Spring and Autumn forum

The next Spring and Autumn Forum will be held on 28 October 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in the Research Lounge, Arts West (North Wing), University of Melbourne.  (Take lift to Fifth Floor and turn right: it’s just before Room 553).  Lunch will be provided.
The theme:  Insiders and Outsiders:  Looking at national histories from home and away.
This round table discussion  about differences and convergences in approaches to history by scholars in Asia (China, Japan etc.), and Australia (or the West more broadly), and our experiences in dealing with these in conference settings, the classroom, or publication.  There is a rich literature dealing with this  (” exogenous versus endogenous historiography” ) in academic and hermeneutical terms, but the on-the-ground, inter-personal  experiences of practising historians are not often aired and are worth discussing.
RSVP  a.finnane@unimelb.edu.au  21 Oct 2016.  If you have a sub-topic  (i.e., something related, that you’d like to speak to, let me know). Also, let me know if you need a parking permit and I will see what can be done.

Breaking the Brand: Producers and Consumers in a Globalized World – A Workshop of the Emporium Research Hub

When: Thursday 29 September 2016
Where: Discursive Space, Room 553, 5th Floor, Arts West, University of Melbourne

Keynote speaker: Lynn Johnson

With: Robert Crawford, Antonia Finnane, Catherine Kovesi & Monique Webber

This one day workshop interrogates the paradox of the luxury brand, and the producers and consumers who are driven by its imperatives.

The workshop will be followed by the launchof two books on the history of advertising by Robert Crawford and Jackie Dickenson.

This event is free, but you need to register by 22 September through jackied@unimelb.edu.au

For more details, program and abstracts: http://www.emporium.org.au/new-page-1




Bombard the Headquarters – China’s Cultural Revolution: Perspectives After Fifty Years


An Exhibition and Symposium to mark the 50th Anniversary of China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

In August 2016, scholars from the Faculties of Arts and Architecture at the University of Melbourne are holding a symposium to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of China’s Cultural Revolution. In addition to cross-disciplinary academic papers, the symposium will include a community forum, at which Chinese Australians will talk about memories and knowledge of the Cultural Revolution, and an exhibition of material from the Baillieu Library, including handwritten diaries, posters, and other ephemera. International participants include established scholars, early career researchers, and also collectors of diaries.

Thursday, 4 August, 6.15 – 7.30 p.m. Keynote lecture by Professor Barbara Mittler, University of Heidelberg, author of A Continuous Revolution: Making Sense of Cultural Revolution Culture (Harvard, 2012)

Friday, 5 August, 1 – 2.15 p.m.
Keynote lecture by Professor Li Baihao, Southeast University (Nanjing), historian of architecture and urban planning.

Saturday, 6 August, 10:30am-12.00 p.m.
Community forum with panel of Chinese Australians
Sponsored by the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies

For more information, contact Shan Windscript at <shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au>

**Spaces limited, RSVP essential: https://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/7044-bombard-the-headquarters-china-s-cultural-revolution-perspectives-after-fifty

Preliminary programme: http://alumni.online.unimelb.edu.au/s/1182/images/editor_documents/Arts/newfolder/bombard_the_headquarters_v5.pdf

PhD Seminar: Red Shadow of the Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory): Malayan Communist Memoirs as Parallel Histories of Malaysia

Red Shadow of the Jalur Gemilang (Stripes of Glory): Malayan Communist Memoirs as Parallel Histories of Malaysia

PhD Completion Seminar


Sze Chieh (Jason) Ng

Friday 22 July 2016, 1:30pm, Theatre C, Old Arts (building 149)

By examining memoirs written by retired Malayan Communist Party members published after the 1989 Haadyai Peace Agreement, my research explores how the parallel narratives presented by the memoirs challenge official Malaysian nation-building myths. The representations and didactic values imbued in the texts are discussed via contextual analysis and criticisms of the writings. I ask in particular how the idea of an independent Malayan nation is conceived through the Party’s lens and to what extent the authors identify with that ideal. Through closer evaluation of the memoirs, my research gives voice to these nearly forgotten revolutionaries whose memories and identities have long been excluded from national narratives due to persistent Cold War ideology as well as the social and political climate of modern Malaysia. My research illuminates memories of the Malayan communist insurgency that have been ignored to date while also exploring the cultural impact of the memories on contemporary Malaysia.



Melbourne Historians of Asia – ‘Spring and Autumn’ Meeting

You are warmly invited to a meeting for historians of Asia at  Monash University on Friday June 3, 10am – 12pm (followed by lunch) at Japanese Studies Centre Auditorium (Building 12 Ancora Imparo Way). Preliminary details attached. More detailed program to follow.

The meeting centres on the theme, Asian History as Global History: Challenges and Opportunities in Asian History Education in Australia. It invites discussion on education in Asian Studies generally in Australian universities, and on education in Asian history specifically, including the integration of language and discipline-specific skills in our respective degrees. Please indicate specific areas of interest or contributions to Beatrice.Trefalt@monash.edu

RSVP by 27 May (with information on Dietary needs) to Jocelyne.mohamudally@monash.edu

For more information, contact Shan Windscript at shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au


Upcoming Memory events at the University of Melbourne

Following the success of an international workshop in November 2015 on ‘Emotions and Memory: Humiliation and Dignity in Asian, Australian and European Memories of Violence’, in late-May this year several events will be held in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. These events seek to extend our comparison of national practices of remembering violent pasts through a focus on the emotions linked to humiliation and dignity, and the ways in which these are used for political and identity-making purposes. The events this year are centred around the visit of Professor Yasmin Saikia from Arizona State University; and are supported by the History and Memory Research Hub, the Asia History Hub, the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and the Australia India Institute.

Thursday 26 May: SHAPS Public Lecture – ‘Nation, Neighbours and Humanity’, delivered by Professor Yasmin Saikia (RSVP at http://alumni.online.unimelb.edu.au/YasminSaikia)

Friday 27 May: Papers and Discussion – ‘Private Lives, National Memory’ (RSVP with Hannah Loney at loneyh@unimelb.edu.au)

Monday 30 May: Graduate Masterclass – ‘Freedom, Human Rights and the State’ with Professor Yasmin Saikia (RSVP with Shan Windscript at shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au)

Tuesday 31 May: Postgraduate Student Consultations – Professor Yasmin Saikia (RSVP with Shan Windscript at shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au)


For more information, please contact Hannah Loney (loneyh@unimelb.edu.au) or Shan Windscript (shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au).


Chinese Material Culture: Ceramics, Fans and Mirrors

Dear all,

You are cordially invited to an Asian History Hub seminar scheduled for Thursday 5 May, 4:15 – 6:15pm, in room 509, 757 Swanston Street Building. At this seminar Professor Anne Gerritsen (University of Warwick) will present on her research on Chinese ceramics in the 13th – 18th centuries, and exchange observations with Professor Antonia Finnane (SHAPS, University of Melbourne), whose recent research on Chinese fans and bronze mirror covers some of the same terrain.

Professor Gerritsen is a specialist in the history of Chinese material culture in the early modern world. Her early research focused on the Song-Yuan-Ming transition, resulting in her 2007 book Ji’an Literati and the Local in Song–Yuan–Ming China (Leiden), and leading ultimately to her engagement in a large, collaborative research project on the manufacture, design, export and consumption of Chinese ceramics between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries.

Questions addressed include: What was particular about this period in terms of the production and consumption of luxury items made in China? What was the impact of long-distance trade on their form and the ways they were used? And what does it mean to consider history from the perspective of material culture?

All welcome.

Australia-India Institute Postdoc in Arts and Social Science

The Australia India Institute (AII) is looking to recruit an excellent scholar in the broad field of arts and social sciences to undertake three years of policy-relevant research on contemporary India as part of a new network of thinkers across Australia. In collaboration with the Director and CEO of the Australia India Institute, Professor Craig Jeffrey, and Director of Research and Academic Programmes of the Australia India Institute, the New Generation Network (NGN) scholar will assist in the research initiatives of the Australia India Institute.

Position description

An Asia History Hub Workshop on Orientalism

Orientalism: Imagined Geographies and History-Writing

An Asia History Hub Workshop 

Friday 15 April, 10.00 a.m.– 12.00 p.m

Old Arts-263, Collaborative Learning Space 1

RSVP with Shan at shan.windscript@unimelb.edu.au

Written in 1978, Edward Said’s Orientalism is the foundational study of how the imagined geography of ‘the East,’ or ‘Orient’ is not only central to Western knowledge production about multiple lands and peoples, but also implicit in the category ‘the West.’ Over the last four decades, Said’s insights have profoundly shaped Asian history, while informing critiques of settler colonialism in contexts such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

In this Asia History Hub workshop aimed at postgraduates and interested honours students (Staff welcome too!) we will read a section of Orientalism. Essential readings are listed below. In addition to reading the 2003 Preface & Introduction (40 pages) to Orientalism, please also read Ronald Inden’s‘Orientalist Constructions of India’ (44 pages). This will facilitate our discussion of the application and relevance of Said’s work when studying various geographic regions. In addition to providing a great discussion of the multiple different ‘Orients’ that exist in Western literary imaginations, Indenuses Said’s tools to critique the representation of India (and China) in Hegel’s Philosophy of History amongst other texts, illuminating how the orient/occident binary underpins the foundations of contemporary historical practise. For extra keen readers, I have also included as further suggested reading the first chapter of Orientalism (29-110). These are dense, sophisticated texts that will reward you amply if you give them time. See you in the workshop!


Essential Reading

  1. Light introduction to continuing significance of Orientalism can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/21/100-best-nonfiction-books-8-orientalism-edward-said?CMP=fb_a-culture_b-gdnculture
  2. Preface & Introduction. Said, Edward. Orientalism. London: Penguin, 2003 Edition. pp. xi-xxiii, 1-28. (Link: https://goo.gl/RuY18M)
  3. Inden, Ronald. ‘Orientalist Constructions of India’. Modern Asian Studies 20, no. 3 (1986): 401–46. (Link: https://goo.gl/96ySZY)

Further Suggested Reading

  1. ‘The Scope of Orientalism,’ Said, Edward. Orientalism. London: Penguin, 2003 Edition. pp. 29-110. (Link: https://goo.gl/RuY18M)

‘I was a good-time Charlie’. Grace Edwards’ PhD Completion Seminar

You are welcome to attend Grace’s PhD completion seminar on Friday 5 February 2016, 10:00-11:00 am.

Room 509, 5th Floor, 757 Swanston Street (School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne).

‘I was a good-time Charlie’: Social Dance and Community Life in Sydney and Melbourne’s Chinese Communities, 1850s-1970s

A vibrant calendar of dances, balls and rituals has long been at the heart of Chinese-Australian community life. It was at such events that community members most powerfully experimented with and articulated what it meant to be Chinese-Australian across dimensions of race, gender and class. This thesis traces the history of Chinese community life through various social dances and events in Sydney and Melbourne over a period spanning roughly 120 years. Examining this relatively little-known aspect of history, it seeks to offer a sense of the vitality of Chinese-Australian community life during these decades and to use dance as a means to generate new insights into the interplay of the material and the emotional in the lives of Chinese Australians.