AHHub Morning Tea, Friday 24 April

Asian History Hub Morning Tea, 11 a.m., Room 509, 757 Swanston St, Friday, 24 April.

The AHHub team would like to use this occasion to meet new people at the university with interests in the history of Asia, and to engage in a roundtable conversation about fieldwork and overseas research for students of Asian history.

Please RSVP to Shan Windscript at shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au by 23 April if you would like to attend.

At the 2015 AAS Conference in Chicago

Braving a cold early-spring in Chicago, a number of staff, students and alumni of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, made their journey across the Pacific to attend the annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS), which was held on March 26-29.

PhD student Shan Windscript assembled a panel on “Life Writing in Modern Asia,” exploring the Self and histories in personal narratives of Japan, China and Malaysia. The cross-border panel included a paper by Jason Sze Chieh Ng, a PhD candidate in the School, entitled: “Jungle Lives: Malaya As Depicted in Malayan Communist Memoirs.” Shan Windscript also presented a paper: “Making Revolutionary Selves: Diaries, Diary Writing, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution.” 



Associate Professor Katharine McGregor convened two invited panels at the AAS conference profiling recent research on the 1965 anti communist violence in Indonesia. She was invited by the Southeast Asia Council to convene these panels because of the 50th anniversary of this violence in 2015. The first panel entitledNew Research Findings and Approaches to Understanding the 1965 Anti-communist Violence in Indonesia’ featured a paper by Dr. Jess Melvin (a recently completed PhD graduate in SHAPS) entitled: Mechanics of Mass Murder: Understanding the Indonesian Genocide as a Centralised and Intentional Military Campaign’.

The second panel entitled Activism and Justice for the Survivors and Victims of the 1965 Violence in Indonesia featured our former Phd graduate Dr Vannessa Hearman (Sydney University) giving a paper entitled  ‘Extending the fight: Letterwriting in the campaign for the 1965-66 political prisoners in Indonesia’ and Associate Professor Katharine McGregor presenting a paper entitled: ‘The World Was Silent? Global Communities of Resistance to the 1965 Repression in the Cold War Era’. Both panels were attended by around 30 conference participants. 



Further to this Associate Professor Katharine McGregor has co-organised with Dr Annie Pohlman of the University of Queensland 6 panels on the 1965 violence for the Indonesia Council Open Conference to be hosted by Deakin University in Geelong on July 2 and 3, 2015.

Book Launch: Chinese Australians: Politics, Engagement and Resistance

You are warmly invited to the launch of Chinese Australians: Politics, Engagement and Resistance, edited by Sophie Couchman and Kate Bagnall.

Bringing together contributions from eleven key scholars in Chinese Australian history, the book explores how Chinese Australians have influenced the communities in which they lived on a civic or individual level. Focusing on the motivations and aspirations of their subjects, the authors draw on biography, world history, case law, newspapers and immigration case files to investigate the political worlds of Chinese Australians in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The book will be launched by Ms Nancy Gordon, Australian Consul-General in Chengdu, China.

When   Friday, 24 April at 11am

Where  Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne (behind Her Majesty’s Theatre)

RSVP     Wednesday, 22 April 2015 to curator@chinesemuseum.com.au or 03 9662 2888.

Books will be available for purchase on the day at a discounted rate. For more information about the book, see http://www.brill.com/products/book/chinese-australians.

The book includes a chapter by Marilyn Lake, ‘The Chinese Empire Encounters the British Empire and Its ‘Colonial Dependencies’: Melbourne, 1887′.


AHHub Workshop: Stories from the Field: Narrating Research, Developing Meaning

Asia History Hub workshop, 24 April 

Stories from the field: narrating research, developing meaning

Time:                    Friday, 24 April, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Venue:                  Room  509, 757 Swanston St Building.

Some of the greatest challenges for researchers lie in the gathering of raw material and the treatment of it in writing.  The more original the area of research, the harder the task.  Is the material relevant?  Is it saying something new?  What are you (am I) trying to say anyway? And what methods are available to help resolve these quite basic but rather complex questions?

The first event for the Asia History Hub this year is a story-telling session inspired by these reflections .  The premise is that stories create (or impose?) meaning, and bring clarity to process.

We need five volunteers to tell their stories, of whom at least three should be post-graduate students.

Your task is to spin a tale about the process of conducting research away from your usual comfort zone (desk, computer, Melbourne) .  It can be a peripatetic tale, or a romantic one, or a post-modern one, presented in fragments.

Its aim should be to draw you and your listeners closer to an understanding or a clearer view of the search you are on, where it has taken you, and how you will integrate your findings into your written work.

There will be a prize for the best story !

Aspiring story-tellers:  send a title and a broad statement to Shan <shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au> no later than Monday, 13 April.

Antonia Finnane  (SHAPS)

Convenor, AHH

Dr. Samia Khatun: The Book of Marriage

The Book of Marriage: Beyond ‘Brideprice’ Narratives in Histories of Islam in Australia, 1860 – 1930

Dr Samia Khatun

McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Melbourne

Date: 4th March 2015, 1pm – 2.15pm

Venue: Room 224, Level 2 Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

Register: www.law.unimelb.edu.au/alc

 Abstract: From 1860 to the mid-1920s, Muslim merchants and drivers from across British India and Afghanistan travelled to Australian shores to work in the extensive camel transportation network that underpinned the growth of capitalism in the Australian interior. While some of these men brought their South Asian wives with them, many others married white women and Aboriginal women in Australian desert towns. Utilising rich family archives spanning from Australia to British India, this paper offers an alternative to the ‘brideprice’ narrative that currently structures accounts of marriage in existing histories of the camel industry. Examining the marriage laws that the cameleers brought from British India, this paper explores the operation of Muslim personal law in Australian desert towns, alongside both settler and Aboriginal marriage laws during the era of the camel trade.

DR SAMIA KHATUN is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne and is collaborating with workers’ rights activists in Bangladesh to produce a 400-year history of textile workers from Mughal Bengal to contemporary Bangladesh. Taking a slices-through- time approach, Samia is investigating how workers have memorialised five key moments in the history of textile production through song and poetry, beginning with Mughal Bengal and ending with the Rana Plaza collapse in contemporary Bangladesh. Samia completed her PhD in 2012 at the University of Sydney, where her research examined connections between South Asia and Australia using Aboriginal and South Asian language materials. Since then, she has held postdoctoral fellowships at Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin and The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, Dunedin as well as a writing fellowship at the Asian-American Writers Workshop, New York. Samia has also made documentaries on Australian race relations that have screened on SBS and ABC-TV.

Menzies on Tour

A new digital resource has been compiled by Caitlin Stone and Jim Berryman from the University’s Baillieu Library. Menzies on Tour is an online archive of photographs donated to the University of Melbourne by Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, former prime minister of Australia and chancellor of the University of Melbourne. The photographs are contained in ten albums held in Special Collections in the Baillieu Library and form part of Robert Menzies’ personal library. The albums document Menzies’ overseas visits to eight countries, including India (1950), Philippines (1957), Japan (1957) and Indonesia (1959). This collection is a significant visual account of Menzies’ travels abroad as prime minister and provides a pictorial record of Australia’s expanding international relations during the post-war period.

Robert Menzies and others in front of the Taj Mahal (December 1950), Special Collections, Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne.

Robert Menzies and others in front of the Taj Mahal (December 1950), Special Collections, Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne.

Workshop: Eyes Across the Indian Ocean

Date: Wednesday 19th November 2014 Time: 10.00am – 12.30pm Place: John Medley-216B Building Map: http://maps.unimelb.edu.au/parkville/building/191 This half-day gathering is the first event of the ‘Indian Ocean Research and Action Network’ (http://shaps.unimelb.edu.au/research/groups/indian ). An initiative of a group of early career researchers at the University of Melbourne, IORAN connects scholars, artists and activists working to increase co-operation and understanding across the unevenly globalising region encompassed by the Indian Ocean. The network fosters engagements between innovative projects focusing on societies along the Indian Ocean rim, highlighting connections and acting as a focal point for Australian researchers in the region. Forging partnerships between university-based researchers and the broader community, IORAN hosts interdisciplinary seminars, student workshops and public events. In recent years, the Indian Ocean has emerged as a new cartography of empire as writers in Security Studies and International Relations increasingly identify the region as the cradle of a post-US world order and. Alongside this rising tide of interest in contemporary geo-politics across the Indian Ocean, historians, artists and writers over the last decade have explored the region as a ‘liquid continent’ that has long connected various peoples since the code governing monsoon winds was deciphered in 7th century BC. As Aboriginal communities on the northern coasts of the Australian mainland have long insisted, dynamic networks threading Australia into the Indian Ocean world long predate European colonisation and over the last three centuries new axes of mobility have emerged at times threading the very interior reaches of Australian deserts into an oceanic ecumene. The aim of the IORAN is to support and encourage dynamic, often overlooked perspectives onto the region from an Australian standpoint. This workshop will bring together scholars at the University of Melbourne and presenters will speak for 15 – 20 minutes about their scholarly and/or creative projects casting critical eyes across the Indian Ocean. Attendees:

  1. Shakira Hussein (Asia Institute): http://asiainstitute.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/academic/shakira_hussein
  2. Amanda Gilbertson (SSPS): http://ssps.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/dr-amanda-gilbertson
  3. Coel Kirkby (Law): http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/melbourne-law-school/community/our-staff/staff-profile/username/Coel%20Kirkby
  4. Kate McGregor (History): http://shaps.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/dr-kate-mcgregor
  5. Nadia Faragaab (Burji Arts): http://nadiafaragaab.com/about/
  6. Samia Khatun (History): http://shaps.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/dr-samia-khatun
  7. Andy May (History): http://shaps.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/professor-andrew-j-may
  8. Sudhya Pahuja (Law): http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/melbourne-law-school/community/our-staff/staff-profile/username/Sundhya%20Pahuja
  9. Adil Khan (Law, International Visitor): http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/iilah/research-at-iilah/iilah-visitors

For more information, please contact Samia Khatun on +61 408 225 035