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.”’

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).

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)

The Nightingale: Gender, Race and Troubled Histories on Screen: A symposium

Friday 13 December

University of Technology, Sydney, Building 10, Level 5, Room 580


Acclaimed Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent’s film The Nightingale (2019) has generated intense debate – and prompted audience walkouts – since its premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. Set during the Black War in Van Diemen’s Land in 1825, the film is an unflinching depiction of colonial, and sexual violence. Kent told The Saturday Paper that she ‘wanted to tell a story that is relevant to my history and my country.’ Her vision of British colonisation, and its consequences for those caught in its wake, taps into a conversation with a strong presence in Australia’s public, political and cultural life over the last three decades. This symposium will investigate this complex and groundbreaking historical film from a number of interdisciplinary perspectives, drawing together scholars across Australia to explore and interrogate the historical representation of gender, race and colonialism on screen.

Spaces are limited. For further information and RSVPs, contact:

Scholar Talk: A Soldier’s Life on the Penal Frontier

With Tamsin O’Connor

Location: State Library of New South Wales

Metcalfe Auditorium, Ground Floor, Macquarie Street, Sydney

The well-documented convict cargo was accompanied by a far more elusive group of involuntary arrivals – the soldiers. We know much about the various regiments that served in New South Wales, but far less about the enlisted men who gave them form and force.The focus of this study is the frontier penal station of Newcastle, where the soldiers were charged with a double remit – as the agents of expansion and as the enforcers of confinement. This dual military function is examined through the story of two wooden boxes, including the Macquarie Collectors chest. This is curated as a National Treasure, an early example of Australiana and as an artistic colonial collaboration. My analysis relocates the chest in its military and penal contexts where it begins too look more acquisitive than collaborative – the incidental spoils of a frontier war and the perks of an exploited labour force. A second and more humble wooden box focuses upon the experiences of enlisted men, who felt themselves to be as trapped and tormented as the convicts they guarded. Relationships between convicts and soldiers were characterised by a tension between conflict and cooperation, between class commonality and regimental discipline and between the complex loyalties of religion and ethnicity. This paper, while seeking to negotiate these micro-geographies of class, race, gender and power on the penal frontier, also aims to reveal that the soldiers, were less tangential to the construction of convict society (as opposed to the destruction of Aboriginal society) than the monolithic archive of the Colonial Office would have us suppose. Indeed some soldiers crossed the regimental rubicon and joined convict bushrangers and pirates.

And everyone loves a pirate! So do come it’s on November 5th. Melbourne cup day or Guy Fawkes – depending on your cultural reflexes!

Remember Remember the 5th November!

Tamsin O’Connor is completing her Ph.D. at the University of Sydney. Her thesis entitled, ‘All those Places of Condemnation’: Power Relations and Convict Resistance at the Penal Stations of New South Wales 1804 – 1842,’ focuses on the settlements at Newcastle and Moreton Bay, which existed on either side of the Bigge Report. She has published her research in a number of edited collections.

For more information see:

Source: Macquarie’s Collector’s Chest, SLNSW, showing the open drawers, specimens and the painted panels

Dr. Minerva Inwald to Present at the OSA Lunchtime Seminar Series

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

The OSA Lunchtime Seminar Series
Tuesday 29 October 2019

SOPHI Common Room 882,
Brennan MacCallum Building A18

Click here for map

The Aesthetic Needs of the Masses: Artistic Reception in the Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward

Dr Minerva Inwald

Please join us for the first in the OSA Lunchtime Seminar Series

In May 1962, as the People’s Republic of China was recovering from Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward, the newly constructed Museum of Chinese Art in Beijing held its inaugural exhibition: a celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Mao’s treatise on socialist cultural work, “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Art and Literature”. This paper analyses descriptions of the new Museum and its inaugural exhibition to explore how the party-state mobilised artistic practice to contribute to post-Leap recovery efforts. In contrast to Great Leap Forward cultural policies that demanded art rouse enthusiasm for labour amongst workers, peasants and soldiers, in 1962, cultural bureaucrats argued that art should serve the “aesthetic needs” of the masses. Articles in People’s Daily and professional journals discussing the new Museum presented the institution as a space for aesthetic pleasure, describing, or even imagining, the enjoyment of exhibition visitors as they toured the Museum’s halls and gardens. This paper argues that cultural bureaucrats used ideas about reception both in an effort to win back a disillusioned population with the promise of amusement and pleasure, and to model an idealised relationship between the people and the socialist state; praising exhibition visitors for reporting their opinions and critiques of artworks, cultural bureaucrats suggested that the party-state was concerned with popular opinion and responsive to criticism. Exploring the party-state’s deployment of reception as a political resource, this paper considers the complex ways in which meaning was made in socialist artistic culture.

Dr Minerva Inwald  

Dr Minerva Inwald is a Researcher based in the Department of History, University of Sydney, focusing on the cultural history of the People’s Republic of China in the Mao era. Using Chinese-language primary sources to examine how exhibitions at this prestigious space were used to communicate ideas about the role of art in China in relation to conceptions of ‘the people,’ her research seeks to investigate broader questions of how art objects circulate in museum contexts, as well as outside museums such as in domestic, work and public spheres. Minerva graduated with Bachelor of Arts (Languages) Honours degree from the University of Sydney in 2012, and in the same year was awarded the Francis Stuart Prize for Asian Art History form the Department of Art History. She has contributed a number of papers at academic conferences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and recently undertook an 8-month postgraduate exchange program at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.

About the OSA Lunchtime Seminar Series

On the last Tuesday of every month from October, the Oriental Society of Australia will hold lunchtime seminars for all to attend and hear from researchers working across different geographical and cultural understandings of Asia.  

The series will feature early career and higher degree researchers, and we hope to develop a network of perspectives from across the region. Please join! And get in touch if you would like to present at a future date.  

E | Click here for more information

The Seminar Series runs on the last Tuesday of every month.

History on Wednesday Seminar Series Schedule

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

Please note that all Seminars in Semester 2, 2019 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.

Aug. 21 – Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Sydney, “Russians, White and Red: a Story of Postwar Immigration to Australia”

Abstract: The paper, summarizing the book of the same title I am currently completing, deals with two immigration streams – Displaced persons from Europe and Russians from China – that arrived here in the late 1940s and ‘50s. The first problem to discussion is “Who is a Russian?” Then I go on to look at wartime collaborators, fascists, Orthodox believers, boy scouts, and even a few “Reds” (Russian-speaking Jews sometimes being put in that category) and Soviet spies.

Bio: Sheila Fitzpatrick is primarily a historian of modern Russia, especially the Stalin period, but has recently added a transnational dimension with her research on displaced persons (DPs) after the Second World War. She received a Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002 and the American Historical Association’s Award for Scholarly Distinction in 2012. She is past President of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (formerly AAASS) and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Having worked for most of her career in the United States, she moved back to Australia in 2012.

Sep. 4 – Glenda Sluga, University of Sydney, “Climate and Capitalism”

Abstract: This talk takes up the 1972 UN Human Environment conference: the first example of the attempted global governance of environmental issues and climate change that foundered on the challenges of development and North-South antagonisms. I will argue that history connects Delos, the ancient capital of the Athenian League, with the club of Rome, and the New International Economic Order.

Bio: Glenda Sluga is Professor of International History, and ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellow at the University of Sydney She has published widely on the cultural history of international relations, internationalism, the history of European nationalisms, sovereignty, identity, immigration and gender history. In 2013, she was awarded a five-year Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship for Inventing the International – the origins of globalisation. Her most recent book is Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) and with Patricia Clavin, Internationalisms, a Twentieth Century History (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Sep. 25 – Mark McKenna, University of Sydney, “Finding the Centre: Uluru and the legacies of Australia’s frontier”

Abstract: The centre of Australia – geographical, political, psychological & ‘spiritual’ – is an elastic idea with a long history. As the literary scholar Roslynn Haynes remarked in 1998: ‘Because Australia is the only island continent, the notion of its centre has acquired a unique significance’. We do not ‘conceptualise the centre of any other continent’ in quite the same way. In this seminar, I’ll explore how and why Australians have become preoccupied with the idea of ‘the centre’ and how their ideas have changed over time. In doing so, I’ll pay particular attention to Uluru and its relatively recent invention as the ‘spiritual centre’ of the nation, a change that was dramatically illustrated by the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart in May 2017. Entangled with this history is the story of the shooting of an Aboriginal man at Uluru in 1934, an event that has continued to resonate as Uluru has become a place of national and international significance.

Bio: Mark McKenna is Professor of History at the University of Sydney. He is the author of several prize-winning books, including The Captive Republic: A History of Republicanism in Australia 1788-1996, Looking for Blackfellas’ Point: an Australian History of Place, An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark, and From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories. In this seminar, Mark will draw on a chapter from his forthcoming book, Untitled (2020).

Oct. 16 – Sarah Bendall, University of Sydney, “They do swarm through all parts of London: The place of the Bodymaking and Farthingalemaking trades in the Textile Industries of Seventeenth-Century London”

Abstract: During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the female silhouette underwent a dramatic change. This period saw the frequent addition of solid materials such as whalebone, wood, and metal into European wardrobes, and clothing was intentionally distorted as ideas of form, size and structure were artfully explored. The desirable body during this period was achieved by using two main foundation garments: bodies and farthingales. Accounts and bills reveal that tailors often made foundation garments; however, these records also show that two separate, specialised branches of tailoring –bodymaking and farthingalemaking –were also established in the late sixteenth century. Scarcely any scholarly investigation of these trades has been conducted and so we know very little about their significance to England’s textile industries. Utilising guild records, household accounts and artisans’ bills this paper explores the origins, scale, organisation and reputation of these trades in the seventeenth century. It seeks to recover these artisans from historical obscurity and put them back into the bustling textile landscape that characterised the craft trades of early modern London.

Bio: Sarah A Bendall is currently an Associate lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. She was previously a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Western Australia, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Bodleian Libraries Oxford and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC. Her research examines the history of dress, jewellery and armour in early modern England, Scotland and France, particularly in relation to ideas of gender and the histories of garment production/consumption. Her work has appeared in Gender and History, Renaissance Studies and Fashion Theory. Her PhD (Sydney) examined how sixteenth and seventeenth-century female foundation garments (bodies and farthingales) shaped both the body and notions of femininity in England. Her current research examines the textile industries that that sourced and produced garments made with baleen (whalebone), to examine the relationship between fashion and ecology in early modern Europe.

Oct. 30 – James Curran, University of Sydney, “Charles Pearson’s National Life and Character(1893): A vision of China’s rise and a post-western world.

Abstract: This paper will explore CH Pearson’s classical work, National Life and Character: A Forecast (1893) and look in particular at how from his Australian vantage point Pearson explored the importance of modernisation for the West and its future relations with the world, especially China. Pearson was an English liberal intellectual who moved to Victoria in 1870 and in the following decades played a key role in the colony’s public life. He came to believe that the Australian colonies were at the forefront of the social forces modernising the Western world, but predicted that great problems were emerging for the West as this process was extended to Asia, Africa and South America.

Bio: James Curran specialises in the history of Australian and American foreign relations. In 2013 he held the Keith Cameron Chair at University College Dublin, and in 2010 was a Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University. Prior to joining academia, Curran worked in The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Office of National Assessments. A non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, he is also a regular commentator on radio and television, and his opinion pieces on foreign affairs and political culture have appeared in major Australian newspapers as well as the Lowy Interpreter, China-US Focus, the East Asia Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations ‘Asia Unbound’ series.

Nov. 6 – Macarena Ibarra, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, “Rethinking the Republican City: The Debates about Heritage in Santiago de Chile (1880-1920)”

Abstract: To come.

Bio: Macarena Ibarra is a Historian from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She has an MA from the University of Leeds, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Her teaching and research focuses on twentieth century urban and planning history with a particular interest both in the politics of urban public health, and in the debates and practice about cultural heritage. Some of her recent publications are the co edited books Vísperas del Urbanismo en Latinoamérica (2018), Patrimonio en Construcción (2017), the articles Hygiene and Public Health in Santiago de Chile´s Urban Agenda, 1892-1927 (2015) and the entry Urban History, in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies (2019).

History on Wednesday – Department Seminar Series

Semester One
Time: 12.10-1.30 pm
Place: Woolley Common Room, Woolley Building A22 (Enter Woolley through the entrance on Science Road and climb the stairs in front of you. Turn left down the corridor, and the WCR is the door at the end of the hall)
Click here for map
Professorial Board Room, Main Quadrangle (Enter the vestibule near the Nicholson Museum. Take the stairs and turn left at the top.)
Click here for map
Michael A. McDonnell
Semester 1 2019
Week 3 – Mar 13 – Professorial Board Room
Marilyn Lake, University of Melbourne, “From MUP to HUP: The Re-Shaping of Progressive New World”
Abstract: In January this year Harvard University Press published my book Progressive New World: How Settler Colonialism and TransPacific Exchange Shaped American Reform. In presenting the argument of the book, I shall also talk about the ways in which negotiations with different publishers – in Australia, the UK and US – shaped conceptual transformations in the thematic orientation and theoretical framework of this transnational transPacific book. It became in the end, I hope, a more interesting book and a work of American history. ‘Progressive New World’, I write in the Introduction, ‘offers a new history of progressivism as a transpacific project shaped by Australasian example and the shared experience and racialized order of settler colonialism’. It is a book about postcolonial sensibilities and the subjective politics of race.
Bio: Professor Marilyn Lake grew up in Tasmania, where she completed her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in History. She moved to Melbourne in 1976 and enrolled in a PhD degree in History at Monash University. During that time she gave birth to two daughters, Kath and Jess. She subsequently held academic positions at Monash University, The University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, where she also served as Associate Dean Research and was appointed Charles LaTrobe Professor in History in 2010. Professor Lake held Visiting Professorial Fellowships at Stockholm University, ANU, the University of Sydney, the University of Western Australia and the University of Maryland. Between 2001 and 2002 she held the Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University. In the last ten years she has mainly been in research positions supported by two ARC Australian Professorial Fellowships. Professor Lake was elected Fellow of the Academy of Humanities of Australia in 1995; and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia in 1999. She has also served as President of the Australian Historical Association. Author of numerous books and articles, Professor Lake has won many prizes, including: The Limits of Hope: Soldier Settlement in Victoria 1915-38 won the Harbison-Higinbotham prize and was short-listed for the Age Book of the Year in 1987; FAITH: Faith Bandler Gentle Activist won the HREOC award for non-fiction in 2002; Creating a Nation which Marilyn wrote with Patricia Grimshaw, Ann McGrath and Marian Quartly also won the HREOC prize for non-fiction and was shortlisted for the Adelaide Writers’ Festival Prize; Drawing the Global Colour Line which she co-authored with Henry Reynolds won the Ernest Scott prize, the Queensland Premier’s Prize for History and the Prime Minister’s Prize for Non-Fiction in 2009.
Week 5 – Mar 27 – MECO Seminar Room S226
Niccolò Pianciola, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, “The Aral Sea Fisheries and the Environmental History of Settler Colonialism in Central Asia, 1873-1917”
Abstract: The presentation addresses the managing of Aral Sea fisheries by the Tsarist administration, and the making of a colonial frontier inhabited by exiled Ural Cossack, Qaraqalpaq, Qazaq, Russian, and Ukrainian fishermen. By comparing the different power relations between Cossacks and the local population on the Ural River and in the Aral Sea region, it shows how they shaped fisheries management regulations and their effectiveness. It also investigates the conditions of production of scientific knowledge on the Aral Sea ecosystem and what role it played in governance decision-making. By drafting a series of fishing regulations and by examining the balance between humans and aquatic animals, scientists oriented the Tsarist government’s decisions on how to manage both the fisheries and the populations that exploited them.
Bio: Niccolò Pianciola is Associate Professor of History at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of Tsarist and Soviet Asia. His first book focused on the relations between immigrant Slavic peasants in Central Asia, local pastoralists (Kazakhs and Kyrgyz) and the state from the late Tsarist Empire to Stalinism. The resulting monograph, Stalinismo di frontiera. Colonizzazione agricola, sterminio dei nomadi e costruzione statale in Asia Centrale (1905-1936), investigates the historical background of the great famine in Kazakhstan in 1931-33, one of the worst man-made catastrophes of the twentieth century. After dealing with peasant immigration in the Kazakh steppe during late Tsarism,the revolt of 1916 in Central Asia, early Soviet decolonization policies, and Stalinist “revolution from above”, it highlights the causes and patterns of development of the famine. The book is based on extensive research in provincial, republican and central archives in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and outlines the ambiguous policies of neocolonization and decolonization of the early Soviet state in Central Asia. Dr. Pianciola also studied the policies of forced population transfers during periods of war, revolution and competitive state-building in the twentieth century. He recently published a co-authored book on the topic covering East-Central Europe, the Balkans, Anatolia, the Caucasus and Soviet Asia (1850s-1950s), with A. Ferrara, entitled, L’età delle migrazioni forzate. Esodi e deportazioni in Europa (1853-1953) [The Age of Forced Migrations.] Bologna: Il Mulino, 2012,
Week 8 – Apr 17 – Woolley Common Room
Sophie Chao, University of Sydney, “Eating and Being Eaten”: Gastro-Politics in a West Papuan Village
Abstract: This paper explores the cultural meanings of hunger and satiety among indigenous Marind in the Indonesian-controlled region of West Papua. I begin by describing the nourishing qualities attributed by Marind to sago and other forest-derived foods in light of their associations with place-making, multispecies sociality, and collective memory. I then investigate how agro-industrial expansion and commodified foodways provoke conflicting forms of hunger among Marind – hunger for sago, ‘plastic’ foods, money, and the flesh of other humans. At the same time, Marind see themselves as subjected to the hunger of threatening ‘others’: corporations, roads, cities, and monocrop oil palm. Finally, I examine how villagers interpret the prevalence of hunger in light of indigenous spiritual beliefs, the political history of West Papua, Catholic notions of martyrdom, and the association of hunger with a ‘modern’ way of life. The paper invites attention to hunger and satiety as culturally constructed, politically situated, and morally charged categories of experience, whose significance may draw from yet also transcend, biophysical conceptions of hunger defined in terms of nutritional deficiency and food deprivation. In particular, I suggest that Marinds’ ambivalent self-positioning as both the ‘eaters’ and the ‘eaten’ constitutes a perceptive, if troubling, critique, of capitalism in both its attributes and effects.
Bio: Sophie Chao joined the History Department at the University of Sydney in March 2019. Dr. Chao received her PhD in Social Anthropology from Macquarie University in February 2019. She holds a BA in Oriental Studies and a Masters in Anthropology from Oxford University. Her doctoral thesis, which received a Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation, was based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Indonesian West Papua, where she investigated the socio-environmental impacts of monocrop oil palm plantations among indigenous forest-dwelling communities. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Chao undertook extensive research on human rights and agribusiness in Southeast Asia as a member of international Indigenous rights organization Forest Peoples Programme. Her postdoctoral project will weave together social science methods (including history), science and technology studies, and biomedicine to examine the nutritional and health impacts of agribusiness on humans and their environments across the tropical belt. Dr. Chao is also interested in research development more generally and looks forward to engaging in inter-disciplinary collaboration of the Department of History and FASS (more generally) with the Charles Perkins Centre.
Week 10 – May 8 – Professorial Board Room
Scott Relyea, Appalachian State University, “Lamas, Empresses, and Tea: Sharing imperial models in early twentieth-century Tibet”
Abstract: As the twentieth century opened, the Tibetan plateau was a zone of intense imperial contact – and competition – between British India and Qing China. Indian rupees had become the primary currency of commercial exchange across the plateau, and British explorers had gathered detailed knowledge of both the presumed natural resource bounty of eastern Tibet and the lucrative border tea trade traversing it. Although Sichuan Province officials engaged with administering the Kham region of eastern Tibet shared a common perception of Khampa society with their British counterparts, they also recognised the encroachment of Indian rupees, British explorers, and ambitious railway plans as potential challenges to Qing authority, if not a prologue to territorial expansion paralleling the contemporaneous scramble for concessions in coastal China. This presentation will explore the mutual exchange of imperial models fostered by the interaction between British and Sichuanese officials, merchants, and explorers in this region, and its influence on transformative policies in Qing China’s southwest borderlands.
Bio: Dr. Scott Relyea is currently a Fulbright U.S. Scholar and senior visiting scholar in the School of History and Culture at Sichuan University in Chengdu, PRC. An Assistant professor of Asian history at Appalachian State University in Boon, N.C., USA, He is in the midst of a two-year research visit to China, funded by a Fulbright grant and a Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowship in China Studies. A historian of late imperial and modern China, Dr. Relyea’s research centres on state-building and nationalism in the southwest borderlands of China and the global circulation of concepts of statecraft and international law in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to his current research, Dr. Relyea is working on converting his dissertation into a book, tentatively titled Gazing at the Tibetan Plateau: China’s Infrontier and the Early Twentieth Century Evolution of Sino-Tibetan Relations. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and Master’s degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies and the George Washington University.

Week 12 – May 22 – Woolley Common Room

Debbie Doroshow, Yale University, “A New Kind of Child: Residential Treatment and the Creation of Emotional Disturbance in Twentieth Century America.”
Abstract: Before the 1940s, children with severe emotional difficulties would have had few options. If they could not be cared for in the community at a child guidance clinic, they might have been placed in a state mental hospital or asylum, an institution for the so-called “feebleminded,” or a training school for delinquent children. But starting in the 1930s and 1940s, more specialized institutions began to open all over the country with the goal of treating these children. Staff members at residential treatment centers (RTCs) shared a commitment to helping children who couldn’t be managed at home. They adopted an integrated approach to treatment, employing talk therapy, schooling, and other activities in the context of a therapeutic environment. In the process, they made visible a new kind of person: the emotionally disturbed child. This is a story about Americans struggling to be normal at a time when being different was dangerous. At RTCs, treating emotional disturbance and building normal children and normal families were inextricably intertwined. Though normality remained a distant, if unreachable goal for most children in residential treatment, RTC professionals grounded their therapeutic approach within this ideal. The emergence of RTCs to build normal children and the emergence of emotionally disturbed children as a new patient population were thus fundamentally intertwined.
Bio: Deborah Doroshow began her studies in the history of medicine at Harvard, where she earned an A.B. in the history of science. She graduated from Harvard Medical School and received a Ph.D. in the history of medicine from Yale. Her work on the history of psychiatry and the history of children’s health has appeared in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Isis, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Her book, Emotionally Disturbed: Caring For America’s Troubled Children, was published by the University of Chicago Press in April 2019. She is currently completing her fellowship in adult hematology and oncology at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she frequently lectures and teaches medical students and undergraduates about both oncology and the history of medicine. In August 2019, she will be Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
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