‘The Limits of Facilitative Approaches to Rural Development: Case Study from Tamil Nadu, India’

CAPSTRANS Seminar Announcement

 ‘The Limits of Facilitative Approaches to Rural Development: Case Study from Tamil Nadu, India’


Dr Trent Brown 

Wednesday 22nd October, 2014 – 12.30 -1.30pm

Location: Building 19.2072b (Research Hub)

The seminar this week for CAPSTRANS is presented by Dr Trent Brown, a recent UOW PhD graduate who has more recently been working as a Research Associate at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. His newest project investigates the impacts of globalisation in regional India. His previous thesis was titled ‘Sustainable Agriculture, Civil Society and Social Power in Rural India’. Trent has completed extensive fieldwork in India on a number of trips. This presentation will discuss facilitative approaches to development in rural areas of Tamil Nadu, India.

Abstract: ‘Facilitative’ approaches to sustainable rural development have been widely lauded in both the scholarly and development literature. These approaches encourage members of development organisations to be mindful of their status as ‘outsiders’ and to merely ‘facilitate’ rural communities to collectively make their own decisions on how to implement local development strategies. In this presentation, I focus on two urban activists, Revathi and Swamy, and their attempts to promote ecological agriculture in Tamil Nadu, India. I examine factors that led them to take on a ‘facilitative’ strategy of community engagement, but go on to consider the limitations of this strategy, highlighting how the ‘light hand’ of facilitation was unable to respond to entrenched power relations within rural communities. Furthermore, preliminary evidence suggests that the skills and knowledge that farmers gained from Revathi and Swamy’s ‘facilitation’ were used more for collective bargaining and political power than sustainable development per se. The case suggests that, if one is sincere in taking an approach that merely ‘facilitates’ rural communities to follow their own agenda, one’s own objectives of promoting sustainability may need to be abandoned.


All are welcome and a light lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Rowena Ward roward@uow.edu.au or Kylie Evans kevans@uow.edu.au.

We hope to see you on Wednesday.

Dr Charles Hawksley – Running guns and building police to protect human rights

CAPSTRANS Seminar Announcement 

‘Running guns and building police to protect human rights: The flexibility of Pillar Two of the Responsibility to Protect’

Dr Charles Hawksley

Wednesday 8th October 2014, 19.2072b, 12.30-1.30 (LHA Research Hub)


The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) doctrine aims to have states take responsibility for the human rights of their populations (Pillar I), provide assistance to help them do so when they are unable to (Pillar II), and to Intervene when all else fails (Pillar III). Most discussions of RtoP have focused on intervention and its relationship to state sovereignty, but it is Pillar Two (Assistance) that is more common, yet more difficult to assess. Both gun running and police building can be seen as supporting a state’s capacity to resist genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Western operations into Iraq during August and September of this year have provided that state with armaments in an effort to combat the human rights atrocities that have been perpetuated by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). On the other side of the world, the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has operated since 2003, and now has a specific police-support mandate in its aim to withdraw in 2017. This paper explores these two activities as part of Pillar II of RtoP, and using examples from the Middle East and the Pacific, teases out some of the intricacies of operational and structural prevention in protecting human rights.


Charles Hawksley is Senior Lecturer in Politics. Charles and research partner Nichole Georgeou of ACU Strathfield are currently completing their manuscript for the Routledge Series ‘Global Politics and the Responsibility to Protect’ entitled Police-Building and the Responsibility to Protect: Civil society, gender and human rights culture in Oceania, (forthcoming 2015). This paper is drawn from joint research with Nichole Georgeou.

To RSVP or for further information please contact Rowena Ward roward@uow.edu.au or Kylie Evans kevans@uow.edu.au

‘Skype-Mediated Oral Corrective Feedback’ Dr Xiaoping Gao 17th September 2014

CAPSTRANS Seminar – Skype Mediated Oral Corrective Feedback

17th September 2014  19.2072b (Arts Research Hub)

The latest CAPSTRANS Lunchtime Seminar will be given on Wednesday by a Lecturer at UOW Dr. Xiaoping Gao, whose research interests include second language acquisition, language pedagogy and intercultural communication. The presentation will discuss the results of a study that was completed on the efficacy of corrective feedback in one-on-one cyber setting. Using Ellis’ (2010) taxonomies of corrective feedback as a framework, the study focussed on learners’ and teachers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of seven (7) oral corrective feedback strategies on learning Chinese as a foreign language. The participants that were part of this study included 15 non-native speakers of Chinese studying advanced level Chinese subjects at a university in Australia and 15 Chinese postgraduate students majoring in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages in China. The 15 native and non-native dyads conducted a one-hour conversation weekly over ten weeks by Skype with different interlocutors. The feedback has been analysed qualitatively and quantitatively, with results demonstrating learners preferred in-put providing and explicit strategies to out-put prompting and implicit ones, although there is a mismatch between teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of correction strategies.

Dr. Xiaoping Gao will discuss this study and we welcome all participants to come along and join in the discussion.

Light Lunch and drinks will be served.

‘Language Contact in New Caledonia: sociolinguistic relationships between French, English and local dialects’

CAPSTRANS Seminar – Language Contact in New Caledonia: sociolinguistic relationships between French, English and local dialects

Wednesday 13th August 2014, 12.30-1.30pm Arts Hub, Building 19, Level 2

CAPSTRANS Seminars are about to start up again for Spring session and we are very excited that Anu will be presenting the first of the seminars. Anu’s presentation will focus on anthropological and linguistic elements, drawing on her considerable experience in New Caledonia. The seminar will be separated into three elements with the first being a historical overview of the social history and language situation in New Caledonia. The second and third sections will discuss her research in New Caledonia, followed by an analysis of the attitudes to language held by citizens of New Caledonia.

Anu is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Wollongong and has extensive experience in Language study being the current French Coordinator in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. Her current research interests centre on the sociolinguistic paradigm of language use and language choice in French creolophone speakers, elements of which will no doubt be drawn on heavily in this seminar.

This seminar will be of interest both to those that are interested in French language and the wider Pacific region. CAPSTRANS welcomes all that wish to attend the event. There will be a light lunch served, to RSVP please contact Rowena Ward roward@uow.edu.au or Kylie Evans kevans@uow.edu.au.

Interview with Nic Halter: the Pacific and Cannibalism at the AHA

The annual Australian Historical Association conference is happening soon again (7-11 July, University of Queensland, Brisbane). Last year it was here at the University of Wollongong. However, as a warm up to Brisbane, here is an interview that I did with a former UOW student now graduate. Nic Halter is currently undertaking his PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra. At the end of the conference last year we caught up for a brief chat to discuss his thesis on Australian travel writing in the Pacific in the 20th century.

NIc presenting a paper at a conference.

NIc presenting a paper at a conference.

NB. The photo is not from the conference.


JM: Alright I’m here with Nicholas Halter from ANU, Australian National University. How are you?

NH: I’m well thank you.

JM: Well we were just talking about how you had to get some ethics approval for your Honours, which if I’m not mistaken was with Greg [Melleuish] and on World Youth Day. But now you’re looking at the Pacific.

NH: That’s right.

JM: Can you tell us what you’re doing and how such a switch happened?

NH: Well I guess my philosophy is to do what you enjoy and my Honours was about World Youth Day which I took part in when I was in school in Sydney, so I did that which was really interesting to me and fun and then finished up with plans of being a high school teacher that was always the plan. So I was going to pick one of the unis in Sydney and be a history high school teacher. And then on great encouragement from Stephen Brown he told me to throw in a couple of scholarship applications and see what you get. We thought about what topics I could do. When I finished high school a while ago and I then spent a year doing some volunteer work in the Pacific islands. So I said I like the islands so why not do something on the history of the islands. So it was literally that simple. I remember literally handing in my Honours thesis and then a week later, after I relaxed, I put some words into a document and applied to a few unis, eventually got accepted and then went through the entire rigmarole and thought why not spend a few extra years at uni.

JM: And make the big move down to Canberra, the big C.

NH: Yeah yeah yeah, I miss Wollongong.

JM: The beaches?

NH: The beaches.

JM: The Pacific!

NH: The Pacific for sure! ANU is a bigger place, a different vibe, very different vibe. But it’s worked out well.

JM: So I guess what would be a working title for your history of the islands?

NH: Oh working title! I’ve got to come up with something catchy! Well at the moment it’s, ‘Australian Travelling Writing about the Pacific Islands in the Twentieth Century’.

JM: I was at your presentation this morning and one of the things which you spoke about was cannibalism, which I guess is one of the themes, or common cultural associations that people have with the Pacific world. Well at least during the late nineteenth-, early twentieth century. One thing which you mentioned in your presentation was that the further west you went in the Pacific, the more common was I guess the stereotype of the cannibal. I guess we know cannibalism existed in such places as the New Hebrides, but did it exist in places such as Tahiti or Pitcairn Island? Or did people think that women in grass skirts dancing for men?

NH: Yeah that’s the common image for people of our generation, such things as the Hawaiian skirt, which I think came around a similar time I think, the 1930s, 1940s – the Hawaiian girl started playing the hula.

JM: So it’s actually a manufactured image?

NH: Yeah in a way. But definitely the image of the cannibal and the savage still apply to today, although it never did really apply to places like Tahiti and parts of Polynesia for many reasons, one of which was the ideology of race whereby darker the skin is the more savage the person is. Also Tahiti was always in the ideal image in everyone’s mind, especially Australians, of this place that was like an utopia or a paradise.

JM: Gaugin went there instead of say Fiji I guess. I guess was cannibalism something that was taken up more by the British, I mean that the British had a greater interest in it? The French they had other colonies in places such as Africa.

NH: That’s a good point actually. I’m not quite sure what the French thought about cannibalism. I mean from what I’ve read, most Europeans were pretty fascinated with cannibals and cannibalism. I don’t know if the French thought something different. Although even today I guess every culture plays with the fantasy, is fascinated in a way by how far the human being can go. I mean there are those stories of that soccer team’s plane crashing in the Andes and being forced, that still manages to captivate a lot of people.

JM: It kind of goes with bestiality in the sense that it is kind of the last taboo that we have.

NH: Yeah that’s true.

JM: But doing history I guess it’s quite easy to find histories of sexuality, I’m not so sure about bestiality I haven’t checked, but is there much writing on cannibalism, directly or indirectly?

NH: Yeah there’s a fair bit actually. Now you actually make me think of the British because the big one, the one that captivated everyone’s imagination was Captain Cook’s diary and him getting eaten-

JM: In the Sandwich Islands ironically which is Hawaii now!

NH: Well you know how there are the History Wars [in Australian academic and social life, particularly dominate in the late 1990s and early 2000s], well there’s another ‘history war’ in Hawaii between two anthropologists about what actually happened: whether Captain Cook was actually eaten or whether the British forced the natives into retaliation or whether the natives started the fight. So it’s exactly like the History Wars: two guys on two sides fighting each other. But yeah there’s actually been quite a bit on people writing about cannibalism.

JM: Have all of these writings then spawned I guess in places such as Papua New Guinea or Fiji tourism to do with cannibalism? You can go somewhere and by the (fake) cannibal tooth for your keyring that says ‘Fiji’?

NH: In Fiji you can still buy the cannibal fork, which is supposedly the wooden fork, the ceremonial wooden fork that the cannibals supposedly used to eat human flesh. But then I couldn’t find anyone there who could tell me whether historically that was the fork that was actually used. But you can still buy them there and they still have a few relics in museums there. But I’m sure that there’s a commercial market for all the people who are keen for souvenirs. But there are people who you know, would just hack something off someone and say that it was a cannibal relic of some sort just to make money.

JM: Well I guess if you’re being insulted for being a cannibal, it’s understandable to try and trick your insulters and make some money. I guess you’re looking at in terms of time period, from the 1880s up until World War II?

NH: World War I.

JM: World War I. Did stories of cannibalism cease after World War I, or were there still the occasional stories of cannibalism on some unknown island by some tribe? I mean are there rumours that this tribe on this island still sometimes practice cannibalism?

NH: I mean there are people who look for these lost tribes but no not really. Although two or three years ago when I first started researching, I read in some newspaper, a reputable newspaper from London I think, that reported that this couple got eaten, reportedly got eaten in Tahiti.

JM: Oh really?

NH: Yeah but do you know why? It was hilarious. They were a German couple who were hanging out on a yacht just travelling in the Pacific, near one of the islands of Tahiti in French Polynesia, and some local guide that was guiding them around killed the guy while the girl was able to escape and alert the authorities. That was what happened. But what happened between the time of the event and it being reported to the news worldwide was that someone invented the story that apparently the body was found next to a fire and assumed that this islander ate him. So the headlines were something like ‘Cannibal in Tahiti’ but there was absolutely no evidence at all.

JM: Just circumstantial.

NH: Just circumstantial. They just found the body near a fire, and maybe there was no fire at all, but they just assumed that the body had been eaten.

JM: Maybe somewhere deep down in our collective psyche there’s always that urge. When you tell people that you study, well research cannibalism, do you get strange looks?

NH: No not too much.

JM: Do you I guess have a reputation in the postgrad corridors of ANU as the local Hannibal Lecter of sorts? Although someone who is a very nice man I have to say myself.

NH: No I’m afraid not. There’s too many smart people in the corridors to know about the myths of the Pacific.

JM: Well I guess that’s good then that they know if you invite them over for dinner that they can safely come knowing that they’re not going to be the dinner.

NH: Yeah I think so.

JM: Well on that note, thank you, soon to be Dr Nicholas Halter.

NH: Well thank you.

CAPSTRANS Seminar – ‘Knowing daily lives of boys working on the streets through qualitative research’, Asma Khalid, Phd Candidate

The CAPSTRANS Seminars continue this week with Asma Khalid, a PhD student, who is in the final stages of her candidature. Asma has undertaken extensive research in Rawalpindi and Islamabad focussing on street children, in her seminar last year she presented on the problems and difficulties she encountered whilst on fieldwork in Pakistan. This year Asma will present elements of her PhD thesis in what will surely be a fascinating seminar, Asma has kindly provided this abstract for her seminar.

Knowing daily lives of boys working on the streets through qualitative research, Asma Khalid.

Qualitative Research with children and youth is complicated as one has to face the challenge of unequal power relations between researchers and children and youth. Other barriers which hinder qualitative research include pre-conceived biases about children and youth such as that they are irrational, and cannot take part in policy formulation. To challenge such rigid beliefs, this qualitative research was carried out with twenty boys working on the streets aged between twelve and sixteen. These boys belong to an ethnic group, the Afghan and Pathan, and reside in Rawalpindi and Islamabad cities. The basic purpose of this research was to know their daily lives, to encourage qualitative research in Pakistan and to evaluate the role of government and non-governmental organisations in the daily lives of boys. In this research, boys evaluated the role of support organisations in their daily lives and raised many public policy issues through semi-structured interviews including drawings, writings, photo-elicitation, life stories and observations. It is found that through qualitative research, marginalised and socially excluded children and youth gave an insight into their lives. It is concluded that they can raise their voices for their rights and can take part in research, if chance is given to them.

The CAPSTRANS Lunchtime Seminar will be held at the Arts Hub level 2, Building 19, from 12.30 – 1.30pm. Light refreshments will be served. Come along and listen to one of the University of Wollongong’s upcoming voices.

Video for Dr. Fiona Whitelaw’s CAPSTRANS Seminar – 7th May 2014

Good Morning Everyone,

On Wednesday 7th May, we had a delightful seminar given by Dr. Fiona Whitelaw on Industrialisation in the Suburbs research in Newcastle ten years after the closure of BHP. The Seminar was met with great interest from local Wollongong academics and quite a few cross-references made between contexts in Newcastle, Wollongong and Canberra from audience members. Thank you Dr. Whitelaw for giving this fascinating seminar, attached to this post you will find the video for the seminar. For those that could not attend the seminar please take a look. If you have any questions, or comments please submit through the contact link below and they will be passed along to Dr. Whitelaw.

Dr Fiona Whitelaw: ‘Deindustrialisation in the suburbs, research in Newcastle ten years after the closure of BHP’. Presented on 7 May 2014 as part of the CAPSTRANS Series

Dr Fiona Whitelaw ‘Deindustrialisation in the subrubs, research in Newcastle ten years after the closure of BHP’

We invite you to come along  and listen to the third CAPSTRANS seminar this year, to be given by Dr Fiona Whitelaw entitled ‘Deindustrialisation in the suburbs, research in Newcastle ten years after the closure of BHP’. Fiona gained her Phd from University of Western Sydney in 2011 for ‘Emerging Post-Fordism: Deindustrialistion and transition  in the suburbs’ and has continued further research into mobility, and anthropology of space and place. She currently teaches at the Batemans Bay campus and coordinates her own consulting business specialising in planning and environmental issues.

Abstract: Deindustrialisation and the shift to post-Fordism is changing Australian cities and shaping not just the trajectory of suburban (re)development but what the suburbs mean in contemporary Australian life. Suburban places and spaces reflect the prevailing logics of their development. Australian suburbs, for instance, were predominantly established during the industrial period and many retain an emphasis on cars and a structure that supports an industrial workforce. Deindustrialisation is a process of change that prompts placemaking themes of renewal, one of which is gentrification. Central to gentrification in the context of deindustrialisation is the negotiation of a range of contested images, aesthetics, values and understandings of place.

Through case study research in Mayfield, a deindustrialising suburb of the Australian city of Newcastle, and utilising complementary qualitative methods, including participant observation, I examined and analysed official and unofficial discourses of place. In this talk I’ll discuss how these themes emerged, especially in relation to some key theorists in the study of place, including de Certeau, Lefebvre and Baudrillard. I’ll discuss some of these theorists’ implications for imagining Australian suburbia in a post-Fordist context.

We hope you can join us to listen to Fiona and welcome her as part of the CAPSTRANS Seminar series. The seminar will be held in the Arts Hub, Level 2, Building 19, May 7th at 12.30- 1.30. A light lunch will be served.

CAPSTRANS SEMINAR – Dr. Susan Engel, “Shit and Shame – Social mobilisation and shaming in Indonesia today”

As we move further into 2014 the Autumn semester CAPSTRANS Lunchtime Seminars are well and truely in full swing! Last week we heard from Dr. Rowena Ward regarding the repatriation of Japanese from New Caledonia during WWII, and in approximately two weeks time on April 16th at 12.30 we will hear from a member of the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Dr. Susan Engel. Susan currently teaches International Studies at the University of Wollongong and has established research interests in Indonesian politics. She will present work which has recently been published alongside Anggun Susilo in the journal Development and Change. The research documents an area of public policy that is less talked about and in certain settings, even a subject of taboo, sanitation. This, of course, makes it all the more interesting and worthy of discussion. Please find the attached abstract which sketches both the importance and content of the seminar.

Adequate sanitation is vital to human health, yet progress on the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation has been slow and the target is likely to be missed by one billion people. Indonesia has the third highest number of people of any country in the world without access to sanitation and, like most developing countries, it is devoting insufficient resources to the issue. In rural areas, rather than focusing additional funding, the Government with support of the World Bank, has promoted the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach, which uses social mobilisation to encourage people to construct their own latrines. In Indonesia as elsewhere, CLTS involves more than just education and encouragement, it uses social shaming and punishments. In this paper written with Anggun Susilo, we argue that this is not only an inadequate approach but one which echoes coercive, race-based colonial public health practices. Thus our paper integrates extant historiography on Indonesian colonial medicine with contemporary scholarly literature and field research on CLTS using case studies of a 1920s Rockefeller Foundation funded hookworm eradication program and the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program, both in Java.

As a new element of the blog I have also attached a copy of the paper published in Development and Change 45(1) 2014: 157-178. We hope to be able to recognise the works of all the contributors to the seminar series through our CAPSTRANS News blog in the coming weeks.

We hope that you are able to join us at this seminar on April 16th in Building 19 at the Arts Hub on Level 2. Following the seminar a link will be provided through the CAPSTRANS News blog to the recorded seminar with assistance from OpenUOW.


CAPSTRANS SEMINAR – Dr. Rowena Ward ‘New Caledonia to Japan via Australia: Repatriating the Japanese residents of New Caledonia.’

CAPSTRANS Lunchtime Seminar Series is starting up again for 2014 – the first paricipant is the Convenor of CAPSTRANS, Dr Rowena Ward. Rowena will be presenting on new research she has conducted on the intersection of Japan, New Caledonia and Australia through migration that occurred primarily between December 1941 and May 1942.

Rowena will discuss issue significant to both current migration discourse and historical implications of wartime policies. Amongst other areas Rowena will consider the transferrance of over 1000 Japanese residents of New Caledonia to Australia for internment that occurred as part of an agreement between the Free French and Australian governments. Further, the residual decision-making control the Free French administration had over the administration of the internees, including their repatriation. This residual power did not preclude Australia trying to prevent the repatriation of any Japanese whom it considered to be a risk to security in the Pacific but this aim was largely unsuccessful.

Rowena’s paper focuses on the repatriation of the New Caledonian Japanese internees between 1942 and 1946.  Some of the New Caledonian Japanese were among those repatriated as part of the Anglo-Japanese civilian exchange of September 1942 but most remained in Australia until 1946. At the end of hostilities, a number of the New Caledonian internees applied to be repatriated to New Caledonia but the Governor of New Caledonia refused to accept them. Using official government archives, this paper focuses on the negotiations between the Australian, British and French governments over the repatriation of the New Caledonian Japanese from 1942 through to 1946.

This seminar marks the beginning of the 2014 Seminar series, we hope to have a number of other presentations from both established Univerity of Wollongong academics, early career researchers and postgraduate students. Following the presentation a link will be posted to provide audio access to the seminar, along with a new feature we will be testing out for this session! Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks. We hope to see you at the seminar at the Arts Hub on Level 2 of Building 19, 12.30 -1.30pm. Light lunch will be provided.