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

Colonial Northeast India: December 2014 Conference (Delhi)

The final program has been announced for the Colonial Northeast India: Local Histories, Regional Cultures, Global Connections Conference, to be held at the India International Centre in Delhi, 1-2 December 2014. The event is being convened by Associate Professor Andrew J. May and is a collaboration between the Universities of Delhi, Melbourne and Toronto, with financial support from the University of Melbourne’s International Research & Research Training Fund. Limited additional places are available for anyone wishing to attend the conference—please contact a.may@unimelb.edu.au to register.


Melbourne Symposium: Inter-Asia Cultural Research Methods – 12 September 2014

A Half-Day Symposium
Inter-Asia Cultural Research Methods
Friday 12 September 2014
1-3pm, Linkway (4th Floor, John Medley Building)
The University of Melbourne, Parkville


Since the late 1990s, the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies project has emerged to become an intellectual movement and a transborder collective that attempts to contribute to the integration of an imagined Asia at the level of knowledge production. It formulates ‘Asia as method’ as an alternative approach to the West-oriented singularity in order to multiply frames of references and sites of identification. In this half-day symposium, leading scholars will discuss their involvement with the Inter-Asia Cultural Studies project, and showcase the ‘inter-Asia’ cultural research methods in their work.


Daniel P.S. Goh (National University of Singapore) (Faculty of Arts Visiting Scholar, University of Melbourne)

Comparative Cultural and Urban Research: History, Heritage and Re-urbanisation in Three Asian Cities.

Melani Budianta (University of Indonesia)

Cultural Studies and Inter-Southeast Asian Cultural Flow

Fran Martin (University of Melbourne)

Inter-Asia Cultural Research and Transborder Collaborations


Respondent: Jini Kim Watson (New York University)

Chair: Audrey Yue (University of Melbourne)

Hosted by: Asian Cultural Research Network; Research Unit in Public Cultures; The Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative; School of Culture and Communication, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne. Convened by Associate Professor Audrey Yue.

This event is free. Refreshments will be served. For catering purposes, please RSVP to Charmaine Monteiro (charmaine.monteiro@unimelb.edu.au) by Wednesday 10 September 2014.

Welcome Morning Tea for Professor Guoqi Xu, the University of Hong Kong

You are invited to attend a Welcome Morning Tea for Professor Guoqi Xu, from the University of Hong Kong, who has recently joined the History program as a Faculty of Arts Asia Scholar. The Morning Tea will take place on Wednesday 27 August at 10.00am in the Seventh Floor Staff Common Room, Arts West. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Hannah Loney at <loneyh@unimelb.edu.au> by Monday 25 August for catering purposes. If anyone is able to bake a cake for the occasion this would be much appreciated – please let Hannah know in advance.

Professor Xu will be based at the University of Melbourne for one month per year over the next three years, and will make an important contribution to the teaching of our program. He is a distinguished historian of Chinese and global history, WW1 and Asia, as well as Sino-foreign (and especially US) relations. He has published extensively in these fields. His current research projects explore ideas of “China and Chineseness”, and Asia and the Great War (under contract for Oxford University Press).

Kind regards,

Hannah Loney
For Professor Kate Darian-Smith, Chair, History