New Books by SHAPS Staff and Recent Graduates

The publication of a new book is an occasion that should rightly be celebrated with colleagues and friends. Since we can’t gather in person to launch these new books by SHAPS scholars, we share their details here. We congratulate in particular Liam Byrne, Julie Patricia Johnson, and Sue Silberberg, three recent PhDs who have just published their first monographs.

 – Professor Margaret Cameron, Head of School


1. Jenny Kennedy, Michael Arnold, Martin Gibbs, Bjorn Nansen, and Rowan Wilken, Digital Domesticity: Media, Materiality and Home Life (Oxford University Press 2020)

At the turn of the twenty-first century, typical households were equipped with a landline telephone, a desktop computer connected to a dial-up modem, and a shared television set. Television, radio and newspapers were the dominant mass media. Today, homes are now network hubs for all manner of digital technologies, from mobile devices littering lounge rooms to Bluetooth toothbrushes in bathrooms–and tomorrow, these too will be replaced with objects once inconceivable.Tracing the origins of these digital developments, the authors advance media domestication research through an ecology-based approach to the abundance and materiality of media in the home. The book locates digital domesticity through phases of adoption and dwelling, to management and housekeeping, to obsolescence and disposal. The authors synthesize household interviews, technology tours, remote data collection via mobile applications, and more to offer readers groundbreaking insight into domestic media consumption. Chapters use original case studies to empirically trace the adoption, use, and disposal of technology by individuals and families within their homes. The book unearths social and material accounts of media technologies, offering insight into family negotiations regarding technology usage in such a way that puts technology in the context of recent developments of digital infrastructure, devices, and software – all of which are now woven into the domestic fabric of the modern household.

“Through the combination of their studies conducted over 17 years, the authors provide a novel and nuanced perspective on the changing ICTs in Australian homes. In this panoramic yet detailed account, we see the reconfiguring of domestic space, reevaluations of technology over time, strategies to re-domesticate ICTS, and the ongoing parent-child re-negotiations of children’s use of digital devices. This is a thought-provoking book with which the reader can engage.” – Leslie Haddon, London School of Economics 

Michael Arnold is Professor in the History and Philosophy of Science.


2. Liam Byrne, Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin: The Making of the Modern Labor Party (Melbourne University Press 2020)


Before becoming the prime ministers who led Australia in moments of extraordinary crisis and transformation, John Curtin and James Scullin were two young working-class men who dreamt of changing their country for the better. Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin tells the tale of their intertwined early lives as both men became labour intellectuals and powerbrokers at the beginning of the twentieth century. It reveals the underappreciated role each man played in the events that defined the modern Australian Labor Party: its first experience of national government, the turmoil of war, the great conscription clash and party split of 1916, and the heated debates over the party’s socialist objective. Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin shows how they became the leaders that history knows best by painting a portrait of two young men struggling to establish their identities and find their place in the world. It tells of their great friendships, loves and passions, and reminds us that these were real men, with real weaknesses, desires and dreams. It explains how their early political careers set the scene for their later prime ministerships as they honed the techniques of power that led them to the summit of Australian politics. This is the story of two young men striving to better the world they had inherited, a story of optimism and hope with enduring relevance for today’s troubled politics.

Liam Byrne has done us all a great service laying out what went into making John Curtin and James Scullin who they were — both as human beings and as Labor leaders. Forensic and insightful, Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin is a timely reminder that Labor is at its best when it has courage, empathy and, even in times of crisis, a positive vision for the nation that is about forging a better path forward rather than turning back the clock. – Anthony Albanese

What are the possibilities for political change? How might we go about achieving it? These are questions that drive Liam Byrne’s fast-paced and engrossing new biographical study, Becoming John Curtin and James Scullin. Byrne urges readers to take inspiration from these Labor Prime Ministers’ youthful idealism and early commitment to eradicating poverty as we think about opportunities for political and social transformation in our own uncertain times. This is an innovative, informative and timely work of political history. – Marilyn Lake

This is an extraordinarily engaging book by a rising young historian. Liam Byrne brings the past to vibrant life in way that is both subject-focused and intellectually cogent, vividly depicting a lost world of ideas, debate, vision and leaders who fought tenaciously for a better world, no matter how hard the road. And Scullin and Curtin are mercifully rescued from caricature. – Norman Abjorensen, Inside Story

Byrne is a lively writer. If Australian labour history has on occasion been a bit dour, it’s not a fault we find here. Of an early communist speaking at a union conference in 1921, he writes: ‘[Jock] Garden replied that he could not outline how to overthrow the system in the five minutes allotted. The conference, therefore, politely granted him an extension to ten.’ – Frank Bongiorno, Australian Book Review

Liam Byrne completed a PhD in History in 2017. In 2018 he began work with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and in 2019 was appointed as its Historian. He is also an Honorary Fellow in SHAPS.


3. Harry Collins, Darrin Durant, Robert Evans and Martin Weinel, Experts and the Will of the People: Society, Populism and Science (Palgrave Pivot 2020)

The rise of populism in the West has led to attacks on the legitimacy of scientific expertise in political decision making. This book explores the differences between populism and pluralist democracy and their relationship with science. Pluralist democracy is characterised by respect for minority choices and a system of checks and balances that prevents power being concentrated in one group, while populism treats minorities as traitorous so as to concentrate power in the government. The book argues that scientific expertise – and science more generally – should be understood as one of the checks and balances in pluralist democracies. It defends science as ‘craftwork with integrity’ and shows how its crucial role in democratic societies can be rethought and that it must be publicly explained. This book will be of value to scholars and practitioners working across STS as well as to anyone interested in decoding the populist agenda against science.

​Collins, Evans, Durant, and Weinel set out convincingly, in crystal clear language, why democracies need experts and expert knowledge. They make a rock solid case for the necessity of communities of experts in democratic societies and for the value of esoteric knowledge developed and nurtured within these communities. In doing so, they strike a blow against the current rise of populism in the political arena and against theories in Science & Technology Studies that treat expert knowledge as undermining of democratic agency. This book brings the ‘Third Wave’ studies of expertise and experience to bear in an impressive way on central problems of political theory that are also matters of urgent public concern as democracies turn toward populism and authoritarianism. – Charles Thorpe, Professor, Sociology and Science Studies, University of California, San Diego, USA

Darrin Durant is Lecturer in History & Philosophy of Science.


4. Mark Edele, Debates on Stalinism (Manchester University Press 2020)

Debates on Stalinism gives an up-to-date, concise overview over major debates in the history of Stalinism. It introduces readers to changing approaches since the 1950s, and more broadly to scholarly views on this society reaching back to the 1930s. It argues that writing the history of Stalinism is not only about the Soviet past. It is also centrally shaped by current anxieties and concerns of the scholars studying it. In short, there is a politics of writing the history of Stalinism. Combining biographical investigation of leading historians with thematic and chronological analysis of major topics of study, Debates on Stalinism uncovers the history of these politics. The book provides a snapshot of the state of the field and suggests possible future avenues of further research.

Mark Edele is the Hansen Chair in History.


5. Martin Crotty, Neil J. Diamant, and Mark Edele, The Politics of Veteran Benefits in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative History (Cornell University Press 2020)

What happened to veterans of the nations involved in the world wars? How did they fare when they returned home and needed benefits? How were they recognized (or not) by their governments and fellow citizens? Where, and under what circumstances, did they obtain an elevated post-war status?

In this sophisticated comparative history of government policies regarding veterans, Martin Crotty, Neil J. Diamant, and Mark Edele examine veterans’ struggles for entitlements and benefits in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan, the Soviet Union, China, Germany, and Australia after both global conflicts. They illuminate how veterans’ success or failure in winning benefits were shaped by a range of factors which shaped their ability to exert political influence. Some veterans’ groups fought politicians for improvements to their post-war lives; this lobbying, the authors show, could set the foundation for beneficial veteran treatment regimes or it could weaken the political forces proposing unfavourable policies.

The authors highlight cases of veterans who secured (and in some cases failed to secure) benefits and status after wars both won and lost; within both democratic and authoritarian polities; under liberal, conservative, and even Leninist governments; after wars fought by volunteers or conscripts, at home or abroad, and for legitimate or subsequently discredited causes. Veterans who succeeded did so, for the most part, by forcing their agendas through lobbying, protesting, and mobilizing public support. The Politics of Veteran Benefits in the Twentieth Century provides a large-scale map for a research field with a future: comparative veteran studies.

The Politics of Veteran Benefits is ambitious in scope, providing analysis of an impressively diverse array of country case studies, and with conclusions of interest to the wider policy community. — Thomas Davies, City University of London, author of Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations

An exceptionally valuable collaborative book—practically a first. Until now, the field has invariably been conducted through a national lens. If readers wait for a bigger, better book to cover everything, they will be waiting a very long time. – Peter Stanley, University of New South Wales, author of Die in Battle, Do Not Despair


6. Daniel Halliday and John Thrasher, The Ethics of Capitalism (Oxford University Press 2020)

Can capitalism have moral foundations? Though this question may seem strange in today’s world of vast economic disparities and widespread poverty, discussions originating with the birth of capitalism add a critical perspective to the current debate on the efficacy and morality of capitalist economies. Authors Daniel Halliday and John Thrasher use this question to introduce classical political philosophy as a framework by which to evaluate the ethics of capitalism today. They revisit and reconstruct historical eighteenth- and nineteenth-century defenses of capitalism, as written by key proponents such as Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. They ask what these early advocates of market order would say about contemporary economies, and argue for the importance of connecting these foundational defenses to discussions of economic systems and the roles they play in economic justice and injustice today.

The textbook covers longstanding problems that are as old as the discussion of capitalism itself, such as wage inequality, global trade, and the connection between paid labour and human flourishing. It also addresses new challenges, such as climate change, the welfare state, and competitive consumption, and provides topical global case studies. Additionally, it includes study questions at the end of each chapter and an author-created companion website to help guide classroom discussion.

Dan Halliday is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy.


7. Julie Patricia Johnson, The Candle & the Guillotine: Revolution and Justice in Lyon, 1789-1793 (Berghahn Books 2020)

As in a number of France’s major cities, civil war erupted in Lyon in the summer of 1793, ultimately leading to a siege of the city and a wave of mass executions. Using Lyon as a lens for understanding the politics of revolutionary France, this book reveals the widespread enthusiasm for judicial change in Lyon at the time of the Revolution, as well as the conflicts that ensued between elected magistrates in the face of radical democratisation. Julie Patricia Johnson’s investigation of these developments during the bloodiest years of the Revolution offers powerful insights into the passions and the struggles of ordinary people during an extraordinary time.

One of the most tragic episodes of the French Revolution was the violent civil war in the city of Lyon in 1793 and the sweeping repression subsequently imposed by Jacobin revolutionaries. The loss of life scarred the city for generations. By focusing on a key rebel, the judge Jean-Jacques Ampère, Julie Johnson captures expertly how rival conceptions of politics and justice increasingly and fatally divided radical and moderate revolutionaries. – Peter McPhee, University of Melbourne

Johnson deftly navigates the relevant secondary literature on the Revolution in Lyon, commenting judiciously on past controversies, weighing in where appropriate, and pointing to deficiencies or lacunae in what has been written in the past. Her research is sound, the writing is clear and engaging, and the book makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the French Revolution. – Paul R. Hanson, Butler University

The Candle and the Guillotine is an absorbing study of the political dynamics between rival radical groups in Lyon during the Revolution. It is particularly effective at creating a vivid sense of the experience of revolution and the powerful emotions it engendered. – Marisa Linton, Kingston University

Julie Patricia Johnson completed her PhD in History in 2017.


8. Niro Kandasamy, Nirukshi Perera and Charishma Ratnam (eds.), A Sense of Viidu: The (Re)creation of Home by the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Australia (Palgrave Pivot 2020)

This book is the first compilation of the experiences of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Australia. It explores the theme of home – from what is left behind to what is brought or (re)created in a new space – and all the complex processes that ensue as a result of leaving a land defined by conflict. It focuses on the ten-year period since the Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009.

A poignant and relevant book for our times that provides a deep understanding of loss, displacement, migration, belonging, and home. A Sense of Viidu weaves together the history and stories of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Australia and reveals the complex, emotional, and multi-dimensional experiences of the many thousands who have sought and continue to seek peace and a safe home. – Padmini Sebastian OAM, University of Melbourne, Australia

A Sense of Viidu gives readers a profound and absorbing insight into the complexities of the Sri Lankan Tamil refugee experience in Australia. Empirically rich and deeply haunting, it accounts for homes lost and remade by subjects in exile and their unwavering spirit in the post-conflict era. – Dr Selvaraj Velayutham, Macquarie University

A diverse and insightful collection of texts which show how experiences of loss in and of the homeland are intertwined with psychological, cultural, social, and material processes of homemaking in Australia. Australia’s own violent history and migration policies make up a backdrop to the efforts of first and second generation Tamil migrants to shape their lives in a world of both possibilities and pain. – Prof. Camilla Orjuela, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg

Niro Kandasamy completed her PhD in History in 2019.


9. Thomas Kehoe and Michael Pickering (eds), Fear in the German-Speaking World 1600–2000 (Bloomsbury 2020)

This book addresses the nature and role of fear in the German world from the early modern period through to the 20th century. Offering the first collection that centres fear in the historical analysis of central Europe since 1600, these essays demonstrate the importance of emotional experience to the study of the past.

Fear has been at the centre of many of the most important historical events in this region – witch hunts, religious conflicts, invasions and ultra-nationalism in the form of the Nazi regime. This book explores ways in which fear was understood, developed and negotiated throughout these historical contexts, and how people of the German world coped with it. From the fear of vampires to the loss of national sovereignty, pestilence, gypsies and criminals, Fear in the German Speaking World 1600–2000 draws connections between cases over a period of 400 years and considers fear alongside the history of emotions more generally. In doing so, the chapters reveal a complex, evolving construction of fear that is universally human, but also dependent upon its cultural and historical context.

Thomas Kehoe is an Honorary Research Fellow in SHAPS and head of international charity Cancer Council Victoria’s heritage project. He completed his PhD in History in 2015.

Michael Pickering is Subject Leader and Lecturer in History of Ideas at Trinity College. He completed his PhD in History in 2015.


10. Carla Pascoe Leahy and Petra Bueskens (eds), Australian Mothering: Historical and Sociological Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan 2020)

This collection defines the field of maternal studies in Australia for the first time. Leading motherhood researchers explore how mothering has evolved across Australian history as well as the joys and challenges of being a mother today. The contributors cover pregnancy, birth, relationships, childcare, domestic violence, time use, work, welfare, policy and psychology, from a diverse range of maternal perspectives. Utilising a matricentric feminist framework, Australian Mothering foregrounds the experiences, emotions and perspectives of mothers to better understand how Australian motherhood has developed historically and contemporaneously. Drawing upon their combined sociological and historical expertise, Bueskens and Pascoe Leahy have carefully curated a collection that presents compelling research on past and present perspectives on maternity in Australia, which will be relevant to researchers, advocates and policy makers interested in the changing role of mothers in Australian society.

An incisive and compelling study of Australian motherhood that discerningly examines its trajectories from Federation to contemporary times and perceptively explores its many permutations across diverse themes and perspectives. The collection meticulously takes up and engages with the key theories and topics in motherhood studies and astutely employs them to curate a rich compendium of Australian motherhood. The volume will guide Australian Motherhood Studies for years to come. – Andrea O’Reilly, York University, Canada

A wonderfully rich and important collection of scholarly perspectives on the experiences and meanings of motherhood in the Australian context. Petra Bueskens and Carla Pascoe Leahy have significantly broadened the field of maternal studies, insisting that ’the maternal’ is a political, historical and social term, one that tells us as much about colonial and domestic violence, fatherhood, migration, citizenship and the state, as it does about motherhood, care, and the female body. Essential reading for anyone interested in the politics of motherhood. – Lisa Baraitser, Birkbeck, University of London

Carla Pascoe Leahy is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in SHAPS, and an Honorary Associate at Museums Victoria.


11. Katharine McGregor, Ana Dragojlovic and Hannah Loney (eds), Gender, Violence and Power in Indonesia across Time and Space (Routledge 2020)

This book uses an interdisciplinary approach to chart how various forms of violence – domestic, military, legal and political – are not separate instances of violence, but rather embedded in structural inequalities brought about by colonialism, occupation and state violence. The book explores both case studies of individuals and of groups to examine experiences of violence within the context of gender and structures of power in modern Indonesian history and Indonesia-related diasporas. It argues that gendered violence is particularly important to consider in this region because of its complex history of armed conflict and authoritarian rule, the diversity of people that have been affected by violence, as well as the complexity of the religious and cultural communities involved. The book focuses in particular on textual narratives of violence, visualisations of violence, commemorations of violence and the politics of care.

Kate McGregor is Associate Professor in Southeast Asian History.

Hannah Loney is a Gilbert Postdoctoral Career Development Fellow in History.

The book features a chapter by current History PhD candidate Bronwyn Anne Beech Jones.


12. Ronald T. Ridley, Magick City: Travellers to Rome from the Middle Ages to 1900. Volume III: The Nineteenth Century (Pallas Athene 2020)

Drawing on French, Italian, Spanish, English and American sources, many hitherto neglected, Ronald Ridley has compiled an endlessly vivid and thought-provoking collage-portrait of Rome through the centuries, highly illustrated and published in three elegant volumes, each complete with full index and bibliography.

Ronald T. Ridley is Professor Emeritus in Classics and Archaeology.


13. Sean Scalmer, Democratic Adventurer: Graham Berry and the Making of Australian Politics (Monash University Publishing 2020)

Graham Berry (1822–1904) was colonial Australia’s most gifted, creative and controversial politician. A riveting speaker, a newspaper proprietor and editor, and the founder of Australia’s first mass political party, he wielded these tools to launch an age of reform: spearheading the adoption of a ‘protectionist’ economic policy, the payment of parliamentarians, and the taxing of large landowners. He also sought the reform of the Constitution, precipitating a crisis that the London Times likened to a ‘revolution’. This book recovers Berry’s forgotten and fascinating life. It explores his drives and aspirations, the scandals and defeats that nearly derailed his career, and his remarkable rise from linen-draper and grocer to adored popular leader. It establishes his formative influence on later Australian politics. And it also uses Berry’s life to reflect on the possibilities and constraints of democratic politics, hoping thereby to enrich the contemporary political imagination.

Berry used his popular following to plunge Victoria into its most profound constitutional crisis, and this book establishes his lasting legacy. – Stuart Macintyre

… a historian at the top of his game. Democratic Adventurer will be required reading for those who study colonial Australia, but its clear focus, accessible style, and the excitement of the tale will attract a popular audience also. — Benjamin T. Jones, in Australian Book Review.

Sean Scalmer is Professor of History.


14. Sue Silberberg, A Networked Community: Jewish Melbourne in the Nineteenth Century (Melbourne University Press 2020)
In 1835 a renegade group of Tasmanians wishing to expand their landholdings disembarked in what was to become Melbourne. This colonising expedition was funded by a group of investors including the Jewish emancipist Joseph Solomon. Thus, in Melbourne, as in the settlement of the continent itself, Jews were at the foundation of colonisation. Unlike many other settlers, these Jews predominantly came from urban backgrounds. Although principally from London, some of them had experienced other forms of Jewish urbanism—in central and eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire and the Caribbean—and applied their experience to the formation of a new emancipated conceptualisation of urban Judaism.

In Victoria, as in the other new Australian colonies, there were no civil or political restrictions on the Jewish community. With the establishment of Melbourne, Jewish settlers were required to create new communal frameworks and the religious bodies of an active Jewish life. The community’s structure and the institutions they founded were a pragmatic response to the necessities of communal formation and the realities of maintaining Judaism within this colonial outpost.

As with other Jewish communities in the large centres of the world, they responded to the freedoms of an emancipated society, while the political and social environment of a new city such as Melbourne provided a unique set of opportunities. Unlike in other cities where Jewish property ownership was restricted, here Jews could live and work where they chose, becoming, from the first land sales, investors in property. Subsequently as the city expanded, as developers and builders they influenced the formation of the urban fabric, while their intellectual and economic connections brought new political and intellectual ideas and networks to the colonial experience.

Sue Silberberg completed her PhD in History in 2017, and is a member of the Melbourne History Workshop.