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Author Archives: Angela Wanhalla

Conference on Dress, Clothing and Bodies

Dressing Global Bodies: Clothing Cultures, Politics and Economies in Globalizing Eras, c. 1600s-1900s

7-9 July 2016, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Co-Organized with the Pasold Research Fund, UK


The clothes on our backs are intimately connected with bodily experiences, cultural, social and gender portrayals, as well as the economies of fashioning and re-fashioning across place and time. Garments reflect the priorities of local and international economies, collective and personal inclinations, religious norms and conversions. These materialities are shaped by global flows of cloth and beads, furs, ready-made and second-hand apparel, in dynamic processes of fashion exchange. Dress is a charged cultural instrument, as evident in colonial and decolonization processes, social and political agendas, animated by cross-cultural and commercial flows, industrial and institutional innovations.

This international conference will showcase new historical research on the centrality of dress in global, colonial and post-colonial engagements, emphasizing entangled histories, comparative and cross-cultural analyses. This scholarship redefines national and collective communities, in the practice of fashion and the dynamics of re-fashioning and re-use, from the seventeenth through the twentieth century.

Themes could include, but are not limited to:

Cross-cultural practices and patterns of dress and / or body adornment
Production and distribution of clothing (across cultures, entangled, comparative)
Gendered and ethnic shaping of dress and dress practice
Fashion politics of dress in globalizing contexts
Circulation and re-use of dress and dress idioms
Design in globalized contexts
Representations of clothing cultures
Appropriation / acculturation of designs, materials, motifs
Dress in colonial / post-colonial contexts
We especially welcome themed panels, maximum three speakers.

We welcome individual papers as well.

Submission Requirements:

For individual speakers: a 200-word proposal and a 1 page CV

For full panels: a 200-word panel rationale, plus 200 word proposals for each panel participant along with their individual 1 page CVs.

Send all submissions to:

Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2015.

Acceptances of papers to be announced: 1 December 2015.

Plenary Speakers:

Antonia Finnane, Professor, School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne. Author of Changing Clothes in China: Fashion, History, Nation. She will address fashion in Qing/Early Republican China

Karen Tranberg Hansen, Professor Emerita. Department of Anthropology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, Northwestern University. Author of Salaua: The World of Secondhand Clothing and Zambia. She will address cultures of dress within Global Africa.

Dana Leibsohn, Priscilla Paine Van der Poel Professor of Art, Department of Art, Smith College. She will address colonial practice, cross-cultural influences in the dress of colonial Spanish America.


Principal Organizers:

Beverly Lemire, Professor & Henry Marshall Tory Chair, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Giorgio Riello, Professor, Department of History and Director, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Warwick


International & Local Organizing Committee Members:

Anne Bissonnette, Associate Professor & Curator, Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta

Lisa Claypool, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta

Lianne McTavish, Professor, Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta

Ann Salmonson, Masters Candidate, Department of Art & Design, University of Alberta

Ashley Sims, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Meaghan Walker, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History & Classics, University of Alberta

Sophie White, Associate Professor, Department of American Studies, University of Notre Dame



Soldiers of Empire Marsden Project

We’d like to congratulate our colleague Professor Charlotte Macdonald (Victoria University of Wellington) on her Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Project, Soldiers of Empire, and alert you to the project website. Charlotte is working with Dr. Rebecca Lenihan “to put a face to the British army and navy presence in New Zealand. In doing so we aim to link the service of men in this part of the world to the wider British empire. Our interest focuses on the ways in which war takes people, goods, ideas and habits around the world. Engaged to suppress resistance to British expansion, the armed forces also served as vectors of empire. We are focusing on the world beyond the battlefields.” We encourage all interested in the project to look at their fantastic website, and bookmark it so you can keep up-to-date on the progress of their research.

Orphanages, Residential Schools, Colonial Gossip

All of these topics will be discussed at a half-day symposium on “Colonial Families: New Perspectives” taking place on Thursday 20th August from 9-12 in Central Library Seminar Room 3, University of Otago. This event is sponsored by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, with support from a Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship and features four speakers who will present new research into the history of the family in Canada, New Zealand and the Pacific:

Laura Ishiguro’s (University of British Columbia) research is trans-imperial and global in scope. She will speak about colonialism, mobility, and intimacy in the “long” nineteenth century through the story of one Metis family from British Columbia. Her talk draws upon her SSHRC-funded research project, “Settler colonialism, global families, and the making of British Columbia, 1849-1871″ (Insight Development Grant 2014-16). She guest-edited a 2013 issue of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History on “Imperial Relations: Histories of Family in the British Empire,” and in it called for a rethinking of the meanings of, and relationships between, family, intimacy, and imperialism.

Crystal Fraser (University of Alberta) is a high-profile young Gwich’in scholar who is undertaking research on the impacts of colonialism on her home community, Inuvik, located in northern Canada. She has been identified as “one of the most important Canadian historians of the next generation” whose research on residential schools, gender, and sexuality in Gwich’in society and the Canadian North is “actively shifting both fields as aboriginal people and northerners start writing and directing research in their own history on their own terms”. She is also a leading voice in Indigenous social media, which included hosting @IndigenousXca where she discussed racism in Canadian academia. Crystal will speak about the current debates within Canadian history and society about residential schooling.

Jennifer Ashton (Auckland) will speak about family, race and respectability in northern New Zealand during the nineteenth century. Jennifer’s talk draws from her recently published, and highly regarded first book, At the Margin of Empire: John Webster and Hokianga, 1841-1900 that “takes us into Hokianga to reveal how the evolving intimate relationships and economic transactions of everyday life reflected larger shifts in colonial power” through a biography of the trader and colonist John Webster and his networks.

Erica Newman (Otago) will talk about her original and exciting doctoral research on orphanages and adoption in colonial Fiji. Erica’s research in this area has been recognized internationally in the form of invitations to participate in pre-read workshops at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and an invited publication on her previous work on Māori adoption in the highly regarded American Indian Quarterly.

Contact Dr. Angela Wanhalla ( for further information about this free event.

Hocken Lecture

Tony Ballantyne, the incoming PVC Humanities at the University of Otago, departing HoD of History and Art History, and Director of the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture gave the 2015 Hocken Lecture last week. In it, Tony discussed some archive stories that are foundational to his own work, and critiqued claims about archival silences promoted by some postcolonial scholars by pointing to the lively and rich vein of work being produced at the University of Otago, particularly by researchers attached to the Centre. You can read about his lecture in this Otago Bulletin article, which gives a thorough report on its content and maps out Tony’s vision for New Zealand history. Thanks Tony for a wonderful lecture!

New Zealand Women’s History Conference

A reminder that abstracts for the Making Women Visible Conference are due by 31 August. We are excited to announce that in addition to special forums, there will be two keynote speakers: Dr Melissa Matutina Williams (Auckland) and Dr Frances Steel (Wollongong).

Get those abstracts in!

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.


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)

Lecture on the August Offensive

The next Global Dunedin lecture will take place this Sunday, August 9th, in the Toitu Auditorium, beginning at 2pm. It is being delivered by Seán Brosnahan, a well-known local historian and curator, who will discuss the fighting at Gallipoli that came to a thundering crescendo in the August Offensive. Its failure, despite the heroic roles played by the Otago Infantry and the Otago Mounted Rifles, was the death knell of the Dardanelles campaign. Come along to hear an excellent public speaker mark the 100th anniversary of that ill-fated offensive.

Visiting Scholar

Associate Professor Tamara Loos (Cornell University, New York) is visiting the University of Otago this week. While here she will give a public lecture on Tuesday 4th August on the topic of Biography and Islam in Thai history. This talk will tae place at 5pm in the Quad 1 lecture theatre, and all are welcome. Click here for further information about this talk. While in Dunedin Associate Professor Loos will give a research seminar in the Department of History and Art History Seminar Room (second floor Arts Building, room N8), beginning at noon on Wednesday 5th August. Her talk will will explore the social history of nineteenth and early twentieth century Siam through the lens of a prince, reluctantly drawn into rebellion. Please come along!

Super-Fabulous News

The Centre is absolutely delighted to hear that its Director, Professor Tony Ballantyne, has been elevated to the position of Pro-Vice Chancellor Humanities at the University of Otago. We’d like to extend our congratulations to Tony and wish him all the best in his new role, which begins on 1 October 2015. Tony’s new role will bring new challenges, but we are pleased he will remain a vital part of the Centre’s leadership and continue to participate in the Centre’s activities. YAY TONY!!!


Tony welcoming participants to the recent “Kalimpong Kids” reunion, November 2014.

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).


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