Looking Ahead: New Directions in Postgraduate Historical Research
University of Newcastle, 3 July 1998
Why Looking Ahead?
The idea for this conference was inspired by the success of the 'Making History' conference held by the History Department of the University of Sydney in 1997. The quality of postgraduate papers on that occasion was outstanding, and more importantly, it provided an opportunity for postgraduate historians to meet and discuss their work in a friendly environment. Hopefully, events such es 'Making History' and 'Looking Ahead' will become an annual occurrence.
The title of the conference is derived from the motto of the University of Newcastle: I Look Ahead. By drawing together Australia's emerging scholars in history, we are truly encapsulating that premise.
Acknowledgements: This conference would never have gotten off the ground without the wholehearted and always enthusiastic support of Professor John Ramsland, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, who was generous enough to provide funding, and whose door was always open to us. The History Department, through former Head of Department, Associate Professor Peter Hempenstall, and current Head, Dr David Lemmings, have also been supportive from the inception, not only with suggestions, but with funding as well. Mr Paul Scott's advice was always appreciated. Dr Nancy Cushing was more than generous with her time, drawing on her own experiences in planning 'The River' Conference in 1997. Dr Chris Dixon was magnificent in providing advice and in giving his time on the day. Anne Wilkinson, Sue West, and Gloria Higginbottom gave freely of their time when it was most needed. To all of these people, and any we have inadvertently omitted, we thank you sincerely.
Paula Watts, Darrell Osborne Robert McGregor, Looking Ahead Organisers.
Helen Masterman-Smith, The Political Heritage of Campbelltown's Working Class Women.
While researching the political economy of working class women in Campbelltown, the dearth of historical information about them became apparent. This proved not to be an isolated experience. While there is a range of material about women in the labour force and organisations, little social or feminist history addresses the cultural and political experiences of working class women in their homes and communities. This silence
perpetuates the assumption that these women and their everyday activities are irrelevant to broader political processes. Despite all the feminist voices claiming that 'the person, is political', few contemporary studies have been conducted of the personal as such.
This paper will present an interpretation of the material and political culture of previous generations of Campbelltown's working class women. The significance of this type of research to a deeper understanding of the exercise of power in a social hierarchy will also be discussed. A diverse range of historians including Fernand Braudel, Marilyn Lake, and Luisa Passerini have influenced the methodology of this research with their analyses of material culture and oral history.
Amanda Laugesen, History, Memory and the landscape: Historical Consciousness and Conquest in the American West 1870 -1920
Craig Turnbull, 'The Racial Dimensions of Residential Space in Chicago, 1890 -1920.
Based on an analysis of white reaction to the influx of African-Americans into previously all-white residential areasu this paper examines how racial conceptions of residential space contributed to conflict over housing and the maintenance of segregation in Chicago between 1890 and 1920. By investigating the factors that provided a basis for classifying a neighbourhood as 'white' or 'black', this paper also contributed to an understanding of how such categories are themselves culturally constructed. In this instance, geo-cultural identity was an integral eleinent in the construction and maintenance of race categories in Chicago. In order to elaborate on the role of geo-cultural identity in the social construction of race, the paper addresses two key questions: which characteristics of their neighbourhoods did whites believe would be debased by the presence of African Americans, and what conception of black lifestyles did whites have to inake them resist blacks becoming residents in their neighbourhoods? To answer these questions, the paper interrogates the ideas, language, and activities of Neighbourhood Improvement Associations (NIAs) and real estate brokers. The main objective of both NIAs and real estate brokers was the maintenance of residential identity, the sources documenting these groups thus provide the best indication of what residents meant when declaring that their neighbourhoods must remain 'white'.
Troy Duncan, William Goodell (1792 - 1878): the evangelical perspective on political, social, and economic reform.
The analysis to be presented of the career of the American anti-slavery activist and moral reformer William Goodell has been influenced by recent scholarship relating to the contribution made by nineteenth century evangelicals to the shaping of political, social, and economic thought on both side of the Atlantic. Refusing to dismiss religious beliefs as mere epiphenomena, historians such as Hilton Boyd and Richard Carwardine have instead sought to show how the responses of many men and women to public issues in both the antebellum American Republic and Britain were determined by evangelical notions of providence, conscience, human depravity, and God's retributive justice.
It will be argued that Goodell's writings on slavery and other reform topics provide further evidence of the existence of a distinctively evangelical approach to public affairs. However, those elements of Goodell's metaphysical outlook drawn from the New England Congregational tradition in which he was raised also remind us of the great variety of beliefs that were to be found within the transatlantic evangelical community.
There will be a detailed examination of Goodell's promotion of the doctrine of Disinterested Benevolence which be believed constituted the one true Biblical standard of virtue and altruism capable of solving such problems as slavery and intemperance. Goodell also believed that human beings found themselves in a state of moral probation in which they were required to form characters for eternity. The bearing this conviction had on Goodell's repeated attempts to found reform societies, churches, and political parties will also be discussed. Finally, Goodell's role as a critic of the secularisation of society will be considered. His claim that all reform efforts not carried out in the interests of Revealed Religion were futile and impious brought him into conflict with many colleagues who came to view the reform cause more as a vehicle for individual self-fulfilment and less as a means of achieving personal and public salvation.
Greg Burgess, The St Louis and moral rearmament: the right of asylum, human rights, and the response to refugees from Germany, 1933 -1939.
The orthodox interpretations of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany have involved three factors: Nazi persecutions Jewish responses and international responses. Interpretations of the international problem of German-Jewish refugees during the 1930s therefore tend to be highly conscious of what follows - the Holocaust - and the refugees themselves are represented as victims both of the persecutions they have fled and of the restrictionist policies of those countries where they sought refuge. Some recent works have taken a new approach and have re-appraised the position of the Jewish victims finding them far more in control of their own destinies. These interpretations, however, respond to the general characterisation of the refugees as victims. I would argue that an interpretation of the international responses from the context of the refugee discourse that preceded the flight of the German-Jewish refugees in the 1930s moves the focus from the idea of victim-hood to the immediate political and social context in which they emerged and in which the international community responded to them, when effective remedies were considered both necessary and possible. In this context, the response to these refugees is placed within the general emergence of international human rights law.
Sharon Crozier, The voices of fiction in the making and re-making of history - Arnold Bennett, Marie Corelli, and single women in late Victorian England.
Christopher Kelen, The Re-Demonisation of Aboriginal Australia: Civilisation, Barbarism, and Indigeneity in the Post-Consensus Era.
David Lewis, John Latham and the Statute of Westminster
Dave Trudinger, No more 'the big stick': Personnel Management, Labour Control and the Mind of the Individual Worker.
David Cameron, Manufacturing and the ruralist ideology of the political economy in Queensland, 1859- 1930.
Phoebe Thornley, A new perspective on the government's role in the development of public/community broadcasting.
The history of public/community broadcasting has been studied in the past largely from the point of view of program content and how that exercises social control, whether by helping to preserve the status quo in society or by providing resistance to the current situation. Broadcasting does serve this esoteric function but it also serves a more basic public utility type function of providing people with essential information such as flood and bushfire warnings. As a basic utility using a limited natural resource, namely the airwaves, the government has to legislate and regulate broadcasting activity. This paper looks at the difference to analysing the history of the political influences and the governments role in this process from that of seeing broadcasting as a means of social control.
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