester 1, 2020

Please find below our schedule for History on Wednesday, Semester One.

Please note that all Seminars in Semester 1, 2020 will take place in the MECO Seminar Room S226, Woolley Building, from 12:10 pm-1:30 pm.

This room can be best accessed just across from the new Education Building off Manning Road.

For more information, please contact seminar convenor Professor Michael McDonnell.

COVID-19 Update: In accordance with the University of Sydney decision to postpone or cancel all on-campus events, History on Wednesday is temporarily suspended and the following talks will not be taking place. We apologise for any inconvenience, and will provide more updates as the situation develops.

Mar. 11 – Baz Lecocq, Humboldt University of Berlin, “Awad El Djouh: A Global Microhistory of Slavery and Abolition in the 1950s”

Abstract: Microhistory has become a trend in global history in the past few years. What global history actually is, is not, or could be, is still and ongoing discussion, which is complicated by being set in different national languages and historiographies, each making use of terminologies that bring along various connotations that both define and obscure differentiations. What most agree on, is that microhistory is not just detailed history, and global history needs to be grounded to be convincing, and to be grounded it needs to be based in intimate knowledge of a local situation. In this paper (part of an introduction to a monograph) I will argue that a translocal perspective of any historical field is the most fruitful way to combine the micro with the global. I will do so departing from a detailed case study of a mid-1950s global media hype surrounding slave trade from West Africa to Saudi Arabia.

Bio: I studied history and area studies at Leiden University and Amsterdam University, specialising in the history of Africa and the Muslim World. I am interested in the ways human experiences and the historically informed discourses about these experiences shape each other. In other words: I acknowledge the existence of both social reality and its discursive reflection, and I take a middle position between deconstructivist textual and classical social science approaches to the historical discipline balancing each against the other. I am fascinated by human, spatial and intellectual tensions of scale which come to play in politics, social connectivity, and processes of identity formation (nationalism, ethnicity, religion, race), and their representations (poetry and song, media stories, oral histories and discourse, and, to a lesser extent photography and film). My findings are usually presented as detailed micro histories, taking the connectivity between these histories and larger processes and structures as an integral part of those histories, rather than as their background. In my work, agency is central and it shapes structure, not the other way around (which, in my opinion, denies history to be human endeavour and would make me lose all hope for change). So far my work has focussed on the contemporary histories of decolonisation and nation building in Francophone West Africa and the Sahara from the perspective of the Kel Tamasheq or Tuareg people, and on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca from West Africa and its various spatial, political, social, religious and economic dimensions. Recently I have taken an interest in the social, cultural and political meanings, possibilities, and constraints of mechanical means of transport (ships, trains, cars, and aeroplanes) in the processes of globalisation and modernisation on the African continent.

Mar. 25 – David Walker, Deakin University, “Stranded Nation: Australia’s responses to Asia from the 1930s to the 1970s”

Abstract: Stranded Nation examines how a ‘white’ nation, harbouring deep anxieties about rising Asia, sought to convince both itself and its neighbours that it belonged to the Asian region. In the period 1930 to 1970 Australia undertook a momentous turn to the East. This history addresses issues of race, white prestige and belonging in a world shaken and transformed by decolonization. The psychology of Asia was often seen as the elusive key to understanding the region rather than social and economic circumstances. It will be argued that Asian visitors to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s played a larger role in undermining ‘White Australia’ that historians have recognized.

Bio: David Walker was the inaugural BHP Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University (2013-2016). His extensive writing on Australian representations of Asia includes Stranded Nation: White Australia in an Asian Region (UWA Publishing 2019). This is a companion to Anxious Nation: Australia and the Rise of Asia, 1850 to 1939 (UQP, 1999) which was translated into Chinese and Hindi. He is the co-editor with Agnieszka Sobocinska of Australia’s Asia: From Yellow Peril to Asian Century (UWA Publishing, 2012). His Asia-related essays have appeared as Encountering Turbulence: Asia in the Australian Imaginary (Readworthy, 2013). In a different vein he has written a ‘personal history’, Not Dark Yet (Giramondo, 2011) exploring family, memory and his experience of becoming ‘legally blind’. A Chinese translation (光明行 ) was published in 2014. David Walker is an Alfred Deakin Professor, Deakin University and an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He received an AM in 2018.

Apr. 22 – Ludmilla Jordanova, Durham University, “Portraits, Histories, Institutions”

Abstract: Since the early 1990s I have been working on portraiture and trying to see how it could become fully integrated into mainstream historical practice. While I have paid particular attention to portraits of/by those active in the sciences, medicine, and art-making, their potential to inform all kinds of historical practice is huge. One of the most striking features of portraiture is its centrality for institutions of many kinds – guilds, corporations, colleges, professional associations and so on. The proliferation of portrait galleries, especially in the English-speaking world, reinforces the point. I have worked on/in the portrait galleries in Edinburgh, and especially London, and am eager to understand the foundation and workings of the one in Canberra. My talk will pursue these themes in terms of both specific institutions and broader methodological issues in historical practice.

Bio: Ludmilla Jordanova is Emeritus Professor of History and Visual Culture, Durham University, UK, where she was Director of the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture, 2014-19. She has held posts at the universities of Oxford, Essex, York, East Anglia, Cambridge, and London. Her books include: Sexual Visions (1989); Nature Displayed (2000); Defining Features (2000), The Look of the Past (2012) and History in Practice (3rd expanded edition, 2019). Writing Visual Histories, which she co-edited and contributed to, will be published by Bloomsbury Academic in November 2020. She is currently working on a book about portraiture since 1500.

May 6 – Alan Atkinson, University of Sydney, “Skin of the Frog: A Deep Shift in History Writing”

Abstract: This is an effort to make sense of fifty years of history-writing (mine) while at the same time drawing on what I understand to be happening now in the larger world of interdisciplinary scholarship, especially since the 1990s.  There are several questions.  What does the historian do with subjectivity – their own and all that they find in the past?  How is it possible to capture and convey the tender underside of self, so as give it what might be called historical usefulness?  I’ve circled around that question for a long time.  This paper approaches it through the new hypotheses of “the extended mind”.  A good part of the answer seems to lie in getting more unashamedly physical – hence the skin of the frog. There are obvious implications for understanding the colonisation of Australia and for understanding the way individuals radically change their physical circumstances.  Even the nexus between “invader” and “settler” can be tackled with notions of the extended mind.  In my larger work I am trying to understand how the Macarthur family (who arrived in NSW 1790), steadily accommodated themselves to the land, as unusually powerful but also as hands-on practitioners in the art of invading/settling.  Stories of such people have been told over and over.  But what happens to those stories when they are filtered through the new approaches to brain and mind – and therefore subjectivity – that have evolved over the last twenty years?  I may be barely qualified to say, but this paper, frog-like, makes the plunge.

Bio: Alan Atkinson has written extensively on Australian history.  His books include The Europeans in Australia, of which the third volume won the Victorian Prize for Literature.  He is a graduate (MA, hon DLitt) and honorary professor of Sydney University, and an emeritus professor of UNE.

May 27 – Leah Lui-Chivizhe, University of Sydney

Title and Abstract: TBD.

Bio: Dr Leah Lui-Chivizhe researches in Indigenous histories with a focus on Torres Strait cultural histories and performance. Her current work focuses on 19th c. ethnographic and natural history collections from the region and Islander engagements with these collections for remembering and performing history. Leah has taught in Indigenous Studies at the University of Sydney (Koori Centre 2001-2012) and UNSW (Nura Gili 2013- June 2017).

Student Volunteers Needed

Dear students,

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney would like to invite you to become a volunteer mentor for a new Faculty-wide first year mentoring program in 2020. Entitled “Communities of Support”, th​is extended mentoring program aims to address student transition, support, and retention issues among some of our most underrepresented cohorts ​as they enter and undertake their first year of study. ​We also hope to contribute to student well-being and satisfaction ​by encouraging stronger communities among our FASS student cohort. 

About the Communities of Support (CoS) Program

Transitioning to life at University can be challenging. How do change your timetable? How do you keep on top of your workload while working a part-time job? How do you prepare for exams or undertake research for your assessments? How do you make new friends in a Faculty as big and as broad as FASS? First year students are often overwhelmed by the difficult task of adjusting to the many new experiences they encounter in their first year of study. Those students who are among the first in their family to attend university or who come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds are also less likely to have members of their family or community who can provide effective support as they transition to higher education. We would like to do more to help. 

The FASS Communities of Support Mentoring Program offers extended peer support to first year students across their first year of study. Open to all FASS first year undergraduates but designed to cater specifically to those of low-socioeconomic backgrounds and/or first in family, the program offers weekly mentoring throughout Semester 1, fortnightly mentoring in Semester 2, and follows a structured schedule of topics that progress in-step with the first year experience. 

Your Involvement

As a Communities of Support (CoS) Mentor, you would be helping to enrich the first year experience for our ‘mentee’ program participants. As a second year, third year (or beyond!), you have already learned a lot about how life at University works, and what skills, strategies, and ‘life-hacks’ help you to do well in your studies. We be thrilled if you could offer your general knowledge, experience, and your support to those who are just starting out at University. 

Mentoring is a very rewarding experience, and your involvement in the CoS program will help to develop your leadership capacity, communication skills, and your own cultural competencies in working with diverse student groups. We also hope that the program will offer a stronger sense of community for all of our Mentors and Fellows across the Faculty. Finally,  all volunteer mentors will receive will receive a $100 shopping voucher on completion of the program. 

If you are willing to participate as a CoS Mentor, you will be matched with 2-4 first year participants who will become your ‘mentee group’ across the year. We will provide you with mentoring training, as well as a calendar of topics and relevant ‘talking points’ to help guide your mentoring sessions. You will also be paired with a postgraduate CoS Leadership Fellow who you will meet with once a month to consult on your progress, ask questions, and who will offer you general support. Please note that your time commitment to the project will involve one hour per week throughout Semester 1 and one hour per fortnight throughout Semester 2 for your small group mentoring sessions, and one additional hour per month for coffee catch-ups with your allocated Fellow. All mentoring sessions and Fellows coffees will be arranged according to your availability. 

CoS Mentor Registration

All FASS students who are second-year ​undergraduates and above are invited to apply to become a volunteer ​CoS Mentor. We particularly encourage students who are themselves E12 scholarship recipients, are among the first generation in your family to go to University, ​are from diverse cultural backgrounds, come from a regional/rural area​, and/or belong to other under-represented cohorts at the University. Please note that if you have already signed up for an existing mentoring program, you can still enrol for this program, but we expect you to honour your original commitment as well.

You can apply by completing the CoS Mentor Registration at this link: Applications are due by 9:00 pm, on Tuesday, March 3.

If you are selected for the program you will be asked to attend a welcome and training ​session on Friday, March 6, from 10am – 3pm. ​Alternative arrangements can be made for those who cannot attend. 

Thanks in advance for your help and participation, and please do feel free to contact our CoS Project Officer, Mr Simon Wyatt-Spratt if you have any questions (

Associate Professor Melissa Hardie (English)

Professor Michael McDonnell (History)

Dr. Kieryn McKay (Project Manager)

Simon Wyatt-Spratt (Project Officer)

Global Royal Families

Global Royal Families: Concepts, Cultures, and Networks of International Monarchy, 1800-2020.

Conference held at the German Historical Institute London (GHIL), 16-18 January 2020. Conveners: Falko Schnicke (GHIL), Cindy McCreery (University of Sydney), and Robert Aldrich (University of Sydney).

Conference Report

Co-financed by the GHIL and the University of Sydney, the event brought together scholars from four continents and eight countries to discuss the timely issue of global monarchies. Over the two and a half days there were nearly forty attendees and nineteen speakers presenting ideas spanning royal families across two centuries and the continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Despite the wide variance in time periods and geographical locations, there were many overlapping and complementary themes between the papers, including the importance of the visibility of monarchs, the need to secure status on a global stage, as the role of royals as official and unofficial diplomats, and the media’s influence over the public image of a royal person or dynasty. The conference’s main findings could be seen in its constant intertwining of global, national, and regional aspects of royal families and in proving the reoccurring political significance of monarchies in different nineteenth- and twentieth-century contexts.           

The conference opened with Robert Aldrich’s (University of Sydney) introductory talk detailing the coverage of global royal families in history and historiography. Starting with comparative examples from both the early nineteenth century and modern-day marriages between the Napoleon and Habsburg dynasties, Aldrich highlighted the intertwined genealogical, political, and cultural ties between royal families across the world. He maintained that in the nineteenth century European monarchies were affected by empire, which demonstrated their power to conquer and their interest in collections of ‘exotica’, yet simultaneously non-European monarchies were adopting western styles of clothing, architecture, and court culture to be more accepted on the global stage.

The first session focused upon royalty in international affairs and diplomacy and opened with a paper by Moritz A. Sorg (University of Freiburg) which examined the extent to which the First World War damaged royal family relationships across Europe. Sorg provided parallel case studies of Ferdinand I of Bulgaria and Ferdinand I of Romania to demonstrate how the First World War placed related monarchies on opposite sides, and the consequential impact this had on how these royal individuals were viewed in their respective countries and under the condition of increasing nationalism. Next, Michael Kandiah’s (King’s College London) paper focused upon how the British royal family since 1952 has utilized their ‘soft power’ to improve diplomatic relations between countries. Using oral testimonies of British diplomats, Kandiah explored how Queen Elizabeth II has been able to use her royal status, which places her above politics in order to maintain good relationships through official engagements, both internationally and in Britain.

The second session centred on the House of Windsor and their relationship with foreign royal houses. Continuing the focus on Queen Elizabeth II and the current British royal family, Falko Schnicke (GHIL) delivered a paper which analysed the content of speeches given at state visits and highlighted the input that the Government and the Palace had over these. He proved that is was the Foreign Office which inserted the references to personal family remarks within the speeches to demonstrate the network of monarchies and the intensity of the international royal relationships. Thus, the royal family functioned as a collective unit rather than as individuals. Following this Hilary Sapire (Birbeck College, University of London) examined the relationship between the British and Zulu royal families (in South Africa) in the colonial period and through the early twentieth century. She argued that royal events and the links to the British monarchy were used by both Zulu monarchists and nationalists to advance their cause for independence.

The first day closed with a keynote by Frank Mort (University of Manchester), which analysed how the media was used to transform the monarchy under George V and Queen Mary, and Edward VIII into a consumable entity for the public. The increased visibility of the royal family through informal royal visits both in Britain and the colonies helped to make them more accessible to the ordinary public. Mort took a bottom-up approach to judging how the public emotionally responded to different members of the royal family through drawing upon first-hand accounts of seeing royalty. He argued that the rise of human-interest journalism meant that there was a more extensive and global coverage of the royal family, and an attempt to make them more approachable by conducting unceremonious visits. He stressed the differences between George V and Queen Mary helping to solidify the notion of the royal family as a domestic unit, whilst the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) fostered a celebrity culture around his younger lifestyle.

The second day of the conference began with session three which looked at the global reach of the British monarchy, with John R. Davis (Queen Mary London/ Historic Royal Palaces) beginning with British attitudes towards India in the nineteenth century. Using Queen Victoria’s diaries and royal library catalogues, Davis argued that Queen Victoria was first introduced to German philology through Prince Albert. This early introduction to philology and reoccurring meetings with renowned scholars such as Max Müller, helped to fuel her interest in Indian culture during the latter part of her life. Moving into the twentieth century, Christian Oberländer (University of Halle-Wittenberg) contrasted this with a paper analysing how the British royal family were a model for the Japan’s Imperial house, looking particularly at the role of the Japanese sovereign as a ‘symbol’ emperor after the Second World War. He argued that by effectively adopting the emperor as a head of state and embracing state visits, the Japanese Imperial family was able to open themselves up to the public at home and in the West.  

Session four continued the theme of royal travel through focusing on the Spanish and Austrian royal families. Firstly, Javier Moreno-Luzón (Complutense University of Madrid) explained how Alfonso XIII of Spain (r.1886-1931) fostered closer relations with Latin America through royal visits, celebrations, and a shared culture to create a transnational image of the royal family. He argued that since the late nineteenth century until the end of the 1920s, the royal family successfully promoted Spanish national identity centring on the monarchy through the careful selection of sending different royal individuals to Hispanophone Latin American countries. Thereby they were able to simultaneously promote the historic ties to Spain and highlight a progressive future. Aglaja Weindl (University of Munich) provided a case study of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and how he was an ‘unexpected global royal’ because of his world tour in 1892-3. This extensive travel not only educated the Archduke but provided an opportunity to build better relations with other Protestant and Orthodox countries. Consideration of the routine of ceremonies with bad company whilst undertaking official duties was emphasized and provided a humanistic account of royal life.

Session five focused upon global encounters, with Judith Rowbotham (University of Plymouth) using a range of local, national, and colonial newspapers to analyse the reception of the British royal family within different colonies. With examples of tours through India, Canada, Australia, and beyond from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, she emphasized the impact that these visits had on global networking and diplomacy. Through specifically tailoring the tone of the visit and the activities, this not only aided relationships with the authorities, but allowed a sense of community to develop in the colonial public. Cindy McCreery (University of Sydney) followed this with a case study of the 1881 visit to Japan by King Kalakaua of Hawai’i and Princes Albert Victor and George of Great Britain, and explored how this occasion was used to foster better relations between the countries. With similarities that mirrored Oberländer’s paper, McCreery argued that the opening up of Japan to royal visits was an attempt for the country to reinvent its global image, appear more welcoming, and encourage trade deals. Such a tour also allowed the King of Hawai’i to develop an international presence. Photographs of the visit demonstrated that there was a clear acknowledgement of the status of foreign royalty, whilst showing differences in hierarchy due to age and position to the throne.

The following session centred around the importance of letter-writing between royals, with emphasis on female family relations. Susanne Bauer (University of Trier) explained her research project cataloguing and analysing the 20,000 letters of Augusta Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Queen of Prussia and Empress of Germany. She argued that Augusta expressed many political opinions within these letters, tried to advise her husband (whether he asked for advice or not), and was a key factor in building relationships with royalty and politicians across Europe and beyond with approximately 230 royal and non-royal correspondents. Mary T. Duarte (Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, USA) analysed the letters between four generations of female royals over the course of the nineteenth century from the line of ancestors of Maria Theresa of the House of Habsburg. She scrutinized the type of advice passed from mother to daughter, and between grandmother and granddaughter, especially pertaining to marriage and sexual life. She contended that as the generations went on the tone of this advice softened, although duty and obedience was still often accentuated.

 The second keynote of the conference was delivered by Irene Stengs (Meertens Instituut/ Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam), who provided an in-depth anthropological analysis of the mourning culture in Thailand following the death of King Rama IX in 2016, and the meaning of the symbolism and rituals in the coronation ceremony of King Rama X in 2019. Taking a step-by-step approach through the elements and stages of the coronation ceremony, Stengs highlighted how this event was used to unite the country through a shared experience and emotions. Whilst there was historical and religious precedent for several aspects of the event, the incorporation of modern technology, such as mass television broadcasting and drones, allowed an increased accessibility and personal quality to the new monarch. She also presented a close analysis of the use of colour by the organizers of the event to mark a new reign, and explained the significance this holds within Thai culture.

The final day of the conference started with a session exploring the regional dynasties and transnational royal families. Aidan Jones (King’s College London) gave a case study of Alexander II of Russia’s visit to Britain in 1874 on the occasion of his daughter Marie’s marriage to Prince Alfred. He analysed the dynastic politics of the marriage arrangement and the wider implications this had for international diplomacy. Priya Naik (University of Delhi) followed this with a paper exploring the consumption of Britishness by Indian Princes in the first half of the twentieth century. She argued that the consumption of goods, language, culture, and customs by Indian Princes was an attempt for them to be accepted within British society and to join an international aristocratic network.

The final session analysed the different international models of monarchy. Nicholas Miller (University of Lisbon), like McCreery, focused on King Kalakaua of Hawai’i (r.1874-1891) but this time comparing him to Sultan Abu Bakar of Johore (r.1886-1895) in the Malay States. He focused upon the two kings’ different approaches to ruling small monarchies and gaining international recognition for theirs states, as well as addressing the issue of labour migration. Charles Reed (Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, USA) closed the conference by returning to India via the Gaekwad of Baroda. Like Naik, he highlighted the Gaekwad’s desire to foster good relations with the British. Reed’s approach was to explore how this was achieved through the lens of royal visits to Britain from the later nineteenth century and the public image they were trying to promote of a princely state in India during the colonial period and after independence.

The conference closed with reflections from the co-organizers who drew out some of the key themes across the papers. The breadth of time period and geographical locations had highlighted that monarchies achieved local, national, and global reaches. Several papers highlighted that royalty was used, often unofficially, for diplomatic reasons to improve relationships between dynasties and nations, which provoked discussions about how individual royal persons perceived their role. It was agreed that monarchy is an evolving concept, and in recent times through embracing modern technology and utilising media coverage, royal families were able to appear relatable and relevant to contemporary society. The importance of the family unit at the heart of the monarchy was understood to be a central factor in emphasizing the longevity and stability of the institution. Finally, the visibility of royalty, either through first-hand accounts of travel, or increased coverage in the press and accompanying images, was a central theme across many of the papers. This increased visibility frequently allowed the royal individuals to appear more personable and enhanced their popularity nationally and globally. The conference illustrated some of the paradoxes of private life and public role for royal families on a global stage. It also confirmed the need for further studies, even in the twenty-first century, continuing and evolving the central position in political, social, and cultural life occupied by monarchs and their royal families in many countries.

Paige Emerick (University of Leicester)

Power and Culture

Power and Culture: Making Indian Identity

A conference in honour of Jim Masselos

Department of History, The University of Sydney, CCANESA, Madsen Building

20-21 February 2020

Jim Masselos, Sydney and India

This conference celebrates the teaching, research, philanthropy and friendship of Dr Jim Masselos.  After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Sydney, he took a doctorate at the University of Bombay, and then returned to Sydney, where he taught for 36 years until his retirement in 2001; he is currently an Honorary Reader in the Department of History in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry.

Jim is an internationally renowned specialist in the history of Indian nationalism, the history of Bombay and the history of early photography and popular art in India.  Among his many publications are Nationalism on the Indian Subcontinent: An Introductory History (1972; revised ed., Indian Nationalism: A History, 1985); Towards Nationalism: Group Affiliations and the Politics of Public Associations in Nineteenth Century Western India (1974); Dancing to the Flute: Music and Dance in Indian Art (with Jackie Menzies and Pratapaditya Pal) (1997); Beato’s Delhi, 1857, 1997 (with Narayani Gupta, 2000, reprinted as Beato’s Delhi 1857 and Beyond, 2011); The City in Action: Bombay Struggles for Power (2007) and Bombay Then and Mumbai Now (with Naresh Fernandes) (2009), three exhibition catalogues, five edited books – including Bombay and Mumbai: The City in Transition, co-edited with our conference keynote speaker, Sujata Patel (2003) –  six special issues of academic journals, and seventy-odd journal articles and book chapters.

Jim is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Asiatic Society of Mumbai – one of fewer than ten foreigners elected since 1947 to a society that traces its origins to 1804.  Bombay Before Mumbai: Essays in Honour of Jim, edited by Prasant Kidambi, Manjiri Kamat and Rachel Dwyer, was published last year by Oxford University Press, and launched in both London and Mumbai. 

This conference has been made possible by generous funding from the John Anthony Gilbert Bequest and the Alexander John Anderson Bequest of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, allocated by the Dean of the Faculty, and by supplementary funding from the Department of History, for which we are extremely grateful. 

All sessions will take place in the meeting room of the Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA), on the first floor of the Madsen Building, on the main campus (near City Road) of the University of Sydney.

Morning coffee and afternoon tea will be provided to all participants, and lunch will be provided to paper-givers and chairs.  The conference dinner is open to all participants at their own expense.

Conference convened by Professor Robert Aldrich and Dr Cindy McCreery, Department of History, SOPHI, FASS, The University of Sydney

Thursday, 20 February

8.45                 Registration

9.00                 Welcome and practical information

9.30                 KEYNOTE ADDRESS

‘Studying Indian History and Society: Beyond Colonial and National Perspectives’

                        Sujata Patel (Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla)

10.45-11.00     Morning coffee

11.00-12.30     Session 1

‘Divine Damsels in distress: The Yoginis of Hirapur and Beraghat’

                        Richard Barz (Australian National University)

‘Religion and Empire: Roman Catholicism in Colonial Bengal and the Transnational World, 1841-1947’

                        Tim Allender (University of Sydney)

                        ‘Nineteenth-Century Commercial Laws and History’

                        Gail Pearson (University of Sydney)

12.30-1.30       Lunch

1.30-3.00         Session 2

 ‘Alternative Visions: Hindi and Australia’

                        Peter Friedlander (Australian National University)

‘Mapping Knowledge of New South Wales from Calcutta in the Late Eighteenth Century’

Eileen Chanin (Australian National University)

                        ‘Night Train to Varanasi’

                        Sean Doyle

3.00-3.30         Afternoon Tea

3.30-5.00         Session 3

                        ‘Indian Perceptions of a Burmese Nationalist in the 1920s’

                        Yuri Takahashi (Australian National University)

                        ‘The Politics of Place in Colonial Ahmedabad’

                        Rob Wooding

The Sounds of Anticolonialism: Gandhi, Noise and the Microphone’

                        Kama Maclean (University of New South Wales)

7.00     Conference dinner (at participants’ own expense) at Salt & Palm Restaurant, 22 Glebe Point Road, Glebe – a short walk from the conference site (restaurant to be confirmed).

Friday, 21 February

9.30-11.00       Session 4

                        ‘Bombay Roots, Global Networks: Kapila Khandvala, 1930s and 1940s’

Heather Goodall and Devleena Ghosh (University of Technology, Sydney)

                        ‘Indian Labour History and the 1974 Strike’

                        Stephen Sherlock (University of New South Wales, Canberra)

                        ‘The Huntington Thesis and India’

                        Howard Brasted (University of New England)

11.00-11.30     Morning Coffee

11.30-1.00       Session 5

                        ‘The Collection of an Indophile’

                        Jackie Menzies (Art Gallery of New South Wales)

                        ‘A Slice of India, 1966: Experimenting with Devices from the Australian Bicentennial History Project (1988)’

                        Robin Jeffrey (Institute of South Asian Studies, Singapore)

‘Cut and Come Again: Imagining the Sequel to Jim Masselos’ India: Creating a Modern Nation (1990)’

Peter Mayer (University of Adelaide)

1.00-2.00         Lunch

2.00-3.00         Session 6

                        ‘Ayahs in Australian History’: Searching for Subaltern Women’

                        Victoria Haskins

‘Nineteenth-Century Indian Photography and the Crisis of Postcolonial Secularism’

                        Sushma Griffin (University of Queensland)

3.00-4.00         Roundtable discussion on Indian history in Australia

4.00-4.30         Afternoon tea

4.30-5.00         Concluding remarks by Jim Masselos

Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards

Many congratulations to our most recent recipients of Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards – Chin Jou, Marco Duranti, and Pamela Maddock.

Dr. Chin Jou received an award for Excellence in Teaching, particularly for her work in HSTY2609: African-American History, to foster cultural competence and equip students to be informed and thoughtful members of contemporary society, and link the past with the present in engaging and accessible ways.

One of her nominees wrote: “Dr. Jou has worked assiduously in creating an innovative and intellectually rigorous learning environment for students that is based on a carefully plotted structure, supportive discussion and lectures, timely feedback, and an ability to engage the students with references to contemporary events. … I am constantly amazed by the reach of the connections Dr. Jou makes in her teaching, and her ability to make history come alive. … From my own experience discussing and co-designing curriculum changes and new pedagogies, I know her to be a creative, caring, and engaged teacher who works tirelessly to create exceptional and supportive learning environments. She is a brilliant teacher who is not only committed to research-led teaching, but also to an engaged and inclusive pedagogy that brings out the absolute best in students from a range of backgrounds and abilities (and indeed, she is also a leading figure in the department in developing cultural competence skills among both students and staff alike).”

Dr. Marco Duranti also received an Excellence in Teaching award primarily for his work in teaching innovation as part of a 2018 DVC-E Strategic Education Grant (‘Developing Digital Literacy in Human Rights History’), which he then used in units including HSTY2616: The Human Rights Revolution and HSTY2652: Genocide in Historical Perspective.

One of his support letters wrote: “Marco is an outstanding teacher, whose energetic, engaging lecturing style and passionate commitment to structured, accessible and technologically supported unit delivery have made him one of the History Department’s most popular and effective lecturers. … In the digital literacy space Marco’s initiatives have been particularly innovative and effective. He has transformed students’ experience by equipping them with the tools and skills needed to extract and manipulate data to solve complex research problems. He has supported the development of digital literacy not only within in his own units, but across his department, School and Faculty. The History Department is fortunate to have such a skilled, dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, whose ability to ignite and retain his students’ interest is attested by their choice of research topics in his field for senior essays and honours theses, long after taking his undergraduate units.”

Finally, Dr. Pamela Maddock received a Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Tutorials with Distinction for her work in FASS2200: Great Books that Changed the World and HSTY2609: African-American History and Culture.

One of her support letters wrote: “Pam is a skilled and experienced tutor whose depth of disciplinary expertise and outstanding capabilities as a facilitator of classroom discussion are well recognised amongst my colleagues in the History Department. What strikes me in particular … is Pam’s willingness to share the benefit of her classroom experience collegially and as a matter of teamwork, spreading her excellent practice through the department rather than developing it only for the benefit of her particular students. This kind of give-and-take and collegial exchange is a feature of the best teaching relationships in the department.”

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Awards program is designed to recognize and reward the teaching excellence of staff at all career levels, to encourage teachers to engage in reflective teaching practices, and to promote and support the development of high quality and innovative teaching.

Recipients have demonstrated an evidence informed approach to critical reflection on teaching and learning, evaluation of their teaching practice, engagement with higher educational research, and a focus on improving student learning.

Awards were presented by the Dean, Professor Annamarie Jagose on Monday, 28 October 2019 at MacLaurin Hall.

The 2019 Teaching Awards recipients were:
Excellence in Teaching
Dr Michael Abrahams-Sprod (SLC)
Dr Benn Banasik (SLAM)
Dr Anastasia Burkovskaya (Economics)
Dr Jon Callow (SSESW)
Dr Joe Collins (SSPS)
Dr Eleanor Cowan (SOPHI)
Dr Marco Duranti (SOPHI)
Dr Yunjong Eo (Economics)
A/Professor Charlotte Epstein (SSPS)
Dr Susan Heward-Belle (SSESW)
Dr Mitchell Hobbs (SLAM)
Dr Alexander Howard (SLAM)
Dr Chin Jou (SOPHI)
A/Professor David Macarthur (SOPHI)
Dr Eyal Mayroz (SSPS)
Dr Janica Nordstrom (SSESW)
A/Professor Aek Phakiti (SSESW)
Dr Maria Quigley (SSESW)
Mrs Christel Rome (SLC)
Dr Alix Thoeming (SOPHI)
Dr Matthew Thomas (SSESW)
Dr Marian Vidal-Fernandez (Economics)
Dr Huy Vu (Economics)
Dr Thea Werkhoven (SSESW)
Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Tutorials with Distinction
Mr Tristan Bradshaw (SSPS)
Mr Patrick Locke (SSPS)
Dr Pamela Maddock (SOPHI)
Mr Dashiell Moore (SLAM)
Ms Leanne Stevenson (SSPS)
Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Tutorials
Miss Elena Carletti (SLC)
Mrs Katherin Cartwright (SSESW)
Dr Daniel Dixon (FASS)
Dr Kirk Dodd (SLAM)
Dr Ben Egliston (SLAM)
Mr Oliver Gordon (SOPHI)
Dr Gil Hizi (SSPS)
Dr Amelia Kelly (SLAM)
Mrs Nada Labib (SSESW)
Ms Marlena Lutz-Hughes (SLAM)
Ms Georgia Monaghan (SLAM)
Ms Carrol Quadrio (SLAM)
Dr  Rosmawati (SSESW)
Ms Tara Smith (SLAM)
Ms Xueting Wang (Economics)
Miss Laura Welty (SSPS)
Ms Samantha Zhan Xu (SLC)