‘Who will marry my daughter? Shanghai Parental Match-Making Corner and the Zhiqing Generation’

Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies

Seminar on Thursday 31 July 2014

 Presented by Associate Professor Peidong Sun

Department of History, Fudan University


“Who will marry my daughter? Shanghai Parental Match-Making Corner and the Zhiqing Generation

Chaired by Professor Christine Wong

This seminar explores the parental Matchmaking Corner in Shanghai, where many parents, who had been sent down to the countryside for re-education in their teens during the Maoist years, locate prospects for their children. Based on participant observation and interviews, it reveals a complicated picture of parental matchmaking practices and new expectations of marriage from the parents’ perspectives, as well as parental concerns, anxieties, and frustrations about the marriage market in a changing urban environment.


Venue:       Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, The University of Melbourne

Date:          Thursday 31 July 2014

Time:          5.30pm to 7.00pm



To register and for further information please contact Fiona Ross at china-centre@unimelb.edu.au

A/Prof Nicolas Tackett, “The Geography of Power in Late Tang China”

The Geography of Power in Late Tang China

A/Prof. Nicolas Tackett

History Department, University of California Berkeley

Tuesday 29th July, 1.00pm – 2.15pm, Room 143 Old Arts

One of the most significant issues in the history of China and indeed in the history of the world, is how and why the power of the great aristocratic families of the Tang era (618-907AD) whose roots ran back as far as the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), came to an end. After the Tang, the elites of China would be made up of a mixture of military men and scholars whose status came from their educational distinction, a shift which some historians have seen as marking the birth of the modern world.

Nicolas Tackett of the University of California Berkeley makes a major contribution to our understanding of this crucial historical shift through his pathbreaking work on the huge corpus of funerary inscriptions produced for members of the Tang elites (both men and women), whose spatial distribution he maps using GIS (Geographic Information Systems).  This work, which has just appeared as a book published by Harvard University Press, is perhaps the most significant contribution to our understanding of the medieval Chinese upper classes since Robert Hymes’ 1986 study of the elites of the Song dynasty, and one of the most important additions to our knowledge of patterns of social power in medieval China since the work of Naito Torajiro and Chen Yinke in the first half of the 20th century.

Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative

The Faculty of Arts Indonesia Initiative is a three year visiting scholar program which aims to further enhance teaching and research relationships with colleagues in Indonesia. The initiative, led by Dr Kate McGregor, Dr Edwin Jurriens and Professor Thomas Reuter will fund three visiting scholars per year for three years from Indonesian universities and will provide opportunities for increased engagement.

In Semester 2, 2014, the following scholars will visit the University:

  • Professor Bambang Purwanto, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, who is an historian of Indonesia focusing on Indonesian historiography and the history of slavery, medicine and heritage.  He will visit from 11-30 August and will be hosted by SHAPS.
  • Professor Melani Budianta, University of Indonesia, Jakarta, who is a literature expert with broad research interests covering gender, ethnicity, history and popular culture. She is also a participant in the Australian Awards Fellowships Program on Reconciliation and Cultural Recovery, will visit from 1 September-5 October, and will be hosted by the Asia Institute.
  • Dr Dewi Jayanti, Udayana University, Bali, who is trained in architecture and anthropology. Her research expertise covers tourism, heritage, sustainability, architecture, Indonesian diaspora and visual culture. She will visit from 25 September-15 October and will be hosted by the Asia Institute.

CFP: Colonial Northeast India— Local Histories, Regional Cultures, Global Connections

EXTENDED Call for Papers: Delhi Conference: 1 & 2 December 2014

‘Cane suspension bridge over the Témshang River, in the Khássia Hills’ (Hermann de Schlagintweit, 1855).

‘Cane suspension bridge over the Témshang River, in the Khássia Hills’ (Hermann de Schlagintweit, 1855).

This workshop proceeds from the proposition that northeast India has been in a perpetual state of being repeatedly marginalised, rediscovered and redefined, and that a contemporary appreciation of its complexities must come from a detailed understanding of its historical antecedents, many of which are rooted in colonial ideologies and practices. We hope that it will have the capacity to identify areas of commonality and collaboration in current historical research at both a macro and micro historical scale. We are particularly interested in how new historiographies (for example, of colonial violence, empire and deviance, transnational networks) can throw light on understanding the particular historical experience of the northeast. Our interests are in the practices of governance, but also in the social history of intercultural exchange and the ways in which historians might read against the grain of the colonial archive to recognise the lived experiences of colonised and coloniser. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • boundaries and spatial ideology
  • colonial ethnography and representations of ethnic identity
  • colonial sources as intercultural texts
  • ecological and environmental histories
  • institutional histories
  • oral histories and folklore
  • responses to and the impact of Christian missions
  • the uses of history: museums and memorialisation
  • trade and infrastructure networks
  • tribal policy, ethnic conflict and the colonial state

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers from historians working at a local, regional or comparative level. Postgraduate students are particularly encouraged to take part. Please include the following information with your proposal:

  • Paper title and a brief abstract of no more than 300 words
  • Your name, institutional affiliation and email address
  • A short CV, no more than one page

The workshop will consist of single-session discussions; full written papers (6000 words maximum) will be pre-circulated in order to promote dialogue. We aim to bring together a dozen or more presenters over two days, and up to a further thirty participants who wish to attend without giving a formal paper. The EXTENDED deadline for proposals is 11 August, with written papers due by 3 November. Proposals and enquiries should be sent to a.may@unimelb.edu.au

The workshop 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. It will be held at the Indian International Centre in Delhi.

Indian-based participants who are not in Delhi will be provided with some resources for travel and accommodation.


Associate Professor Andrew J. May (The University of Melbourne)

Dr David Zou (University of Delhi)

Assistant Professor Jayeeta Sharma (University of Toronto)

Turning Points in Asian Histories

An Asia History Hub forum, Turning Points in Asian Histories, will be held on this Friday 16 May, 10:00am – 1:00pm, in room 227, Alice Hoy Building. Please register attendance with Shan Windscript at shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au

The focus of this forum is historiographical: shifts in the field of Asian histories, broadly considered. The aim is to exchange information, ideas, and points of view about developments in our different areas of research, and perhaps to talk, yet again, about commonalities – if they exist – between the diverse places and peoples that are subsumed under the name “Asia”. We have two speakers to kick off discussion. Readings will be provided so that we have a common platform from which to talk.

10:00 am – Dr. Samia Khatun (SHAPS) “The rise and fall of the Subaltern Studies project – from Marxist inspired histories ‘from below’ to a theoretical focus on time/space.”

11:15 am – Dr. Lewis Mayo (AI) “Rethinking the origins of Asian-Pacific capitalism: The ‘Chinese 18th century’ in Southeast Asian and world history.”

12:30 pm – Asia History Hub business meeting.

Lunch will be provided.

Dr Katharine McGregor: Indonesia, Memory and Transnational Human Rights Activism

Recently Dr Katharine McGregor of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne received a four year ARC Future Fellowship grant (2014-2017) for a project entitled Confronting Historical Injustice in Indonesia: Memory and Transnational Human Rights ActivismHer research into human rights activists in Indonesia, including survivors of violence, members of human rights NGOs such as Amnesty International, journalists and artists, will offer new insights into how activists attempt to deal with past injustices. This project will look at Indonesian activism from the late Suharto era (1990s) to 2016 and the ways in which a range of events and periods have been remembered: the Japanese occupation (1942-45), including forced labour and forced sexual slavery; the independence struggle (1945-49) focusing on Dutch atrocities against Indonesians; and the 1965-68 anti-communist violence, including mass killings and detention without trial. The research will advance knowledge in the fields of memory studies, human rights studies and the history of Indonesia, and help build Australian scholarly expertise in these areas.

Two recent press articles published by Dr. Katharine McGregor (second article co-authored with Dr Jemma Purdey):

Echo of history in Jokowi’s ‘mental revolution’

Half a century on, victims’ voices haunt a democratic Indonesia


Dr Samia Khatun Public Lecture

Samia Khatun, a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne, who is currently researching a 400-year history of textile workers in Bengal, spanning from Mughal India to contemporary Bangladesh, will deliver a public lecture on the topic of “The Camel and the Prophecy“, on Wednesday 16 April.

Prophecy has been a recurring element of Muslim political expression since the revelation of the Quran to Muhammed in 610 CE. Across South Asia, Muslim prophetic speech had a dynamic relationship to the rise of the British empire and by the late 19th century Muslim seers were engaging in a global conversation through the medium of print.

From 1860 CE, as prosperous merchants from British India and Afghanistan dispatched camels accompanied by South Asian workers to Australian deserts, prophetic narratives began to circulate through the English language newspapers of settler colonies increasingly hostile to non-white merchants and workers.

This presentation examines how Muslim merchants and workers deployed prophecies to respond to the changing fortunes of the camel industry and protest the emergence of ‘White Australia’ on a global stage.

Samia is currently finishing her book Camels, Ships and Trains: Connecting Histories from South Asia to Australia, which tells the history of a transportation network from the perspectives of South Asian and Aboriginal travellers.

To register visit: http://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/3830-the-camel-and-the-prophecy