Renovating the Archives: The Richelieu Project in Paris

In July, I head off to do archival research at the Richelieu site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF) in Paris. The site is currently undergoing a large-scale renovation (although, thankfully, it doesn’t look like it will interfere with my work there). Archival spaces like the BNF are second homes for historians and other researchers, so I thought it’s a good opportunity to show one of France’s great archival institutions undergoing renovation.
Built in the nineteenth century, the Richelieu Library is the ‘historical cradle’ of the BNF, before a new centre was built on the Seine banks under the Mitterand Government in the 1980s (hence, the François Mitterand Library). Today, it houses the BNF’s special collections: performing arts, maps and plans, prints and photographs, manuscripts, coins, medals and antiquities.
The Richelieu Library is pretty spectucular. It’s everything we imagine a grand library to be, from massive, book-lined walls to the banker lamps on the desks. From 2009/2010, it’s been going through an equally spectacular staged renovation that is due for completion in 2020.
In December last year, one of the key stages was complete. The Labrouste Reading Room (pictured below) and Manuscript Room were completed as part of this stage.
I believe work has started on the equally impressive Oval Room (pictured below).
Source of above photo: Photographer Guillaume Dutreix (@guillaume_dx) on Instagram.
You can watch a short video documentary (14mins) about the renovation project. It is in French, but you can get the idea.

You can discover more about the Richelieu renovation project here:

Getting Ready for the Archives: 5 Essentials from a First-Timer

With just a few weeks until I head off to the archives in Paris, I wanted to share some of the preparation work I’ve been doing over the past several months. You can read about my PhD project here. I’m only in Paris for a few weeks, so I have to make the most of my time. I figured the more I can do in advance, the more efficient and fruitful would be my use of that time.
Added to this are two other challenges. First, it’s my first time doing archival research of this kind. Second, I discovered earlier this year that one of my archive sites is currently undergoing major renovations (until 2020!). This means materials might be inaccessible or relocated. I wanted to establish the state of play early on.
>Read my post on the Richelieu renovation project
I’ll be spending most of my time at two sites of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF; the National Library of France): the Richelieu site (where the manuscripts room is located, pictured below) and the Bibliothèque d’Arsenal.
In this post, I wanted to share some of the questions I asked myself and learnings I picked up along the way. Some of these might seem really obvious, so apologies in advance. But, it’s often the obvious things that are the easiest to miss.
Here are five are five areas I’ve been looking at in preparing for my archives visit. If you have any to of your own to pass on, add them as a comment to this post.

1. What am I going to do there? Setting my research goals

What am I actually going to do there? Will I be spending time with sources, translating/transcribing them? Sifting through lots of archival material? Or will I just be taking copies of material to bring back home?
These are questions I had to work out. For my project, I don’t have to do a huge amount of sifting. My sources are relatively obvious and easy to identify.
Over the past six months, I have been identifying documents and manuscripts I want to access using the BnF catalogue and their amazing digital platform, Gallica. I set them out in a spreadsheet, noting:

  • the key ‘metadata’ for each document (record number, document type title, publication year);
  • what I wanted to do with the document (inspect, copy, transcribe, etc);
  • comments or notes; and
  • a priority rating on a scale of one to four.

Prioritising what I want to see is important. If I run out of time, at least I’ve copied the most essential.
It might be a bit OCD, but I’ve even scheduled what documents I want to work on specific days. In all likelihood things won’t go to plan, but at least I’ll have a something to work with when I get there.

2. Research the archives

Of course, it’s important to do some preliminary research into the institution that you’ll visit. If they have restricted hours or requirements for access, you don’t want to discover that when you arrive on their doorstep. Here are some of the questions I investigated (and, again, forgive me if they are obvious).

  • What are their opening hours? Don’t assume that things are open every day 9am-5pm.
  • Are there any public holidays that might mean the archives are closed?
  • Are they undergoing renovations or any other work that might involve disruption to usual services? This is very applicable to me because the Richelieu site is undergoing renovations.
  • What documentation do they require for permission to access material? Photo ID is easy, but what if they require a reference from your supervisor? The BnF, for example, requires an ‘Attestation Form’ to be completed by the supervisor and stamped with the university’s stamp.
  • Is there an interview procedure beforehand?
  • Are there any applicable fees for accessing material? The BnF requires you to have a Reader’s Card, which attracts a fee (tiered depending on duration of access).
  • What procedures do they have for requesting material? How long do you have to wait from when you request something and when they deliver it? BnF has scheduled times for requesting material.
  • Are there rules or restrictions on what you can do in the research space, such as only being able to use pencils or restrictions on copying/photographing material? 


3. Equipment and storage

What equipment do I need to use at the archives beside a notepad and pen? I guess this really depends on what you intend to do at the archives.
Since most of my time will be spent inspecting and copying (that is, photographing) sources, I needed to think about a way of storing all this data securely so I could work on it when I return to Sydney. Storage is a really important issue and there are several solutions, whether a hard drive, USB, or cloud-based options (such as Dropbox).
The big two issues are volume (lots of photos) and security (Paris is a long way from Sydney, so I don’t want to have all this data lost or damaged). Is a USB really the best solution in terms of volume and security? If I put everything on a device such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, what happens if that is lost or damaged? Should I back up my work? Yes!
My supervisor, Nick Eckstein, recently returned from an archives visit in Italy and offered some useful advice on storing the thousands of images he had taken of manuscript folios from the 1600s. I ended up going with a combination of cloud-based and hard-drive.
Fisher Library has a Research Data Management team that can provide advice and invaluable information organised into modules on this page:
Also think about how you are going to organise your material so it all makes sense when you get back home. You don’t want to deal hundreds of random image files such as ‘IMG_089’.
Finally, don’t forget about things like power chargers etc.

4. Contact the archives

As I said, there are major renovations underway at the Richelieu BnF site. Another supervisor gave me the heads-up that this might affect access to material. I needed to establish whether anything I wanted to consult was affected, so I emailed the Department of Manuscripts at Richelieu specifying the manuscripts I most wanted to access. They responded, and we’ve been working through obtaining access approval for each source.
Contacting the archives before I arrive not only meant I could sort some of this stuff out before I arrived. It now means I have a few contacts within the BnF for when I am there. One of the archivists I’ve been exchanging emails with looks after the collection of Turkish manuscripts. This is a boon because the collection itself has its genesis in the very subject of my research. It is not only someone who can help me with locating material but who can relate the history of the collection itself.
So, I think it’s really useful to start building a relationship with archivists before you go, if possible. If the archives are in a non-Anglophone location, consider using the local language for communication (if you can) and observe professional communication practices.

5. Speak to other historians and postgrads (and follow them on Twitter)

I spoke to a few historians and fellow postgraduates in Sydney who had visited the archives I’ll be visiting, seeking their experiences and advice. This was incredibly helpful.
I also found some great advice on blogs run by institutions, historians, and postgraduates, including the following.

Then there’s Twitter. You’ll be surprised how useful it is as a budding historian to follow your peers and established historians on Twitter. For example, I follow Dr Sara Barker (@DrSKBarker), who works on the French Wars of Religion and print culture at the University of Leeds. Sara was tweeting during her archival research at the Bibliothèque d’Arsenal in Paris. It was such a wonderful and invaluable insight into archival work, both the trials and tribulations. I asked her a few questions about the archives and she responded with fantastic advice, including where to get the best coffee nearby (vital advice for a researcher!) and what the air temperature is like inside (you don’t want to be freezing or sweltering during your time in the archives).
Here are some sample tweets from Dr Barker.
Tweet from @DrSKBarker
Tweet from @DrSKBarker
As another example of historians talking archival research on Twitter, here’s a great thread from Professor Marie Hicks (historian of technology):
So, find the historians on Twitter who work in your field and follow them.
All of the above reflects some of the questions, thoughts, and practices that I considered in preparing for my archives visit in July. Let’s see what happens!
Meanwhile, if you have any tips or suggestions of your own, add them as a comment to this post.

New PhD Completion – Gabrielle Kemmis

It is a great pleasure to announce that Gabrielle Kemmis has successfully completed her PhD. Her thesis, on the Psychology Strategy Board and America’s campaign to win the Cold War offered a history of a little-studied and short-lived government entity that Gabrielle argued had an outsized influence on government thinking and policy-making at a crucial moment in the history of the Cold War. Examiners praised the work for its originality, as well as its engagement with a broader conversation about the “incredible allure” that psychology and the social sciences held for policymakers in the mid-twentieth century. Based on a rich array of archival sources, examiners noted that the thesis showed a “truly impressive grasp of the wide range of secondary literature” and “adds significantly to our knowledge” of the role of the PSB in fostering new approaches to the Cold War.
As Gabrielle’s supervisor in the closing stages of the thesis, I might also add that this important and impressive achievement was accomplished in the face of and despite a number of very difficult professional and personal setbacks that could have easily derailed the progress and outcome of the thesis were it not for Gabrielle’s determination to see it through. The successful completion of the thesis, then, is a testament to Gabrielle’s commitment, drive, and resilience and her ability and desire to learn and to teach others even in the face of a great deal of adversity (also reflected in her much-lauded tutoring work in two separate units of study this semester!). It is a remarkable achievement.
Her thesis can be accessed at the Sydney eScholarship Repository, where it has been assigned the following identifier:
Again, while it is technically not official until graduation, I’m sure I am not the only one keen to offer a warm congratulations to Dr. Kemmis!
Mike M.

New PhD Students in the Department of History

Just a brief note to introduce you to two new-ish postgrad students who joined us a little later in the year than our initial cohort. Matthew and Anne have been participating in the first year seminar with Chris Hilliard and I am sure everyone will join me in welcoming them to the department.
Matthew Sullivan: PhD, part time. Supervisors: Shane White and Thomas Adams. I’m undertaking an examination of the conflict between the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) during the 1970s. The project will explore the origin, progress and recollection of the conflict in its political and cultural context.
Anne Thoeming: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: Julia Horne and Sophie Loy-Wilson. My thesis is a biographical study of Dr Herbert Moran – Australian medical intellectual, footballer, cancer specialist, prolific author and Mussolini supporter.
For a list of the other students who joined us in late 2016 or early 2017, please see
Mike M.

My Trip to the Paris archives: Introductions

IMG_3676.JPG Hi there! My name is Darren and I’ve just started my PhD in history at the University of Sydney.
That’s me on the right and if I’m looking a little daunted, it’s for two main reasons. First, I’m still very much a selfie amateur. Second, I’m soon to embark on my first research journey into the archives in July.
In the months leading up to my research trip and on the trip itself, I’ll be posting about my experiences on the History Matters blog: my planning, hopes, trials, and tribulations. Hopefully, I’ll provide an insight into a postgraduate’s first trip to the archives. I’ll also try to share some good tips and useful resources. I’ve already received great advice from my supervisors and scholars elsewhere (including where to get the best coffee near the Paris archives … very important detail for many of us postgrads!). Perhaps I’ll even be able to interview an archivist or scholar along the way! I do promise good photos tho (hoping to have access to some splendid Persian manuscripts).
Before I tell you where I am going, let me tell you about my thesis. I’ll be brief. In the 1530s, the first formal relations were established between France (king Francis I) and the Ottomans (sultan Suleyman), with the result of France’s first embassy in Istanbul. I’m looking at the way the concept of ‘the Turk’ and Islam figured in the French imagination from 1530 to 1630, and how that diplomatic presence took shape. My current supervisors are Associate Professor Nicholas Eckstein and Dr Hélène Sirantoine.
My project means visiting the archives in Paris to access a range of primary sources. These include correspondence from the French diplomats and missions in Istanbul (and the broader Ottoman world), manuscripts brought back from the Orient, and printed news pamphlets about the Ottomans that were circulating in France at the time.
Many of these sources sit in collections at the Bibliothéque nationale de France. The BnF has an incredible online platform called Gallica, which hosts over four million digitised documents from across the centuries (as at 24 October 2016). Some of my sources have been digitised and are available on Gallica, but many haven’t been and so I need to consult them on-site.
So, what’s my itinerary?
As it turns out, I’m presenting my first international paper at the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean annual conference in July. It’s held in Ghent this year, so I’ll be spending some time in Belgium first. In Brussels, I hope to drop into the Pirenne Archives (Université libre de Bruxelles) for some research I’m doing on medieval historian Henri Pirenne (see my 2015 post about Pirenne). I’ll then head to Bruges to visit the archives of the Adorno family, a medieval Brugeois family that travelled in the Islamic world and even built a chapel in Bruges modelled on the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. You can check them (and the chapel) out here.
After Belgium, I head to Paris. The BnF is a big institution with several sites. I’ll be spending most of my time at the Richelieu and Arsenal sites, as well as the Department of Manuscripts. There has been a huge renovation work underway at Richelieu which is both exciting (it’s a beautiful library) and concerning (renovations could throw up some challenges for my research). More on that renovation later because it’s such an impressive library.
Anyway, that’s it from me for the moment. Very soon I’ll post about budgeting and planning, as well as introduce you to the Richelieu library.

New Postgraduate Seminar Series: ‘History on Thursday’

The postgraduate reps and community have now launched a new postgraduate seminar series called History on Thursday. These seminars are designed to give postgraduate students a chance to practice presenting their work and engage in giving and receiving feedback. The next seminar will be on Monday 6 April, see below for details. They are also looking for expressions of interests for presenters for the May sessions. If you are interested please send an email with an abstract of your proposed talk.
Thurs. 6 April, 1-2pm, The Refectory (downstairs in the Quad, directions/map here)
Presenter: Darren Smith – The early Middle Ages between the World Wars: Pirenne’s Mahomet et Charlemagne and the vision for a new Europe.
Please bring your lunch and join us in the Refectory to hear this week’s presenter. This is also a chance for you to hone your question-asking skills and get to know other post-grads in our mingling time after the talk.

New Research Students in the Department of History

The Department of History at the University of Sydney is pleased to introduce our new PG students who have joined us in the latter part of last year or in the past few weeks.
Below you’ll find a list of new students, their topics, and their email addresses in case you wanted to reach out to them.
I’m delighted we have such a strong cohort of new students who I am sure will enrich the department with their work in the coming months and years.
There will likely be one or two more students joining us in the coming months. We’ll keep you posted.
Many thanks,
Mike M.
Madeleine Dowd (joined us in October): Master of Arts (Research). Supervisors: James Curran and Mark McKenna. I’m undertaking an examination of Paul Keating and Radical Nationalism – so this is looking at a radical display of the Australian self. At this relatively early stage, this involves an understanding of radical nationalist Australian history, and where it came from in Keating’s context. I’ll also focus on how this manifested in terms of policy and an overarching worldview. Contact email:
Amy Jelacic: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: Andrew Fitzmaurice and Chris Hilliard. I’m studying the intellectual history of free trade and liberalism in the British Empire, concentrating on the mid-19th century. I’m particularly interested in investigating the history of economic ideas outside of canonical texts of political economy.
Emma Wallhead: PhD, PT. Supervisor: Chris Hilliard. Working title of topic: If ‘I am woman’, what is man? Western masculinities 1963-1989.” The period from the early 1960s has been popularly associated with a number of transnational movements that challenged a wide range of social and cultural norms including beliefs about the proper roles of men and women. It was also during this era that masculinity was identified by scholars as a category of historical analysis. Despite the significance of this period to the concept of masculinity, there are relatively few works examining dominant norms of masculinity during the period from a historical perspective. The project will research dominant expectations of masculinity, together with the lived experience of masculinity, through the perspective of the women who cared for, lived with, worked with, loved, hated, and sought or avoided men during the three decades.
Jacob Mark: Master of Arts (Research), full time; Supervisor: Chris Hilliard. My thesis looks to explore the reception of Australian and New Zealand democracy in Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century,
Orla McGovern: Master of Arts (Research). Supervisors: Nicholas Eckstein John Gagne. I’m looking at material cultures of beauty during the Italian Renaissance and their relationship between socially ascribed ideals of beauty and womanhood.
Luke Tucker: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: Julie Smith and Nick Eckstein. I am researching the educational practices and philosophy of the devotio moderna, a 14th and 15th century lay piety movement located mainly in the Netherlands.
Samuel Murdoch Webster: PhD, FT. Supervisors: James Curran and Mark McKenna. My thesis will seek to map the changes in Australian security doctrines during the post-British and post-Vietnam period, where the ‘great powers’ featured in Australian geo-strategic imagination, and how these squared with Australian economic interests up to the year 2001.
Ryan Cropp: PhD, full-time, supervisor: Mark McKenna. I am working on a biographical study of the Australian journalist, social critic and public intellectual Donald Horne.
Darren Smith: PhD, full-time. Supervisors: John Gagné (Nick Eckstein acting), Hélène Sirantoine. In the 1530s, François I of France established formal relations with Ottoman sultan Süleiman as well as a permanent embassy in Constantinople/Istanbul. My project looks at France’s evolving engagement with the Islamic/Ottoman East throughout the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and how concepts of ‘the Turk’ and Islam figured in the French imagination (print media, political discourse, material culture, even theatre). I’m interested in the period ‘book-ended’ by the late crusades, on the one hand, and the Bibliothèque Orientale project of Barthélemy d’Herbelot, on the other.

New PhD Completions – Congratulations

During the break, we learned that Claire Sellwood, Bruce Baskerville, Addie Leah Lui-Chivizhe, and most recently, Lizzie Ingleson, have all successfully completed their PhDs. This is fantastic news, and makes for a great start to the new year – and inspiration for the incoming cohort as well as those seeing some light at the end of the tunnel in the new year.
Individual citations for the theses can be found below, as well as links to the theses or abstracts via Sydney e-repository. But on behalf of the Department of History, I want to extend a warm congratulations on a huge achievement. This is a mighty accomplishment for each of these four excellent students – or now, ex-students. The product of many years of toil and often difficult work. The glowing examiners’ reports also reflect this achievement. Though not technically official until graduation, I think I can safely offer congratulations to Dr. Sellwood, Dr. Baskerville, Dr. Lui-Chivizhe, and Dr. Ingleson!
Bruce Baskerville’s thesis was entitled “The Chrysalid Crown: an un-national history of the Crown in Australia.” He was supervised by James Curran. This thesis sets out to examine some of the ways in which the crown in Australia has been imagined and contested since the early nineteenth century. Looking at five case studies of cultural interaction relating to the exercise of crowned power the thesis explores the evolving civic personality, communal identities and popular representations’ of the crown in Australia’s cultural and social life, and how these have changed over time. As examiners noted, “this is an original and thoughtful doctoral thesis on a critical, but often misunderstood subject in Australian history.” It is “full of insights and compelling arguments about the place of the British crown in Australian history.” “Riveting.” An “excellent” and an important historiographical intervention in the historiography of the monarchy in Australia, and “represents a substantial and original contribution.” One examiner noted that they were looking forward to it being published, “so that a wider audience can gain from its creative and well-researched findings.” Another said “the candidate is to be commended for his dextrous research, well-written prose and challenging arguments. Further information about Bruce’s thesis can be found here:
Claire Sellwood’s thesis was supervised by Frances Clarke and entitled, “A series of Piteous Tales: Divorce Law and Divorce Culture in Early Twentieth-Century New South Wales.” It examines the social and legal understandings of divorce in late nineteenth and early twentieth century New South Wales, through a study of the law courts, and media representations of trials. As the examiners noted, the thesis “draws on a strong range of primary sources, including legal documents from the law courts and a significant study of a range of popular media papers and journals.” The “candidate has an exhaustive catalogue of secondary readings, and makes excellent use of these, both in terms of the direct topic and as useful context.” “This is a welcome and important study,” one that brings “significant new knowledge to existing feminist scholarship and a new understanding of the law as it was employed and worked for or against women.” Another wrote: “This thesis is highly impressive in its interdisciplinary research design, the wide-ranging scope of its analysis and the selected source materials which are ingeniously conjoined, its argument is original and contributory and it is impeccably documented and presented. Sellwood is an assured and promising scholar and an unmediated writer.” She has provided an “entirely novel framework through which to consider women’s agency, sexual regulation and liberalisation, legal reform and gender and class relations in public and private space it is fascinating and productive reading.” Details of Claire’s thesis can be found here:
Addie Leah Lui-Chivizhe’s thesis, supervised by Jude Philp and Iain McCalman, was entitled “Le op: An Islander’s history of Torres Strait turtle-shell masks.” The thesis provides a “rich and highly original” history of Torres Strait turtle-shell masks, which encompasses biological and ecological considerations, the practical and symbolic importance of turtles for Islanders, and the artistic skill and imagination of mask-makers and performers. Turtle-shell masks are shown to be central to Islanders’ engagement with each other and the natural world. The examiners noted it was “powerfully evocative” and an “insightful and nuanced narrative based on solid scholarly research” in which she “skilfully combines archival and object based research with fieldwork in the Torres Strait, oral histories, site visits and archaeological findings.” “The writing style delights as it informs,” and “the thesis is a substantial original contribution to the history of the Torres Strait Islands.” When it is published as a book, one examiner noted, it will bring “much joy” to those wishing to find out more about this oft-neglected part of the world.
Lizzie Ingleson’s thesis was also supervised by Frances Clarke and entitled, “The End of Isolation: Rapprochement, Globalisation, and Sino-American Trade, 1972-1978.” It looks at the diplomatic rapprochement that followed President Richard M. Nixon’s famous trip to China in 1972, which culminated with formal diplomatic normalization in 1978. In focusing on trade relationships between the two countries, the thesis sheds fresh light on diplomatic events, and tells a new story about the political origins of the interdependent economic relationship between the US and China, which began to take shape after 1980, and today very much anchors global capitalism. Examiners noted that it was “an impressive doctoral thesis, distinguished for its depth of research and interpretive reach and potential significance,” particularly given the “immense stakes” of the argument. Another commented that the thesis was “an extremely original approach to a topic that has only received limited attention to date by historians.” Ingleson contributes to a “growing literature on the role of non-state actors in diplomatic relations,” and her research is “extensive and fruitful” “In addition to being thoughtfully argued and well researched, this thesis is also quite well written.” “The author has a lively voice and a great eye for interesting anecdotes
that speak to larger trends or issues.” Information about Lizzie’s thesis can be found here:

Upcoming Events in the History Department

Postgraduate welcome drinks
Mon. 13 March, 4:30pm, REGS battlements
Kick off the new year and meet our incoming students at these drinks for postgraduate students and history staff. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.

Postgraduate Professional Development Seminar

Wed. 22 March, 3-5pm, SOPHI common room
Bringing together a panel of historians including Professor Shane White, Professor Andrew Fitzmaurice and Dr. Sarah Walsh, this seminar will engage with the translation of archival material into an historical argument. Topics will range from the rituals of writing to the decision making process behind selecting which documents should be included and which should be omitted. The first hour of the seminar will be dedicated to panel presentations and the second to question and answer discussion. Afternoon tea will be provided.
Please RSVP (for catering purposes) to: Sarah Dunstan (

Women in Academia Seminar

Thu. 23 March, 4:30-6pm, New Law Annexe – Room SR340
Join Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick and Dr. Chin Jou at the inaugural session of Women in Academia, a forum designed to discuss the challenges and issues specific to women pursuing a higher degree. Hear from these historians about their research and career, and their expertise on topics including publishing and grant funding, and the differences between working in Australia and overseas. You will have the opportunity to ask questions in the second half of the session. Drinks and nibbles will be provided.
Please RSVP (for catering purposes) to: Hollie Pich ( or Marama Whyte (
Miranda Johnson The Land is our History book launch
Tues. 28 March, 5pm-6.30pm, REGS Western Tower Balcony, Quadrangle
Come along to help celebrate the launch of Miranda Johnson first book The Land is our History, recently published by Oxford Press. All are warmly invited to attend, please see our previous email for the further details.
Please RSVP to: James Dunk (

History Now Seminar Series

Dear History Colleagues,
Melissa Bellanta (ACU), Anna Clark (UTS) and Hannah Forsyth convene the History Now Seminar Series on the second Thursday of the month, 5.30-7pm at UTS. Previously this was focused on Australian history. What we enjoyed most about these sessions was the opportunity to discuss history with colleagues from across greater Sydney. We have decided to experiment in 2017 by extending the scope beyond Australia.
We have lined up a program, for which we have sought to recruit speakers from as many of our institutions as we can (we have thus far covered Sydney, UTS, UNSW, UoW, Newcastle, WSU, ACU) and to think about History Now – as it affects those who do history, connecting with one another on topics that are relevant to our changing and volatile political, economic and environmental conditions. Our topics are Political History Now, History of Class Now, History of Sexuality Now, Indigenous History Now, Public History Now, History beyond humans, Feminist History Now, History of Genocide Now and Environmental History Now. The program is attached.
I am hoping that you will think this is a good idea and invite your history colleagues, postgraduates and honours students to come and participate. I am also hoping that this year’s speakers, who are included here, will also want to come to sessions other than their own.
In addition, today’s job is to alert you to our first seminar (which does not conform to the normal pattern) at 5.30pm on Thursday 2nd February, 2017, Room 03.470–which is just up one flight of stairs from the entrance hall of Building 10 on Jones St at UTS.
After the shocks of Brexit and Trump, we wanted to kick off the year by thinking about Political History Now. What do contemporary events mean, in the big historical picture – and what do they mean for us, as historians and scholars? Associate Professor Michael Ondaatje from ACU will present on this topic. Michael is the author of, among other things, Black Conservative Intellectuals in Modern America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010) and he has been a high-profile commentator on the recent US election, in the Australian media. We will invite Michael to offer us a more details abstract closer to the date. For now, I hope you will add this to your diary, in anticipation of further details.
I expect we will continue our tradition of heading to the pub for dinner afterwards and collecting donations for wine and cheese, at the seminar. If you would like to come to dinner on 2nd Feb, please let me know –
Best wishes,
Hannah Forsyth
History Now Seminar Series 2017

Sydney Historical Research Network (Previously Australian Studies Research Network)
Second Thursday of the month, 5.30-7pm, UTS (Room TBC)
2 February: Political History Now (after Trump)
Michael Ondaatje, (ACU)
9 March: History of Class Now
Terry Irving (UoW), Elizabeth Humphrys (UTS), Hannah Forsyth (ACU)
13 April: History of Sexuality Now
Alison Moore, (WSU)
11 May: Indigenous History Now
Mike McDonnell, Miranda Johnson (Sydney), Leah Lui-Chivizhe, (UNSW)
8 June: Public History Now
Anna Clark, Robert Crawford, Anna Funder, Kiera Lindsay (UTS)
10 August: History Beyond Humans, Now
Warwick Anderson (Sydney), Eben Kirksey (UNSW)
14 September: History of Empire Now
Invited TBC
12 October: Histories of Genocide Now
Dirk Moses (Sydney), Lyndall Ryan (Newcastle)
9 November: Environmental History Now
Grace Karskens (UNSW), Iain McCalman (Sydney Environment Institute)