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Centre for Research on Colonial Culture
Rethinking Colonialism & its Legacies

Seminar: Skeletons in the Attic: The Prehistory of Otago Museum

Our next CRoCC seminar will be presented by Dr. Rosi Crane, who will speak about the prehistory of Otago Museum’s zoological collections.

These collections were acquired before the First World War but have precious little documentation associated with them. Serendipitous finds in scattered archives are beginning to paint a detailed picture of what the public saw when the museum opened in its new building on Great King Street in 1877. However, the principal sources are the specimens themselves, their labels, and a handful of photographs. This presentation will consider how we can use these sources to make sense of the scientific approaches to curating in nineteenth century Dunedin.

Please join us at 3.30 on Friday 27 October in the Hocken Seminar Room (90 Anzac Avenue) to hear what promises to be a great talk.

 

Te Tumu seminar today

A seminar being held today in Te Tumu may be of interest to CROCC subscribers. Tahu Pōtiki (Kāi Tahi, Kāti Mamoe) of Ōtākou Marae, former CEO of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRONT), will be presenting on Ka aru tātou i te aha? What are we pursuing, what is the outcome?”

Where: R3S10 (on third floor of Te Tumu, University of Otago)

When: 2.00 pm, Wednesday 4 October.

Abstract: Has the development of the Ngāi Tahu policy framework created a new identity?

Since 1998, Ngāi Tahu has grown demographically, in size and structure. Marae and kāinga have been significantly made-over. The iwi is well known as a successful tribe and business. Tahu Pōtiki has been integrally involved within his iwi, hapū and whānau for his lifetime. In this seminar he will discuss how the Ngāi Tahu policy framework has created a new identity. He will critique key policy initiatives that he was fundamental in instigating.

All interested people are welcome to attend.

Mapping Workshop

Centre member Jane McCabe has had a busy year. In May her first book was published, and officially launched the following month. It’s been well-received and getting some great media attention including a spread in the Dominion Post, as well as on the New Books Network. Jane also started a new project in February.

Rural history is at the heart of her Marsden Fast Start project entitled ‘Splitting up the Farm? A Cross-­Cultural History of Land and Inheritance in Aotearoa’. In late June she hosted a mapping workshop based around that project, which was supported by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. The one-day workshop brought together experts in rural history, land titles and mapping to discuss best practice in use of maps and land titles in order to help Jane as she works towards the production of effective visual outputs for the project. Jane began the day with a presentation in which she set out the research questions and aims for her investigation of familial land transfer in two districts (Taieri and Hokianga) from 1870 to 1970. This helped set the framework for the workshop and focus discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of land titles for a project about cross-histones of land use and inheritance. In order to foreground the land, and attitudes to it, Jane proposed a survey of land titles/ownership to show change over time, with the aim of collating data for communication on a digital platform.

Participants discussed the value of maps in helping think about the past spatially. One inspiring suggestion was that project participants might be encouraged to draw maps of their farms so that familial and individual approaches to land use could be illuminated, thereby providing a multiplicity of voices to land use that does not rely on official maps and land titles. Personal mapping might also enable social and cultural data to be mapped that might look different to official data, detailing how families members who might not be named as owners in fact worked and used the land. Later sessions discussed land titles and their value as historical sources for mapping land ownership over time and cross-culturally.

The Centre thanks Jane for hosting this event and all the participants for sharing their expertise: Malcolm McKinnon, Michael Roche, Jonathan West, Brian Coutts, Vivienne Cuff, Michael Stevens, Hugh Campbell, Tom Brooking, Michael Stevens and Angela Wanhalla, as well as Karen Craw for kindly showcasing the Hocken’s map holdings relating to the Taieri.

The Centre has been busy hosting a number of workshops this year, and have many more on the horizon. There’s a whaling history symposium in late June 2018 in Honolulu, for instance, along with plans for an event on Māori writing in November 2018, as well as a possible workshop on rural history in late 2018. Watch this space for further details.

Stripping Colonial Studies Back to Their Bones

The Centre’s research seminar series resumes on Friday 29 September with a presentation by Dr. Charlotte King (Department of Anatomy).

Her talk is titled: “Stripping Colonial Studies Back to Their Bones: Combining bioarchaeology and history to look at European settlement of Tokomairiro”.

Charlotte will discuss the recent excavation of ‘forgotten’ areas of the St John’s Anglican cemetery in Milton, which has given bioarchaeologists an unprecedented opportunity to reconstruct the biological histories of some of the first European settlers in the Otago region. This talk will detail what archaeologists can do to shed light on the lives of these settlers, and how this might intersect with the social histories generated by historians.

Please join us on Friday 29 September at the Hocken Library Seminar room, 90 Anzac Avenue for this talk, which begins at 3.30. Afternoon tea is provided.

All are welcome.

Summer Scholarship Opportunities

Four Summer Scholarships are available to students interested in working with Professor Charlotte Macdonald and Dr. Rebecca Lenihan on their Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Project, Soldiers of Empire.

These scholarships are for the 2017-18 summer and involve working with collections at several institutions. There is one scholarship at Puke Ariki in New Plymouth, one available at Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, and one at Te Papa, Wellington.

Applications are welcome from students who have completed at least two years of their undergraduate degree and are enrolling in 3rd year, the Honours programme, or the first year of a Masters degree in 2018.

Please note that the closing date for applications is 15 September.

Further details about the scholarships and how to apply can be found here.

New Histories of Pacific Whaling Symposium

Call for Papers

New Histories of Pacific Whaling

An International Symposium co-sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center, the University of Oregon and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, University of Otago, New Zealand

University of Hawai’i – Mānoa, June 29 – 30, 2018

 

Emerging historical scholarship is upending older work on whaling and showcasing it as an ideal medium with which to investigate human relationships with the oceans and with each other. Whales offer investigative bridgeheads into the cultural histories of non-human species, the hidden histories of energy economies, and the complicated histories of cross-cultural contact. Whale histories are demonstrating to environmental historians the various scales, including oceanic scales, with which they can work and are challenging them to consider new forms of evidence and new tools of interpretation. This international symposium aims to bring together the excellent, scholarship integrating the history of Pacific whaling with environmental and cross-cultural history. We seek participants from around the world to convene next year at Honolulu, the center of the Pacific whaling industry. We especially welcome scholarship that engages Pacific and environmental history and examines the crucial linkages between whaling, animal histories, indigenous histories, capitalism, diplomacy, environmental change, and globalization.

Participants will be expected to pre-circulate drafts of works in progress in advance of the symposium. Selected papers will be published as a special issue of Rachel Carson Center’s Perspectives. Travel and lodging costs will be covered by the seminar sponsors.

For those interested, please email 250-word paper proposals along with a short cv to the symposium conveners by September 1, 2017

Ryan Tucker Jones, University of Oregon rtj@uoregon.edu

Angela Wanhalla, University of Otago angela.wanhalla@otago.ac.nz

Research Seminar by Dr Mere Whaanga

Noted scholar and writer, Dr. Mere Whaanga, currently the Children’s Writer in Residence at the University of Otago, is giving a research seminar, sponsored by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, on Friday 28 July. Her talk is titled: “From pepeha to picture book to tribal history: telling Māori stories in multiple genres”, and it will take place at the Hocken Library Seminar room, 90 Anzac Avenue, starting at 3.30.
All are welcome!

Film in the Colony

The Film in the Colony Symposium, held at Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, Wellington, 13-14 July, produced some great discussions and a fine array of films in the face of some wild Wellington weather. The symposium focused on the convergence of film, film-making, the emergence of nation and interactions between peoples in colonial contexts, with an emphasis on New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. The symposium opened with two screenings on Wednesday night: Edward Curtis’s In the Land of the Headhunters (1914; Aaron Glass who was involved in the restoration of this film provided us with a commentary in the form of a recorded powerpoint), and Charles Chauvel’s Jedda (1955), introduced by Tasha James from the Australian National Film and Sound Archive.

The opening keynote speaker on Thursday, Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk, began with a fabulous map, charting the world as it was filmed in Southern California, and, pointing out where ‘beginning with the question of how film ‘takes place’ in particular locations, moved to a wide-ranging discussion of cinema and decolonisation in South Africa, particularly in the light of the unrest currently dominating South African campuses. How do we make the archive of colonial film valuable to students trying to move away from colonial thinking? How to make it meaningful, and to find a language for discussing it? His point that colonialism is a structure, not an event, was one many found compelling.

Keynote speaker Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk with Honiana Love, Natalie Robertson and Annabel Cooper

From here the focus switched to New Zealand’s early cinema, with Minette Hillyer’s rich account of the visit of ‘Paramount’s Red Indians’ to Rotorua in 1927, and Mark Derby’s discussion of Gaston Melies’ film-making enterprise in the South Seas in 1912, which set us up well for a documentary on Melies’ tour of the Pacific and South East Asia. Alex Porter charted a journey in the other direction, with Len Lye’s departure from New Zealand to London via Samoa, a trip which resulted in his remarkable Tusalava of 1929 – which we then had the privilege of viewing.

Three papers with very different takes on Rudall Hayward’s silent The Te Kooti Trail of 1927 followed: Jani K Wilson compared two of the film’s Ngāti Awa audiences, the second including members of her own hapū; Brendan Sheridan discussed kūpapa in New Zealand Wars films; and Annabel Cooper investigated some of the film’s imagined and real communities. These papers were followed by a screening of the film brilliantly accompanied by pianist Nikau Palm – a treat followed by dinner at Siem Reap.

Keynote speakers Litheko Modisane and Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk with Lawrence Wharerau and Diane Pivac

Friday began with a panel discussion which brought together Honiana Love (Te Ātiawa) and Lawrence Wharerau (Ngāpuhi) from Ngā Taonga with Natalie Robertson (Ngāti Porou), who combined discussion of the evolving relationships between whānau, films and archives, with commentaries on a sequence of films. Natalie, whose whānau appear in the film, talked us through James McDonald’s Scenes of Maori Life on the East Coast, enriching the film with her information about who the people are and where, the significance of their filmed work, and the signs that they were performing their customary labour for the camera, rather than simply going about daily activities. As we watched the Ahipara Women’s Fire Brigade rally to community defence, and fertiliser spreading on Te Puea’s Farm, Honiana and Lawrence discussed the archival detective work of finding out about films and the relationships developing between the archive and communities.

Pianist Nikau Palm with Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk

The session on sound brought together Mel Cross’s illustration of how Alfred Hill’s score affords a specific Maoriland resonance to Hayward’s Rewi’s Last Stand (1940); Allison Craven and Ben Palmer’s investigation of the voices of Aboriginal people in Charles Chauvel’s Uncivilised (1936); and – in a return to Rotorua – Aleisha Ward’s account of the contentious production of the first jazz film made in New Zealand, (a publicity film for Epi Shalfoon and the Melody Boys).

Megan Tamati-Quennell gave us an introduction to Lisa Reihana’s Native Portraits N.19897, which had screened through the symposium, and was followed by Felicity Barnes’s elegant revival of a neglected genre, the trade film in Australia and New Zealand. Offered a sample (Captured Sunshine), we wondered with 21st-century amazement at their bygone popularity.

Litheko Modisane closed with an analysis of the career of South African actor Ken Gampu, whose career spanned the apartheid and post-apartheid eras. Gathering up some of the larger themes of the symposium, Litheko asked how audiences could now view Gampu’s earlier work – how can a decolonising society appreciate the colonial legacy, and what vocabulary is there for analysing it. Litheko’s analysis of the complexities of Gampu’s role in Dingaka (1964) was followed by a closing panel and then screenings of Dingaka and Rewi’s Last Stand.

CRoCC would like to extend warm thanks to those who helped organise the symposium: Diane Pivac, Honiana Love and Lawrence Wharerau (Ngā Taonga), Minette Hillyer and Jo Smith (Victoria University of Wellington), Sue Lang, Helen O’Sullivan and Bronwyn Craig (University of Otago).

Annabel Cooper

CfP: New Histories of Pacific Whaling

Call for Papers

New Histories of Pacific Whaling

 

An International Symposium co-sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center, the University of Oregon and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, University of Otago, New Zealand

 

University of Hawai’i – Mānoa, June 29 – 30, 2018

Emerging historical scholarship is upending older work on whaling and showcasing it as an ideal medium with which to investigate human relationships with the oceans and with each other. Whales offer investigative bridgeheads into the cultural histories of non-human species, the hidden histories of energy economies, and the complicated histories of cross-cultural contact. Whale histories are demonstrating to environmental historians the various scales, including oceanic scales, with which they can work and are challenging them to consider new forms of evidence and new tools of interpretation. This international symposium aims to bring together the excellent, scholarship integrating the history of Pacific whaling with environmental and cross-cultural history. We seek participants from around the world to convene next year at Honolulu, the center of the Pacific whaling industry. We especially welcome scholarship that engages Pacific and environmental history and examines the crucial linkages between whaling, animal histories, indigenous histories, capitalism, diplomacy, environmental change, and globalization.

Participants will be expected to pre-circulate drafts of works in progress in advance of the symposium. Selected papers will be published as a special issue of Rachel Carson Center’s Perspectives. Travel and lodging costs will be covered by the seminar sponsors.

For those interested, please email 250-word paper proposals along with a short cv to the symposium conveners by September 1, 2017

Ryan Tucker Jones, University of Oregon rtj@uoregon.edu

Angela Wanhalla, University of Otago, angela.wanhalla@otago.ac.nz

Jane McCabe’s new book on Indian migrants

Last Thursday saw the successful launch of Jane McCabe’s new book, Race, Tea and Colonial Resettlement: Imperial Families, Interrupted at the Hocken Collections.  Launched by Centre Co-director, Angela Wanhalla, this monograph (published by Bloomsbury) explores the experiences of the “Kalimpong Kids”, mixed-race children of tea planters in India, from their missionary-run boarding school, to their migration to New Zealand.   Jane is descended of one of the children, and a number of other descendants came to the launch.

Dr Jane McCabe

Jane, who works in the Department of History and Art History is a keen member of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture.  A Marsden Grant recipient, she is now researching land and inheritance in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Kate Stevens and Associate Professor Will Sweetman

Kalimpong Kids descendants

Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen, Dr Jonathan West, and Associate Professor Annabel Cooper.

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