What do Historians do in the ‘Holidays’?

The campus is empty for the mid-semester break and students and colleagues have scattered. Many congratulations to all for finishing the semester and especially to those who might have finished their degree this past semester!

If you are wondering what your Lecturers and Tutors do over the break, they are not usually on ‘holiday’ as often assumed! As soon as the last exams are marked most of us try to get back to the other part of our job – research and writing.

Often this involves heading overseas to the archives, or for conferences, as myself, James Findlay, Kirsten McKenzie and Niro Kandasamy have all done recently (to South Carolina, Paris, and London – you can judge who got the better deal!).

Closer to home, many of us attended the 50th anniversary conference of the Australian Historical Association next week in Melbourne, either to present our own research papers, or listen to others in our fields (you can read a little more about it here: https://theaha.org.au/aha-conference-2023-milestones/). Others are busy writing articles, essays, books, and book reviews.

And of course the teaching part of our job never quite stops as we will also be starting to prepare Canvas sites and outlines and readings for semester two units.

We also get busy writing references for students, and helping them with their future plans. In that regard, we’d like to congratulate recent Honours students Patrick Flood (2022), Harry Waugh (2021) and Celeste van Gent (2020) who are all heading to Oxford University in a couple of months to start or resume their postgraduate studies. Celeste and Harry have also both won prestigious Ramsay Centre Postgraduate Scholars Awards (see: https://www.ramsaycentre.org/news-and-media/2023-ramsay-postgraduate-scholars-announced/)

I originally wrote this from a steamy Columbia, South Carolina in late-June. I had just attended and given a paper at a Conference on the American Revolution, and then did some some work in the archives in South Carolina – while trying to keep an eye on what’s happening in Sydney…..

For many of your lecturers, the mid-semester break means a constant juggle between teaching and getting some research done, so the winter break is as busy as ever for most of us – and I suspect many of you are turning more to part-time work or care in the break too. Still, I hope everyone manages some kind of ‘holiday’ in the midst of it all.

Mike M.

Chair, History