PG History Seminars

Dear History PG students and supervisors,
Once again, this coming semester the department of History is pleased to run a number of fortnightly advanced postgraduate seminars for your benefit. Chin Jou and Julie Smith have also kindly offered to open up their Honours Seminars to any postgraduate students wishing to audit them. We recommend and strongly encourage all PG students to attend at least one of the other seminars on offer. You might want to consult with your supervisor about the best choice for you. In addition to these seminars, students are also welcome and encouraged to attend the American Cultures Workshop at the USSC. Details for this is listed below.
NOTE: First year students should attend Chris Hilliard¹s weekly seminar, and not the other seminars (you will have already been contacted about this).
We are also opening up the “Finishing the Thesis” workshop to interested students. Places are limited though, so please do contact me if you are interested.
Once you have chosen a seminar, please contact the coordinator, who will shortly send further details, including the room in which to meet and the full schedule of meetings (if not already listed below). Please take careful note of the start dates listed below and get in touch with the relevant coordinator ahead of time ­ especially the seminars that start next week.
Any questions about all of this, please let me know.
Mike McDonnell
PG Coordinator
Reading Evidence in a ‘Post-Truth” Age
Associate Professor Julia Horne
Wednesdays, 3-5 pm
Start Date: March 15
Christopher Hitchens wrote of George Orwell’s determination to seek “elusive but verifiable truth”. But how do historians approach truth, and how do they verify the elusive? This postgraduate seminar explores the use of evidence in history, the idea of historical truth, and the theoretical, ethical and methodological hurdles along the way. Key readings include those by Timothy Garton Ash, Northrop Frye and Joan Scott along with others on critical evaluation, the socially constructed archive and the history of the footnote.
Seminars will be held 3-5pm fortnightly on Wednesdays from 15 March.e
Modern International History
Dr. Jamie Martin
Tuesdays, 2-4 pm
Start Date: March 14
This seminar offers a grounding in new approaches to the study of international history. It has two major aims: first, to introduce students to international history as a historiographical field, one that has focused largely on Europe and its relationship with the wider world since the early nineteenth century; and second, to consider international history as an approach to historical scholarship that has applications in many different geographical and thematic sub-fields. It will look, in particular, at new works in international history — both European and non-European — and at methodological debates about writing the history of international institutions, empire, and global capitalism. It also will look at the relationship between international history as it’s now practiced and the methods of diplomatic and military history that once dominated the writing of European history.
Historical and Anthropological Approaches to Food and Eating
Dr. Chin Jou
Mondays, 2-4, Bosch 192
Start Date: March 6
Food has been central to lived experience. It has shaped history through events and phenomena such as famines, uprisings, imperialism in search of commodities and markets, and population surges though more efficient methods of agricultural production. It has informed the development of structures of labour along lines of race, gender, and class; it has, of course, also been an essential part of daily life. In this seminar, we will consider examples of how historians and anthropologists have written about food and eating in order to illuminate broader historical developments, social relations, and identity. Readings will cover a variety of chronological and geographic contexts, although a disproportionate share of readings will focus on the United States since the early-twentieth century.
NB: If any PG students are interested in auditing the seminar, please advise them to email me ASAP, because there are required readings for the first week (i.e. this coming Monday). Although one of those readings can be accessed online, there is a reading that I would need to email them.
Reading Travel Writing
Dr. Julie Smith
According to Mary Carruthers [The Witness and the Other World], “The travel book is a kind of witness”. However, witnessing and ways of seeing are culturally and historically inflected. For centuries, travellers (whether explorers, pilgrims, ambassadors, merchants, missionaries, tourists) have related their experiences for a variety of audiences, and have claimed authority as eyewitnesses, “I have seen”. Thus travel writing cannot be satisfactorily understood unless it is historicised against contemporary understandings of visuality, of ways of seeing. If travel writers from other places and times were seeing for others, how should this inform our reading of their works? The seminar readings and discussions will take into account matters such as author-audience relations, geographical knowledge, gender, faith, cross-cultural contacts. Individual projects will offer opportunities for students to study travel writings and eye-witnessing from their particular research field and period.
American Cultures Workshop
Dr Alix Beeston, Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney
Dr Lucas Thompson, Research Fellow, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney
Contact Email:
Wednesdays, 5:30-7:00 pm
Start Date: March 15
Becoming a Historian: First-Year Introductory Postgraduate Seminar
Professor Chris Hilliard
Mondays, 2-4pm
SOPHI Common Room
Start Date: Monday, March 6
Finishing the Thesis
Associate Professor Michael McDonnell
Wednesdays, 3-5pm
Start Date: Wednesday, March 22
Please note: this seminar is open to PhD and MPhil students who are within a year of submission. Places are limited so please contact Mike if you¹d like to join.

Postgraduate Drinks

Dear Historians,
Welcome to the 2017 academic year! We would like to invite you all to our welcome drinks for postgraduate students and history staff on Monday 13 March. We hope this event will provide everyone with the opportunity to meet our incoming students and to kick off the new year.
Warwick Anderson has kindly allowed us to host the drinks at REGS on the battlements again this year. Drinks and nibbles will be provided. If you are planning on coming along please let us know via email to help us confirm numbers for catering.
Time/date: Monday March 13 at 4.30pm
Location: REGS battlements (directions attached)
Looking forward to seeing you all then,
Emma Kluge, Hollie Pich and Marama Whyte
Postgraduate Representatives 2017
Department of History

University of Sydney Postgraduate History Conference Wrap-up

On the 23 and 24 November 2016 the Department of History successfully hosted the annual University of Sydney Postgraduate History conference. The theme for the conference this year was ‘Historical Identities’.
The keynote was delivered by Dr Sarah Walsh from the centre for Race and Ethnicity in the Global South (REGS) at the University of Sydney. Her paper ‘Latinizing Whiteness: Race, Nation, and Visual Culture in Latin America’, focused on constructions of whiteness in relation to national identity in nineteenth and twentieth-century South America, with particular focus given to Chile. Through Walsh’s exploration of how racial identity is both constructed and utilised her paper offered a stimulating beginning to the conference.
The conference was well attended with over fifty papers delivered over the two days. Presenters came from local universities, interstate and even as far as New Zealand. Sessions contemplated the concept of ‘identity’ and how it might be used to historically investigate in a variety of time periods and geographic locations, from the ancient world to the twentieth century, to Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
Special thanks to the team of volunteer postgraduate students, headed by our 2016 postgraduate representatives, Sarah Bendall and Georgia Lawrence-Doyle, who organised the conference, and to the department of history for generously funding the conference.
We look forward to hosting another successful conference next year.
To see the organising committee and past conference programmes, please visit our website:

HDR+ Student Grant Success

As the year winds down the Department is very pleased to note that Hollie Pich, Marama Whyte, and Sarah Dunstan from the Department of History were all successful in their applications for 2017 HDR+ Student Grants (
Hollie and Marama were successful in their bid to organise and host a series of seminars around the theme: Working Women: A Forum for Women in Academia
Sarah was successful in her bid to organise and host a series of seminars around the theme of building key skills for higher degree research success.
Their proposals were terrific, and our Chair, Professor Chris Hilliard, has kindly agreed to match the funds given by the University to show the department’s support for such great initiatives.
Details of the seminars, which will run in 1st semester of next year, will follow in the new year.
This is terrific news and is testimony to the high quality work being done by our PG students, their innovative ideas, and their commitment to support the PG community.
Mike McDonnell

New PhD – William Matthew Kennedy

On behalf of the Department of History, a hearty congratulations to William Matthew Kennedy for the award of his PhD.
Matt’s thesis, entitled “Recolonizing Citizenship: Australia and the Ideal of Empire, 1867-1911,” was supervised by Mark McKenna, and deals with the relationship between an emerging Australian national identity and a more global, racialized, imperial political identity in establishing a settler-colonial ‘republic’ based on a contested notion of British rights. In developing his argument, Matt looked at the impact of communication technology, colonial philanthropy, and colonial imperialism and was particularly commended for situating this developing political identity relative to other constituent parts of the empire, most notably British India and the Pacific region within which Australia acted as a sub-imperial power. Examiners praised it as an “important contribution to the literature; one with relevance to historians of Australia, of other settler colonies and of the empire as a whole.” “Packed full of suggestive insights…adding up to a vibrant new appreciation of the relationship between Australian and imperial identities.” “Highly original, timely and compelling.”
Well done to Matt on this fine achievement. Congratulations.

New PhD – Keith Stael

Congratulations go out to Keith Stael, who received his PhD in September, 2016.
Keith worked with Professor Chris Hilliard. His thesis was on the early intellectual development of Kingsley Martin, editor of the New Statesman from 1930-1960. Looking at Martin’s education and work in the 1920s especially, the thesis sets out to understand the political and social context in which Martin began his career, and the experiences and circumstances that undergirded his later influential role. The examiners praised the thesis for its analysis and “deep contextualization of an important intellectual during a mostly overlooked period in his life.” “The scholarship is careful, the writing is clear, and Mr. Stael writes authoritatively and convincingly.”
Congratulations to Dr. Stael for this great achievement!

Recent Postgraduate Completions

The Department of History is pleased to announce some recent news from our postgraduate community. These are a few completions from the past months. Most theses can now be found at the University of Sydney e-scholarship repository:
PhD Completions:
Elizabeth Miller’s doctoral thesis, “Planting of the Lord: Contemporary Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in Australia,” analyses one of the most striking but understudied aspect of modern Australian history: the rise of evangelical religion in the last decades of the twentieth century. Utilising archival research and participant observation, her study demonstrates that megachurches emerged in Australia by allowing members to embrace certain aspects of modernity while shunning others. Examining both the lure and internal tensions that mark Pentecostal approaches to modern life, Miller provides the first scholarly treatment of evangelicalism’s rapid expansion in the recent past. Pointing to her “substantial and original contribution to scholarly knowledge” on this topic, examiners praised Miller’s lucid writing, impressive scope, wide grasp of the secondary literature, and imaginative reconstruction of the texture of evangelical services.
Danielle Thyer was awarded her PhD in May. Her thesis, “Reporting the ‘Unvarnished Truth’: The Origins and Transformation of Undercover Investigation in Nineteenth-Century New York,” traces the beginnings of a novel idea of the press as a vehicle for exposing objective ‘truth.’ Delving into a series of undercover investigations into the marriage market, political corruption, abortion providers, insane asylums and more, Danielle considers the evolution of mass media and journalistic practices, depictions of urban life, and changing gender relations. Examiners praised her thesis as “carefully and thoughtfully composed”; “outstanding” in its organisation of new knowledge of Victorian cultural practices; and written with “uncommon grace and verve.” As one examiner noted in congratulating Danielle, “completing a dissertation of this quality is a significant lifetime accomplishment.”
James Dunk was awarded his PhD in June. The examiners noted that his thesis, ‘The politics of Madness in a Penal Colony: New South Wales, 1788-1856’, was ‘an extremely well written and interesting loose cannon of a thesis’ aiming to ‘question, disrupt and blur established narratives’ of the colonial enterprise. ‘A highly original piece of scholarship’ and ‘a mature piece of historical writing’, it ‘uses madness as a leitmotif to explore the complex overlaps between freedom and coercion, individual rights and governmental and institutional power.’ ‘Dunk has worked across a now large and substantial body of historiography in both the international histories of madness, and also the histories of convict society in Australia (and internationally), and the additional historical strands of law, society and politics run through the body of this work …the historiographical mapping of the topic in this regard is exceptional’.
Justine Greenwood was awarded her PhD in August. Justine’s thesis, Welcome to Australia: Intersections between immigration and tourism in Australia 1945-2015, was described by examiners as “conceptually sophisticated, rich in the variety of secondary sources on which it depends, and admirably disciplined in its intellectual focus and sense of relevance.” Her writing was also commended, with one examiner concluding, “Academic writing is not always a joy to read, but this was a real pleasure” and another examiner, “I consider this one of the best theses that I have read in recent years.” All three examiners enthusiastically recommend its publication as a book for its insight into modern Australia.
Felicity Berry was also awarded her PhD in August. Her thesis, entitled, “Keeping the Home Fires Burning?: British Female Settlers’ Ideas of Home and Belonging in Empire, 1826-1860,” was commended by the examiners as an “original and valuable contribution to Australian colonial history and more broadly, to the field of gender and settler colonial history.” “Beautifully written and a real pleasure to readŠit is outstanding.” “An excellent example of the historian’s capacity to return to well-worked material and bring fresh readings and new insights.” “The sensitivity of the reading, and the sophistication of the interpretation, left me feeling satiated. It was a joy to read.” “Keeping the Home Fires Burning makes an original and substantial contribution to historical scholarship on settler patterns of belonging in nineteenth century Australia.”
Garritt Van Dyk was awarded his PhD in September. Garritt’s thesis was entitled “Commerce, Food, and Identity in Seventeenth-Century England and France.” The examiners declared it ‘a fascinating, myth-busting thesis that offers a rich series of insights and analyses into a suite of familiar associations between cuisine and national identity in the case of modern France and Britain’; ‘a compelling narrative account of the history of English and French understandings of food in the seventeenth and eighteenth century’, highlighting his ‘provocative revisionist analysis of the role food played in the making of national narratives in the same period,’ his ‘wonderful observations … about the differences between English and French political …cultures,’ and ‘the transnational origins of national cultures’. They each stressed its originality and the fact that it is ‘beautifully written, demonstrating an impressive ability to produce fluent, compelling historical writing’, ‘very deserving of publication and will be read with great interest by historians and the wider reading public.’ One of them even commented that it was the “most readable thesis in 20 years of marking.”
MA (Research) Completions:
Catherine Perkins received news of her award of the MA by Research in mid-September. Cathy’s outstanding Masters thesis on the life and work of Australian writer Zora Cross was awarded a high distinction. Both examiners praised the high quality of Cathy’s research and writing: ‘As it stands, this study is an accomplished piece of writing in its own right: often witty, highly intelligent, beautifully crafted, and all delivered with a light touch’. ‘The elegance of the prose, together with the candidate’s obvious enthusiasm for her subject matter and her willingness to inject personal experiences into the narrative, made the thesis a pleasure rather than an obligation to read’.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences – 2017 Teaching Fellowships

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
2017 Teaching Fellowships

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is pleased to announce that it will fund 10 Teaching Fellowships (TFs) in 2017. The Teaching Fellowship scheme is designed to provide a number of the Faculty’s outstanding postgraduate research students, in the final year of their candidacy, the opportunity to pursue enhanced teaching experiences.
General Conditions
TFs will be held for a period of one year. Students can only hold one TF during their candidature.
The 2017 TFs are available on a competitive basis to full-time or part-time postgraduate research students enrolled through the Faculty who will submit their theses between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017. Students who have already submitted their theses, or who plan to submit them in 2016 or in 2018 are not eligible to apply in this TF round.
The period for which a TF is held may include some time in 2017 after a student has submitted his or her thesis and is waiting on examiners’ reports, making final corrections etc. For example, a student who plans to submit his or her thesis in June 2017 is eligible to apply and, if successful, to hold a TF throughout 2017.
The Fellowships are level A step 3 appointments on a part time basis with a 0.2 full-time equivalent (FTE). The term of employment is from 1 February until 15 December 2017. TFs will undertake up to four hours face-to-face teaching per week during the teaching weeks of semesters. The duties included in their teaching should not be limited to tutoring, but should include other teaching and teaching-related activities deemed appropriate (e.g., occasional lectures, curriculum development). These activities may occur outside the standard teaching weeks in semester.
TFs are expected to experience academic benefits, such as mentoring and inclusion in Department and/or School activities, beyond those provided by casual tutoring.
The expected teaching duties and other activities to be undertaken by TFs must be indicated on the application form.
Applicants must use the form provided, and include any relevant supporting material.
To be eligible for consideration for a TF, applicants must submit an application that demonstrates both their own competitiveness and the ability of their Department or School to provide them with enhanced teaching opportunities and appropriate supervision and mentoring.
Applications for 2017 are due by close of business, Tuesday 4 October 2016. No late applications will be considered.
Applications will be ranked within each School at a meeting convened by the School’s representative(s) on the Faculty Postgraduate Research Committee. A sub-committee of the Faculty Postgraduate Research Committee, with one member from each of the five Schools, will meet to determine the overall ranking of the candidates and nominate the 10 recipients for 2017.
Please note, results of the selection process, including the names, Departments and Schools of successful applicants, will be published on Faculty web pages.