Current Postgraduate Research
The Chrysalid Crown: an un-national history of the Crown in Australia
Since the Mauritian Crown was abolished by a simple parliamentary vote in 1992, every proposal to abolish, directly or indirectly, a Commonwealth crown has been submitted to a referendum, and all have failed (Australia 1999, Tuvalu 2008, St Vincent & The Grenadines 2009, British Crown in Scotland 2014). There are cultural factors that can explain this continuing allegiance to realmic crowns that nationalist historiographies are structurally unable to take into account, but which the cultural and social aspects of the crown?s divisibility can explain.
There is nothing inevitable about the abolition (or retention) of a Commonwealth crown, and the question arises of whether the abolition of Commonwealth crowns and their replacement by Commonwealth republics was a mid-twentieth century phenomenon associated with a particular phase of the post-war decolonization process that has now been superseded by a phenomenon of actively adapting Commonwealth crowns to local cultures? Are these adaptations new cultural and social expressions of crown divisibility, or are they continuations of older forms in the popular ?naturalization? of the crown in each realm?
These are questions that can only be asked by making the crown, not the nation, the organizing principle in studying this phenomenon?
Bodies of Whalebone, Wood, Metal and Cloth: Undergarments and Femininity in England, 1560-1690
My research examines the production, consumption and discourses generated around stiffened female undergarments in order to analyse the ways that women and their bodies were understood, regulated and experienced in England, c. 1560-1690. Undergarments were not only items of material culture that sat the closest to the historical female body and intermingled with ideas of cleanliness, modesty, vanity and eroticism, but certain items - bodies, busks, farthingales and bum-rolls - also structured and re-shaped the early modern female body, creating the ideal feminine silhouette out of whalebone, wood, metal and cloth. With this in mind my research focuses on what these understandings can tell historians about the ways that people used material culture, such as clothing, to regulate not just appearance but also gender, class, civility, sexualities and intimate relations in early modern England.
Research Interests: material culture history, early modern Europe, history of gender and sexuality, history of the body and medicine, early modern women's history, fashion history, history of manners and conduct literature, history of emotions
Keeping the Home Fires Burning?: British Female Settlers’ Conceptions of Home and Belonging in Australia, 1826-1870
I am currently studying my PhD in modern history at the University of Sydney, following several years teaching history in high schools. My research examines in what ways and where nineteenth-century British female settlers in Australia conceptualised ‘home’ as being. My thesis interrogates the persistent assumption in scholarship that the British metropole remained the true ‘Home’ for all settlers, by pointing to the many different spaces that these women conceptualised themselves as belonging to. Within this, I also consider what the idea of home reveals about how these women responded emotionally and psychologically to emigration. My more general research interests include the history of ideas and the history of emotions in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain and its Empire, and in particular, how ideas and emotions influenced how individuals constructed their sense of self (including gender) and interacted with those around them. I welcome any contact relating to these areas or field.
How Turtle Island Sounded: Native North American Soundways from Creation to Re-Creation
I’m interested in how and why deeply ingrained acoustemological differences created cultural conflict between natives and newcomers both in and beyond the colonial period in the New World. By reconstructing an indigenous acoustemology, as opposed to a geographically demarcated soundscape, I offer an alternate argument to the existing scholarship; far from being silenced by European/American sensory imperialism, indigenous sounds got louder and richer over time.
Research Interests: Pythagoreanism; persistence of pre-Christian motifs & ideas about sound in Christian acoustemology; connections between music, science, religion/ritual, medicine/healing; the effects of sound/music upon the brain; sound & cultural conditioning; French Jesuit missionaries; Catholic missions of New France; Iroquoian & Algonquian oral history, mythology, & instrumentation; acoustic spaces; silence; singing; sociolinguistics; sacred geography – Turtle Island; “spiritual history.
Dreaming is a universal human activity, and yet, or perhaps because of this, historians do not understand much about the historical nature of dreams. My research interest, then, lies largely in the dreams themselves: what are people dreaming at the end of the nineteenth century in America, Australia and Britain? How do people understand or interpret these dreams? And, how does this change in the context of the early twentieth century; as various competing interests and fields – psychology, science, medicine, and even spiritualism – offer up new explanations for what dreams do and mean? These dreams will be used to uncover the hopes, fears, and desires of everyday women and men, and the questions and concerns being raised by medicine, psychology, spiritualism, and their respective adherents at the time.
Research Interests: Gender History; History of Medicine; History of Sexuality; Nineteenth-century cultural history.
The Politics of Madness in a Penal Colony: New South Wales, 1788-1856
I am interested in the place of insanity within societies, and the political history of colonisation. In my PhD research, I trace the course of madness through the early colonial history of New South Wales. I use it to reveal the developments in colonial projects, from the military and penal outpost of the late eighteenth century, through the reforms which cut across the Empire in the early nineteenth, to the campaigns for self-government in the mid-century. Madness touched administrative and cultural nerves; it was at every stage a problem, and the solutions fixed upon were deeply revealing.
The Quiet Revolution: African American intellectuals and the black freedom struggle, 1919-1968.
My thesis will map African American scholarly and activist engagement with the connection between identity and rights over the period spanning from 1919-1968. Particular emphasis will be given to black intellectual engagement with France because, between 1919 and 1968, it offered African American intellectuals a gateway to the African diaspora and to European civilisation. The extent of its influence upon African-American intellectuals will be assessed through analysis of their intellectual work in French journals such as La Dépêche africaine and La Revue du monde noir and the transcripts of conferences like the 1956 Congrès des écrivains et artistes noirs as well as through personal correspondence. Historians of the African American experience have tended to confine their studies to America's political borders. Those who have re-adjusted these exceptionalist parameters have looked primarily to the broader African diaspora, thereby understating the influence of non-black political and intellectual connections. Drawing upon English and French sources that range from journals to conference transcripts, my thesis will provide a new dimension to the historical literature by situating key African America intellectuals within a transnational framework that acknowledges the role of both diasporan and non-black influences. In so doing, it will also inform current tensions between unidirectional evolutionary narratives of human rights history and fragmented, discontinuous ones.
Research and Teaching Interests: Twentieth-Century African-American and American history, Twentieth Century French history, Human Rights history, Transnational networks.
Supervisor: Professor Shane White
Associate Supervisor: Dr. Marco Duranti
Help Us, Help Them: How Australian parents understood the problem of mental retardation, and what they did about it, 1945 - 1970
My research investigates the emergence of a nationwide network of parent-led, non-government organisations which provided services for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the decades after the World War Two. Engaging with histories of welfare, youth, disability and citizenship, I ask how these groups understood 'mentally retarded' children and adults, and why the solutions they proposed to the 'retardation problem'- special schools, farm colonies, hostels, and sheltered workshops- captured the Australian imagination.
More broadly, I am interested in histories of childhood, education, social welfare, medicine, mental illness, eugenics and disability. Taking an inter-disciplinary and transnational approach, I consider the relationship between expert understandings of these areas and popular discourses: how everyday people adapted and responded to new scientific paradigms, and positioned their own experiences in relation to changing professional knowledge.
I have taught and lectured in the Department on subjects including the Spanish Civil War, veteran rehabilitation, the growth of suburban domesticity, and nuclear family life in 1950s Australia.
Over the years, I've received several prizes and scholarships, including the George Arnold Wood Memorial Prize for History, the Sydney University Arts Association Prize for History, an Australian Pioneer's Association Travel Bursary, a National Library of Australia Summer Scholarship, an Australian Postgraduate Award, and several grants under the University's Postgraduate Research Support Scheme. In 2006 I won the Venour V. Nathan Prize Essay Prize for my paper "'The most popular of all subjects with the children:' singing in NSW schools, 1900 – 1920."
My publications and conference papers cover a range of subjects, predominately concerning the history of disability in Australia.
I am currently the Postgraduate Representative to the Australian Historical Association, the national organisation for all historians.
My full profile is available at: http://daveearl.net
Professor Stephen Garton
Professor Warwick Anderson
Caught on Screen; Representations of the Convict Experience in Film and Television.
My research will critically investigate a wide selection of representations in film and television of the men and women who were transported as convicts to Australia between 1788 and 1868. It will explore how artistic, social, academic and economic concerns have played roles in shaping these representations and broadly look at what affect they have had on social understandings of, and mythologies surrounding Australia¹s convict history.
Research interests: History of Australian cinema, historical film studies, Australian colonial history, issues of national identity.
The aim of my research is to reveal how Australians have produced, received, sustained and modified narratives concerning Australian involvement in foreign wars; and the significance of the ethical principles expressed in such narratives.
Destination South Pacific: American Tourism and the Popular Imagination, 1945-1972.
My PhD research examines the rise of American tourism to the South Pacific in the post-World War II era. I survey the ways in which government officials, tourism promoters, and culture-makers – through tourism development, visual culture, popular culture, and literature – portrayed and presented the South Pacific to Americans. Popularising and commercialising the South Pacific shaped American’s perceptions of the region, and in the post-war popular imagination the South Pacific became an exotic yet civilised, strange yet familiar, frontier wonderland for Americans to spend both time and money.
Through an investigation of the relationship between tourism, visual culture, popular culture, and literature, my research will provide a unique perspective on the cultural exchange that took place between the United States and the South Pacific in the post-war era, and its contemporary legacy.
Research Interests: American popular culture, visual culture, travel and tourism, twentieth-century design, design history, decorative arts
"Flower Children with Thorns": Art, Activism, and the Avant-Garde in New York City, 1968-76
My thesis studies art and activism in New York City, 1966-1980. From the late 1960s onwards, a proliferation of politicised New York-based art groups developed approaches to activism that differed starkly from traditional modes of American political protest. As a response to historiography that posits the late 1960s as a period of self-destructive political violence that paved the way for rising conservatism throughout the American 1970s, this study traces the origins and influence of artists' actions for social change over a crucial 14-year period.
'In search of a national idea': Australian Intellectuals and the Cultural Cringe, 1940 – 1964
During the Second World War and after many Australian intellectuals, tired of the dominance of - and deference towards - British culture, sought to articulate the existence of a distinctively Australian canon, at the same time as fostering the continued flourishing of Australian culture. Spurred originally by the perceived threat to Australia from Japan in 1942, and promoted by the 'little magazine' Meanjin , these writers and thinkers aimed to build a national idea through an Australian high culture previously ignored in academic circles. Leaders of this group of 'cultural nationalists' included Meanjin editor C.B. Christesen and literary critic A.A. Phillips, who coined the term 'cultural cringe' in a Meanjin essay of 1950. My thesis will explore their ideas and aims, as well as those of other intellectuals of the era - including Manning Clark, Bernard Smith and Donald Horne - who in different ways sought to rise to the challenge of creating an 'Australian Tradition' in the face of the perceived parochialism and conservatism of the era.
Australia, Antarctica, and the Logics of State Formation, 1886-1933
My research examines how people and states engaged with Antarctic exploration in the period from 1886 to 1933. I focus on Australia’s complex patterns of political, intellectual, and cultural engagement with Antarctica, but place these in an international context alongside those of other states such as Argentina, Belgium, Britain, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Uruguay. This body of evidence is used to examine broad questions about the formation and expansion of states. The thesis seeks to contribute to a number of distinct historiographies, including Australian history, imperial history, Antarctic history, and the intellectual history of state formation.
The end of isolation: Rapprochement, globalisation, and American trade with China, 1972-1979
Elizabeth's research examines the origins of the contemporary trade relationship between the United States and China. Beginning in 1972 - when President Nixon and Chairman Mao ended over twenty years of economic and political isolation - she explores how the new trade relationship was re-established and became part of the politics of rapprochement. She looks at businesspeople as crucial agents of diplomacy, analysing the American trade culture that developed, and applying cultural and business history methodologies to the diplomatic history of rapprochement. Additionally, she explores the American political ideas about trade with China, which assumed burgeoning trade ties would assist the rapprochement process by creating mutual interests from which political negotiations could develop. This reflected the 1970s context in which the notion of interdependence became a key idea in American foreign policy: an idea that was in many ways a precursor to that of globalisation. Her research raises questions about the relationships between politics, economics, culture and business in America. She argues that even though America's trade with China in the 1970s was important politically, by the end of the decade rather than shaping the politics of rapprochement the reverse became true. The trade between the two countries was instead substantially influenced by political considerations - none more so than the political desire for interdependence. The historical experience of the 1970s shows the nuances in the contemporary correlation made between trade and peace in Sino-American relations. Rather than a linear dynamic, politics deeply influenced trade, highlighting the key role that deliberate cultivation and political willpower played in supporting and encouraging what is today the world's most important trade relationship.
Throughout November 1950 a group of distinguished academics met at MIT to participate in the State Department sanctioned conference codenamed, Project TROY. Their task at hand: find a way to get the ‘truth’ behind the Iron Curtain. Among these experts were psychologists who possessed a newfound confidence in their discipline and its relevance to the postwar world. Not long after the findings of Project TROY were passed around Washington the Psychological Strategy Board (PSB) was established, a section of the American executive created to coordinate and develop America’s ‘psychological strategy’ against the Soviet Union. Yet the PSB only operated until 1953. My thesis will document the curiously short history of the PSB in order to examine the role behavioural and psychological experts played in the formulation of foreign policy. The thesis will pay particular attention to how behavioural experts’ theories and advice affected the policies and programs implemented abroad by the United States during the early Cold War period, in order to better understand the impact that psychology had upon America after 1945.
Research interests: twentieth-century American history, particularly the early Cold War period; the history of psychology, especially its impact upon society and culture in the United States after 1945.
Marie Collier, the reluctant diva
The Australian soprano Marie Collier (1927-71) had a significant international career in the 1960s, singing in the major opera houses of Europe, North and South America and Australia. Yet four decades after her death she is all but unknown. I want to uncover her story and compare her achievements and experience with those of her Australian predecessors and contemporaries such as Nellie Melba, Joan Sutherland et al. I will examine how Collier developed her craft and learned the practice of opera; how she experienced the business of opera as it changed from a limited part-time enterprise to a globalized industry; and how the dynamics of fame and sensation within the business worked out in her career. Collier exercised her profession at a time of great transformation in concepts of culture, female autonomy and national identity. I will examine how she responded to these changes, and how she tried to negotiate a balance between professional, public and private spheres in order to maintain a position of personal integrity and expression.
Siebenhaar's Mates: Romantic Anarchism in Western Australia 1890-1924
The thesis looks at the life, work and networks of Willem Siebenhaar, Deputy Registrar General of Western Australia during the First World War and proposes that he provides a fresh angle for looking at the history of this period. Siebenhaar was a Dutch-born scholar, chess champion, writer, poet, unionist and theosophist who was suspended from his high-ranking government position during the conscription debates but almost immediately re-instated. He became a friend and correspondent of D. H. Lawrence and translated several important Dutch works into English. His transnational links indicate that Western Australia was less isolated and insular than is sometimes supposed.
The conception of 'nation' in Tudor-Stuart England
My thesis explores the development, definition and implications of the concept of the 'nation' in histories and geographies published in the vernacular in England between 1570 and 1630. By exploring the contextual ambiguities of how and in what terms (ethnic, cultural, geographic and political) nations could be defined, it is intended to contribute to resolving the current debate over the existence of pre-modern 'nations,' 'national identity' and 'nationalism'.
Filming the Past in Modern Italy: The Fascist and Postwar Years through the Lens of La Commedia all‘Italiana
My research explores the intersection between Fascist and postwar Italian history, politics and popular cinema. My work specifically examines the Italian comic film genre, La Commedia all’ Italiana, which was produced from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. My work proposes that filmmakers such as Pietro Germi, Dino Risi, Mario Monicelli and Lina Wertmuller, offer us an idiosyncratic and culturally-nuanced perspective of Fascist and postwar Italy. I am interested in the comic archetypes featured in these films and how they emphasise the historical prevalence of certain social prejudices within Italian society. These filmmakers also compelled Italian audiences to confront the legacy of Fascism, and its pervasiveness in Italy’s violent and politically turbulent ‘Years of Lead’ (Gli Anni di Piombo), which endured from the late 1960s until the early 1980s. Ultimately, my work explores how La Commedia all’Italiana both encapsulated and satirised the Fascist and postwar eras, thus exposing the prejudices, cultural binaries and institutions which define Italian society.
Research/Teaching Interests: Twentieth-Century European history, Fascist and postwar Italian history, Italian cinema, film and history, historical memory, national cinemas and national identities, gender history.
Reinterpreting the Sino-Japanese War: the Jin-Sui Border Region in North China 1939-1940
The Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 (within China it is usually called the War of Resistance to Japan) is a significant turning point in the history of Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Before the war the CCP was on the edge of extinction with only limited influence across the whole country, and had suffered terrible losses under the attack of Chang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party and its armies. After the war, the CCP actually controlled the majority of North China and was able to challenge Nationalist Party rule in China as a whole. Generally, it is contended that the secret of the CCP's success by the end of the Sino-Japanese War lays largely in geopolitics and the CCP’s non-revolutionary tactic for mobilizing the peasantry. The main debate has been between those suggesting that the peasantry were mobilized by nationalism and those arguing for the importance of programs of social justice.
Recent research indicates that the CCP in three counties (Wuxian, Licheng and Liaoxian) at the heart of the Taihang Base Area in Southeast Shanxi simultaneously adopted a radical instead of moderate approach during the period from September 1939 to March 1940. Undoubtedly, this interpretation poses a challenge to the more usual explanatory model of CCP success. However, it is less certain what happened elsewhere in the other counties across the CCP base areas in North China. The extent of the significance of these radical events for the whole process of the Sino-Japanese War is also unclear, as well as for their short and long term effect on the evolution of CCP history. These issues are the point of departure for the examination of the Jin-Sui Border Region, towards the west of Shanxi Province, next to the more famous Shan-Gan-Ning (Yan’an) Border Region, headquarters of the CCP at this time, and centering on Yan’an, more usually the name it is known by. The intent is to see what happened in this border region during 1939-40, and the consequences for the development of the CCP and later construction of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Research Interests: History of the Chinese Communist Party, the Sino-Japanese War 1937-1945, Regional and Local History in Modern China.
‘The Woman Question’: Managing Venereal Disease in the US Army, 1898-1918
As the US army rapidly expanded and took up posts outside the nation’s borders, American commanders, like leaders of armies and navies all over the world, had to address the problems of venereal disease in their geographic and temporal contexts. My research traces the policies and practices aimed at reducing venereal infection in the army in the Philippines, Mexico, and France. Just how authorities approached the issue depended in varying degrees on pressures from civilian reformers who voiced concerns about American male conduct elsewhere, as much as it did on the local context of men and women situated near the US troops. I am interested in the contests over masculinity, the development of public health, and the relationship between feminist moral reformers and the army. More broadly, my research interests include the history of medicine and public health, American imperialism, nineteenth and twentieth century transnational reform organizations.
Supervisor: Professor Alison Bashford
Associate Supervisor: Warwick Anderson
This News can Damage your Health: Investigating Differential Psychological Impacts of Media Representations of Conflict News Framings
My research interests are war journalism and peace journalism exploring the psychological impacts of different framings of conflict. I am a former journalist and a current psychotherapist.
The Problem With Being Poor: The Intersection of Voluntary Poverty With Heresy In the Later Medieval World
Reconstructs the antagonisms between mainstream, official piety and poverist spirituality in the late thirteenth, and early fourteenth centuries, focusing particularly on divergences in thought, behaviour and social expectations.
In the World but not of it: Definitional Discourse and the New Monasticism
The guiding assumption of my research is that that the form and content of religious symbols and practices cannot be treated independently from an engagement with non-religious cultural processes, such as material progress and the re-ordering of social relations. My focus is on the 'New Monasticism' in Europe between the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and the articulation of symbolic realities by its adult converts via an array of cultural performances and experiments with vocational identity. What emerged was a new monastic sensibility based on the negotiations of its spokesmen and women with their extramural experiences both prior to and as a condition of their service toward corporate and personal spiritual reform.
Research interests: adult conversion and recruitment to the religious life, ca. 1000-1200; ‘textual communities’ and the problem of hermeneutic contingency; the historic links between Cîteaux, La Chartreuse, and Afflighem with Vallombrosa, Molesme and the neo-Cluniacs; the social context of eremitic practice and Crusade propaganda; the prohibition of clerical marriage and its relation to the formation of womens’ communities; the public function of medieval letters; and the cultural roles of theology and the artes on the formation of the monastic self.
Evangelicalism as a Social Movement in Twentieth Century Australia
This project considers evangelicalism as a religious and social movement in Australia from the 1930s onwards. It uses comparative and transnational frameworks to consider how evangelicalism became the social phenomenon it is today, and examines the social and cultural conditions that led its ascension, as well as its influences. My thesis also asks what- if anything- distinguishes the experience and place of evangelical Christianity in Australia, and by exploring the changes and continuities within this social movement my thesis will illuminate why evangelicals are an increasingly visible and significant group in Australian society.
The Interconnections Between Animal Rights, Radical Religious Movements and Evolutionary Theories in the British Long 19th Century
My PhD thesis explores the triangular relationship between animal rights' thought and practice (specifically looking at the cases of vegetarianism and anti-vivisectionism), evolutionary theories (from Erasmus Darwin to Henri Bergson) and radical and alternative religious movements (Bible Christianity, Deism, theosophy, spiritualism) in Britain from the time of the French Revolution to the end of World War I. It is a truism that Darwinian thought reshaped conceptions of the relationship between the "human" and the "animal," but to date comparatively little attention has been given to the role that earlier evolutionary theory (back to the time of the French Revolution) played in this transformation, and to the role of radical religious thinkers in this (Deists, for example) who were in the vanguard of evolutionary speculation. This amicable relationship between evolutionary theories and radical and alternative religious thought continued throughout the nineteenth century and beyond. In addition to the commonly held conception of the nineteenth-century conflict between science and religion, an alternative story can be told of the nineteenth-century British alliance between radical and alternative religious thought and evolutionary theories, and the involvement of both in the reshaping of human perceptions of our relationship with other animals.
Research Interests: Histories of animal rights, vegetarianism, anti-vivisectionism, science, medicine and religion; historical, critical and literary theory; queer theory/gay and lesbian studies; late 18th to mid 20th century European history, particularly Victorian studies; historical and other Cultural and English Literary Studies; comparative literature; intellectual, social and cultural history; film studies.
Australian Muslim Masculinities
My thesis examines the relationship between commerce and civic thought in 17th and early 18th century England. I am particularly interested in how the great companies and institutions of the City of London negotiated the intellectual terrain these ideas created in the civil war and interregnum periods. On that note, I'm also looking at the expansion and dissemination of knowledge brought on by the growth of the free and unlicensed press and how this new freedom to print allowed the ideas of political theorists to be taken up by a much larger audience than was previously possible. My thesis is also concerned with the broader historiographical connections between urban, social and intellectual history.
Research Interests: Atlantic and Early Modern English Intellectual Hisotry, History of Political Thought, Britain in the Eighteenth Century, Australia in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries.
The Jimmy Little Story
My PhD thesis is a biography on the life of singer/entertainer Jimmy Little which incidentally is shaping up to be a most compelling story about an extraordinary character in Australian indigenous history. The object of my inquiry is to be able to demonstrate how indigenous biography, in this case the story of Jimmy Little, can become a most valuable source for teaching and understanding Australian indigenous history as a whole.
Research Interests: Indigenous biography, indigenous media studies and recent indigenous political activism in New South Wales.
A History of Food Tourism in Australia
My thesis seeks to analyse the emergence of the food tourism phenomenon in Australia. Now famed internationally for the quality of its produce and its ‘Mod Oz’ cuisine, Australia is often packaged to domestic and international tourists as a land suited to all tastes. My research charts the changing role of food in tourist experiences that led to this gastronomic revolution of the last few decades – from colonial encounters with ‘cold beefsteak’ and kangaroo tail soup, to recent culinary rendezvous at boutique food and wine festivals all over Australia.
'Valour' and other yardsticks of imperial virtue in Britain (1880 - 1914)
Propagandists for the British Empire attempted to bypass moral objections to imperial wars by engineering and exploiting imperially-useful conceptions of 'virtue'. These yardsticks of 'virtue' were also useful tools for reinforcing imperial hierarchy in peacetime, both at home and abroad.
Perceptions of Providence: Doing One's Duty in Victorian England
In Victorian England, what one ought to do was determined, in part, by conceptions of providence and duty. My research interrogates the written works of nine Victorians - John Stuart Mill, William Whewell, Thomas Hill Green, John Henry Newman, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Matthew Arnold, George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell - to uncover their conceptions of providence and duty, and discover how they decided what one ought to do.
Research interests: Nineteenth century British history; British intellectual history.
The Woman with a Muck-Rake: Undercover Investigative Journalism in Late-Nineteenth Century New York City and London.
My thesis examines undercover investigative journalism – muckraking – in Progressive Era New York City and Late-Victorian London. I explore the impetus that prompted journalists – especially women, such as Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Banks – to feign insanity, destitution, or unemployment, with the express intention of publishing articles for newspapers, such as the The Sun or The Times. By taking New York City and London as transatlantic foci, I trace the spread of muckraking journalism from its early origins in America, to across the Atlantic in Britain, and uncover the impact this ‘New Journalism’ had on the established print media.
Hybridity and Aboriginal Identity: Changing understandings of Aboriginality from the 1940s to the 1960s.
My thesis focuses on several anthropologists working with what they saw as "non-traditional" Aboriginal communities in the 1940s and 1950s. These anthropologists, including Ruth Fink, Jeremy Beckett, Catherine and Ronald Berndt, Mary Reay, Malcolm Calley, James (Jim) Bell, Pamela Nixon and Diane Barwick, studied these communities as sites of hybridity and persistence, and worked with a concept of a stabilising "mixed-race" identity. However, by the 1960s Indigenous activism and global and local political currents rendered these conceptions of hybridity outmoded, replacing them with new conceptions of Aboriginal identity.
Research interests:I am interested in colonial science and histories of empire in general.
A Monopoly on Revolution: Class, Taxes, & War in Boston, 1776-1789
My research considers the town of Boston in the American Revolution, from 1776 to 1789. Boston's involvement in the pre-Independence period of the conflict with Britain (1763-75) has been thoroughly studied by historians. But little research has been done into the town following the evacuation of the British army in March 1776. On top of the demands of an eight-year war, the town had to be physically rebuilt and its dispersed population return home. My thesis explores how the political, economic, and social conflicts that developed over the next thirteen years revealed differing conceptions of the American Revolution amongst the townspeople. In particular, I want to consider how these disagreements over the meaning of American Independence reflected and exacerbated class conflicts that had been present in the town during the eighteenth-century. As well as contributing to our understanding of the consequences of the American Revolution, my research will add to the work of scholars who are re-conceptualising class in studying eighteenth-century America and the Atlantic World.
RECENTLY COMPLETED THESES
PhD, 2011: Redeeming the Holocaust: Uncovering the Sacred Narratives of the Secular Museum
My doctorate traces the transformation of religious myth and ritual in Holocaust museum/memorials. The aim of the research is to lay bare the sacred Holocaust memory that is being created in these syncretistic and supposedly secular settings, with the overarching goal of understanding when and how these sacred memories are then mobilized in the public sphere.
HSTY 2691 Writing History, JCTC1002 Jewish Settlement Outside Palestine, JCTC2606 The Holocaust: History and Aftermath
'Displaying the Sacred: Australian Holocaust Memorials in Public Life', Holocaust Studies: A Journal of Culture and History, 13 (2007), pp. 151-172.
'Integrity and Relevancy: Shaping Holocaust Memory at the Sydney Jewish Museum', Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, 54 (Winter/Spring 2005), pp. 108-115.
Research Interests: Museums and memorials, Holocaust history and representation, Religious responses to the Holocaust, Genocide studies
My thesis uses Sydney as a case-study to explore changing ideas about alcohol in the nineteenth-century, in particular the regulation of drinking and drunkenness. I argue that the temperance movement inspired a reinterpretation of drunkenness as a responsibility of the government and that this shift in understanding had wider implications for the development of the modern state."
Research/Teaching Interests: Nineteenth Century Australian History, Temperance Movements, History of Regulation, History of Alcohol
PhD, 2009: Tourism and Place-Making at Uluru (Ayers Rock) 1929-1968
The Free French in Australia, 1940-44
My thesis uses the concepts of acculturation, place and allegiance to underpin an account of the Free French Movement in Australia, 1940-44.
PhD, 2011: The other sort of witches’: Cunning folk and supernatural illnesses in early modern England
I am investigating the connection between witchcraft, illness, and healing in early modern England, with a particular emphasis on cunning folk. As practitioners of magic, cunning folk were valued in their communities as healers, but were vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft. My thesis explores the ambiguous nature of their position in early modern English society.
“The Medical Diagnosis of Demonic Possession in an Early Modern English Community”, Parergon, Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies 26, 1 (2009): 115-139.
“Afflicted Children: Supernatural Illness, Fear, and Anxiety in early modern England”, in Diseases of the Imagination and Imaginary Diseases in the Early Modern Period, ed. Yasmin Haskell (in preparation for Brepols).
Research Interests: early modern England, early modern Europe, history of the emotions, witchcraft, demonic possession and medicine.
PhD, 2011: Doctor Across Borders: Raphael Cilento, Public Health and Social Welfare from Empire to the UN
My doctoral research examines the history of public health, social welfare and government from the late 19th century to the 1950s. More specifically I use the international career of the Australian public health official, Sir Raphael Cilento, to explore the complex development and circulation of the ideology and practice of public health in and between a range of overlapping imperial, national and international contexts. It thus suggests the imperial genealogy of public health and social welfare interventions in Australia and the United Nations.
Publication: "Australian Imperialism and International Health in the Pacific Islands", Australian Historical Studies, 41(1), 2010, pp. 57-74.
Research Interests: history of public health, medicine and science; empire and colonialism; internationalism and international organisations.
Evangelicals and the End of Christian Australia: nation and religion in the public square, 1959-1979
Project blurb: The turbulent 1960s saw long-held notions of individual, social and national identity brought to the fore and radically challenged. Very rapidly, traditional descriptions of Australian national character as British, White and Christian became untenable. While the erosion of ethnic and racial bases for a national narrative continues to be explored, historians have been largely silent on the concurrent sidelining of religion in public life since the 1960s, often assuming its inevitable decline in the face of secularisation. Since 9/11, however, religion's influence in the public square has been seen as an increasingly important issue, necessitating a new look at how and why Australians stopped thinking of themselves as Christian, and how the churches and their members responded.
By interrogating the involvement of various Australian Evangelical Christian leaders in key social and political issues between Billy Graham’s first and last Crusades (1959 and 1979 respectively), my thesis examines how these 'other-worldly' Christians engaged with the world, re-interpreting the idea of an Australian nation and their role in its life. It explores their approach to shaping a post-Imperial national identity and their articulation of a post-Christendom relationship between the church and the nation. In this manner, it hopes to challenge dominant understandings of secularisation in Australia and explore ways in which Evangelicals have sought to understand and influence the nation and the world.
Research Interests: Religious history; Evangelicalism; nations and nationalism; secularisation; Australian history; British and Imperial history; political culture.
Supervisors: Associate Professor James Curran (Primary), Associate Professor Carole Cusack (Associate)
Natural Law and Natural Rights in Nineteenth Century Britain
My thesis examines Natural Law and Natural Rights in nineteenth-century Britain. It is an investigation into the nature, mutations, influence, and implications of the theories in the period.
A Serious Imputation Of Cruelty: Aboriginal Women And Girls in South-East Queensland's Pastoral Industry and Under State 'Care', 1859-1939
After Queensland became a colony in 1859, squatters cleared the land of flora, fauna, and people. With little choice, Aboriginal women, in an extension of their traditional roles as emissaries and providers, led the way onto pastoral stations. In 1897 the Aborigines’ Protection Act granted the colonial government with power over every aspect of Queensland Aboriginal people’s lives. Aboriginal people were moved onto reserves which served as labour depots for the pastoral industry. The labour Aboriginal women and girls performed, in the largely womanless white society, proved crucial to the burgeoning pastoral industry. This thesis explores the lives of these women and girls within the context of exploitation endemic to colonisation.
The Lives of Stories: History Making and Aboriginal-settler Relations
My research explores popular and public historiography of relations between Indigenous and settler Australians. I’m tracing four stories told and re-told as tales of cultural difference and togetherness: of Bindal adoptee James Morrill; Eora diplomat Bennelong; Wiradjuri warrior Windradyne’s friendship with the Suttor family; and the friendship between Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Judith Wright. I'm investigating how these stories emerged and how they have grown and changed in the telling, particularly across the past four decades as they have been interwoven with the broader narratives of breaking the 'great Australian silence', Aboriginal survival and regeneration, reconciliation and the history wars. I have a strong interest in heritage and in the links between landscape, history and the community, and at the same time as I complete my thesis I'm working as a Cultural Heritage Researcher in the NSW Department of the Environment, Climate Change and Water.
The construction of official geographic knowledge in the survey departments of NSW and VDL 1788-1835
Early Egyptian Cinema
My research focuses on the early Egyptian cinema, and in particular examines Egyptian uses of the cinema to respond to western stereotypes of Egyptians, Arabs and Muslims.
PhD, 2008: The First Wave: The making of a beach culture in Sydney, 1810-1920
My PhD examined the environmental and cultural history of Sydney’s coast, with a particular focus on the origins of Australians’ attachment to the coastal landscape. It traced the evolution of many of Sydney’s beaches from private to public spaces, and the corresponding shifts in attitudes towards these spaces, through debates about pollution, sand removal, amusement parks, economic responsibility and certain behaviours such as sun-baking. The question of who has the right to determine the ways beaches may be used is a central theme. My forthcoming book will pick up on and expand these themes, presenting a history of Sydney’s beaches and coastal environment to the present day.
I currently work as a cultural heritage researcher for the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW, and am an Honorary Associate of the University of Sydney’s Department of History. I was awarded the 2009 NSW Archival Research Fellowship to adapt my doctoral research into a book.
Recent publications:Sydney Beaches: A History (UNSW Press; forthcoming)
Playing in the Bush: Recreation and National Parks in NSW (Sydney University Press; forthcoming. Co-edited with Richard White)
'The Battle for Public Rights to Private Spaces on Sydney's Ocean Beaches, 1854-1920s' Australian Historical Studies (Vol 41, October 2010).
'The Lifesaver' in Richard White and Melissa Harper (eds), Symbols of Australia: Uncovering the stories behind the myths, UNSW Press and National Museum of Australia, Sydney 2010.
'A Summer Fling: The rise and fall of aquariums and fun parks on Sydney’s ocean coast, 1885-1920' Journal of Tourism History (Vol 1, no 2, October 2009).
Challenges in the Landscape: Memories of conserving historic heritage in the NSW park system, 1967-2000, Department of Environment and Climate Change, Sydney 2009.
'"What Power What Grandeur What Sublimity!": Romanticism and the appeal of Sydney beaches in the nineteenth century', in Hosking, Susan, Hosking Rick, Pannell, Rebecca and Bierbum, Nena, (eds) Something Rich and Strange: Sea Changes, Beaches and the Littoral in the Antipodes, Wakefield Press, Kent Town 2009.
Research Interests: Beach and coastal histories; histories of landscape and attachment to place; histories of recreation; cultural heritage; Aboriginal post-contact heritages.
M.A. (Research), 2011
Supervisor: Richard Waterhouse
Ownership of Knowledge in Higher Education in Australia, 1939-1996
My research explores changes to conceptions of university knowledge in relation to ideas of civilisation, nation and the economy. I am tracing the commodification of knowledge and the consequences of a shift from academic authority to the authority of the market - from academic freedom to market freedom.
Research/Teaching Interests: Australian history, History of Education, Higher Education, eLearning, Urban history, Histories of Technology
The Pains of Sleep: The Mass-Observation Dream-Diaries of British Civilians in The Second World War.
My research examines the Mass-Observation dream directive, a project in which the dreams of eighty-five civilians were collected as indicators of the psychological state of British civilians during the Second World War. I am interested in the shifting attitudes towards dreaming expressed in these texts and the use of dream-writing by individuals as a means by which to explore selfhood and psychology in wartime.
The Migrant's Holiday: Tourism and Migrant Settlement in Australia, 1945–2010
Australians have often expected migrants to be workers first and foremost. This has obscured the role of the flip side of work – tourism and holiday-making – in the migrant experience. My research examines ways in which tourism and holiday-making has provided migrants with techniques for adapting to life in their new country in the post-war period. It also explores the important role migrants have played in presenting an image of Australia, both domestically and internationally, through their travel experiences and their work in the tourism industry.
In the name of prestige and glory: the unarmed contest between French colonialist and Indian nationalist forces over French India 1947 - 1963.
In November 1954 France transferred the administration of her tiny Indian enclaves to the Union of India, an event which followed seven years of negotiation with the Indian government and the withdrawal of the French from Indochina. This thesis investigates the decolonisation process of French India and the interdependency of her two Asian colonies amidst rising nationalist demands. It explores the reasons France chose to remain in India despite the British departure and compares the means by which both nationalist India and colonialist France asserted their rights over the territories.
Colonial Citizens: Anti-Transportation, Settler Capital and the Constitutional Lobby in Australia and the Cape Colony, 1846-54
My thesis examines a brief but crucial passage of political agitation and lobbying for constitutional reforms in the British settler antipodes of Australia and the Cape Colony, South Africa. Demands for greater colonial autonomy there were buoyed by the groundswell of opposition to convict transportation measures introduced by Britain’s Secretary for War and the Colonies, Earl Grey. Taking on the moral discourse of contagion, colonists wrote petitions, initiated boycotts and met at public rallies to denounce the perceived threat convictism held against free emigration to the colonies and the desired image of colonial civic responsibility. Spearheading such action was the Anti-Convict Association in the Cape Colony and the Australasian Anti-Transportation League. In the context of the 1848 revolutions in Europe, and relative political calm in Britain, the colonies were seedbeds for debates over the future of colonial enfranchisement. The thesis thus explores networks for colonial reform and its reception and support in Britain, notions of colonial citizenship and its appeal to British ‘liberty’, as well as the struggle to define the economic (and racial) basis upon which semi-autonomous settler polities would be forged.
Research Interests: British Empire, Australian history, South African history, comparative settler societies, imperial networks, history of journalism, nineteenth-century popular culture, colonial politics
Venomous Exchanges: A History of Research into Venomous Australasian Animals and Their Toxins, 1835–1914
Europeans never arrived alone in the antipodean colonies. Everywhere they landed in Australia and New Zealand, colonists brought familiar domestic animals with them. As they encountered local species, the settlers incorporated their perceptions of indigenous animals into a dynamic matrix of moral, economic and emotional relationships. But where did ‘dangerous’ animals fit into this colonial animal matrix? And indeed, how was it decided which animals were dangerous? My research triangulates scientific, cultural and animal perspectives to explain the construction of identities for venomous fauna in colonial Australasia – including the impact upon ‘dangerous’ animals themselves.
Professor Alison Bashford
Claire Hooker, Centre for Medical Humanities
Dr Ken Winkel, Australian Venom Research Unit
PhD, 2011: The Role of Professor R G Howarth in the Australian Literary Network
Economies of Identity: The textual, domestic, and commodified lives of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle
PhD, 2010: Crime and Outrage: Sexual Villains and Sexual Violence in New South Wales, 1870-1930
I received my PhD from the University of Sydney in 2010. My thesis is a cultural and legal history of sexual violence in New South Wales between 1870 and 1930. I am a sessional lecturer and research assistant at the University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle, and Macquarie University. I have been awarded the 2011 Arts NSW Archival Research Fellowship and the David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship to research the history of capital punishment in nineteenth century Australia.
Research Interests: Australian history, crime & punishment, gender & colonialism, and histories of sexuality. I am currently working on a project examining the use of capital punishment in colonial Australia.
2010: ‘The “Condemned Criminals”: Sexual Violence, Race and Manliness in Colonial Australia’, Women’s History Review (scheduled for publication 2012).
2010: ‘Murder in Gun Alley: Girls, Grime and Gumshoe History’, Journal of Australian Studies 34, 4 (2010): 471-484.
2009: ‘“Call All Male Offenders By Their Right Name”: Masculinity and the Age of Consent’, Melbourne Historical Journal, Special Issue No. 1 (2009), pp. 1-19
Being No-one: the life of Mollie Skinner 1876-1955
A biographical study of West Australian nurse and author, Mollie Skinner; informed by her relationship with D H Lawrence following his encounter with Therevada Buddhism in 1922. Uses Modern discourses on the nature of being, with Cognitive Science and Buddhist theories, to develop a biographic model that does not circumscribe a unified cognizing subject.
Research interests: Biography; Therevada Buddhism; Literary figures; Colonial history; Representations of Indigeneity; Missionaries.
M.A. (Res), 2010: 'The note wanted': how opera was used in Australia 1900-1970
Twentieth-century Australians used opera to clarify and express their understandings of themselves in both public and personal spheres. They used it to express transformation and progress at an institutional and societal level. The concept of ‘high art’ created expectations about the nature of opera, its worth and how it could be utilised in society, and these expectations were exemplified in attitudes and behaviours. Opera was used to build national prestige and express Australian identity, with mixed results. Individuals used opera as a source of social status, and read their own values and aspirations into the character and role of the singer, creating an image of themselves. Although these uses changed as the twentieth century changed, they still remain the basis for the ways people use opera in the twenty-first century.
Recolonizing Citizenship: Complicating the Idea of Empire in Australia, 1868-1911
Although historians have generally preferred to write the history of British Imperialism from a metropolitan perspective, my study inverts this gaze, and maintains that those in the British settler colonies used rather different categories to describe their political world. In so doing, they came to hold a vastly different ideal of empire as a global, imperial republic in which all of British civilisation held equal rights, and had equal obligations to uphold. This ideal was used regularly to promote and condemn structures and behaviours across the Empire, based on the metaphorical authority that imperial citizenship was seen to provide.
My research maps out the late 19th and early 20th century life of this ideal in Australia, and in particular traces the change in understandings of the basis of imperial citizenship from mere metaphor in the 1870s to positive law by 1911.
A Cultural History of the Road in Australia
My thesis explores how 'the road' as both a physical and cultural entity has been imagined, experienced and represented in Australia, with particular focus on the motoring era from late nineteenth century to the present. It also investigates comparisons between Australian and American road culture.
Camels, Ships and Trains: Translation Across the Indian Archipelago 1880 – 1930
In the 1960s a group of local historians in the inland desert town of Broken Hill found a book outside the abandoned mosque at the edges of town. The final few pages were missing, it was badly weathered and in the words of historian Christine Stevens, ‘its sacred pages were blowing in the red dust.’ They carefully dusted the book free of sand and labelled it as a Quran. The book remains in the tiny mosque in Broken Hill and has been repeatedly referred to as a Quran in Australian historiography. When I first came across the text in 2009, reading the first few pages revealed that it wasn’t. It is a Bengali book consisting of 500 pages of poetry. A muslim puthi, it is an artefact of Bengali working class popular culture printed in the port city of Calcutta in 1896. Tracing how this book traveled across the Indian Ocean and over 500 kilometres of Australian desert reveals a fascinating interconnected geography of camels, ships and trains. Starting with this book, I investigate networks of working class mobility with a focus on historical sources that are not in English. Using both Indo-Aryan and Aboriginal language materials created by itinerant workers, I argue that a methodology of translation across the Indian Archipelago offers a significant challenges and contributions to Australian historiography.
Realizing an identity in late nineteenth-century Australia: nationality, class and gender in the life and work of Ellen Augusta Chads
Ellen Chads (EAC) is a long forgotten Australian journalist and author who published Victorian romance, didactic work and reviews from the early 1880s to the mid 1890s, thus spanning several important developments in Australian history, including especially the woman suffrage movement (to which she was opposed). My aim is to write a microhistory of her life, through which I hope to explore the contours of the social and cultural landscape in which she lived.
Consuming Discerningly, Differently and Democratically: Class and Consumer Culture in American Vogue, 1945-1980
My thesis explores how by bringing elite and 'high' style to its largely middle class American readership, American Vogue complicates the postwar picture of American consumption. In opposition to the common American belief that the new found ability to purchase cheap, mass produced goods would be the path to a truly inclusive democracy, American Vogue proposed that it was more democratic for Americans to save their pennies for the occasional item of "good taste" and superior quality.
A cultured English public in Italy': Expatriates, cultural propaganda and the British Institute of Florence, 1900 to 1940
My research explores the history of the expatriate British residents of Florence during the first half of the twentieth century through a case study of the cultural institution that they established during the First World War, the British Institute of Florence. Despite being located outside the boundaries of the British empire, the British in Florence saw themselves as its loyal subjects and were convinced of the beneficial nature of teaching Italians about British civilisation and culture. In my thesis I examine how this expatriate community thought of themselves in relation both to the British empire and to their adopted city of Florence, the role imperial thought played in defining their identity, and how the as-yet unstudied activities of the British Institute during the interwar period contribute valuably to our understanding of interwar efforts at cultural propaganda.
Research interests: Modern British history, cultural institutes, expatriate history, imperial history.
The Smiling Professions: Salespeople, Promotional Culture and Colonial Modernity in Australia, China and the Pacific 1890-1945
My research examines conflicting ideas about mass culture and colonial modernity in Australia, China and the Pacific between 1890 and 1945. My analysis focuses on the personal papers and archival remains of 'smiling professionals' and people on the make - peddlers, traveling salesman, laborers, department store workers, publicity agents and propagandists. These individuals constituted a commercial network from below which linked Australia and Asia in a geography of promotional culture often invisible in official government archives. My aim is to show how these commercial networks de-center the Anglo American story of consumer society and illuminate the broader processes of industrial mass production and urbanization which led to colonial modernity.
Research Interests: Twentieth-century Australian cultural history, salesmanship, mass culture, commercialism and colonial modernity.
PhD, 2011: A comparative study of the rise of multiculturalism in Australia and Canada
My thesis compares the rise of multiculturalism in Australia and Canada. It places the emergence of multicultural policy in the context of the search for a new national identity. The rise of multicultural policy is put in a broad historical context through focusing on the period of the 1890s to the 1970s.
PhD, 2011: Yodelling Boundary Riders: Country Music in Australia
PhD, 2010: Australia’s Bohemian Tradition
Empress Adelheid and Countess Matilda Compared
I am comparing two wealthy and powerful women – Adelheid who was active in the latter half of the tenth century and Matilda of Tuscany who was active in the latter half of the eleventh and the early twelfth centuries – to examine the reasons for their success against the background of the general changes of the eleventh century which brought about a reversal in women’s relative ability to access wealth and power.
Research Interests: My other interests include medieval bronze doors such as those at Aachen, Hildesheim, St Ambrose’s church in Milan and Novgorod; how a nation visually presents its medieval leaders and historical events over time.
The Age of Morality: Adolescence and Crime in Third Republic France 1877-1912
My thesis examines the emergence of the adolescent offender as a distinct social, legal and cultural category in Third Republic France, against the background of anxieties about national degeneration at the end of the nineteenth century. The period I’m focusing on spans the years from 1877 to 1912 - from the creation of the pre-eminent French criminal justice reform society, the Société Générale des Prisons, based in Paris, to the establishment of juvenile courts and an autonomous juvenile justice system. Part of my project explores how experts (pedagogues, psychologists, criminologists, sociologists and legal theorists) singled out age as a primary criterion of classification, and the ways in which adolescence came to be considered a distinct and particularly perilous stage of life, critical to the healthy moral development of the individual and crucial for national stability. The thesis touches on debates over age and criminal responsibility, methods of correction and rehabilitation for juvenile offenders, and in particular the role of religion in programmes of moralisation within the increasingly secularised republic.
Research Interests: histories of childhood, adolescence and youth; crime and criminal justice; criminal autobiography; ordinary writing; social reform; architecture and urban space; and modern French and European history in general.
My research examines the decolonisation processes of Senegal and the Belgian Congo. I hope to develop an understanding of how, and why each state evolved as they did. As such, I plan to focus on the respective colonial administrations pre-independence, with particular emphasis on the development and training of an African elite. I aim to centre my studies on the roles of Leopold Sedar Senghor in Senegal and Patrice Lumumba in the Congo.
Research interests: Colonialism, Neo-Colonialism, Issues of National Identity
My thesis investigates the history of LSD psychotherapy in the United States between 1950 and 1975. The focus is on contextualizing the clinical research performed with LSD within the changing paradigms of psychiatric and psychopharmacological theory, treatment and research in the period, in order to better explain LSD's downfall as a therapeutic tool.
Hildegart and the Making of a New Generation in Spain, 1914-1933
My research explores the mobilisation of youth and women in early twentieth century Spain, through the short but prolific career of writer and propagandist, Hildegart. The project is primarily motivated by my desire to understand how an adolescent woman gained access to a range public platforms and why men and women, in Spain and abroad, stopped to listen as she called for the creation of a new generation. Although the study is anchored in the short window of time in which Hildegart forged a career in public life, I do not cast aside the well-known stories about her earlier life: her eugenic birth; precocious intellectual achievements; and her early entry into public life. Instead, I analyse them as part of her archive and demonstrate that they served a clear purpose during her life time. I explore the ways that stories about her childhood during the Restoration and Primo Dictatorship allowed her to cultivate her public image as a prototype for the ‘conscious generation’. By approaching her career as a battle on multiple fronts for the creation of a new society, I hope to contribute to several overlapping fields of historical knowledge, engaging with distinct modes of thinking about the politics of procreation and popular amelioration, and drawing together the dispersed strands of the history of young people in twentieth century Spain. By demonstrating how the 'conscious generation’ functioned as a metaphor for social change, I will contribute to the cultural history of tensions between liberal and revolutionary visions for a Spanish Republic.
Research/Teaching Interests: The History of Spain in the 20th century, the Spanish Civil War, politics and cultures in 20th century Europe, Nationalism, Historical Memory, Propaganda, Women’s movements.
Displaced Persons in Australia (1947-1953): Memory and Commemoration
After the Dust: New South Wales Country Towns in a Post-agricultural Environment 1946-2006
My research uses a selection of towns in NSW to ask how country towns have sought to redefine their role, purpose and identity in a post-agricultural environment. Country towns currently occupy a space of geographical and academic anxiety. Traditionally they have been placed within a rural historical context. This research suggests that this traditional marriage of rural and town no longer adequately accounts for the diverse responses country towns have had to the threat of their own decline or experience of progress in the latter half of the twentieth century.
PhD, 2009: The Development of Community Facilities in Sydney and Melbourne since 1945
Being Human in Early Virginia: English understandings of Native America
While many scholars argue that Europeans of the colonial era believed the 'savages' of North America to be brutish and subhuman, I argue that there was a brief window of time in Virginia, from around 1580 until the Massacre of 1622, when the English believed the Indians to be as human as themselves. The Indians were neither biologically nor mentally inferior, nor did they exist in a timeless historical state. In fact, they could be peacefully and easily incorporated into an English way of life. This project is ultimately an exploration of what it meant to be human in Early Modern England, and the importance of this question for the understanding of colonialism and the early history of America.
Research interests: Atlantic world, colonial America, early modern Europe, ethnographic history, first contact and intercultual dynamics, history of ideas, historiography, history of science and medicine, madness and the mind.
The Corvo Cult: The Impersonations and Autobiografictions of Frederick Rolfe
The thesis chronicles the history of one of the twentieth century’s most resilient literary cults, that of the eccentric English novelist Frederick Rolfe (1860-1913), who wrote several of his works under the name ‘Baron Corvo.’ Biographies of major writers, and volumes of literary criticism, often include chapters or passages describing in general terms the posthumous reputations of their subjects, but this is the first time that the trajectory of one particular posthumous literary cult has been described with such fullness. The men and women who played the major roles in the propagation of Frederick Rolfe’s cult were themselves writers and academics, who instinctively documented their obsession and corresponded with each other about it. The survival of their letters and notes in the collections of major public libraries has made it possible to piece together their associations and interactions, and illuminate in unprecedented detail the story of how one literary cult grew and prospered. There are two propositions which the thesis seeks to demonstrate: first, that the concept of a literary cult has enduring explanatory value, and has by no means been rendered obsolete by the growing academic interest in ‘fandom’ studies; and second, that Frederick Rolfe became the object of a literary cult because he lived his real life as a web of fictions, impersonated the man he wanted to be, and projected this created persona into innovative and audacious experiments in the hybrid literary genre of autobiografiction.
"The Sum of Its Parts", Rare Book Review (UK), Vol 33 No 6, Issue 368, December 2006/January 2007, pp.48-51.
"The Corvine Banquets of 1929", The Book Collector (UK), Vol 56 No 1, Spring 2007, pp.67-74.
"Not a Bean", The Times Literary Supplement, No.5431, 4 May 2007, p.13.
"The Curious History of Frederick Rolfe's Don Renato", The Bodleian Library Record, Volume 22 Number 1, April 2009, pp.35-48.
Research Interests: English Literary History, particularly of the Late Victorian and Edwardian periods; the rise of literary Modernism; the history of Catholicism.
Friendship, Love and Governance in British Oceania
I investigate and historicise two crucial aspects of British expansion into Oceania: the use of languages of love and friendship in imperial endeavour and the impact of imperial endeavour upon relations of friendship and love. My thesis spans an epochal period in European history (1767 to 1815) that witnessed, alongside political and economic revolutions, the rise of British commercial empire to a position of global supremacy and a sentimental culture committed to querying its effects. I suggest that British-Oceanic relations were imagined as amorous or amicable in efforts to secure the virtue of an imperial mission charged with corruption. Further, that Oceania became a site where the conceptual unruliness of intimate discourse could be debated and refined. In the imagined sentimental empire and the real empire of sentiment the dangers of passion loomed large threatening to collapse civility into savagery, to override duty with desire and to transform diplomacy into tyranny. Where love was often the co-conspirator in imperial tales of transgression, friendship could offer an ideal model of governance for both the self and global society. I take friendship and love in accordance with their expansive contemporary meanings, from the instrumentalist to the intimate, the virtuous to the violent and the commercial to the conjugal. At a time when Enlightenment philosophers were celebrating the liberation of affective relations from the instrumentalist bonds of commercial society, their role in imperial enterprise reveals their often involuntary, unequal, instrumentalist and profoundly public aspects.
PhD, 2011: Australian Travel to Asia 1939-2005
‘New Hebrews’, ‘New Women’? Gender, Zionism and Jewish identity in the female imagery of E. M. Lilien, 1890-1914.
Ephraim Moses Lilien (1874-1925), the Galician born, German Jewish artist at the centre of this dissertation, was the first major modern Zionist artist. His construction of a ‘New [Male] Jew’ formed an important part of fin de siècle European discourse on Jewish alterity. However, behind this gendered trope remained perplexing and ambivalent portrayals of the ‘New Jewish Woman’ that have largely been ignored by scholars in the attempt to understand and historicise Lilien’s images of the New Jew: a narrative defined by men and constructed around Jewish male concerns of muscularity and masculinity.
Using a cross-disciplinary approach that integrates visual culture with gender studies, cultural studies, Jewish studies and European intellectual and cultural history this dissertation re-examines Lilien’s images of women maintaining that they were neither solely misogynist images of femme fatales, nor gendered Western male Orientalist fantasies as most of the literature on his oeuvre presumes. I claim that his images of women offer a more nuanced representation of the modern Jewish woman and reflected, albeit imperfectly, an inner search for roots, authenticity and Heimat: a valid search for what it meant to be both an ‘Asiatic’ and Westerner, Oriental and Occidental at the turn of the twentieth century in Central Europe.
Teaching Background: I have taught 'Nineteenth Century European History' and ‘Twentieth Century European Politics and Culture’ for the Department as well as two courses for the History Department at the University of New South Wales on 'Holocaust and Genocide' and 'The Modern Jewish Experience: Nationalism to Statehood'.
I have received over six grant applications that include the Centre for Jewish Studies, New York, Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) Travelling Scholarship to attend and give a paper at the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) Conference in Washington, DC; several grants under the University‘s Postgraduate Research Support Scheme and History GIA scheme and the University’s SSMART scholarship. In 2006 I also received the UNSW College of Fine Arts Travelling Scholarship.
I have one article pending for the Jewish feminist magazine Nashim this year, 2013. Title: “Reading the Authentic Oriental? Ephraim Moses Lilien’s Biblical Images of Women”, 1890-1014. and a nook chapter for Women of the Bible, due out in 2014.
Research Interests: Modern European History, German Jewish History, German and Jewish visual culture, Nationalism, Gender History, Eugenics and the history and aesthetics of the body.
Supervisors: Associate Lecturer Dr. Cindy McCreery, Department of History and Professor Mark Ledbury, Department of Art History and Film Studies
Mass-Observation and the 'problem of leisure' in 1930s England
My research examines conflicting ideas about leisure in England in the 1930s. It aims to demonstrate how Mass-Observation’s engagement with the ‘problem of leisure’ intersects with and illuminates broader cultural tensions relating to modernity in interwar Britain. My analysis focuses on the Worktown project (an intensive ethnographic study of working-class culture in Bolton and Blackpool).
Research Interests: include twentieth-century British cultural history, leisure, mass culture, commercialism, and modernity.
The Christian left and the religious discourse of foreign policy in America, c.1920s -1950s
Cultural Politics and the Conceptions of the Chinese Nation: Chinese Emigre Intellectuals' Responses to the Coming of the Cold War (1945-70)
This project explores cultural politics at the anti-Communist Front in the early Cold War era (1949-66) through the political thought of various émigré intellectuals who fled China to Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1949. Through several representative case studies, this project examines how the émigré intellectuals of different backgrounds responded to the Communist takeover of China and shaped their political ideals in the 1950s and 1960s.
Research/Teaching Interests: Chinese intellectual history; Chinese political and diplomatic history; Cold War in East Asia