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.