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Centre for Research on Colonial Culture
Rethinking Colonialism & its Legacies

Public Talk: Frequencies for Listening

On Wednesday 18 April, visiting scholar Prof. Pamela Klassen (University of Toronto) will give a public lecture co-hosted by the Religion Programme and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture in Archway 2 starting at 5.15. Title and abstract are below:

Frequencies for Listening: Telling Stories of Missionary Colonialism in the Wake of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools

The 2015 report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) gave settlers an opportunity to listen to Indigenous people tell their stories of surviving the abuses of the Canadian residential school system. An alliance of church and state which forcibly took Indigenous children from their families in order to assimilate them to Christianity, the English language, and acceptance of the sovereignty of the Dominion of Canada, residential schools were, to use the language of the TRC, a form of cultural genocide with ongoing intergenerational effects.

This lecture approaches the complicated spiritual politics of storytelling in the wake of the TRC by reflecting on the life of an early-twentieth-century missionary in the Pacific Northwest who participated in Christian colonial settlement on Indigenous land, while also condemning residential schools. Along the way, Anglican Archbishop Frederick Du Vernet came to think that telepathy—what he called radio mind—was the solution to everything from class warfare to religious divisions. Attuned to various frequencies for listening through which he tried to heed the spirit and the people around him, Du Vernet came to an unorthodox metaphysics shaped by the land on which he lived.

In this talk Prof. Klassen will draw upon her recently published book The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indigenous Land (University of Chicago Press, 2018).

All are welcome!

Visiting Scholar: Prof. Pamela Klassen

With Religious Studies the Centre is co-hosting a visiting scholar, Pamela Klassen, Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, where she is also Vice-Dean, Undergraduate & International in the Faculty of Arts & Science. The author of many books and articles, her most recent publications are The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary’s Journey on Indigenous Land (U of Chicago Press, 2018) and Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State (U of Chicago Press, 2018), co-authored with Paul Christopher Johnson and Winnifred Fallers Sullivan. She currently holds the Anneliese Maier Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation in support of a five-year collaborative project entitled “Religion and Public Memory in Multicultural Societies,” undertaken together with Prof. Dr. Monique Scheer of the University of Tübingen. For more information, see http://projects.chass.utoronto.ca/pklassen/

While in Dunedin Prof. Klassen will give several public talks. The first is a research seminar in the Department of History and Art History, Wednesday 11 April, 3.30pm, in Burns 5, ground floor Arts Building (95 Albany Street) on the topic “Photography, Resistance, and Re-mediation on Manidoo Ziibi”.

In this presentation, Prof. Klassen will consider the significance for studies of missionary colonialism of what scholars call the “photographic event,” focusing on a diary written by an Anglican missionary-journalist, Frederick Du Vernet, during his 1898 trip to visit the Ojibwe of Rainy River in Treaty 3 territory (also known in Canada as northwestern Ontario). Du Vernet recorded both Ojibwe resistance to and requests for his picture-taking. His stories reveal how the event of taking photographs marked his own longing to capture spiritual stories and presences and provoked a variety of Ojibwe responses to such forms of visual capture. The talk will also introduce a new visual/textual/audio remediation of the diary in the form of a digital storytelling website being developed with a team of students in consultation with the Kay-Nah-Chi-Wah-Nung Historical Centre of the Rainy River First Nations.

Two further public talks are planned:

“Frequencies for Listening: Telling Stories of Missionary Colonialism in the Wake of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools”, Public Lecture co-sponsored by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, 18 April.

“Treaty people and the spiritual vulnerability of colonial settlement”, a research presentation hosted by the Department of Theology and Religion, 20 April.

Further details about these events will be advertised in the near future.

 

“Redcoat and Rifle” at Toitū

Professor Charlotte Macdonald from Victoria University drew a large crowd to the Centre’s second Global Dunedin lecture at Toitū Settlers Museum today.  Charlotte brought Dunedin into the larger picture of the global circulation of soldiers and their belongings that stretched between Britain, India and the rest of the Empire.  Her wide-ranging talk included the 70th Regiment who were transferred from India (where they had fought during the Indian Rebellion) to Auckland in 1861.  While some stayed in the North Island and fought in the Waikato campaign, one contingent was transferred to Dunedin where they established themselves on what eventually became the Arthur St School. Soon after gold had been discovered in Central Otago, the contingent helped keep the peace and good order until they left in 1863.  Charlotte’s research comes out of her Marsden-funded project, Soliders of Empire: Garrison and Empire in the 19th Century. The talk was followed by a lively question time.  Many thanks to Charlotte for her rich and engaging lecture.

Redcoat and Rifle

On Sunday 8 April the Centre is hosting a Global Dunedin Lecture at Toitū’s Auditorium. Our speaker is Charlotte Macdonald (Victoria University of Wellington) who will discuss her Soldiers of Empire project, which is tracking the histories and legacies of the 18,000 men who served with imperial regiments in New Zealand during the 1860s. In this talk Charlotte will speak about Otago’s connections to this story with an emphasis on the wider imperial context, particularly with respect to social history and material culture. This is a free lecture and all are welcome.

 

Successful Start to Global Dunedin

The first Global Dunedin programme at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum began with Centre Co-Director, Professor Tony Ballantyne, presenting on “The John Wickliffe, the Philip Laing and the Making of the Otago Colony”.  Tony’s lecture was wide-ranging, taking us from the initial landing of the Free Church settlers, and their interactions with Kāi Tahu, right through to the 50th anniversary, where the the debate centred on who truly deserved to be included into the category of “early” settler.

The Centre’s Global Otago programme brings engaging speakers to Toitū, who can place Dunedin in a global context, whether in the past, present or future. This lecture was a resounding success, with more seats having to be brought in to accommodate the crowd.  Professor Charlotte Macdonald will be delivering the April lecture; details will be posted soon.

Global Dunedin Speaker Series 2018

This year the Centre is excited to be collaborating with Toitū on a Global Dunedin Speaker Series. It runs on a monthly basis, on a Sunday afternoon, and all talks take place at the museum Auditorium. This years series will feature local, national and international speakers, including Charlotte Macdonald (Victoria University of Wellington), Jill Haley (Canterbury Museum), Kate Bagnall (University of Wollongong), Rosi Crane (Otago Museum), Lea Doughty (Otago) and Ben Schrader (Wellington). We’ll be posting regular updates about this series throughout the year.

Tony Ballantyne will kick off the series on March 25th (see poster).  We hope to see you there.

Centre News and Forthcoming Events

The Centre has had a busy start to 2018. We opened the year with an international symposium, co-convened by Judy Bennett (Otago) and Paul D’Arcy (ANU) on ‘Colonial Environmental Transformations and responses in the Pacific World: Crops, Disease, Pests, and catastrophe’, held at the Hocken in mid-February. Across two days we were privileged to hear from scholars working at the cutting-edge of Pacific environmental history. Papers touched on long-distance animal migrations, agricultural transformations, the politics of phosphate mining in French Oceania, climate change, genetic modification, and the impacts of major health events on indigenous communities, notably the influenza pandemic in Guam. Many thanks to the organisers for putting together such an exciting programme and to the presenters for sharing their work: Vicki Luker, Tamatoa Bambridge, Ryan Tucker Jones, Jane Samson, Matt K. Matsuda, Nicholas Hoare, and Anne Perez Hattori. We look forward to seeing the papers emerge in published form in the near future.

In February and early March the Centre had the pleasure of hosting a visiting scholar, Associate Professor Aaron Glass from Bard Graduate Center, New York. While in Dunedin Aaron presented on his digital humanities project as part of a well-attended open seminar with Associate Professor Conal McCarthy (Victoria University of Wellington) concerned with digital collections, museums and indigenous futures. Aaron also presented a workshop at Otago Museum on public anthropology and visited Te Papa Tongarewa where he also shared his research. Many thanks to the team at Te Papa, particularly Bronwyn Labrum, for making Aaron’s visit possible.

A number of events planned for the remainder of 2018 including an international workshop on new histories of whaling in the Pacific (at the University of Hawai’i-Manoa) in late June, and symposia on rural history and indigenous writing in November.

Throughout 2018 the Centre is sponsoring the Global Dunedin public lectures at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. This is a monthly series of free talks running from March to October and we have a great line-up of speakers including Charlotte Macdonald (Victoria University of Wellington), Jill Haley (Canterbury Museum) and Kate Bagnall (University of Wollongong) along with many others. The series kicks off on 25 March with a talk by Centre co-director, Professor Tony Ballantyne (see poster). All are welcome!

 

Reminder: Film Screening and Workshop

A reminder that the Centre is sponsoring a film screening and workshop on 5 March. It starts at 10am and takes place at the Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum. All are welcome.

Film screening and workshop

During his visit to the University of Otago, Associate Professor Aaron Glass (Bard Graduate Center, New York) will lead a workshop discussing his engagement in film as part of critical anthropology, the ethics of ethnographic representation, and collaborative research. All welcome. Details are below.

Museums, Digital Collections and Indigenous Futures Talks

All are welcome to attend an open seminar on Thursday 22 February featuring two scholars who will speak about their current projects that aim to reconnect indigenous communities with objects and archives, making them available for future use and reinterpretation.

Location: Moot Court, 10th Floor, Richardson Building, starting at 10am

Associate Professor Aaron Glass (Bard Graduate Center, New York) will discuss his involvement in producing a new critical edition of anthropologist Franz Boas’s 1897 landmark book, The Social Organization and Secret Societies of the Kwakiutl Indians, which uses digital media to link museums, archives and communities while recuperating ethnographic records for current and future use. Not only did the volume make draw upon existing museum collections from around the world, Boas and his indigenous collaborator, George Hunt, left a vast archive of unpublished materials relevant to the creation and afterlife of the 1897 text, including hundreds of pages of Hunt’s corrections and amendments. An international and collaborative endeavour to create a new annotated critical edition of the book – both in print and in digital formats – unites published and unpublished materials with current Kwakwaka’wakw knowledge. This presentation discusses that project and presents an interactive prototype for the digital edition that re-embeds ethnographic knowledge within Indigenous epistemological frameworks and hereditary protocols for access.

Associate Professor Conal McCarthy (Victoria University of Wellington) will outline two current trends in museum research in Australia and Aotearoa: one looking back to the history of collections, ethnology and colonisation, and the other looking forward to digital technology, co-curating and an emerging indigenous Museology. It will briefly introduce various projects which aim to reconnect tribal descendants to ancestral heritage through digital tools which enable the reassembly of scattered records, material culture and images. It will introduce the Marsden-funed project ‘Te Ao Hou: Imagining Worlds in New Zealand, 1900-1950’ led by Anne Salmond at Auckland University, which follows Māori leaders Apirana Ngata and Peter Buck through their involvement in the Dominion Museum ethnological expeditions, the Polynesian Society and the Board of Māori Ethnological Research. It considers the mobilising of relational concepts such as whakaapa/kinship, which were applied in Buck and Ngata’s ‘practical anthropology’, and the lessons of their experiments for both Māori museum practice today and contemporary tribal development generally.

 

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