Abstracts: Seminar Series 2018

Trimester 1, 2018

Wednesdays, 11am-12pm

Room Numbers:
Burwood C.205; Waurn Ponds ic3.108 (unless otherwise stated: 4, 11, 18 April)
Or connect via VMP ARTSED2 (36917)

14 March: Dr Sally Percival Wood

‘Dissent: The Student Press in 1960s Australia’ 

The student press in the 1960s was populated with the people, politics and, increasingly, the power, to cause alarm in federal and parliaments. Through their newspapers, university students tackled the government over indigenous rights, gay liberation, abortion law reform, access to contraception, conscription and the Vietnam War. Moving within the currents of all of those issues was censorship. In 1964, Humphrey McQueen, editor of Semper Floreat at the University of Queensland, appalled students with his ridicule of Christianity, while artist Martin Sharp’s controversial cartoons ‘The Gas Lash’ published in the University of NSW’s Tharunka, and ‘The Word Flashed Around the Arms’ in Oz landed students in court on obscenity charges. In Melbourne, the Vice Squad frequently arrived at the printers to censor Lot’s Wife or Farrago just before the papers went to print.

This paper looks at the battle against censorship waged by university students through their newspapers in the 1960s. It then contemplates the student publications of the twenty-first century in search of the passion that once fired the student presses. It asks: What has happened to campus life to so dilute the camaraderie and shared sense of purposes found in the 1960s papers?

21 March: Professor Stefan Berger

‘National History Writing and National Identity Formation- Global Perspectives’

National history plays a central role in constructions of national identity. The professionalisation of historical writing from the late eighteenth century onwards accompanies the development of powerful national historical master narratives in large parts of the world, starting in Europe, North and South America. In the twentieth century, anti-colonial movements picked up the idea of national historical master narratives to underpin their anti-imperialist struggle. The global victory of national historical master narratives was confirmed in the post-colonial world that emerged after the end of the Second World War. During the Cold War, both the Communist and capitalist worlds produced powerful national historical master narratives that incorporated transnational elements. In the post-Cold War world, we see, if anything, a revival of national(ist) historical master narratives in many parts of the world – at the same time as we see a development towards growing neo-liberal forms of globalisation. This paper will survey the relationship between professional history writing and the construction of national historical master narratives, focussing on the narratological patterns establishing the national vis-à-vis other spatial and non-spatial narratives, e.g. class, religious, cultural, ethnic, racial and gender narratives as well as local, regional, European, imperial and global narratives. The paper will conclude with some considerations about how historians today should position themselves towards the ongoing attractiveness of strong national historical master narratives in many parts of the contemporary world.

28 March: Professor Richard Trembath

‘A Constant Source of Agony: 1978 – Fitting Chiropractic and Osteopathy into the Australian Health System’

In the last four decades, complementary medicine (CM) has become increasingly popular in Australia as it has in much of the developed world.  Many Australians now see a chiropractor or osteopath, use acupuncture, or buy Blackmore products.  Since the 1980s several Australian universities have conferred educational respectability on selected CM disciplines by granting them degree status – from bachelor level to PhD.  Many educational and health authorities criticise such developments for treating ‘pseudo-sciences’ as equivalent to evidence-based fields like medicine or nursing.

In this presentation, I shall examine the background to the 1978 Act by which Victoria established State registration of chiropractors and osteopaths, thus ‘legitimating’ these so-called fringe practices.  I shall argue that this bold move challenged orthodox medicine and at the same time sidelined chiropractic and osteopathy, confining them – officially, at least – to narrow areas of activity.  I want to show how a modern state reacts to challenges to existing structures and beliefs within a health system.

4 April*: Dr Maria Quirk

‘Work Wives: The Shared Workplaces and Friendship Networks of Creative Women in Melbourne, Dublin and London, 1900-1950’

In the past five years there has been a resurgence in the popularity of all-female professional clubs and co-working spaces. The success of community and professional spaces like One Roof in Melbourne, The Wing in New York and the Allbright Club in London reflect a long history of female-centred, communal work places, which have provided women with protection, economic opportunities and friendship networks since the eighteenth century. This seminar explores the ways women in the arts used shared workplaces, communal studios and collectives to further their professional ambitions in London, Dublin and Melbourne in the first half of the twentieth century. It argues that these these places fostered female creative communities, solidarity and intimacy, creating deep and lasting professional and personal partnerships between women. The significance of these homosocial relationships to the personal and artistic development of women artists, musicians and writers is the focus of my seminar.

*Please note that this seminar will be held in room JB2.107 at Waurn Ponds

11 April* – Associate Professor Tim Sherratt

‘Hacking Cultural Heritage Collections to Understand the Limits of Access’

The practice of historical research has been changed by the large volume of cultural heritage collections now available online. But as we celebrate the convenience of digital access, we also need to be aware of how ‘access’ itself is constructed and constrained — what is ‘accessible’ and why? In this seminar I want to explore hacking as a method for asking critical questions about cultural heritage collections. As historians, I’ll suggest, we should be prepared to engage not just with sources delivered through online systems, but with the technical, political, and bureaucratic processes that create such systems. To do this, we need to turn interfaces against themselves and understand what they hide as well as what they reveal.

*Please note that this seminar will be held in room JB2.107 at Waurn Ponds

18 April* – Rebecca Cairns

‘Asia and Senior Secondary History Curriculum Policy: A History of the Curricular Present’

As the 2018 school year commenced the Liberal Nationals announced that, if elected, the Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority would be removed from the Victorian Curriculum and more emphasis would be placed on Western history. Political meddling in history curriculum and debate about whose histories and perspectives should be prioritised is not new. Australia’s engagement with Asia has been an education policy imperative for decades and yet the positioning of Asia-related histories within history curricula has been inconsistent and continues to be problematic. This paper examines the relationship between the policy contexts in which key Victorian senior secondary curriculum documents were created and the ways Asia and Asia-related histories are positioned within them. It draws on a recently completed PhD study. Framed as a history of the present (Foucault, 1977; Popkewitz, 2011) it traces the historical formation of Australian perspectives on Asia as a means of critically engaging with the present. It argues that the representation of Asia continues to shift in relation to the political, economic, intellectual, cultural and educational discourses that intersect during the socio-historical context in which history curriculum is created. These complexities have implications for the ways in which Asia-related histories are represented and engaged with in the present.

*Please note that this seminar will be held in room  F2.009 at Burwood and JB2.107 at Waurn Ponds

2 May 2018 – Associate Professor Clare Corbould

‘From Richard Pryor to Hamilton: African Americans and the American Revolution in an Age of Conservatism’

Escaped slave and abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass stunned a white audience in Rochester, New York with his famous Independence Day speech of 1852. “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine,” he declared. “You may rejoice, I must mourn.” A century later, in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in Washington and famously referred to the Founding documents as promissory notes on which America had defaulted, issuing instead “bad checks” to its black citizens. Over the 240 years of U.S. history, African Americans have remembered, invoked, and sometimes ignored the Revolutionary past in order to make sense of the present and to shape the future. At times they have replaced it with an alternative tradition that celebrates the Haitian Revolution instead. This paper, taken from the final chapter of a book I am co-authoring with Michael McDonnell, explores African Americans’ efforts to wrestle with the contradictions of the nation’s Founding, focusing on the period from the 1976 Bicentennial to today.

9 May 2018 – Dr Kristine Moruzi

‘Charitable Migration: Children, Family and Nation at Barnardos’

In the nineteenth century, British writers and philanthropists grew increasingly concerned about the children of the poor, which resulted in legislation limiting children’s employment, mandating education, and attempting to protect them from cruelty and neglect. Alongside this legislative intervention were campaigns like those by Thomas Barnardo to care for poor children. Barnardo was responsible for the establishment of numerous children’s homes and an extensive emigration program to assist children in need by sending them to Canada. He came to realise that educating children about his charity and encouraging their contributions were an important element of philanthropic continuity. To this end, in 1892 he created the middle-class British children’s magazine, The Young Helpers’ League Magazine. In 1895, the Canadian branch of Barnardos created its own magazine, Ups and Downs, aimed at young people who had been emigrated to Canada to work as farm labourers and domestic servants.

Although these magazines had similar aims of encouraging child readers to support the organisation, Ups and Downs differed in its focus on children who had already received support from Barnardos and who were being encouraged to repay its investment so that other children could also be assisted to emigrate. The magazine promoted the value and benefit of emigrating poor British children to Canada in order to provide them with better opportunities. Yet notions of family and nationality were disrupted – if not severed – by this migration, and child migrants often suffered at the hands of ostensible caregivers. Unsurprisingly, much of the child emigrants’ correspondence published in Ups and Downs depicts the emigration experience positively. Nonetheless, some letters – as well as other evidence about these British Home Children in the Canadian press and in government reports – demonstrate the challenges of climate, discipline, and farm work. These child emigrants are defined by their mobility, but also by the ways in which their experiences as indentured child labourers isolated them from their community and family.

16 May 2018 – Karen Donnelly

‘The AIF Concert Parties WW1: Pre-war Theatrical Networks and Their Transformation’

Of the 331,781 soldiers who embarked for overseas service, 990 stated on their Attestation forms that their profession was associated with the arts. Of these, 384 were actors, acrobats, vaudeville performers, magicians, singers and dancers, many of whom went on to join AIF concert party troupes. These troupes were independent military units and were structured on a civilian touring theatrical management system. This paper explores these concert parties within the AIF military structure to demonstrate how they created a new theatrical genre and re-imagined the female-impersonator against the backdrop of war.

The process of developing and producing creative material for soldiers was based on pre-existing theatrical practises, and the entertainment format was drawn from the pre-war vaudeville stage. However, in the absence of female performers, the concert party metamorphosed the familiar ‘panto-dame’ into a convincing female impersonator. This paper will examine the types of acts performed by the concert parties, with particular attention to the emergence of the female impersonator, to show how the First World War prompted the emergence of a new theatrical genre for AIF soldiers and post-war civilian audiences.

23 May 2018 – Dr Joanna Cruickshank

‘Reacting to the Past: Gaming History’

In this seminar I’ll be providing an overview of the pedagogy, Reacting to the Past, and its potential applications in teaching history and other subjects at Deakin. Reacting to the Past consists of elaborate games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. It seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas and improve intellectual and academic skills. I’ll talk about my experience of playing a number of Reacting games, discuss the research about the benefits (and challenges) of this pedagogy and plans to introduce it at Deakin.

30 May 2018 – Professor David Lowe and Professor Mark McGillivray

‘The History of Australia’s Foreign Aid: National Values and Aid Allocation’

How does a detailed investigation of the history of Australian foreign aid connect or not connect with big questions about Australia’s changing role in world affairs and so-called ‘national values’? And how do the different methodologies of empirical applied economics and history join in productive conversations around these questions? As a snapshot of work underway, this paper looks at changes in Australian foreign aid organisation and provision in the mid-1960s, a time of considerable change for the Indo-Pacific region and aid recipients, prompting Australian review of past priorities and anticipation of new circumstances ahead relating to foreign aid.



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