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Category Archives: Public Lecture

Dunedin Sound

The first ‘Global Dunedin’ public lecture takes place on Sunday 12 April.

Join us at 2pm in the Auditorium at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum to hear Dr Graeme Downes – from the University’s Department of Music and the renowned frontman of the Verlaines – talking about Dunedin music, particularly in light of the very successful Tally Ho! collaboration with the Southern Sinfonia.

Please come along!!

Waitangi Day Talk

Followers of the Centre may be interested in attending a forthcoming public talk to be given by Dr. Lachy Paterson on 6 February at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Lachy will be discussing changing views of the Treaty of Waitangi, since 1840 and up to the present day. He will also reflect upon the Treaty’s role in New Zealand society currently and in the future. The talk begins at 2pm. Read more about it here.

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Scots and Indigenous Peoples

We are delighted to announce that Professor Ann Curthoys is giving a free public lecture entitled “Scots and Indigenous Peoples in the Australian Colonies” on Monday 24 November in Castle Lecture Theatre 1 at 3.30. Professor Curthoy’s lecture also doubles as the opening keynote address for the Migrant Cross-Cultural Encounters Conference (24-26 November) being co-convened by the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, the Asian Migrations research theme, and the Cross-Cultural Comparative Studies research theme.

Professor Curthoys is one of Australia’s most respected historians. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. In 2013, she was awarded the History Council of New South Wales Annual History Citation that recognises and honours an individual who has made a significant and lifelong contribution to the profession and practice of history. She was formerly an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney (2008-13) and Manning Clark Professor of History at the Australian National University (1996-2008). She has written widely on questions of Aboriginal history, genocide theory, and race relations in colonial and modern Australia. Her current research focuses on Indigenous-settler relations in the Australian colonies. As part of her ongoing research on the British Empire, settler self-government, and Indigenous peoples, she has a particular interest in Scottish-Indigenous relations in the mid nineteenth century, and it is this aspect of her research that she will detail in her public lecture.

She has provided the following abstract:

We can tell the history of Scottish migration to colonial Australia in several very different ways. We might emphasise a generally positive history of struggle and achievement as Scots migrated from one end of the world to another. Or we might narrate a tragic history of Aboriginal dispossession, displacement and replacement in the face of European settlement, a story of violence and great loss of life, and sometimes the destruction of whole societies as settlers fought to secure their hold on the land. Though these two stories are usually told separately, they are, of course, connected – Scots and Aboriginal people encountered one another constantly, and Scottish upward mobility was built on Aboriginal dispossession. Though the task is challenging and difficult, it is worth considering both Scottish diaspora and Indigenous histories together, for when we do, we can better understand some of the complexities of empire and colonisation in the nineteenth century. A focus on Scots can help us deconstruct the categories ‘British’ and ‘settler’, and foreground in new ways the connections between immigrants’ origins and background (in political, cultural, economic, and social terms) and their cross-cultural interactions in the colonies.

In this paper, I discuss the cross-cultural encounters between Scots and Aboriginal people in Australia from the mid 1830s to the mid 1870s. This was the period when a set of struggling British colonies – mostly dependent on convict labour, covering relatively small regions of settlement, and under direct British rule – were transforming into free self-governing democratic colonies dominating vast regions of the continent. While some areas were still experiencing intense frontier conflict and violence, in others the violence had largely ended and a post-frontier society, involving new settler-Indigenous relationships, was emerging. The Scots I consider included both pastoralists and their critics, such as journalists, politicians, amateur ethnographers, and men of the church, and the Indigenous peoples they met are those whose country lay in the two Australian colonies named after Queen Victoria – Victoria and Queensland.


Forthcoming Talks

The Centre is hosting an informal research seminar on  ‘Revolutions and Empires in the South-West Indian Ocean, 1788-1810′ by Dr Sujit Sivasundaram (University of Cambridge), on Thursday 6 November, at 2pm, 2N8 (History Department Seminar Room) in the Arts Building.

Dr Sivasundaram is a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College and Reader of History at Cambridge. He is well known for his work on the history of science and his scholarship spans both the Indian and Pacific Oceans. he is author of Nature and the Godly Empire: Science and Evangelical Mission in the Pacific, 1795-1850 (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Islanded: Britain, Sri Lanka and the Bounds of an Indian Ocean Colony (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

CROCC is also sponsoring a public lecture by Professor A.G. Hopkins, (University of Cambridge) entitled, ‘Is Globalisation Yesterday’s News?’. This will be held on Monday, 10 November 2014 at 5:15pm in the Moot Court, Level 10, Richardson Building. Professor Hopkins is one of the leading economic historians of his generation and he has produced authoritative works on West African economic history (An Economic History of West Africa (1973)), the economics of British imperialism (the landmark two-volume British Imperialism co-authored with Peter Cain) and was one of the first historians to grapple with the analytical possibilities of globalisation (editing both Globalization in World History (2002) and Global History: Interactions between the Universal and the Local (2006)). Professor Hopkins has provided the following abstract, which suggests it should be an engaging lecture:

Globalization envelopes the world – and historians too. The ‘g’ word is now mandatory in titles of books and articles; Ph.D. students follow their leaders in dedicating their dissertations to the subject. Yet, not so long ago postmodern approaches to the past were equally compelling: if you could not tell your trope from your alterity and your Spivak from your Bhaba, your chances of landing a job were minimal. Wise investors buy at the bottom of the market and get out at the top. So, it is worth asking whether shares in globalization have further to run or whether full value is already in the market. One way of answering this question is by considering the reasons why historiographical phases, like empires, rise, flourish, and decline. This approach provides pointers to the current state of globalization studies and offers an estimate of the current value of the shares.  The advice comes with a wealth warning: past performance has limited predictive power. As a famous trumpeter remarked when asked which way jazz was going: ‘man, if I knew which way jazz was going, I would be there already!’


Professor Henry Reynolds in Dunedin

ReynoldsOn Monday 22 September prominent Australian historian, prize-winning author and public intellectual, Professor Henry Reynolds (University of Tasmania), will deliver the inaugural Archibald Baxter Memorial Peace Lecture.

This public lecture has been established by the University of Otago’s National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. The lecture  is titled ‘Discovering Archibald Baxter and the thoughts on war which followed’ and will take place in Archway 1 at 5pm. This is a free event and is open to the public.

W.H. Oliver Lecture at Palmerston North

Our Centre Director, Professor Tony Ballantyne, will be giving the W.H. Oliver Lecture for 2014.  This event is held annually at Massey University, Palmerston North in honour of the eminent New Zealand historian, Professor Bill Oliver.  Click here for further details of this public lecture.

Annual Local History Lecture

Seán Brosnahan, curator at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, will be speaking about ‘Becoming Toitū: telling the Otago story in a museum setting’. His lecture takes place today, 10 April, at 5:30pm in Moot Court, Richardson Building, University of Otago. All welcome!

Visiting Speakers

This week CROCC is co-sponsoring two visiting speakers. The first is Professor A. R. Venkatachalapathy (Madras Institute of Development Studies), who will deliver an open lecture entitled, “The Birth of the Tamil Author” today (September 2) at 5.15pm (Archway 2). Professor Venkatachalapathy is a leading expert on print culture in south India.

On Thursday 5 September we are co-sponsoring a lecture by Professor Luke Gibbons (NUI Maynooth), a leading Irish cultural critic and literary scholar. Professor Gibbons will be speaking on “Limits of the Visible: Representing the Great Irish Famine” at 5.15pm in Burns 5.

Please do come along!

Paper Work

Professor Tony Ballantyne (Otago) and Associate Professor Craig Robertson (Northeastern University), who is spending his sabbatical in the Department of History and Art History, have organised two events that explore the history and meaning of paper work.

On Thursday evening 23 May (5.30 Burns 2) the distinguished media historian Professor Lisa Gitelman (NYU) will deliver a public lecture entitled the ‘The Social Life of Paper’.

On Friday 24 May there will be a one day research symposium at the Hocken Collections on ‘Paper Work: The Materials and Practices of  Modern Information Cultures’. The programme is below. Please email Tony if you would like to attend:

Paper Work: The Materials and Practices of  Modern Information Cultures

9.20am: Welcome


Barbara Brookes, Committed by Paper: Incoherence and Accountability in the Seacliff Asylum Files

Jane McCabe, The Kalimpong Files: Private and Confidential

Mark Seymour, Pursuing Paper to an Archival Silence: Same-Sex Acts in Nineteenth-Century Italy


Stephen Robertson (University of Sydney), Private Detectives and the Paper Work of Surveillance in the US, 1855-1939

Craig Robertson (Northeastern University), Handling Information: File Clerks, Efficiency, and the Emergence of the Modern Office


Tim Rowse (University of Western Sydney), Tabulating Indigenous Populations: Colonial Knowledge in Two Dimensions

Tony Ballantyne, Paper and the Work of Empire: Bureaucracy and British Colonialism

Colonial Origins of NZ Politics and Government

On Friday March 8th, members of the Centre gave presentations on aspects of the colonial   origins of New Zealand politics and government.  This was our contribution to the “conversation” with the Constitutional Advisory Panel, a body established by the government to canvass public views on the constitution.  This was a public event, held at the Otago Museum, and attended by a variety of people throughout the day.  Present were two panel members, Peter Chin and Sir Tipene O’Regan, and the panel’s administrative organiser, Lison Harris.

John Stenhouse gave a paper on ‘The Secular State?’

Professor Tony Ballantyne, the Centre director, welcomed those attending, and this was followed by talks on theimpact of religion (Assoc Prof John Stenhouse); the political aspirations of early colonists (Prof Ballantyne); how rangatiratanga was understood in the colonial period (Dr Lachy Paterson); Māori voting patterns (Dr Paerau Warbrick-Anderson); iwi and the state (Dr Michael Stevens); the making of modern politics (Prof Tom Brooking); and the relationship between art and politics (Assoc Prof Mark Stocker).  To round off the day, Sir Tipene O’Regan and Prof Erik Olssen offered their thoughts on the day’s events.

Check out more images here on the Department of History and Art History Facebook page.


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