Members' books

The domain of constant excess: Plural Worship at the Munnesvaram Temples in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan ethnic conflict that has occurred largely between Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Hindus is marked by a degree of religious tolerance that sees both communities worshiping together. This study describes one important site of such worship, the ancient Hindu temple complex of Munnesvaram. Standing adjacent to one of Sri Lanka's historical western ports, the fortunes of the Munnesvaram temples have waxed and waned through the years of turbulence, violence and social change that have been the country's lot since the advent of European colonialism in the Indian Ocean. Bastin recounts the story of these temples and analyses how the Hindu temple is reproduced as a center of worship amidst conflict and competition.

Haunted by Words: Scandalous Texts

This book critically examines a wide range of contemporary literary scandals in order to identify the cultural and literary anxieties revealed by controversial works. It explores how scandal predominantly emerges in relation to texts which offer challenging representations concerning children, women, sexuality, religion and authenticity, and how literary controversies bring to the surface a series of concerns about the complex construction of identity, history and reality. Including works such as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (1996–2007), Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (1991), James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces (2003), Misha Defonseca’s Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust (1997), Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (1988) and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (1995–2000), the author analyses a broad spectrum of texts in order to examine why books continue to provoke public debate and outrage, and what the arguments surrounding scandalous works suggest about literature and the world.

Exhumed

Unpredictable and boisterously entertaining, Cassandra Atherton’s Exhumed is a collection of interconnected prose poems exploring the reanimation of canonical texts against a backdrop of popular culture references. Atherton’ s appeals to humour noir and the politicisation of the poet’s private spaces make for an exhilarating and intoxicating read.

Fair Cop

Christine Nixon became the first female Chief Commissioner of Police in Australia, appointed to head Victoria Police, at a most crucial time – the underworld was in the midst of a bloody war, the spectre of terrorism was emerging as a powerful new threat, and there was a stench of internal corruption. In this frank and engaging memoir, Christine Nixon reflects on the journey of a woman deep into a man’s world, describing the experiences that shaped her commitment to a model of policing as a community service, committed to caring for society’s most vulnerable. She explores the challenges of managing a police force through a period of profound social and cultural change, explains the hidden tensions at the front line of politics and policing and exposes the poisonous culture war within police ranks. Fair Cop candidly shares the public and private stories of Christine Nixon – woman, spouse, citizen, constable – on a journey that encounters tragedy, corruption, ambition and humility. In its final chapters, it takes readers inside the events of Black Saturday, the disaster that would so cruelly scar the state of Victoria, claim so many lives, and test Christine Nixon as nothing before. It tracks the intimate story of her days before the Bushfires Royal Commission and recounts her efforts, as head of the Victorian Bushfires Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, to renew ravaged communities.

Australia and the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was Australia’s longest and most controversial military commitment of the twentieth century, ending in humiliation for the United States and its allies with the downfall of South Vietnam. The war provoked deep divisions in Australian society and politics, particularly since for the first time young men were conscripted for overseas service in a highly contentious ballot system. The Vietnam era is still identified with diplomatic, military and political failure. Was Vietnam a case of Australia fighting ‘other people’s wars’? Were we really ‘all the way’ with the United States? How valid was the ‘domino theory’? Did the Australian forces develop new tactical methods in earlier Southeast Asian conflicts, and just how successful were they against the unyielding enemy in Vietnam? In this landmark book, award-winning historian Peter Edwards skilfully unravels the complexities of the global Cold War, decolonisation in Southeast Asia and Australian domestic politics to provide new, often surprising, answers to these questions.

Travelling Without Gods: A Chris Wallace-Crabbe Companion

Wide-ranging in theme and context, Travelling Without Gods explores the imaginative effects of Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s writing and in many ways suggests an alternative cultural history of Australia since the 1950s. Containing biographical and critical pieces, poems (including new work by Chris) and essays that respond to his career Travelling without Gods takes account of the decades in which he has written. It illuminates, celebrates and critiques his work in its various contexts. This book contains one of Seamus Heaney’s last poems and poetry and articles by David Malouf, Sir Andrew Motion, Peter Goldsworthy and many more.

Dream Animals

Dream Animals is a collection of prose poems which explores the strange and unsettling; those moments of chaos in the otherwise silence of the night; the violence and horror of the everyday. Based on “real world” events – such as curious deaths and accidents, small instances of tragedy, and the haunting beauty of the mundane – Dream Animals is a creative examination of the ways in which we define both self and other, especially in terms of the relationship between the human and the animal.

Trace

This collection of prose poetry creates a naturally intimate world while, at the same time, fluidly examining complex connections between popular and high culture.

Pegs

This chapbook encourages the defamiliarisation of the quotidian by taking the common, household peg and presenting it in a range of new guises in prose poetry. Ultimately, this focus on the peg and ‘peg prose poetry’ aims to demonstrate beauty in the unremarkable. The peg also works as a lynchpin in the way it links, and is linked to, the quotidian in the other chapbooks in this collection. This is part of a practice-led research project that focuses on the way in which poetry can lend wonder to the mundane.

A Mission Divided: Race, Culture & Colonialism in Fiji’s Methodist Mission

This book provides insight into the long process of decolonisation within the Methodist Overseas Missions of Australasia, a colonial institution that operated in the British colony of Fiji. The mission was a site of work for Europeans, Fijians and Indo-Fijians, but each community operated separately, as the mission was divided along ethnic lines in 1901. This book outlines the colonial concepts of race and culture, as well as antagonism over land and labour, that were used to justify this separation. Recounting the stories told by the mission’s leadership, including missionaries and ministers, to its grassroots membership, this book draws on archival and ethnographic research to reveal the emergence of ethno-nationalisms in Fiji, the legacies of which are still being managed in the post-colonial state today.

The Sweetland Project: Remembering Gallipoli in the Shire of Nunawading

A chance discovery made on a tour of Anzac Cove provided an immediate link between Gallipoli and Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs. In the lead up to the Centenary of Anzac, ‘The Sweetland Project’ (named after a Box Hill man, Stephen Sweetland) became a broader search for the connections between Gallipoli and the former Shire of Nunawading, revealing 27 men from the former shire who died during the Gallipoli campaign. This book traces their stories and the reaction to the Great War of the local community, and shows how personal and collective memories of their experiences still resonate today.

The Interior of Our Memories: A History of Melbourne’s Jewish Holocaust Centre

The Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne, Australia, is an internationally recognised museum and research centre dedicated to the memory of the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945.

Southern Anthropology: A History of Fison and Howitt’s ‘Kamilaroi and Kurnai’

Southern Anthropology, the history of Fison and Howitt's Kamilaroi and Kurnai is the biography of Kamilaroi and Kurnai (1880) written from both a historical and anthropological perspective. Southern Anthropology investigates the authors' work on Aboriginal and Pacific people and the reception of their book in metropolitan centres.

Indigenous Intermediaries: New Perspectives on Exploration Archives

This edited collection understands exploration as a collective effort and experience involving a variety of people in diverse kinds of relationships. It engages with the recent resurgence of interest in the history of exploration by focusing on the various indigenous intermediaries – Jacky Jacky, Bungaree, Moowattin, Tupaia, Mai, Cheealthluc and lesser-known individuals – who were the guides, translators, and hosts that assisted and facilitated European travellers in exploring different parts of the world. These intermediaries are rarely the authors of exploration narratives, or the main focus within exploration archives. Nonetheless the archives of exploration contain imprints of their presence, experience and contributions. The chapters present a range of ways of reading archives to bring them to the fore. The contributors ask new questions of existing materials, suggest new interpretive approaches, and present innovative ways to enhance sources so as to generate new stories.

Remembering the First World War

Remembering the First World War brings together a group of international scholars to understand how and why the past quarter of a century has witnessed such an extraordinary increase in global popular and academic interest in the First World War, both as an event and in the ways it is remembered. The book discusses this phenomenon across three key areas. The first section looks at family history, genealogy and the First World War, seeking to understand the power of family history in shaping and reshaping remembrance of the War at the smallest levels, as well as popular media and the continuing role of the state and its agencies. The second part discusses practices of remembering and the more public forms of representation and negotiation through film, literature, museums, monuments and heritage sites, focusing on agency in representing and remembering war. The third section covers the return of the War and the increasing determination among individuals to acknowledge and participate in public rituals of remembrance with their own contemporary politics. What, for instance, does it mean to wear a poppy on armistice/remembrance day? How do symbols like this operate today? These chapters will investigate these aspects through a series of case studies. Placing remembrance of the First World War in its longer historical and broader transnational context and including illustrations and an afterword by Professor David Reynolds, this is the ideal book for all those interested in the history of the Great War and its aftermath.

The End of the World

Maria Takolander’s poetry presents the primitive aspects of life in dramatic and uncompromising ways. She strips the world of easy sentiment, highlighting the visceral qualities of experience, its hauntings and its premonitions of disaster.The intensity of the poems, and their focus on projections of violence, madness, degeneracy and despair, are tempered by a Gothic sense of beauty, and at times, a deadpan wit. The End of the World is divided into three parts – poems about childbirth and scenes of domestic menace; those set in places in the poet’s imaginative landscape which are troubled by the past (Finland, South America and Australia); and poems which portray the cruelties suffered and inflicted by the human animal.

Feeling the Heat

In Feeling The Heat, journalist Jo Chandler sets out on a quest that takes her across the Antarctic ice, under the seas and through the tropical rainforests of far north Queensland. Her mission is to explore one of the defining mysteries of our age-climate change. The story Chandler tells is an epic adventure complete with heroes and villains. It’s a love story for those with an affection for nature. A reality show like no other. It’s also a story of science in its most glorious, pure form. Chandler takes us into wild landscapes in the company of scientists trying to decode climate information that will be critical to the decisions we make for the future of the planet. Written in the vein of Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, and by turn lyrical, funny, and achingly sad, Feeling The Heat reveals startling truths about that delicate, confounding organism we call Earth.

Australia and Appeasement: Imperial Foreign Policy and the Origins of World War II

On 3 September 1939, Robert Menzies, the Australian Prime Minister, broadcast to the Australian people the news that their country was at war with Germany. He outlined how every effort had been made to maintain the peace by keeping the door open to a negotiated settlement. However, as these efforts had failed, the British Empire was now ‘involved in a struggle which we must at all costs win, and which we believe in our hearts we will win’. Christopher Waters here examines Australia’s role in Britain’s policy of appeasement from the time Hitler came to power in 1933 through to the declaration of war in September 1939. Focusing on the five leading figures in the Australian governments of the 1930s – Joe Lyons, Stanley Bruce, Robert Menzies, Billy Hughes and Richard Casey – Waters examines their responses to the rise of Hitler and the growing threat of fascism in Europe. Australian governments accepted the principle that the Empire must speak with one voice on foreign policy and were therefore intimately involved in the decisions taken by successive governments in London. As such, this book provides new insights into the making of imperial foreign policy in the inter-war era, imperial history, the origins of World War II and Australian history.

The Heritage of War

The Heritage of War is an interdisciplinary study of the ways in which heritage is mobilized in remembering war, and in reconstructing landscapes, political systems and identities after conflict. It examines the deeply contested nature of war heritage in a series of places and contexts, highlighting the modes by which governments, communities, and individuals claim validity for their own experiences of war, and the meanings they attach to them. From colonizing violence in South America to the United States’ Civil War, the Second World War on three continents, genocide in Rwanda and continuing divisions in Europe and the Middle East, these studies bring us closer to the very processes of heritage production. The Heritage of War uncovers the histories of heritage: it charts the constant social and political construction of heritage sites over time, by a series of different agents, and explores the continuous reworking of meaning into the present. What are the forces of contingency, agency and political power that produce, define and sustain the heritage of war? How do particular versions of the past and particular identities gain legitimacy, while others are marginalised? In this book contributors explore the active work by which heritage is produced and reproduced in a series of case studies of memorialization, battlefield preservation, tourism development, private remembering and urban reconstruction. These are the acts of making sense of war; they are acts that continue long after violent conflict itself has ended.

Ebia Olewale: A Life of Service

Over the last seven decades, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has grown from a disparate collection of traditional societies loosely governed by its neighbour, Australia, to a thriving, developing state. The story of how PNG came to lose its colonial shackles and gain independence is one of collective endeavour, as the tiny group of Papua New Guineans who gathered in the dusty streets of Port Moresby transformed into the leaders of the new nation. One of them was the young teacher, Ebia Olewale, who in his own journey from the village to the nation experienced many triumphs and tragedies. PNG’s story – from the village to the world – is retold in this book, through the experiences of Ebia Olewale.

Australian Policy
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