Faculty of Education and Arts

Events

CRCAH events

Research seminar: Dr Alex Trimble Young

“The Vigorous New Vernacular”: Mark Twain’s Irony and the Politics of Memorializing the Gold Rush

Monday 1 August 2016, 12-1.30pm
"The Barry Room," Building A, room A101
SMB Campus, Federation University Australia

In a brilliant 2001 article reflecting on Australian Gold Rush historiography, David Goodman offered a blunt assessment of the synthesis that Gold Rush history demands, but has yet to satisfactorily achieve:

Until we see the vigorous, masculine, democratic politics of the 1850s gold-rush period…as part of the same story of the taking of aboriginal land and the breaking up of aboriginal families and communities…we will not have fully acknowledged the conflict of historical understandings which reconciliation aspires to resolve.

Goodman’s assessment might just as easily be applied to the history of the gold and silver rushes of the Western United States. On the one hand, the Gold Rush is popularly memorialised as a site of frontier democracy, and on the other, decried by academics and activists as the leading edge of indigenous genocide. Little effort is made to reconcile these two discourses, or the conflicting visions of U.S. history that they represent.

In this paper I will work to bridge this gap by exploring the writing of the most celebrated chronicler of the gold and silver rushes of California and the far West: Mark Twain. In critical assessments of Roughing It, Twain’s narrative of his time in the gold and silver fields, he is remembered as either an advocate for genocide, or a champion of the radically democratic sociality he celebrated. I argue that both these framings of Twain’s politics are in a sense accurate, and it is the signature trait of his renowned literary style – his arch irony – that holds these two positions in suspension.

Twain’s irony allows him to imagine a more egalitarian and democratic future for the United States and other settler societies, including Australia, while simultaneously downplaying the significance of the settler colonial violence that enables his utopian thinking. Reading Twain against Patrick Wolfe’s theorisation of settler colonialism and Richard Rorty’s work on irony and liberalism, I argue that his narratives of the gold and silver frontier are ahead of their time. These ironic representations of frontier democracy and indigenous dispossession, in settings ranging from California to Victoria, anticipate the contradictions of liberal multiculturalism in contemporary settler societies.

Alex Trimble Young is a Dornsife Preceptor Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the University of Southern California. In Summer 2016, he will be teaching an interdisciplinary study abroad course called “Two Frontiers: Settler Colonialism in California and Australia” that will take students to Gold Rush sites in California and Victoria. His scholarship on U.S. culture, critical theory, and comparative settler colonialism can be found in journals including Social Text, Western American Literature, and Settler Colonial Studies. In 2016-2017, he will be a visiting fellow at Amherst College for its annual Copeland Colloquium.

Image: Ballarat, California, March 2016. Photograph: Alex Trimble Young.

All welcome
RSVP j.nowak@federation.edu.au
tel: 5327 9599

Download the seminar flyer


Research seminar: A/Professor Krista Maglen

Little Fingers, Forgotten Men, and the Snake under the House: Considering Hidden Actors in Australian History

Monday 6 June 2016, 12-1.30pm
"The Barry Room," Building A, room A101
SMB Campus, Federation University Australia

The bite or sting of a venomous or predatory creature can result in death within minutes or days. They often occur in the home or during leisure time, and can take place in the city as well as country, at the beach or in the bush, and historically have tended not to involve medical intervention. As with all sudden deaths, the process is horrifying and shocking to all who witness it. It is the role of the coroner to prise a clear picture of the event from the emotions and disbelief surrounding an attack. For this reason, inquests, in seeking to determine true cause of death, gather layers of evidence which record with great detail the hours surrounding the death.

This paper explores how inquests allow for a unique window into the private lives of settlers and Australians in the past, and how the particular responses to and circumstances surrounding dangerous animal attacks enable us to understand these more clearly. As well as illuminating moments in the otherwise obscured lives of historic figures like bullock drivers, children, or indentured labourers, this paper asks how we might think of the other lives these reveal – those of the animals involved. What role do they play in these histories, and what purpose might they serve for the historian?

Krista Maglen is an Associate Professor in the History Department at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her current book project seeks to examine historic encounters and interactions with dangerous animals in Australian history. She has forthcoming publications from this research in Environment and History and in an edited volume for Routledge's Animal Studies Series. Her first book, The English System: Quarantine, Immigration, and the Making of a Port Sanitary Zone was published in 2014 and was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize.

All welcome
Seating is limited
RSVP j.nowak@federation.edu.au

Download the seminar flyer


Research seminar: A/Professor Jacqueline Wilson

Visual Criminology and Cultural Memory: The Aestheticization of Boat People

Friday 27 May 2016, 12-1.30pm
"The Barry Room," Building A, room A101
SMB Campus, Federation University Australia

Viewers of news or documentary photographs have always been vulnerable to emotional manipulation via propagandistic exploitation of the camera's intrinsic capacity to "aestheticize" images. The paper examines this process as it pertains to the politicization of asylum-seekers who attempt to reach territories of hoped-for refuge across open sea by boat. Three examples are analysed, two Australian and one in the eastern Mediterranean, with discussion focusing on the ways in which the aestheticization process contributes both to political outcomes and to aspects of social memory, history and national identity. It is noted that the modern Internet-driven, near-universal availability of documentary photographs, and consequent broadening knowledge of the technologies of image modification/manipulation, contribute to increased awareness of their potential for aestheticization. This supposed sophistication tends, however, to further distance the viewer from the subjects of the images.

Jacqueline Wilson is an Associate Professor at Federation University Australia in the Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History, Faculty of Education and Arts. She has a BA (Hons) in Sociology and History from La Trobe University, where she was awarded the David Myer University Medal, and a PhD in History from Monash University. Before commencing her position with Federation University Australia, Jacqueline taught history and sociology at Monash University, the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. She has authored over forty scholarly publications, including four books, with a research focus on the intersections between public history, incarceration and sites of suffering and trauma. Jacqui is a former ward of the State of Victoria and an activist and advocate for Care Leavers in Australia. This underpins much of her research which is concerned with historical justice, national memory and disparate experiences of citizenship in Australia.

All welcome
Seating is limited
RSVP j.nowak@federation.edu.au

Download the seminar flyer


History/Heritage/Place discussion group

Wednesday 25 May 2016, 5.15-7.00pm

The Hub, E building, SMB

Making History: a showcase of projects and ideas

Go to the History / Heritage / Place Facebook page to keep the conversation going both before and after the session

Further information: David McGinniss

Download the flyer


History/Heritage/Place discussion group

Thursday 17 March 2016, 5.45-7.00pm

CRCAH, E building, SMB

This month's discussion theme: Making spaces: whose places are these anyway?

All welcome for discussion and refreshments

Go to the History / Heritage / Place Facebook page to keep the conversation going both before and after the session

Further information: David McGinniss

Download the flyer (pdf, 2.2mb)


Research seminar: Dr Alexander Bubb, KCL

Contract Raj: Perspectives on the Indian Construction Contractor, from Colonial Railways to Contemporary Satire

Thursday 21 April 2016, 12-1.30pm
"The Barry Room," Building A, room A101
SMB Campus, Federation University Australia

During 2013-14 I was a postdoctoral researcher at Linnaeus University in Sweden, where I worked on the newly-discovered archive of an Anglo-Swedish railway contractor who made his fortune in 1860s India. This led me to two related strands of enquiry: firstly the struggles of the early, undercapitalized contractors and their complex, give-and-take relations with indigenous suppliers of labour and resources; and secondly, the long cultural tradition of villainizing the contractor, which extends from colonial fiction by Kipling and Flora Annie Steel up to Hindi cinema of the 1970s and 80s. In this talk I'd like to blend together both areas of research, starting with the Swedish contractor, Joseph Stephens, and his own anomalous, somewhat embattled position in the colony, before branching out into the snobbery directed at contractors by British officials, and the continuity between their original stigmatization as freebooting foreigners and their present-day vilification as crony capitalists.

Alex Bubb is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King's College London. He works on nineteenth-century poetry and aspects of Indian history, especially military diaries and the Irish in colonial India. In February he published Meeting Without Knowing It, a comparative study of Rudyard Kipling and W.B. Yeats in the 1890s.

All welcome
Seating is limited
RSVP j.nowak@federation.edu.au

Downolad the seminar flyer (pdf, 150kb)

Image: still from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, dir. Kundan Shah, 1983


Mining Faith Workshop

Several CRCAH staff and students will participate in the Mining Faith Workshop, Thursday 18 February 2016, at the La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre (VAC), 121 View Street, Bendigo.

A limited number of places are available for interested audience members: please RSVP to j.jones@latrobe.edu.au by 11 February 2016.

Please refer to the preliminary programme for further information.


History/Heritage/Place discussion group

Join us for discussion and refreshments at the last CRCAH History Heritage Place session for 2015

Thursday 26 November, 5.15-7.00pm
CRCAH, C Building, SMB Campus, Ballarat

This month's theme is: Representing / Memory

Is memory a representation of our places? And do the ways in which we represent our places come to shape our memories of them? As new forms of representation emerge, will these affect the ways in which we remember?

All welcome

Guest host is James Pasakos. James is a Ballarat-based artist from the Goldfields Printmakers, Soldiers Hill Artists' Collective, and Federation University Arts Academy.

Go to the History / Heritage / Place facebook page to keep the conversation going both before and after the session.

Further information: David McGinniss

Download the flyer (pdf)


Research seminar: Dr Deborah Bryceson on gold rush mining

Artisanal Gold Rush Mining and Frontier Democracy: Juxtaposing 19th-21st Century Experiences in America, Australia, Africa and Asia

9 November 2015, 12.30-1.30pm
"The Barry Room," Building A, room A101
SMB Campus, Federation University Australia

From the mid 19th century to the present, many gold rush episodes have occurred around the globe, some far more memorable than others in terms of marking turning points in the demographic, cultural and political destiny of nation-states. The 'easy entry' nature of artisanal mining can make for momentous change, as mounting numbers of incoming migrant miners, using very basic skills and implements, gravitate to a strike site hoping to gain a livelihood or, better yet, an economic bonanza. In addition to the rough and ready atmosphere of strike sites where miners work and play hard, some gold rushes have been associated with the rise of frontier democracy. Egalitarian collaborative labour relations are likely to evolve that starkly contrast with the social hierarchies of miners' places of origin and may lead towards collective political association as well. Such gold rush outcomes normally take place in relatively remote areas away from government control, as exemplified during the 19th century in California, Australia and the North American Yukon. Myth or reality? Can this happen at gold rush sites at present?

Juxtaposing literature on these 19th century experiences with more recent 20th and 21 st century African and Asian artisanal gold rush documentation, I question what kinds of people take up pans, shovels and picks to seek a livelihood in gold-rich regions. Contrasting differences and similarities then and now, I explore the emergence of collective occupational identity and whether the localized democratization of economic opportunity and the pull of the windfall gain of high value gold finds can catalyze a national sense of frontier democracy in the frenzy of present day gold rushes.

Dr Deborah Bryceson is Honorary Research Fellow, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh; and Deputy Director, International Gender Studies, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. Her publications include Women Wielding the Hoe: Lessons from Rural Africa for Feminist Theory and Development Practice (Berg Publishers, 1995); Disappearing Peasantries? Rural Labour in Africa, Asia and Latin America (Intermediate Technology Publications, 2000); African Urban Economies: Viability, Vitality or Vitiation? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); and most recently: Mining and African Urbanisation: Population, Settlement and Welfare Trajectories(Routledge, 2013) and Mining and Social Transformation in Africa: Tracing Mineralizing and Democratizing Trends in Artisanal Production (Routledge, 2014).

All welcome
Seating is limited
RSVP j.nowak@federation.edu.au

Download the flyer (pdf)


CRCAH HDR research day 28 October 1-5pm, with dinner to follow

This special event, involving CRCAH staff, fellows and partner organizations, will showcase the research of CRCAH's PhD and Masters candidates.

The event will be held in the Old Chemistry Lecture Theatre, building C, Room C001, SMB Campus.
For further information contact j.nowak@federation.edu.au or s.kerin@federation.edu.au

CRCAH hosts successful HTAV history enrichment program

On 12 October CRCAH hosted the culmination of the History Teachers' Association of Victoria's (HTAV) work with school students in Ballarat.

The HEP Highlights Exhibition is a showcase of the innovative history work done by primary and secondary students who participated in the 2015 History Enrichment Program (HEP) for gifted and talented students.

As part of the program, students developed a 'passion project' relating to their historical interests.
These were presented in an exhibition format where visitors were free to wander and ask questions of each student.


Pictured here are highlights from 12 October, including Dr Sam Henson, Head of Ballarat campuses, Federation University Australia, handing out certificates to students; and Professor Keir Reeves, CRCAH, enjoying the exhibition.

The History Enrichment Program  is an initiative of the History Teachers' Association of Victoria in partnership with Federation University Australia.

It is funded under the Strategic Partnership Program by the Department of Education and Training.

For further information about the program, please visit the HTAV website

Feedback from primary and secondary school students can also be found on the HTAV website


History/Heritage/Place discussion group

The most recent History/Heritage/Place discussion took place on Thursday 24 September, 5.15-7.00pm in the C building, SMB campus. Guest curators Lucinda Horrocks (Wind and Sky Productions), and Angela Campbell, FedUni Arts Academy, led discussions on the theme of "Storytelling in the City".

All welcome.

Take a look at the group's facebook page and contribute to the discussions.

Download the flyer (pdf)

Enquiries: David McGinniss davidmcginniss@students.federation.edu.au


Launch of Codes Combined special issue of Sport in Society

Guest edited by Keir Reeves (Director, CRCAH); Megan Ponsford (HDR student, CRCAH) and Sean Gorman (Curtin University), Codes Combined, a special issue of Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics will be launched on Tuesday 1 September, 4-5pm at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (MADE), 102 Stawell Street South, Ballarat.

The journal was launched by Federation University Australia's Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Marcia Devlin.

"The volume presents research on policy responses to racism in sporting codes, predominately Australian Rules football, in a global context", explain the editors.

The publication is an outcome of the ARC project Assessing the Australian Football League's racial and religious vilification laws to promote community harmony, multiculturalism and reconciliation.


History/Heritage/Place discussion group

CRCAH was proud to present the first History/Heritage/Place discussion group on Thursday 23 July. The sessions are hosted every two months, with two 'Guest Curators' guiding open conversations according to a particular theme.

A crowd of nearly 20 people braved a cold winter night to talk about the emerging Historic Urban Landscape approach to urban conservation, with guest curators David McGinniss (PhD Student, CRCAH) and Amy Tsilemanis (Creative Director, Weave Length Productions).

Prof. Keir Reeves, Director of CRCAH, is excited to welcome everyone to the new CRCAH facility in the Old Chemistry Building at SMB Campus, Ballarat. "It's wonderful to see this old building full of life again", said Keir. "It's important that dialogue and ideas are exchanged in an open and interesting way like we're seeing at the Discussion Group. This is how collaboration really starts."

The Discussion Group is open to all who are interested in history and place - not just CRCAH and FedUni staff and students.

Keir is keen to welcome even more people next time. "Hopefully the weather will be better in spring and we can enjoy a drink and bite together to keep celebrating this great new Centre and our shared interest in urban and regional history."

Contact: David McGinniss davidmcginniss@students.federation.edu.au

Image courtesy of James Pasakos


FedUni to host 2016 AHA conference

The Australian Historical Association (AHA) has invited CRCAH Director Professor Keir Reeves to convene the 2016 AHA conference, and for Federation University Australia to organise and host the event. The AHA is the premier national organisation of historians working in all fields of history.

The conference will be held in Ballarat during the week of Tuesday 5 – Friday 8 July 2016. Goldfields site visits and ancillary event are scheduled for Saturday 9 July.

The conference theme is From Boom to Bust

Please visit the AHA 2016 conference site for the call for papers and for further information.

For all enquiries, please contact aha2016@federation.edu.au

Image: Jane Brown, Mining Machinery, Line of Lode Miners Memorial Complex, Broken Hill, 2014, from the series The Sievers Project, hand printed and toned, silver gelatin print on fibre based paper.
Courtesy of the artist and Stills Gallery, Sydney


CRCAH HDR professional development seminars

Dr Rani Kerin convenes weekly professional development seminars for higher degree research students. View program (docx, 275kb)