The Centre’s monthly Global Dunedin Lecture Series resumes on Sunday 13 May with a talk by Dr. Jill Haley (Canterbury Museum), who will discuss the role of colonial photography and album-making in shaping the identities of Otago’s 19th century settlers. Jill’s talk will take place at Toitū’s Auditorium, starting at 2pm. All welcome!
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.
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.
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.
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!
The Centre was pleased to host Tanya Evans of Macquarie University who gave a public lecture last week. While this was Tanya’s first trip to New Zealand, we also welcomed back a more regular visitor from Australia, Kristyn Harman (University of Tasmania) accompanied by her partner, Nick Brodie.
Academics are encouraged to make their research more “impactful”, which for Humanities scholars is often to get their research out beyond the narrow academic enclaves we work in. Presentations from all of three of the visitors above were relevant to this theme. Tanya, Director of Macquarie’s Research Centre for Applied History, discussed ‘The Emotions of Family History’, looking at why family historians and genealogists undertake their research, and how such research informs wider community understanding of, and individuals’ emotional connection to the past. In her investigations, Tanya interacts with family historians, with her research having far more impact than that of more siloed academic history.
Kristyn was in Dunedin to launch her new book, Cleansing the Colony: Transporting Convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land (published by Otago University Press) which examines the more than 100 people sent from New Zealand into the Australian penal institutions. Kristyn also gave a lecture on these convicts to the Tuesday Club at Toitū: Otago Settlers Museum last week. Although most of the Club are retired and from many walks of life, they were keen, attentive, and intellectually engaged, with Kristyn’s talk attracting their largest crowd of the year.
Nick Brodie is an established Australian popular historian, author of Kin, 1787, and The Vandemonian War. Although he has his own academic background in history and archaeology, he now reaches a much larger market through well-researched but accessible books. Nick shared his own publishing experiences in a seminar to both staff and postgraduates at the university, with tips on how to make history relevant and engaging for non-academic audiences.
This week the Centre is hosting several visiting scholars: Kristyn Harman and Nick Brodie from the University of Tasmania, as well as Tanya Evans from Macquarie University, a noted historian of women, motherhood and the family in Britain and Australia. While in Dunedin, Tanya will give a public lecture on ‘The Emotions of Family History’.
In this lecture Tanya will explore the emotions of family history in Australia, England and Canada – why family historians are motivated to undertake their research and the emotional impact of their discoveries. Using survey data and oral history interviews it will reveal some of the ways in which historical research and communication about the past provides ‘ordinary’ people with social, emotional and cultural capital – how it has transformed them, their lives and the lives of those around them. Family history researchers are sometimes dismissed by the academy for their amateurism and they are also criticised for seeking emotional connections with the past lives of their forebears. I want to suggest that these criticisms are linked. The derision still sometimes shown towards genealogists needs to be challenged and the practice of family history better understood because it has an enormous impact on historical consciousness and individual subjectivities.
All are welcome to attend the talk, which is scheduled for Tuesday 14 November, 5.30pm in Moot Court, 10th floor of the Richardson Building at the University of Otago.
Dr. Kristyn Harman (University of Tasmania), who was a visiting scholar with the Centre in 2014, has returned to Dunedin for the launch of her latest book, Cleansing the Colony: Transporting Convicts from New Zealand to Van Diemen’s Land. She will also give a public talk on her book at Toitū.
Please feel free to come along to one or both of these events. Details are below:
Lecture: ‘Cleansing the Colony’, Tuesday 14 November, 10am at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum Auditorium.
During the mid-nineteenth century at least 110 people were transported from New Zealand to serve time as convict labourers in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania). Even more were sentenced by colonial judges to the harsh punishment of transportation, but somehow managed to avoid being sent across the Tasman Sea. In this talk, the remarkable experiences of unremarkable people like William Phelps Pickering, a self-made entrepreneur turned criminal; Margaret Reardon, a potential accomplice to murder and convicted perjurer; and Te Kumete, transported as a rebel will be explored. Their stories, and others like them, reveal a complex colonial society overseen by a governing class intent on cleansing the colony of what was considered to be a burgeoning criminal underclass.
Book Launch: Thursday 16 November, 5.30pm at University Book Shop, 378 Great King Street.
On Sunday May 7th, Professor Sarah Carter (University of Alberta) is giving a free public talk on Women, Agriculture and the Contest for Land on the Canadian Prairies at Toitū starting at 2pm. All are welcome!