SHAPS Digest (November–December 2021)

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”

This apocryphal slogan has been associated with the US Postal Service but it goes some way to describe the activities of the SHAPS community over the past challenging year. But these are no “appointed rounds”! Please take time to read this SHAPS Forum instalment to see what our colleagues, students and staff members have been up to in recent months. Special shoutouts to those who have deservedly been promoted this year into their new positions. Shoutouts in general to those who have published and presented on these relevant topics and messages. And a collective and sincere ‘Thank you!’ to Philippa Grounds, who has been a rock for us for many years and without whom we would have been at sea over the past two years. Looking forward to 2022, we are about to welcome a number of talented new colleagues in new teaching roles (as teaching associates or teaching specialists). We hope that we will be able to resume on-campus teaching once again, bringing the exciting vibrancy of in-person teaching to all of our students. Many of you are already planning research trips to visit long-neglected archives and other research destinations. As we wind down 2021 – a year that has been a struggle for many – please review these amazing accomplishments achieved by so many in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies.

Professor Margaret Cameron, Head of School


Georgina Arnott (History) discussed Australian connections to slavery in an article on the ABC News website and in an edition of ABC RN The History Listen.


Cordelia Fine (HPS) and Holly Lawford-Smith (Philosophy) commented on identity politics, gender-critical debate and cancel culture in The Age.

Catherine Gay (Hansen PhD scholar, History) with Xingcheng Wang (PhD candidate, School of Languages & Linguistics) curated a digital exhibition, ‘Bittersweet: A Cultural History of the Smile‘. This project was produced in collaboration with the project ‘Literature & the Face: A Critical History‘ and the Digital Studio Internships Program.

Nikki Henningham (Honorary, History) was interviewed for ABC Gippsland about the award-winning oral history project, End of An Era: The Last Gippsland Fishermen.

Louise Hitchcock (Classics & Archaeology) published an article, ‘The Accidental Archaeologist – Becoming Lawrence of Arabia’, in Ancient History Magazine (behind paywall).

Zoë Laidlaw (History) took part in a discussion, ‘Talkback: Changing Place Names‘, on ABC RN Life Matters.


Zoë Laidlaw was also quoted in the Age on the proposed name change for the City of Moreland.

Moreland City Council is considering changing its name, because Moreland is linked to an eighteenth-century Jamaican plantation – which would have relied on enslaved labour. The pastoral run  Moreland was named in the late 1830s and covered parts of what are today Brunswick and Coburg. Dr Farquhar McCrae, the first leaseholder, was an early Port Phillip District settler coloniser who had a family connection to Moreland estate in Jamaica. The research of SHAPS historians Zoë Laidlaw and Georgina Arnott on the Australian legacies of British slavery confirms both that many people who had profited from the slavery immigrated to the Australian colonies, and that it was not uncommon for them to name houses and pastoral runs after plantations in the Caribbean. These plantations had invariably relied on the labour of enslaved people before emancipation in the 1830s. Moreland City Council was created in 1994 and its Jamaican connection has long been known (as shown in the photo below) but only now have discussions begun about whether it is appropriate to commemorate this link to Jamaica.

Moreland Rd street sign and historical explainer, 2021. Photographer: Zoë Laidlaw

Tamara Lewit (Honorary, Classics & Archaeology) was interviewed for ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live about her work researching the history of children in ancient Rome.

Tributes to Stuart Macintyre were published by Graeme Davison in the Australian (behind paywall); Michael Lazarus in Jacobin; Janet McCalman in the Conversation; Carolyn Holbrook in Australian Policy and History; and Frank Bongiorno in Inside Story, and by Senator the Hon. Kim Carr.

Andy May (History) commented in the New York Times (behind paywall) on Melbourne’s coffee culture.

Janet McCalman (Professorial Fellow, History) published a blog post about her new book, Vandemonians. The book was also reviewed for Inside Story; the Age (behind paywall); and Australian Book Review (behind paywall).

Allegra McCormack (an Arts student majoring in History) discussed her recent experience of working on a Museums and Collection Project Program internship project at International House. Allegra worked on the Fifty Years of Women at International House project.

An ABC Big Ideas episode on ‘Motherhood & Positivity’ featured the 2021 Reese Lecture delivered by Carla Pascoe Leahy (History), ‘The Maternal Metamorphosis: Becoming a Mother in Australia (1945–2020)’.

Student Conservators @ Melbourne launched the first issue of Scroll, a new online publication by conservation students at the Grimwade Centre. This publication aims to help students gain experience writing creatively and critically (outside of the context and pressures of assignments), as well as share projects, activities, or general musings.

Philosophy Honours graduate Ethan Taylor was profiled in the Saturday Paper (behind paywall) and on the Faculty of Arts’s News page, giving advice for other young Indigenous Australians entering university life and discussing his experience as a Rhodes Scholarship finalist and his plans to study in the UK in 2022.

Sam Watts (PhD candidate in History) published an essay in the Australian Book Review, Failure in Afghanistan: The Limits of Presidential Power‘.

In the essay, Sam argues that despite the catastrophic errors made during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, ultimately, failure in Afghanistan represents a broader failure of American foreign policy and domestic politics for which it is unfair to blame President Joe Biden. Blame for this failure rests and the feet of successive administrations, the Pentagon, the US media and civil society. A combination of structural forces (popular and political polarisation and the growth of the executive branch), ideologies (American exceptionalism), and an overall lack of military accountability and transparency has meant that there will likely be few lessons learnt from the US intervention in Afghanistan and that this tragedy will likely be repeated in the future.

Gerhard Wiesenfeldt (HPS), together with Jessie Ferrari and Duane Hamacher, discussed the role of astronomy in Australian Indigenous, European, and Arabic cultures and their different approaches to practices, instruments, and star knowledge. The discussion was facilitated by Fallon Mody (HPS) and was part of the 2021 Being Human festival. A video recording is available via the Arts Faculty’s Youtube channel.

Graham Willett published an article, ‘History is Queerer than you Think‘, on the Australian Queer Archives’ A History of LGBTIQ+ Victoria in 100 Places and Objects (2021), in Star Observer.

Academic Publications

Ángel Alcalde (History) published a commentary on ‘The Transnational Space of Fascism and Terrorism’ in Johannes Dafinger and Moritz Florin (eds.), A Transnational History of Right-Wing Terrorism: Political Violence and the Far Right in Eastern and Western Europe since 1900 (Routledge). The book explores the transnational dimension of right-wing terrorism; networks of right-wing extremists across borders, including in exile; the trading of arms; the connection between right-wing terrorism and other forms of far-right political violence; as well as the role of supportive elements among fellow travelers, the state security apparatus and political elites. It also examines various forms of organizational and ideological interconnectedness and what inspires right-wing terrorism. In addition to several empirical chapters on prewar extreme-right political violence, the book features extensive coverage of postwar right-wing terrorism including the recent resurgence in attacks.

Rustam Alexander (PhD in History, 2018) published an article, ‘Taming the Desire: Pavel Krotov’s “Bisexual” Closet‘ in a special issue of Cahiers du monde russe on ‘Dissidences of Sexuality and Genre in the USSR and Post-Soviet Space’. The article examines the autobiography of Pavel Krotov, a Soviet man in his forties who underwent treatment for homosexuality in Gor´kii in the late 1970s. Throughout his life, Pavel was torn between two impulses – an attraction to men and a desire to act and live as a heterosexual man. Exploring the events from Krotov’s life, as well as the language he used to describe them, the article seeks answers to the following questions. Is it possible to view Krotov’s case through the prism of the existing historical thinking on bisexuality? What was the meaning of Krotov’s bisexual behaviour? And what was Soviet bisexuality?

Julie Fedor (History) co-edited with Eleonora Narvselius (Lund University) a collection of essays, Diversity in the East-Central European Borderlands: Memories, Cityscapes, People (Stuttgart: ibidem Press). Built on up-to-date field material, this edited volume suggests an anthropological approach to the palimpsest-like milieus of Wrocław, Lviv, Chernivtsi, and Chişinău. In these East-Central European borderline cities, the legacies of Nazism, Marxism-Leninism, and violent ethno-nationalism have been revisited in recent decades in search of profound moral reckoning and in response to the challenges posed by the (post-)transitional period. This volume is an expanded version of a journal special issue published in 2019.

Catherine Gay (Hansen PhD scholar in History) published an article, ‘Matters of Life and Death: Girls’ Voices in Nineteenth-Century Coronial Inquest Files’, in Provenance: The Journal of Public Record Office Victoria.

The Victorian Coronial Inquest Deposition archive, held at Public Record Office Victoria, provides important insight into the overlooked lives of nineteenth-century children. Some of the records include testimonies of child witnesses – rare examples of children speaking in history. Though matter-of-fact and often fragmentary, individual inquest cases and depositions can formulate an image of children’s worlds. This article focuses on cases in nineteenth-century Victoria in which girls died or were called as witness.

On the surface, these records divulge discourses of anxiety around girlhood, societal regulations and behavioural ideals. Digging deeper, it is possible to gain entry into the lives of girls themselves. The daily activities of girls who died are described or inferred, illustrating their roles in family, work, school, play and relationships. The voices of girl witnesses are heard firsthand, adding veracity and layers of complexity to understandings of their family, friends and daily lives. The records contain evidence of material conditions and experience and can also be used to uncover intangible elements of existence, including emotions, relationships and thoughts. Through death we are offered an insight into life.

Dan Halliday (Philosophy), with Emanuel J. Ezekiel et al., published an article, ‘On the Ethics of Vaccine Nationalism: The Case for the Fair Priority for Residents Framework’, in Ethics & International Affairs. 

COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be scarce for years to come. Many countries, from India to the UK, have demonstrated vaccine nationalism. What are the ethical limits to this vaccine nationalism? Neither extreme nationalism nor extreme cosmopolitanism is ethically justifiable. Instead, we propose the fair priority for residents (FPR) framework, in which governments can retain COVID-19 vaccine doses for their residents only to the extent that they are needed to maintain a non-crisis level of mortality while they are implementing reasonable public health interventions. Practically, a non-crisis level of mortality is that experienced during a bad influenza season, which society considers an acceptable background risk. Governments take action to limit mortality from influenza, but there is no emergency that includes severe lockdowns. This ‘flu-risk standard’ is a non-arbitrary and generally accepted heuristic. Mortality above the flu-risk standard justifies greater governmental interventions, including retaining vaccines for a country’s own citizens over global need. The precise level of vaccination needed to meet the flu-risk standard will depend upon empirical factors related to the pandemic. This links the ethical principles to the scientific data emerging from the emergency. Thus, the FPR framework recognises that governments should prioritise procuring vaccines for their country when doing so is necessary to reduce mortality to non-crisis flu-like levels. But, after that, a government is obligated to do its part to share vaccines to reduce risks of mortality for people in other countries. We consider and reject objections to the FPR framework based on a country: (1) having developed a vaccine; (2) raising taxes to pay for vaccine research and purchase; (3) wanting to eliminate economic and social burdens; and (4) being ineffective in combating COVID-19 through public health interventions.

Madaline Harris-Schöber (PhD candidate, Classics & Archaeology) published an entry on the Philistines in the Database of Religious History, hosted by the University of British Columbia.

Louise A. Hitchcock, Laura Pisanu, Madaline Harris-Schöber et al. published a book chapter, ‘All in All, It’s Just Another Stone in the Wall: From Safi to Sicily, 12th-Century Monumental Architecture in the Mediterranean’, in Aren M. Maeir and George A. Pierce (eds.), To Explore the Land of Canaan: Studies in Biblical Archaeology in Honor of Jeffrey R. Chadwick (De Gruyter).

Marilyn Lake (Fellow, History) published a chapter, together with Penny Russell (University of Sydney) in Melissa Harper and Richard White (eds.), Symbols of Australia: Imagining a Nation (NewSouth Publishing). The chapter explores the history of the representation of the nation as ‘Miss Australia’: a gendered construction and a racialised one: she was youthful, white and innocent. ‘Miss Australia’ emerged in the nineteenth century as colonial state identities gave way to national imaginings and in early twentieth century cartoons depicting Australia’s relationship with the US (Uncle Sam) and beyond. Importantly, this mythic image had little to do with real women politicians who were as often as not satirised or vilified.

Iain McIntyre (PhD in History, 2018) (jointly with Andrew Nette) edited a new volume, Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction 1950–1985 (PM Press, 2021).

Much has been written about the ‘long Sixties’, the era of the late 1950s through the early 1970s. It was a period of major social change, most graphically illustrated by the emergence of liberatory and resistance movements focused on inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality, and beyond, whose challenge represented a major shock to the political and social status quo. With its focus on speculation, alternate worlds and the future, science fiction became an ideal vessel for this upsurge of radical protest.

Dangerous Visions and New Worlds details, celebrates, and evaluates how science fiction novels and authors depicted, interacted with, and were inspired by these cultural and political movements in America and Great Britain. It starts with progressive authors who rose to prominence in the conservative 1950s, challenging the so-called Golden Age of science fiction and its linear narratives of technological breakthroughs and space-conquering male heroes. The book then moves through the 1960s, when writers, including those in what has been termed the New Wave, shattered existing writing conventions and incorporated contemporary themes such as modern mass media culture, corporate control, growing state surveillance, the Vietnam War, and rising currents of counterculture, ecological awareness, feminism, sexual liberation, and Black Power. The 1970s, when the genre reflected the end of various dreams of the long Sixties and the faltering of the postwar boom, is also explored along with the first half of the 1980s, which gave rise to new subgenres, such as cyberpunk.

Val Noone (Fellow, History), published an article, ‘Bibliographic Notes on Selected Irish-Australian Writers‘, in Australian Literary Studies, as part of a special issue on ‘The Uses of Irish-Australian Literature’. This essay surveys the viewpoints of selected Irish-Australian writers: the anthologists Bill Wannan, Vincent Woods and Colleen Burke; then Bernard O’Dowd, Brian Elliott, Tom Inglis Moore, Gerard Windsor, Vincent Buckley, Frank Molloy, Dymphna Lonergan and Patrick Morgan. These writers provide evidence that an ocean of Irish-Australian literature exists; that the literary forms of ballad and song were important to earlier generations; and several of them claim that Irish-Australian writers have played a major role in the development of Australian literature. Notes on publications in the Irish language and on the Irish-Scots link are included. The selected bibliographic notes in this essay contribute to the systematic study needed to reverse the neglect of Irish-Australian literature in major forums.

Val Noone also edited a new book, Peter Robinson: Priest and Community Builder (Templestowe, Vic: CaroPlan, 2021).

For good reasons, those writing about Catholic priests this century have focused on exposing, addressing and redressing crimes of clerical sexual abuse. This 70-page book has another focus: it tells the story of one priest’s constructive work, and of the communities and people he worked with during his 45 years in suburban Melbourne parishes. Father Peter Robinson (1933–2020) grew up Catholic in a maritime-worker’s family of Malvern, Victoria, left school early, became a leader in the Young Christian Worker’s movement, at 24 went back to school to study Latin, and spent eight years training to be a Catholic priest. During his 45 years in the suburban parishes of Clayton, East Ringwood and Rosanna-Macleod, with a ten-year stint in ministry to the Deaf, he gained a reputation as an outstanding community-builder, “a bit of a character”, remembered not only for practical sermons but also for his love of horseracing. In the 1990s Robinson was appointed parish priest at Rosanna-Macleod, to succeed a sexual abuser predecessor and, working almost to the point of exhaustion, led a remarkable ten-year rebuild of that parish. Peter Robinson was one of an endangered species, a shrewd, down-to-earth and egalitarian Australian Catholic priest. The book is free and can be ordered via email.

Lauren Pikó (PhD in History, 2017, now Melbourne School of Design) (@book_learningpublished a chapter in the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History collection Neue Städte: Vom Projekt der Moderne zure Authentisierung (New Cities: From the Project of Modernity to Authenticity) published by Wallstein Verlag and edited by Andreas Ludwig. This bilingual collection in English and German explores how postwar new towns and planned landscapes challenge ideals of authenticity and legitimacy, especially in a post-Cold War context. The chapter, ‘Different by Design. Milton Keynes and New Town Epistemologies’, considers the persistent epistemological challenges posed by Milton Keynes to British heritage industries and national identity discourses from the 1990s onwards. Through contrasting local heritage narratives with the complex national celebration of Bletchley Park, and Milton Keynes’ thwarted 2016 bid for European City of Culture status, the chapter considers the town as a “spectre of possibility”, which persists in challenging dominant canonical ideals of heritage value.

Lauren Pikó and André Brett (PhD in History, 2014; now Curtin University) (@DrDreHistorian) published an article, ‘Trove, Disability, and Researching History: Or, Digital Materialism for Precarious Times‘, in History Australia. In making research more accessible, Trove exposes crucial disparities and tensions within the historical discipline. Trove enables transcendence, but not erasure, of some material constraints, and, in doing so, illustrates the ongoing effacement of embodied labour’s centrality to the discipline. In this article, the authors argue that Trove provides a means of engaging with the precarious tools used by precarious bodies to produce historical knowledge.

Lauren Pikó also published an article, co-authored with Hannah Lewi (Melbourne School of Design), ‘The Making of Canberra as Captured on Film‘ (1900–1945), in Planning Perspectives. This paper traces the Australian capital city of Canberra’s representation through official, government-sponsored, Australian documentary films made between 1900 and 1945. Through a small sample of selected films, that are well preserved and held in the national film archives, the authors discuss their filmic intention, form, technical production and reception. In these forty plus years which end prior to the advent of technicolour, there was a progression in technical sophistication of the genre from silent to sound, and from newsreel-style reportage of pomp and ceremony towards more informal, aspirational pictures that attempt to conjure how everyday lives could be lived in the fledgling city of Canberra. The article suggests that these kinds of films, that might be dismissed as mere propaganda, are useful in adding to our understanding of how documentaries became a tool in the representation and communication of a rapidly shifting national identity, that was advanced concurrently through the planning and building of a new capital city and the evolution of documentary films.

Sean Scalmer (History) published an article, ‘The Movement and Its Monument: Victorian Labour’s Tribute to the Eight-Hour Day‘, in History Australia. 

The Victorian labour movement’s monument to the eight-hour day was proposed in 1889, upraised near the Victorian Parliament in 1903, and moved to a spot outside the Trades Hall in 1923. This article outlines and explains this history. It presents three arguments. First, that the drive to construct the ‘eight-hours monument’ grew out of a long-term practice of ‘memory politics’ for industrial gain as well as a more immediate assertion of generational identity. Second, that the monument reflected the weaknesses as well as strengths of the nineteenth-century labour movement: an idealisation of white, male craft workers; a marginalisation of women; and an active opposition to non-white workers. Third, that the monument was actively used by the labour movement of the early twentieth century. Those uses reflect increasing tensions and limits; they changed the location, the meaning and the prominence of the monument. This article offers both a cultural history of the monument and a wider exploration of the connections between monument-building and social movement mobilisation.

Roger Scott (Principal Fellow, Classics & Archaeology) co-edited with Liz James and Oliver Nicholson a new collection, After the Text: Byzantine Enquiries in Honour of Margaret Mullet (Routledge, 2021).

After the Text honours the work of renowned historian Margaret Mullett, who, since the 1970s, has transformed the study of Byzantine literature.

Her work has been influential in demonstrating the strength and variety of Byzantine texts. Byzantium is renowned for its achievements in architecture and the visual arts. Byzantium is renowned for its achievements in architecture and the visual arts. Professor Mullett’s perceptive studies, produced over more than 40 years, have shown that the literature of the Byzantine Empire is of equal beauty and interest, ranging, as it does, from high-style poetry and rhetoric in the classical manner through letters to demotic writings such as fables and the lives of saints. The collection of essays in this volume draws further attention to the wealth and diversity of Byzantine texts, by exploring the Greek literature of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in all its variety. These studies, by going, like Professor Mullett herself, beyond the texts, illustrate the value of Byzantine literature for interpreting Byzantine history and civilisation in all its richness.

Danielle Scrimshaw (recent BA Hons in History) published an article, ‘”Lovely and Secret”: The Life of a Poet’s Muse, Katie Anna Lush’, in the latest issue of Lilith: A Feminist History Journal.

This article focuses on the life of Katie Anna Lush (1887–1935), a figure who exists primarily in the historical narrative as the friend, lover and muse of the Australian poet Lesbia Harford. What began first as an exploration of the women’s relationship, grew into a larger biography of Lush.

A philosophy tutor for the University of Melbourne, an anti-conscriptionist and belonging to a circle of prominent Australian socialists of the 1910s and 1920s, the biography of Katie Lush provides valuable insight into unmarried white women’s political and academic careers in the early twentieth century.

Their relationship  was the subject of several romantic poems written by Lesbia Harford, and this article will additionally consider the relationship’s queer potential. This is the first extensive study of Katie Lush’s life and draws upon former research regarding Lesbia Harford in addition to new detail accessed from the Lush family collection.

The latest issue of Sophia: International Journal of Philosophy and Traditions is a special extended issue on the tug of war between Theisms and Atheisms. Purushottama Bilimoria (Principal Fellow, Philosophy) is one of the journal’s Editors-in-Chief.

Gijs Tol (Classics & Archaeology) was co-author of ‘The Roman Hinterland Project: Integrating Archaeological Field Surveys around Rome and Beyond’ in the European Journal of Archaeology. This is the first major publication of the Rome Hinterland Project, an international consortium across four countries and six universities, including the University of Melbourne, that over the past few years has worked on the proper integration of three large field survey databases covering the hinterland of the city of Rome.

The Lyon Terence: Its Tradition and Legacy (Brill, 2020), edited by Andrew Turner (Classics & Archaeology) and Giulia Torello-Hill was reviewed by Sander M. Goldberg (UCLA) in Bryn Mawr Classical Review. The Lyon Terence, published in the city of Lyon in 1493 by the Flemish scholar Jodocus Badius Ascensius, was the first printed edition of Terence’s plays to incorporate the well-known series of illustrations to the plays which plays which dates from Late Antiquity, preserving much of the construction of images while updating these to incorporate contemporary costuming and gestural language. It became a model for the way in which Terence’s plays, and indeed all classical drama, are presented on the printed page by means of running headers giving Act and Scene divisions; likewise, it incorporated some of Badius’s critical insights into the nature of ancient theatre which derived from his study in Italy and direct contact with leading Renaissance scholars. The study uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the text and illustration of the book as well as its considerable impact on the reception of Terence throughout the sixteenth century.

Sander Goldberg writes, “The authors’ close attention to detail combines with their extensive knowledge of both fifteenth-century literary culture and the developing book trade to yield not just appreciation of this extraordinary book but a fuller understanding of the world that produced it. All this is no small achievement, and the growing interest in reception studies makes their investigation especially timely.”

Sam Watts (PhD candidate, History) published a chapter, ‘Reconstruction Justice: African American Police Officers in Charleston and New Orleans’, in Adam H Domby and Simon Lewis (eds), Freedoms Gained and Lost: Reconstruction and Its Meanings 150 Years Later (Fordham University Press).

The chapter highlights the revolutionary nature of Reconstruction in everyday spaces in the urban Deep South through an examination of the politics of race and policing in Charleston and New Orleans. Across the South, hundreds of Black men who, only a few years prior, had been enslaved, were hired as police officers and worked to enforce the law and protect the hard-won freedoms of the Reconstruction era. Despite their brief tenure — most Black police officers were dismissed by the end of Reconstruction in 1877 — the significance of this narrative lies not only in the revolutionary nature of having formerly enslaved men inhabit a role that was central to slavery and be empowered to arrest and question white suspects, but also in the powerful impact that their daily presence had on the lives of formerly enslaved people during this period.

Graham Willett published a chapter in Evamarie Blattner, Wiebke Ratzeburg and Udo Rauch (eds.) Queer durch Tübingen: Geschichten vom Leben, Lieben und Kampfe (Universitatsstadt Tübingen, 2021).

Dr Alfred Gottschalk was one of the twentieth century’s most prominent medical researchers who worked at some of the world’s most prestigious medical research centres in Germany (1919–1938; 1963–1973) and Australia (1939–1962). But Dr Gottschalk was a man with a secret. In 1963 he suddenly left Australia after almost 25 years, and he never returned. Gottschalk found himself caught up in a homosexual scandal. This article reviews what we know about his case and what it tells us about mid-twentieth-century life in Australia.

Awards, Promotions & Appointments

As part of our ongoing efforts to attract more international talent to our doctoral program in Archaeology, Classics and Ancient History, Frederik Vervaet (chief) and Tim Parkin (associate) will be supervising a recent MA graduate from Denmark, Christian Bagger, who secured a competitive federal doctoral stipend. Christian, who already holds a BA and MA in Roman history from Aalborg University, will be pursuing a doctoral study into the sociopolitical position and role of senatorial women in the late Roman Republic (c133–27 BCE), investigating how they commanded important networks and political patronage and helped shape the politics and events of their age.

Oleg Beyda (Hansen Chair support, History) has won second prize in Nestor-Istoriia’s annual awards for the best popular scholarly books. Oleg won the prize for his book, Spanish Sorrow: The Blue Division and the Campaign to Russia, 1941–42 (Russian edition, 2021).

Mark Edele (Hansen Chair in History) has been appointed Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts, commencing January 2022.

Nicholas Fabbri (BA Hons in History, 2020), has been awarded a 2022 John Monash Scholarship to study a Master of Public Policy at Oxford, starting in October 2022. Nick’s honours thesis was titled ‘”The Inspiration Given To It By Women”: Noreen Minogue, Australian Red Cross, and the Development of International Humanitarian Law’. You can read about how his research was supported by the University of Melbourne Archives in his blog post on the experience of writing a thesis during the pandemic. Nick also hosts a podcast.

Nicholas Fabbri


Ashleigh Green (PhD in Classics & Archaeology, 2020) has won the 2022 State Library of Victoria La Trobe Society Fellowship. Ashleigh’s project will investigate the planning and construction of the first purpose-built penal and psychiatric institutions in the Port Phillip District and colony of Victoria during the La Trobe administration (1839–1854). The project will provide an in-depth history of the construction and early administration of four of these key institutions, and how they set the precedent for the design and construction of gaols, prisons, and asylums in the colony that came after.

Samara Greenwood (PhD candidate, History & Philosophy of Science) has been awarded the 2021 Postgraduate Langham Prize. This prize is given for the best presentation by a postgraduate student at the Australasian Association for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (AAHPSSS) conference.

Chris Hale (PhD in Classics & Archaeology, 2015) has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie & Horizon funded two-year PASIFIC postdoctoral fellowship to train in scientific pottery analysis with a focus on Middle Bronze Age pottery. Chris will be working with Bartek Lis of the Polish Institute, dividing his time between Poland & Greece for two years.

Andrew May (History) led a team that was awarded an Australian Research Council Linkage grant with industry partner Cancer Council Victoria for the project ‘Cancer Culture’, a study of the history of Australian anti-cancer campaigns. The project aims to understand the nexus between science, advocacy, policy and behavioural changes. The team features Tom Kehoe and Hayley Jones (Cancer Council Victoria), Carolyn Holbrook and Richie Barker (Deakin University), Andrekos Varnava (Flinders University), and Rob Moodie (University of Melbourne). The project will take a historical approach to looking at how we change culture to improve public health.

Mitchell Harrop and Andy May at one of the Time Layered Cultural Map of Australia’s project’s inception workshops in February 2020

The Time Layered Cultural Map of Australia (TLCMap) project has received a ‘Good Design Award Gold’. The award recognises the user accessibility and design changes that the TLCMap website has undergone to reach a wide digital audience.

The project aims to develop an online system to deliver researcher-driven national-scale infrastructure for the humanities, focused on mapping, time series and data integration. Australian scholars and scholars of Australia worldwide are well served with digital resources and tools to deepen the understanding of Australia and its historical and cultural heritage. There are, however, significant barriers to use. The Time Layered Cultural Map of Australia (TLCMap) will provide an umbrella infrastructure related to time and space, helping to activate and draw together existing high-quality resources. TLCMap will expand the use of Australian cultural and historical data for research through sharply defined and powerful discovery mechanisms.

University of Newcastle is the lead, and University of Melbourne has been an integral part of the team developing use case scenarios focussed around some of the work of Andy May’s Melbourne History Workshop team, including Mitchell Harrop, Sophie Couchman and Ross Karavis, who have variously been employed on the project.

Kate McGregor (History) has been promoted to full Professor.

Carla Pascoe Leahy (History) was joint winner of the 2021 CHASS Prize for Distinctive Work in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences in recognition of her work on the history of changing experiences of first-time motherhood in Australia since 1945.

Carla Pascoe Leahy (History) has been appointed Lecturer in Family History at the University of Tasmania, commencing 2022.

Emily Poelina-Hunter (PhD in Classics and Archaeology, 2019) has been appointed Lecturer in Aboriginal Studies at La Trobe University. Emily did her PhD on tattooing among Early Bronze Age (c2900–2000 BCE) inhabitants of the Cycladic Islands in Greece based on evidence for tattoo kits and on Cycladic marble figurines.

Sean Scalmer (History) has been elected as Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.

François Schroeter (Philosophy) and Laura Schroeter (Philosophy) have been promoted to Associate Professor.

Emily Simons (PhD candidate, Classics & Archaeology) won the 2021 American Society of Overseas Research (ASOR) Joy Ungerleider Poster Award.

Jasmine Stiff will be taking the role of Teaching and Learning Officer in SHAPS starting February 2022.

Frederik Vervaet (Classics & Archaeology) was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Research Higher Degree Completions

The following post-graduate research theses have successfully passed examination:

Bengi Basak Selvi Lamb (PhD, Classics & Archaeology) ‘Kura-Araxes Obsidian: A Case Study from Sos Höyük

The Kura-Araxes complex has a distinctive material assemblage that stretched across a wide geographical area from the Transcaucasus, through Lake Urmia basin in Northern Iran to Eastern Turkey and the Upper Euphrates region over at least 1000 years (3500–2400 BCE); in certain locations it lasted even longer. Similar assemblages became apparent in the Amuq Plain and further south in the Levant later in the Early Bronze Age. This phenomenon is characterised by small village-type settlements, an agro-pastoralist lifestyle and handmade red-black burnished pottery. However, in most of the studies dealing with this culture, lithics have been overlooked. This thesis examines the technological aspects of stone tool making in the highlands of Turkey during the Early Bronze Age.

My research discusses the limits of urbanisation from the lithics perspective and examines the tool types and stone tool making techniques in the ancient site of Sos Höyük. Stratigraphic analysis of stone tools provides insights to daily activities of the inhabitants. Two techniques were employed in different places in the settlement: flake technology used in domestic production and blade technology as a specialised activity producing a regionally exchanged commodity. Percussion and bipolar techniques were present in the assemblage, which mostly consisted of retouched blades and flakes, scrapers, notched and nosed tools. Micro-lithics and bifacial technology is almost absent in contrast to other sites in the region. From the results of fieldwork conducted for this research, I was able to identify raw material procurement strategies concerning obsidian artefacts from the settlement. The obsidian used to make artefacts in Sos Höyük seems to have been locally sourced from nearby deposits. In addition, a regional exchange system developed across the Erzurum Plain. Furthermore, the absence of caches and significant artefact density throughout the stratigraphic deposits indicates that obsidian was always available to the inhabitants. Recent research in the region concerning obsidian quarries, support the possibility that Sos Höyük played an important role in obsidian distribution networks the highlands.

Themistocles Kritikakos (PhD, History), ‘Memory and Cooperation: Genocide Recognition Efforts among Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians in Twenty-First-Century Australia’.

This thesis examines a unique period in the early twenty-first century when Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians in Australia cooperated to achieve genocide recognition. The Armenian genocide during the First World War (1915) has been commonly associated with genocide in the late Ottoman Empire. Whilst the Armenian genocide has gained international awareness, the persecution of Greeks and Assyrians in the late Ottoman Empire (1914–1923) remains largely unknown. This thesis brings to public attention the intergenerational memories of traumatic experiences of Greeks and Assyrians living in Australia for the first time. Using an oral history method, it investigates the place these memories have in families and communities in Australia.

The Greeks and Assyrians, traditionally neglected in the genocide discourse on the late Ottoman Empire, sought recognition alongside the Armenians. There were challenges to establishing a common narrative of victimhood given the Armenians were active in recognition efforts since the 1960s, and the Greeks and Assyrians only became active in the 1990s. The success of Armenian recognition efforts influenced intercommunal dialogue and collaboration in the late twentieth century, which led to solidarity at the turn of the century. By referencing each other’s experiences, and negotiating memories, they developed a common understanding of the past as co-victims of genocide.

Genocide recognition was achieved in the Parliament of South Australia (2009) and New South Wales (2013) with the aim of attaining national recognition from the Australian Federal Government. The recognition of their experiences could only be achieved by reimagining the Australian humanitarian response to their plight (1915–1930). The narratives of the three groups became an Australian issue and provided them with a sense of belonging. However, this challenged the shared history between Australia and Turkey surrounding Gallipoli. The Australian connection spearheaded the recognition efforts, and provided new perspectives on Australian history. Nevertheless, the Australian Federal Government is yet to recognise their plight as genocide. Although differences inform how each group remembers the past, remembrance has been negotiated among the three groups to represent a common experience of genocide.

Ainslee Meredith (PhD, Cultural Materials Conservation), ‘The Public Value of Conservation in Australia: A Social Justice Framework’

Access to conservation, and thus to cultural heritage, has economic, social and cultural benefits; lack of access can lead to loss, both of cultural materials and of the opportunity to enjoy the benefits stemming from conservation. In Australia as in many other places, however, conservation is not widely accessible outside of the major collecting institutions where the profession has developed. This thesis explores patterns of access to conservation in Australia, the risks facing collections, and the experiences of those working to conserve collections across the country. Interwoven with new readings of conservation’s public value, and its links to social equity and justice, these studies clearly demonstrate the need for access to conservation to be broadened, and the ramifications of an unchallenged status quo.

A tripartite methodology is established, encompassing discursive, quantitative and qualitative studies. First, a background to the concepts of value, social equity and justice is given, with critical discourse analysis of key texts in conservation and heritage. Two statistical mapping studies follow, examining the geographical distribution of access to conservation, and environmental risks to collections associated with climate change; both are interested in the ‘uneven development’ of the conservation sector in urban, regional and remote Australia, and the increased burden of risk for the national collection carried by those with low access to conservation. In the third part of the thesis, the focus on place continues in the results presented of a series of qualitative interviews held with 39 people working with collections at the periphery of dominant conservation practices in Australia. The conversations elicited participants’ thoughts on the value and significance of their collections; the types of risk they encounter; their needs and challenges; the effects of any actual or potential losses; and the benefits collections bring to their surrounding communities.

To understand the interplay of these themes in the interviews – and the wider thesis – a dialectical framework is developed to theorise the persistent co-existence of binary oppositions: value and risk, impact and need, preservation and loss. This framework constitutes the thesis’s central contribution, together with the findings that emerge from the data analysis. These reveal the presence of inequities in the field, both in terms of accessing conservation and where the risk of material and opportunity loss lies; the impact of disasters, both sudden and incremental, on collections; and the mitigative effects of different forms of conservation and caretaking. A significant finding is that community collections, which are formed in response to the needs of particular places, require a decentralised policy approach that prioritises the embedding of conservation within collections.

Each part of the thesis informs a final synthesis of the sector’s needs for consideration in future national conservation policy. Towards this goal, a set of indicators for understanding the broader impact of conservation is also posited. The findings have implications for how conservation in Australia is understood, mapped, theorised, and – it is hoped – more adequately supported by governments. As it reflects upon the various modes of analysis used as forms of evidence for conservation’s public value, the research maintains the importance of listening to the voices of those who are conserving collections.

Susan Reidy (PhD, History), ‘Glorious Gardens and Exuberant Grounds: The History of Urban Public Parks in Australia’

From the colonial period until the present day, Australia’s urban public parks, botanic gardens, and its sports and recreation grounds have been places of special value, considerable cultural and environmental significance and complex social use. In urban places they are distinctive as locations of ornamental charm and floral allure, of physical recreation and entertainment, of sad and happy remembrance, and as containers of botanical and ecological knowledge. Within the fabric of the city, suburb and country town, they provide space, beauty, community and healthful or spiritual respite. A national study of the social history of the public parks of Australia has never been undertaken, despite the many social, cultural and symbolic roles they have played in the country.

This thesis examines the spatial and cultural shaping of Australian urban public parks by a national evaluation of their histories, of the pressures that have affected them, the diversity of their forms and the multiplicity of their use across time and the nation. The thesis also considers aspects of the Australian public park’s development within international contexts, and the extent to which the public park in the nation may be considered an exemplar of modern urban life. Australia’s versions of the botanic garden, public park and outdoor playing field emerged in the first half of the nineteenth century and new ones have been added to urban places ever since. The evolution of such parks has been influenced by the growth of the modern city, the rise of the botanical sciences, new forms of recreation, public participation, political and community contestations, and changing ideas about urban land use, aesthetics, knowledge, health, entertainment, commemoration, heritage, nature and the environment, and who (and what) has rights to public space.

John Henry (MA, Classics), ‘Femina Necans: A Study on Gendered Violence in Greek Tragedy’

In Greek tragedy, there were various methods available for a tragic woman to destroy her enemies: poison, a sword or dagger used in stealth, among other indirect methods. In this thesis, Femina Necans, these tropes will be investigated in a series of case studies of tragedies from Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Several matters are raised: did Clytemnestra use a sword or an axe against Cassandra in the Oresteia? How could ‘heroic’ characters such as Euripides’ Medea be portrayed using poison, a decidedly unheroic method? Finally, could the origins of tragedy and its relation to Dionysus explain Greek tragedy’s curious preoccupation with violent women?

Stephen Jakubowicz (MA, History), ‘The Mischief Wrought by the Master of the Skerryvore: Victoria at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876′

This thesis is a study of the colony of Victoria’s involvement in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The chance to send a display to Philadelphia provided an exciting opportunity for the colony to foster a sense of racial and cultural belonging with the Exhibition’s fairgoers with the aim of consolidating economic, cultural, scientific and social networks between Victoria, the United States and the world.

Of the Australian colonies, Victoria sent the largest exhibition contingent to Philadelphia. However, restrictive trade laws, parliamentary disunity, and doubts regarding the usefulness of sending exhibits to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition negatively impacted its planning and staging. These problems ultimately led to the attempted scuttling of the Skerryvore, the ship tasked with transporting the Victorian exhibits to the United States, and the subsequent damage to many of the items sent to represent the colony at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition.

This thesis uses Victoria’s involvement in the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition as a lens through which to consider how competing visions of the colony’s future, as well as economic and political factors, impacted the colony’s representation at Philadelphia. By re-embedding this event in the complex economic, political, and cultural context within which it took place, this thesis sheds light on the broader role played by these influences in affecting the representation of colonies, dependencies and nations at nineteenth-century exhibitions.

Joseph Parro (MA, History), ‘P. R. Stephensen and Transnational Fascism: From Interwar Adopting to Postwar Survival and Transmission’

This thesis examines Percy Reginald ‘Inky’ Stephensen (1901–1965), Australian author, publisher, authors’ agent, and political activist, in relation to the transnational fascist phenomena of the twentieth century. It challenges previous characterisations of Stephensen as an Australian nationalist first and a fascist second, who retired from political activism after the war. It utilises the historiographical frameworks of transnational fascism and historical network analysis to position Stephensen within the history of fascism: first as it spread over the globe in the interwar period through complex multidirectional processes of transfer, adoption, adaptation, and recontextualisation; and then in the survival of fascism, and its transmission to new generations of actors, through marginalised mutually re-enforcing subcultural networks after 1945.

Fascism as it emerged in Europe deeply resonated with Stephensen’s nationalist vision of a racially homogenous white Australia, and his desire for a cultural and political revolution that would rescue European culture from the decadent liberal-democratic forces that were driving its decline. Australia’s history as a British colony, in particular the violent process of colonisation, complicated fascist understandings of violence for Stephensen, but Hitler’s self-declared war against a racial Jewish-Communist enemy became a foundational component of Stephensen’s support for the White Australia Policy.

After Stephensen’s release from internment, he played a significant role in the survival and transmission of fascism in Australia by providing emotional and ideological encouragement, validation, and support for like-minded actors, and serving as a conduit for material, information, and ideas in an internationally connected extreme-Right network that existed in the political margins. Stephensen remained committed to the cause he had adopted prior to internment, and demonstrated an ability to edit his message for different post-war audiences, without compromising his belief in an international Jewish-Communist conspiracy that posed an existential threat to white nations.

This thesis contributes to understanding not only the impact that fascism had in Australia, but also the processes by which fascism spread in the interwar period and survived in a hostile post-war environment.

Peter Blake Stove (MA, Philosophy), ‘The Truth of Heidegger’s Existential Analytic of Dasein‘.

Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time is an ambitious work that fuses transcendental-ontological and historical themes. Critics have argued that these two aspects of the work are inconsistent and, in light of Heidegger’s substantive claims regarding the historical structure of human existence, the methodological commitment to the transcendental-ontological notion of originary truth should be abandoned. ‘Detranscendentalised’ readings of Being and Time, to adopt Steven Crowell’s term, suggest this is because the historical themes cast doubt on the ability of the philosophising subject (Dasein) to identify and conceptualise timeless and ahistorical ontological structures. This thesis argues that the apparent tension between the transcendental-ontological and historical aspects of Being and Time can be resolved using the existential analytic of Dasein as the guiding theme. The existential analytic of Dasein is the explication of the universal existential structures of the philosophising subject. Heidegger’s achievement in Being and Time is to acknowledge the historical structure of human existence and incorporate it within the possibility of transcendental-ontological inquiry.


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