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Centre for Research on Colonial Culture
Rethinking Colonialism & its Legacies

Colonial Attritions: State Violence and Social Forgetting

Centre member Associate Professor Annabel Cooper is presenting at the Colonial Attritions: State Violence and Social Forgetting research symposium next week. She will speak on her current research, which is concerned with how the New Zealand Wars are publicly remembered, particularly through film. The research symposium will take place on Wednesday 5th August in Seminar Room 3, Central Library. All are welcome. Registration is $5 for students/unwaged and $10 for academics/waged, payable by cash on the day.  You can find out more about the symposium, the programme of speakers, and read their abstracts in the Colonial Attritions booklet (attached). A public lecture by Professor Sherene Razack (University of Toronto) complete’s the days proceedings. This is a free lecture and all are welcome to attend.


The Lives of Colonial Objects

On the evening of 21st July, Otago University Press launched The Lives of Colonial Objects co-edited by Annabel Cooper, Lachy Paterson and Angela Wanhalla. This sumptuous, beautifully designed book of 50 short essays is the outcome of the Centre’s inaugural conference, Colonial Objects, held at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum in February 2013. Kāi Tahu kaumatua Edward Ellison and Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen co-launched the volume before a large crowd, including a number of the contributors and friends. Now that the book is in the world (and reasonably priced) we encourage you all to buy it!

L to R: Rachel Scott (publisher, Otago University Press), Lachy Paterson, Angela Wanhalla, Annabel Cooper (editors), and Fiona Moffat (designer, Otago University Press).

L to R: Rachel Scott (publisher, Otago University Press), Lachy Paterson, Angela Wanhalla, Annabel Cooper (editors), and Fiona Moffat (designer, Otago University Press).

Hocken Lecture

The Centre is delighted to hear that this year’s Hocken Lecture will be given by Professor Tony Ballantyne, the Centre’s director and the Head of the Department of History and Art History at the University of Otago. He will talk on ‘Archives, Public Memory and the Work of History’ in the Burns 1 Lecture Theatre, 95 Albany Street, on 6 August, beginning at 5.30pm. This is a free event and all are welcome.

A World History of Bluff

Michael Stevens, one of the Centre’s members, has had his research on the world history of Bluff featured on the University of Portsmouth’s Port Towns and Urban Cultures Project website recently. This site features research that fits the research group’s goals of “furthering our understanding of the social and cultural contexts ports across the globe from the early modern period. It recognizes the importance of ports as liminal places where marine and urban spaces converge, producing a unique site of socio-cultural exchange that reinforced and challenged identities, perceptions and boundaries.” It’s great to see Mike’s fantastic project on Bluff and its port getting international coverage. Well done Mike!

An exciting symposium on colonial childhood

The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture is hosting a free two-day symposium, ‘Unpicking the tapestry: children and young people in British colonial contexts’, comprising 16 different papers on this theme by a range of scholars from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the USA, and with roundtable discussions to end each day’s sessions.  This will be held in the Seminar Room, Hocken Collections, 24-25 August.  Click here for the Draft Programme.


Dr Kristine Alexander

As part of this event, Dr Kristine Alexander of Leithbridge University, a Canada Research Chair in Child and Youth Studies, will be giving a public lecture, “A Tangled Web: Childhood, Colonialism, and Archives”.  This will be be held in Burns 2, 24 August at 5.30pm.  All interested people are warmly invited.

In particular the symposium is interested in addressing a number of key questions which include: What does it mean to talk about ‘colonial childhoods or adolescence’ or to think about children and young people in relation to colonialism? What colonial sites were significant or influential for children’s and young people’s lives, and in what colonial sites were children influential? To what extent were children and young people constrained by boundaries or moved fluidly across boundaries (eg. gender, race or ethnicity, nation, class, religion), and to what effect? What are the sources for excavating and interpreting colonial childhoods? What are the gaps and silences? How do we negotiate these? In what ways might a comparative approach (across colonial societies) expand or limit our understanding of colonial childhoods and adolescence? What are the significant challenges and opportunities in this field of academic enquiry?

If you are interested in attending the symposium, please contact by the end of the month.


CFP: Making Women Visible: A Conference in Honour of Barbara Brookes

Making Women Visible: A Conference in Honour of Barbara Brookes

15-17 February 2016, University of Otago.

Making Women Visible honours Professor Barbara Brookes, one of New Zealand’s most important scholars, who has worked at the cutting-edge of historical enquiry for several decades. Over the course of her career, Barbara’s scholarship has encompassed diverse topics (including reproductive politics, mental health, film, photography, performance, race relations, disability, sexuality and feminism). These topics have been approached in imaginative ways (biography, the histories of emotion, comparative and transnational approaches), but throughout she has consistently placed women at the centre of her work.

This conference (15-17 February 2016) not only celebrates a distinguished career, but also marks the arrival of Barbara’s much-awaited survey history of New Zealand women, which will be officially launched as part of the conference programme. Its publication invites a renewed focus on New Zealand women’s history. It has been over twenty years since the suffrage centenary that was the catalyst for the publication of a number of important books, including Sandra Coney’s foundational survey history, Standing in the Sunshine. Since 1993, the number of books, edited collections, articles and theses concerned with aspects of women’s history has greatly expanded and the methodological approaches have undergone evolution. We think it is time, therefore, to reflect on the body of scholarship produced by historians since the early 1990s – to consider its impact on the teaching, researching, and writing of women’s history since then and also to look forward to where the field is headed.

The conference theme focuses on one of the core goals of women’s history, which has been to make women visible, therefore we invite papers that address ‘visibility’ from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The conference committee particularly invites proposals for individual papers and panels that reflect Barbara’s areas of research, speak to the theme of visibility and consider the generation of scholarship since the early 1990s with a view to what has changed and what challenges lie ahead. We are especially keen to receive paper proposals from postgraduates as well as those working in the arts and heritage sector.

In addition to streamed paper sessions, the conference will feature special forums led by two prominent New Zealand historians, Professor Charlotte Macdonald and Professor Margaret Tennant.

Professor Barbara Brookes will offer a keynote address, to be followed by a conference reception, and the launch of her new book, A History of New Zealand Women (Bridget Williams Books, 2016).

A key outcome will be the publication of an edited volume of essays arising from the conference.

Please submit a 250-word abstract along with a short biographical statement by 31 August 2015 to

If you wish to propose a panel, please provide a panel title, along with abstracts and biographical statements for each presenter, and submit it to by 31 August 2015.

Conference committee: Jane Adams, Katie Cooper, Jane McCabe, Sarah Christie and Angela Wanhalla (University of Otago)


Centre member wins Ernest Scott Prize 2015

Congratulations to Professor Tom Brooking whose Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own: The Life and Times of New Zealand’s Longest-Serving Prime Minister was co-winner of the Ernest Scott Prize for 2015, with Alan Atkinson’s The Europeans in Australia, Vol 3: Nation. Tom is the second CROCC member to have won this prize awarded for “the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation”.  Angela Wanhalla won in 2014, and Centre director, Tony Ballantyne, was shortlisted in 2013.  Click here for the publisher’s info on Richard Seddon.

Finding India in Dunedin

Dr Jane McCabe will give a talk today on Dunedin’s Indian connections, specifically Kalimpong, where Dr. Graham operated an orphanage for Anglo-Indian children. Some of these children were sent to Dunedin in the early decades of the twentieth century. In the afternoon’s talk Jane will discuss the pathways and fate of these children once in New Zealand. Everyone is welcome to attend this free public event, which begins at 2pm in Toitu’s Auditorium.


New Zealand’s Sexual Histories

Over the past two days a group of scholars have been talking about sex, and New Zealand’s sexual histories in particular.  Angela Wanhalla and Chris Brickell, both Centre members, co-convened this event, funded by a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, which brought together 10 scholars for a pre-read workshop at St Margaret’s College on 1 & 2 July. Participants discussed the benefits and limitations of demographic approaches to the study of sexuality (Hera Cook), New Zealand’s anti-masturbation movement (Lindsay Watson), the Health Department’s sex education pamphlets (Claire Gooder), non-monogamy and swinging in post-war New Zealand (Lily Emerson), sexuality and morality in colonial Otago (Sarah Carr), sexuality and infertility (Jane Adams), intimacy, desire and friendship in young people’s diaries (Chris Brickell), and childbirth on migrant ships (Ali Clarke). Professor Matt Cook (Birkbeck) also participated in the workshop, in addition to giving a beautiful and elegant public lecture based on his latest book, Queer Domesticities: Homosexuality and Home Life in Twentieth-Century London (Palgrave, 2014). A special issue of the New Zealand Journal of History based on the papers presented at the workshop will appear in 2016. And we highly recommend you go listen to Professor Matt Cook talk about his new book at Victoria University of Wellington on Monday 6 July. Find out more about his talk here.

Back: Hera Cook, Claire Gooder, Lily Emerson, Jane Adams, and Lindsay Watson. Front: Angela Wanhalla, Matt Cook, Chris Brickell and Ali Clarke.

Back: Hera Cook, Claire Gooder, Lily Emerson, Jane Adams, and Lindsay Watson. Front: Angela Wanhalla, Matt Cook, Chris Brickell and Ali Clarke.

Queer Domesticities: taking queer history indoors

The Centre is delighted to be hosting Matt Cook, Professor of Modern History at Birkbeck College, University of London, who will give a public lecture based on his latest book at the University of Otago this week. He will discuss his latest book, Queer Domesticities: homosexuality and home life in twentieth century London, to make a case for the importance of domestic space in the making of queer – and here queer male – desires and relationships.

Professor Cook’s lecture will take place in Burns 2 Lecture Theatre (in the Arts Building, 95 Albany Street), on Wednesday 1 July, beginning at 5.15.

This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.

Hope to see you there!


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