Subjects and Aliens symposium, November 2017

One of CASS’s postgraduate members, Emma Bellino, reflects on our recent symposium.

On 28 November 2017, CASS hosted the Subjects and Aliens symposium. The symposium brought together scholars from the Australian National University, the University of Otago, La Trobe University and the University of Wollongong.

Until the middle of the twentieth century, residents of Australia and New Zealand were categorised by law as either ‘British subjects’ or ‘aliens’. Using these categories as a starting point, the Subject and Aliens symposium considered histories of nationality and citizenship in Australia and New Zealand over the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It explored the intersection of nationality with gender, race and ethnicity in a range of legal and social contexts.

Emma Bellino, Kate Bagnall, Sophie Couchman, Jane Carey, Kim Rubenstein, Julia Martinez and Angela Wanhalla at the Subjects and Aliens symposium, 28 November 2017

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Reflections on Colonial Formations

Adam J. Barker shares his thoughts on the first Colonial and Settler Studies Network conference, Colonial Formations: Connections and Collisions, held at the University of Wollongong in November 2016. You can follow Adam on Twitter: @adamoutside.


What is a ‘colonial formation’ and why should such a thing matter? The answers, it turns out, are ‘many different things’ and ‘because without understanding colonial formations, we cannot understand the shape of contemporary life’.

That lesson was brought home to me during the conference titled ‘Colonial Formations: Connections and Collisions’, hosted by the University of Wollongong in Australia, in November 2016. This conference was a intended as an opportunity to explore the intersections and divergences between a variety of state polices, individual actions, and community developments that can be described as ‘colonial’. More than that, the conference cast a wide net, crossing all continents and encompassing several centuries, and considering concepts such as slavery and indentured labour, carcerality and prison colonies, identity and place-relationships, the role of landscape in either inscribing or resisting colonial power, and – of course – the internecine conflicts between scholars over the meanings of any and all of these terms. While that may sound like an unlikely mix of interests, approaches, and personal entanglements, what emerged was an exceptionally rich intellectual discourse that also made us laugh and cry, and intense interpersonal interactions that were as enlightening as any course of study could be.

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Overturning aqua nullius – more than symbolism

Dr Virginia Marshall in front of a colourful blue, brown and yellow Indigenous artwork.

Dr Virginia Marshall, first Indigenous woman to gain a PhD in law from Macquarie University and principal solicitor at Triple BL Legal, reflects on her first book, Overturning Aqua Nullius (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2017). Dr Marshall was a keynote speaker at the 2016 CASS Colonial Formations conference.


Here I was in Townsville, Queensland, presenting a session on the findings of my doctoral thesis for the National Native Title Conference and passionately explaining to the packed venue why Australia hasn’t embraced the High Court Mabo decision in securing Aboriginal water rights. Indigenous peoples sitting in front of me were nodding and agreed at various intervals that our water rights have been swept away by colonial governments, federalism and the national water reforms.

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Chinese Women in World History conference, Taipei, July 2017

In early July 2017 two CASS members, Julia Martinez and Kate Bagnall, attended the International Conference on Chinese Women in World History conference in Taipei, Taiwan – hosted by the Institute for Modern History at Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s national research academy. The conference brought together more than 120 researchers from Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, the United States and Australia for four days of stimulating papers and discussion.

Julia and Kate presented as part of a panel titled ‘Invisible Chinese women and colonial life’, one of two sessions organised by University of Queensland historian Dr Mei-fen Kuo. Julia’s paper explored Chinese women and trafficking into Manila in the 1920s and 1930s, based on research undertaken for her Future Fellowship on the history of trafficking in the Asia-Pacific region. Kate spoke on her ongoing work of uncovering the lives of Chinese women in colonial New South Wales from the 1850s to 1870s.

The conference was a great opportunity to meet and talk to historians from around the world, about the joys and challenges of researching women’s lives and about our own work as feminist scholars. It was also a great chance to sample some fantastic Taiwanese bento boxes for lunch!

Lionel Frost seminar, 28 July 2017

On Friday 28 July CASS will host visiting speaker Associate Professor Lionel Frost from Monash University. Professor Frost will present an HDR workshop on publishing strategies and a research seminar. This will be followed by a welcome lunch for Dr André Brett.

All welcome!

Date: Friday, 28 July 2017
Time: 9.30 am to 2.00 pm
Location: LHA Research Hub, Building 19, Room 2072
RSVP: For lunch catering purposes RSVP to fsteel@uow.edu.au by Monday, 24 July

Schedule:

9.30-10.30: HDR workshop by Lionel Frost, ‘Getting Published: Top Tips for HDRs’
10.30-11.00: Morning tea
11.00-12.30: Research seminar by Lionel Frost, ‘Railways and the Prosperity of the Victorian Mallee before 1930’
12.30-2.00: Lunch and formal welcome to Dr André Brett, Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in History

Many thanks to Simon Ville for organising Lionel’s visit.