SHAPS Digest (April 2022)

Ángel Alcalde (History) commented for ABC News on Joe Biden’s use of the term ‘genocide’ with regard to Russian actions in Ukraine.

The exhibition Didar: Stories of Middle Eastern Manuscripts, currently on display in Arts West, was featured in a clip produced by the Faculty of Arts. The exhibition is curated by the Grimwade Centre’s Sophie Lewincamp and Leila Alhagh.

Mark Edele (Hansen Chair in History) commented on ABC News online on the China–Russia relationship.

Julie Fedor (History) delivered a talk for the Australian Institute of International Affairs (Tasmanian branch) on ‘War and Memory in Putin’s Russia’.

Julie Fedor was a speaker, together with Robert Horvath (La Trobe) and Filip Slaveski (ANU), at an Alfred Deakin Institute Policy Forum event on the topic ‘Ukraine and the Russian Invasion’.

David Goodman (History) and Joy Elizabeth Hayes (University of Iowa) published an essay about their new book on the history of the Educational Radio Project during the New Deal era.

Molly Mckew (PhD in History, 2019) interviewed her mother about her life as a lesbian feminist in 1990s Melbourne, for Archer magazine.

David Palmer (Associate, History) was interviewed for TBS national television, Seoul, for the South Korea broadcast special, ‘Cultural Heritage Dispute Fuels Seoul-Tokyo History War’. The dispute is over Japan’s nomination of the Sado Gold Mines for UNESCO World Heritage listing, with South Korea objecting to Japan’s erasure of the history of the use of Korean forced labourers at the site.

Gijs Tol (Classics & Archaeology) was interviewed on Dutch National Radio about his work on the Roman countryside and what it’s like to research and teach Roman archaeology at an Australian university.

Caroline Tully (Associate, Classics & Archaeology) was the consultant on the exhibition, Open Horizons: Ancient Greek Journeys and Connections, which opened at the Melbourne Museum this month. She undertook provenance research on the 44 objects lent to the Melbourne Museum for this exhibition by the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and provided expert advice on the content of the public facing texts and images.

Darius von Güttner (Principal Fellow, History) published two articles in Pursuit: on Ukrainian history, challenging Vladimir Putin’s claims on this subject; and on the parallels between the atrocities in Bucha and the 1940 Katyn massacres.

Darius von Güttner also published an article in the Conversation on the history behind the naming of Mount Kosciuszko.

Academic Publications

Melissa N. Afentoulis (PhD in History, 2019), Greek Island Migration to Australia since the 1950s: (Re)discovering Limnian Identity, Belonging and Home (Palgrave Macmillan). Illuminating the experiences of immigrants to Australia in the late twentieth century, this book uses oral history to explore how identity and belonging are shaped through migration.

Between the 1950s and the 1970s, many inhabitants from the small Greek island of Limnos travelled to Australia to flee post-war devastation and economic disaster. With an emphasis on the lived experiences and memories of Limnians, the book sheds light on the emotional pain and trauma they felt as they were separated from their families and homeland.

Moving away from more traditional outlooks on migration studies, this book emphasises the significance of ethno-regional identity, and analyses how it can bring strength and longevity to a constructed community. Both the roles of men and women within the Greek diaspora are examined, in the way that they made the difficult decision to leave their homeland, and subsequently how they came to nurture and build families within a new, evolving community.

Looking beyond first-generation migration, the author analyses the pattern of return visits to Limnos by the descendants of migrants. Acting as a form of identity consolidation for second-generation migrants, this journey to the ancestral homeland highlights the fluidity of what it means to belong somewhere, and redefines the notion of ‘home’.

Oleg Beyda (Subject Coordinator, HIstory) reviewed Sheila Fitzpatrick’s book White Russians, Red Peril: A Cold War History of Migration to Australia, in the latest issue of the journal History Australia.

RepliCATS project team members Martin Bush, Daniel G. Hamilton, Anca Hanea, Bonnie C. Wintle, and Fiona Fidler, were among the authors of the article, ‘Reimagining Peer Review as an Expert Elicitation Process‘, in BMC Research Notes.

Journal peer review regulates the flow of ideas through an academic discipline and thus has the power to shape what a research community knows, actively investigates, and recommends to policymakers and the wider public. We might assume that editors can identify the ‘best’ experts and rely on them for peer review. But decades of research on both expert decision-making and peer review suggests they cannot. In the absence of a clear criterion for demarcating reliable, insightful, and accurate expert assessors of research quality, the best safeguard against unwanted biases and uneven power distributions is to introduce greater transparency and structure into the process. This paper argues that peer review would therefore benefit from applying a series of evidence-based recommendations from the empirical literature on structured expert elicitation. We highlight individual and group characteristics that contribute to higher quality judgements, and elements of elicitation protocols that reduce bias, promote constructive discussion, and enable opinions to be objectively and transparently aggregated.

Matthew S. Champion (History), ‘Pointing to a Deeper Now: Time, Sound, Touch, and the Devotional Present in Fifteenth-Century Northern Europe’, in Armin Bergmeier and Andrew Griebeler (eds.),Time and Presence in Art: Moments of Encounter (200–1600 CE) (De Gruyter 2022).

This volume explores the relationship between temporality and presence in medieval artworks from the third to the sixteenth centuries. It is the first extensive treatment of the interconnections between medieval artworks’ varied presences and their ever-shifting places in time. The volume begins with reflections on the study of temporality and presence in medieval and early modern art history. A second section presents case studies delving into the different ways medieval artworks once created and transformed their original viewers’ experience of the present. These range from late antique Constantinople, early Islamic Jerusalem and medieval Italy, to early modern Venice and the Low Countries. A final section explores how medieval artworks remain powerful and relevant today. This section includes case studies on reconstructing presence in medieval art through embodied experience of pilgrimage, art historical research and museum education. In doing so, the volume provides a first dialog between museum educators and art historians on the presence of medieval artifacts.

Tony Coady (Professor Emeritus, Philosophy), ‘War Crimes and the Asymmetry Myth‘, Ethics and International Affairs. 

The ‘asymmetry myth’ is that war crimes are committed by one’s enemies but never, or hardly ever, by one’s own combatants. The myth involves not only a common failure to acknowledge our own actual war crimes but also inadequate reactions when we are forced to recognise them. It contributes to the high likelihood that wars, just or unjust in their causes, will have a high moral cost. This cost, moreover, is a matter needing consideration in the jus ante bellum circumstances of preparedness for war as well as of conduct within it. As part of the symposium on Ned Dobos’s book, Ethics, Security, and the War-Machine, Coady argues that the strength of the asymmetry myth is sustained by certain forms of romantic nationalism linked to the glamorisation of military endeavour.

Nathan Gardner (Hansen PhD Scholar in History), ‘United We Stood but Divided We Were: Chinese Australian Unity and the 1984 Immigration Debate‘, History Australia.

This article investigates the concept of Chinese Australian unity as articulated in the context of the 1984 ‘immigration debate’. It does so through a study of the histories of three Chinese Australian community organisations from different parts of the country, tracing them from the onset of the immigration debate to the aftermath of the ‘1986 National Conference of the Australian Chinese Community’. It argues that even powerful motivations for pursuing the goal of ethnic unity might only temporarily overcome the inherent differences between Chinese Australian communities and their representative organisations.

Nathan Gardner, ‘All as One to One for All: Comparing Chinese Australian Responses to Racism during the “Hanson Debate” and COVID-19′, in Journal of Chinese Overseas.

The recent racism toward Chinese Australians arising from the COVID-19 pandemic recalls the shape and scale of racism last seen during the “Hanson debate” of the late 1990s – so named for the anti-Asian immigration and anti-multicultural positions Pauline Hanson advanced in Australian politics and society. Further linking these two moments are the responses to racism coming from Chinese Australian individuals and community organisations. In each period, the different backgrounds of various Chinese Australian communities and their representative organisations influenced their modes of responding to racism. Over the years, however, the prominence of a small number of ‘community leaders’ and organisations responding to racism has increasingly eclipsed grassroots responses to racism. I argue that this shift represents a “professionalisation” of Chinese Australian responses to racism; partly explaining the form that present responses take, while also problematising the relationship between the ‘community representatives’ and the ‘communities being represented’.

David Goodman (History) and Joy Elizabeth Hayes (University of Iowa), New Deal Radio: The Educational Radio Project (Rutgers University Press).

New Deal Radio examines the federal government’s involvement in broadcasting during the New Deal period, looking at the U.S. Office of Education’s Educational Radio Project. The fact that the United States never developed a national public broadcaster, has remained a central problem of US broadcasting history. Rather than ponder what might have been, authors Joy Hayes and David Goodman look at what did happen.

There was in fact a great deal of government involvement in broadcasting in the US before 1945 at local, state, and federal levels. Among the federal agencies on the air were the Department of Agriculture, the National Park Service, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Federal Theatre Project.

Contextualising the different series aired by the Educational Radio Project as part of a unified project about radio and citizenship is crucial to understanding them. New Deal Radio argues that this distinctive government commercial partnership amounted to a critical intervention in US broadcasting and an important chapter in the evolution of public radio in America.

Zoë Laidlaw (History), ‘”Peopling the Country by Unpeopling It”: Jeremy Bentham’s Silences on Indigenous Australia’, in Tim Causer, Margot Finn and Philip Schofield (eds.), Bentham and Australia: Convicts, Utility and Empire (UCL Press 2022).

In the present collection, a distinguished group of authors reflect on Bentham’s Australian writings, making original contributions to existing debates and setting agendas for future ones. In the first part of the collection, the works are placed in their historical contexts, while the second part provides a critical assessment of the historical accuracy and plausibility of Bentham’s arguments against transportation from the British Isles. In the third part, attention turns to Bentham’s claim that New South Wales had been illegally founded and to the imperial and colonial constitutional ramifications of that claim.

Here, authors also discuss Bentham’s work of 1831 in which he supports the establishment of a free colony on the southern coast of Australia. In the final part, authors shed light on the history of Bentham’s panopticon penitentiary scheme, his views on the punishment and reform of criminals and what role, if any, religion had to play in that regard, and discuss apparently panopticon-inspired institutions built in the Australian colonies.

Val Noone with Greg Byrnes, Robert Lindsey, and Colin Ryan, Gaeilge Ghriandóite: A go Z a hAon/ Sunburnt Gaelic from A to Z, Edition One (Melbourne: Mary Doyle & Val Noone, 2021). This mini encyclopedia of 108 pages, written throughout in Irish, records the authors’ findings about the history of the language and culture of the Irish in Australia. It is the first, and only, such book about the topic. It also is the first book written by Australians entirely in Irish and published in Australia. Gaeilge Ghriandóite means Sunburnt Irish Language, the Irish language as spoken and written in Australia and adapted to a new environment. For purchase, please contact Val Noone for details.

David Palmer and Hideto Kimura trans. (based on Japanese texts and earlier Japanese published version), Documents Tell the Truth: Chinese Massacre in the Wake of Japan’s 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, ed. Kinomura Kanichiro (Tokyo: Association to Commemorate Chinese Victims of the Great Kanto Earthquake). This is the first substantial collection of primary source Japanese and Chinese documents related to the mass killings of Chinese residents in Tokyo following the catastrophic 1923 earthquake. Editions in Japanese and Chinese were published in 2021, and a Korean edition is currently being translated.

Howard Sankey (Philosophy) reviewed K. Brad Wray’s book Kuhn’s Intellectual Path: Charting the Structure of Scientific Revolutions for the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Review of Books. 

Roger Scott (Principal Fellow, Classics & Archaeology), ‘Malalas and Justinian’s New Age,’ in Hagit Amirav, Cor Hoogerwerf, and István Perczel (eds.), Christian Historiography between Empires, 4th–8th Centuries, Late Antique History and Religion (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers).

Caroline Tully (Fellow, Classics & Archaeology) guest edited a special issue of The Pomegranate: international Journal of Pagan Studies, on ‘Pagans and Museums’. The special issue was ‘inspired by the role that museums, archaeological sites, and archives have played in the construction and practice of contemporary Paganisms’ (from Caroline’s Introduction). Caroline is now the associate editor of the journal.

Volkhard Wehner (PhD in History, 2017; Associate, History), The Leongatha Labour Colony and Its Antecedents in Bismarck’s Germany: A Comparative Transnational Study on Managing Unemployment, Pauperism and Vagrancy in the Late Nineteenth Century. This book explores the history of the Leongatha Labour Colony (1893-1919), and its connections to similar colonies founded by social reformers in Germany. The book was launched by the Leongatha Historical Society. More information is available from the author via email.

Fay Woodhouse (Fellow, History), entry on ‘Deste, Stephanie (1901–1996)‘ in the Australian Dictionary of Biography. 

Awards & Scholarships

Adam Moore (current Honours student, Classics & Ancient World Studies) has been awarded the 2021 Bachelor of Arts Medal, as the highest achieving student across the three years of the course. In an interview published on the Faculty of Arts website, Adam reflects on how the study of the Classical world is crucial for understanding the present.

The book Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950–1985 (PM Press, 2021), co-edited by Iain McIntyre (PhD in History, 2018) and Andrew Nette, has been nominated for a Hugo Award.

On 5 April 2022, Professor Mike Arnold (HPS) and Associate Professor Richard Pennell (History) were among a handful of academic staff in Arts who were celebrated by Dean Russell Goulbourne for twenty-five years of service at the University of Melbourne. Lifting a glass of bubbly, Russell asked those present to reminisce on how things have changed over the years. This was the first time that medals have been awarded and we are grateful for this recognition.


Research Higher Degree Completions

Anton Donohoe-Marques (PhD in History, 2022), ‘Revisiting Anzac in the Wake of World War Two: Memory and Identity in the Post-War Period, 1945–1960’

This thesis explores how war remembrance – in the form of commemorative observance and the building of memorials – developed in Australia in the period that followed World War Two, from 1945 to 1960. It investigates three key questions. First, what was the nature of the interplay between post-World War Two memorialisation and commemoration and the remembrance traditions that had been established during World War One and the interwar period? Second, how was Australia’s post-World War Two remembrance shaped by the particular social, political, and economic circumstances of the period? And finally, what influence did the process and practice of post-World War Two remembrance have on changing conceptions of the Anzac legend and Australian national identity?

In addressing these questions, this study contains five distinct case studies, each of which explores a different aspect of war remembrance between 1945 and 1960. These case studies examine the building of memorials, the efforts of veterans to enact remembrance projects, the observance of Anzac Day, the construction of cemeteries overseas, and interactions between Australian war remembrance and foreign diplomacy. In large part these case studies investigate the Australian state’s efforts to enact control over memorialisation and commemoration. However, the thesis also explores various responses to these projects, analysing how resistance from people outside of government, particularly from veterans of both world wars, was an integral part of how war remembrance in the period took shape. Between 1945 and 1960 there was significant change in the ways that Australians remembered war. During World War One and the interwar period, Australians commemorated the war by building around 1,500 memorials, erected in towns and cities across the country. It was also during World War One that Australians began to observe Anzac Day each year on 25 April.

But with the advent of a second global conflict, a new range of perspectives, experiences, and memories were incorporated into this pre-existing culture of war remembrance. Forms of commemoration also reflected the shifting circumstances of Australian society. In the post-World War Two period, communities grew rapidly through migration, industrialisation, and economic expansion. It was also a time in which a new generation of veterans returned and reintegrated into society. Finally, Australia was forging a series of new international partnerships during this period. These social, political and economic changes influenced the way that Australians imagined themselves, their place in the world, and the meaning of the Anzac legend. Post-World War Two remembrance was therefore distinguished by an enthusiasm for utilitarian memorials, by the inclusion of new veterans into the fold of war remembrance, and diplomatically, by the representation of new international relationships with the United States and other Pacific nations through commemoration and memorialisation.

Supervisors: Dr Julie Fedor, Professor Kate Darian-Smith

David Liknaitzky (PhD in Philosophy, 2022), ‘In Search of Just, Humanised Work: Overcoming Workplace Oppression and Rethinking Leadership to Create the Conditions for Human Flourishing at Work’

Organisations have evolved historically such that, in some instances, it has become the norm to treat employees in ways that would otherwise not be tolerated (or, at least, far less tolerated) in the broader society. Indeed, oppressive relationships of domination and subordination, and arbitrary subjection of employees to restraint of freedom, coercion, victimisation, humiliation, exploitation and manipulation, while not universally the norm, are nonetheless widespread across many organisations, often with employees subject to such treatment having little recourse to redress.

I will analyse the ways in which such practices are wrongful and, for the most part, harmful, and will make the case that organisations, as intentionally created moral agents, are culpable and accountable for such practices. I argue against the concept of work as disutility or a ‘necessary evil’ that people should endure as an instrumental means of securing a living. I also argue against the ‘workplace exceptionalism’ that seeks to justify oppressive conditions and practices at work and that places human flourishing outside of the work domain. Rather, I make the claims that work is a primary good for those who undertake it and that organisations are obligated to actively counter harmful conditions and practices in the workplace. More controversially, I argue that organisations should provide (wherever possible, and far more than is currently the norm) for the goods of individual autonomy and human flourishing at work.

If work is a domain in which people dedicate a major portion of their time, energy and commitment, there is every reason to expect that this domain should provide the conditions, possibilities and opportunities for them to conduct their work in ways that will enable them to satisfy the needs and access the goods that are meaningful to them. Living a full human life should apply in the work domain as much as in other domains of life. Thus, there is a need to rethink the nature of organisations and leadership, such that what it is to be essentially human is valued and protected in the workplace.

Supervisors: Associate Professor Holly Lawford-Smith, Associate Professor Karen Jones, Professor Justin Oakley (Monash)

Graduation ceremonies

This April, a number of students who graduated from their Masters and PhD during the pandemic were finally able to celebrate in person together with their families and supervisors at ceremonies held on campus.

Jessie Matheson (PhD in History, 2021) at her graduation in April 2022
Jessie Matheson (PhD in History, 2021) with her supervisor, Mary Tomsic, at Jessie’s graduation in April 2022
Themistocles Kritikakos (PhD in History, 2021) at his graduation in April 2022
Themistocles Kritikakos (PhD in History, 2021) at his graduation in April 2022
Gretel Evans (PhD in History, 2020) at her graduation in April 2022
Gretel Evans (PhD in History, 2020) with her family at her graduation in April 2022

SHAPS staff, fellows, students, alumni: if you have news items for the monthly SHAPS digest, please email us the details.