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Category Archives: Research Seminar

Inter-Colonial Exchange, Rivalry, and Cooperation in New Guinea: 1890-1945

Maaike Derksen, who is a Visiting Scholar with the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, will present a research seminar on Wednesday 2 November on her current research relating to New Guinea. The talk begins at 11am in Te Iringa Kōrero (R3S10), on the third floor of Te Tumu: School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. We hope to see you there on November 2nd!

 

Abstract

The 141 Meridian East was established as a colonial border across the Island of New Guinea in 1895. This border divided New Guinea and the adjacent Islands among three foreign powers; the Netherlands, Germany and Britain (later Australia). Nowadays it still effectively acts as one of colonial cartography’s boundaries, separating ‘Asia’ from ‘the Pacific’. In colonial and contemporary maps of (South) East Asia alike, one can see that Papua New Guinea is often curiously absent, while maps of the Pacific stop short of the New Guinea boundary. In this talk I examine the ways in which New Guinea offers an excellent opportunity to explore imperial interconnections and historicize the exchanges, rivalries, and cooperation that resulted.

The last decade, New Imperial scholarship has paid attention to (trans) imperial networks and the connection between motherland and colony within individual colonies. However, this neglects the economic, political, cultural, religious, migratory and cross-cultural entanglements that took place across the peripheries— between ‘neighboring’ colonies. The approach I propose challenges nationalist views of colonialism as well as such rigid views of ‘colonial’ boundaries. With a narrow lens of regional history (New Guinea) combined with the conceptual approach of inter-colonial entanglements I will be able to emphasize the complexities and messy realities of colonial encounters. Especially when entanglements between different actors are highlighted, one can see that colonial boundaries were fluid— that there was movement of goods, knowledge, and people, a formation of networks, shared internal and external threats to security. New Guinea offers numerous cases of cross-border exchange that are worth exploring; the establishment of colonial authority/administration; the networks of traders, pearl divers and bird of paradise hunters, the missionary endeavor of studying, civilizing and converting the indigenous population; the exploring, mapping of the region via scientific and military expeditions; the ‘pacification’ process, the invasion of Japan.

 

Biography

Maaike Derksen is a PhD candidate in  at the History Department and Institute for Gender studies at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. Her research interests focus on colonial history, Christian missions, colonial anthropology, scientific expeditions and the Pacific War in the Dutch East Indies.

 

Screen Wars: Remaking the New Zealand Wars in Celluloid and Pixels

Centre member, Associate Professor Annabel Cooper, is presenting a video conference seminar for the The Identities Network: Constructing and Contesting Dominant Identities in Aotearoa on Tuesday 1 November, beginning at 3pm.

Annabel will be discussing her current project Screen Wars: Remaking the New Zealand Wars in Celluloid and Pixels, a book on screen productions relating to the New Zealand Wars, from 1925 until the present day. The book covers fictional and non-fictional treatments, and film, television and digital media. One distinctive quality that they all share makes screen stories a particularly significant mode of making history about the colonial past: their creation involves both Māori and Pākehā actors, historical advisors, and to greater or lesser extent, crew. For most of these productions the film-makers also elected to film at or near historical locations. So, film productions operate as sites of encounter as well as sites of knowledge production. To what extent are the traces of these encounters, and these whenua, apparent on the screen? Each of these productions created a colonial past for a specific present. This body of successive reiterations provides an index to cultural memory of the colonial past. So, the question of which historical events seemed most compelling to successive generations, how the same figures were rendered at different historical moments, and the shifting emotional registers as the wars came to be thought of in different ways, is also central to this study.

In this session Annabel will take two examples from her book to discuss the way each is shaped by the tangata and the whenua of their production, by their filming on location, and by the traces of their presents as they render their pasts.

Venue: Your University videoconference room or your desktop
Time: Tuesday 1 November, 3 – 4pm
Register: Email Melanie m.milicich@auckland.ac.nz stating the seminar name and venue Chair: Avril Bell

 

Public Lecture on Visualizing Cultural Heritage

The Department of English and Linguistics, the Postcolonial Studies Research Network, and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture are pleased to host Professor Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, from 14-18 March, 2016. Professor Ghosh-Schellhorn holds the Inaugural Chair in Transcultural Anglophone Studies at Saarland University. Her wide-ranging research areas include literary and cultural studies, popular culture, intermediality, popular and art-house film, diaspora studies, memory studies, museology, material culture, pedagogy and curriculum development and the canon.

While at Otago, she will give two presentations, to which all are invited.

Open Lecture

Tuesday 15 March, 5.15pm-6.15pm, Archway 2 Lecture Theatre

Hosted by The Postcolonial Studies Research Network and the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture

“Re-Configuring Government Houses: Virtual Models and Life-Worlds in Transcultural Perspective”

This talk concerns a fresh approach to visualizing cultural heritage in a Transcultural Anglophone Studies (TAS) context. In collaboration with Artificial Intelligence experts, we have undertaken research into the material history of Empire so as to re-visit received historiographies with an aim to revising them in the light of contemporary analytical tools. The focus is on British Government Houses in transcultural perspective.

What was it like to live in a British Government House? I would like to use TAS’s xml 3D virtual model of Government House Calcutta (1803-) to demonstrate the advantages of using computer technology to support research into the field of colonial architecture by incorporating into it evidence of the various life-worlds found here. Besides taking a virtual 360o tour of the building and its grounds, we will also be zooming in to one of its most representative interiors, the Throne Room. Accompanying us on our tour are a selection of the epistolary, autobiographical, as well as pictorial materials left us by the former incumbents of the House, the objects that they chose to be surrounded by, and the current use to which this still-functioning edifice is being put.

 

Department of English and Linguistics seminar presentation

Friday 18 March, 4.00-m-5.00pm, in Burns 4 Lecture Theatre

“Representing the Beautiful Forevers: Subaltern Lives Straight From the Page to the Stage?”

This talk, freely borrowed as its title is from Katherine Boo’s National Book Award winner, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (2012), seeks to address the problematic field of the so-called ‘Third World’ slum. I will be looking at Boo’s text as a project that sets out to (re-)present, for a ‘global’ readership, the lives of these Others, before moving to a recent example of another ‘global’ project: the much praised Behind the Beautiful Forevers as scripted by David Hare and performed by the National Theatre (Nov. 2014 – April 2015). What, we could ask, are the consequences when Boo’s narrative about Mumbai slum ‘dwellers’ [sic] is adapted for a mainstream British stage? Should we join the critics in their almost unanimous praise of a successful and, moreover, prescient transcultural stage production that claims to be ‘epic theatre’? What exactly are the implications of this packaging for consumption of subaltern life-narratives?

 

In Search of Almighty Voice

In this talk Professor Bill Waiser examines why the Willow Cree man Almighty Voice was the most wanted fugitive in Canada in the late nineteenth century and how his story and fate have been interpreted since his violent 1897 death at the hands of the North West Mounted Police.

The Centre is delighted to be hosting award-winning historian Bill Waiser (University of Saskatchewan), who will give a talk on his current research project on Wednesday March 9th in Burns 5 (Arts Building), beginning at 3.30.

Bill specializes in western Canadian history. He has been awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, granted a D.Litt., and is a University of Saskatchewan Distinguished Chair (Distinguished Professor Emeritus). His most notable publications include: Saskatchewan: A New History (2005), winner of the Clio Prize, Canadian Historical Association; and with Blair Stonechild, Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion (1997), a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction.

This talk is free and open to the public. Please come along!

 

History, Psychotherapy, Families and Mental Illness

These topics were all covered by Associate Professor Sally Swartz (University of Cape Town) in two talks at the University of Otago on February 18th. Sally is a clinical psychologist and directs the Child Guidance Clinic at her university, teaches in the Department of Psychology, and combines these roles with an interest in history. She has published extensively on colonial asylums, mobility and mental illness in South Africa. Her latest book is Homeless Wanderers: Movement and Mental Illness in the Cape Colony in the late nineteenth century (UCT Press, 2015).

While in Dunedin Sally gave a brilliant workshop, The Archive and the Person: History and Psychotherapy, reflecting on the intersections between her two areas of expertise. She discussed the various ways in which her work as a clinical psychologist influences and shapes the way she intervenes in and reads colonial archives, particularly asylum case files. She explained how psychotherapy and history can be brought together in meaningful ways, particularly in relation to interpreting and understanding the embodied experiences of patients and families.

Associate Professor Swartz

Associate Professor Swartz

Sally also gave a public lecture entitled Families, Emotion and Attachment: Insights from the Past to the Present, in which she discussed how families kept their links, or didn’t, with their relatives in mental institutions. Experiences varied, but South Africa’s Jewish community, in particular, was one group that actively supported each other in times of family breakdown and stress. Those who lacked family support were less fortunate. From both these talks, Sally demonstrated that some aspects of mental health have not changed, notably the parsimonious official funding for psychiatric health services. Medical knowledge, though, has advanced immeasurably.

CRoCC was pleased to host Sally, and thanks Barbara Brookes for inviting her to Dunedin.

Sally Swartz and Barbara Brookes

Sally Swartz and Barbara Brookes

 

Narratives of Colonial Conflict

This afternoon CRoCC member Associate Professor Annabel Cooper is presenting her research in the Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work seminar series. The topic is ‘Narrating Colonial Conflict in the Early 1980s: Some Reflections on the Culture Moment of Utu‘. Her seminar examines how Utu re-makes the colonial past within a tumultuous present. It traces the film’s links to a series of documentaries of the same era, including Bastion Point – Day 507 (Mita, Narbey, Pohlmann, 1980), The Bridge – A Story of Men in Dispute (Pohlmann, Mita, 1982), and Patu! (Mita, 1983), and to the drama series The Governor (1977); and it investigates the contributions of significant individuals involved in the production, including Keith Aberdein, Wi Kuki Kaa, Merata Mita, and Anzac Wallace.

Annabel’s seminar begins at 3pm this afternoon at 530 Castle Street (530 C1).

 

Dunedin’s Genetic Inheritance and Caribbean Cultural Thought.

The Centre has recently hosted two riveting research-based talks.

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Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith

The first, on Sunday 10 May, was part of the Centre’s ongoing project, Global Dunedin.  Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith, a biological anthropologist from Genetics Otago gave a public lecture at Toitū: Otago Settlers Museum, “Who do you think you are – Dunedin?”

Lisa discussed the genetic ancestry of Dunedin’s population based on the testing of randomly selected DNA samples.  This research is part of  the “Africa to Aotearoa” project, in which Lisa looks at the deep ancestry of New Zealanders, which in turn is part of a wider international study, the Genographic project, funded in part by National Geographic.   While one might  suspect that Dunedin’s genetic make-up is essentially homogenous from its Scottish heritage, the research shows just how diverse Dunedin’s population is, in line with other major cities in New Zealand.

IMG_5574

Dr Aaron Kamugisha

On Thursday, May 15 visiting scholar Dr Aaron Kamugisha gave a CRoCC seminar, “The Caribbean’s Intellectual History through Culture”. Aaron discussed the global impact of Caribbean theorist’s, particularly CLR James, amongst others, on the development and dissemination of anti-colonial thought and intellectual traditions. He placed these theorists in the context of the development of two threads of intellectual history: Caribbean Studies and Caribbean Cultural Studies, but argued that these thinkers ought to be understood in term of Caribbean radical thought.

 

 

Caribbean Intellectual History

On Thursday 14 May the Centre for Research on Colonial Culture is running a research seminar. The speaker is Dr Aaron Kamugisha who teaches cultural studies, the history of political thought & intellectual history at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. His recent publications include Caribbean Political Thought: The Colonial State to Caribbean Internationalisms (Kingston: Ian Randle, 2013), an edited collection Caribbean Political Thought: Theories of the Post-Colonial State (Kingston: Ian Randle, 2013); and another collection co-edited with Yanique Hume, Caribbean Cultural Thought: From Plantation to Diaspora (Kingston: Ian Randle, 2013).

Dr. Kamugisha’s talk is titled “The Caribbean’s Intellectual History Through Culture” and will be held at 1pm in 2N8 in the History Department’s Seminar Room.

All are welcome.

Visiting Fellow

The Centre for Research on Colonial Culture is very pleased to be hosting Dr. Patricia O’Brien, an ARC Future Fellow based at the Australian National University. In 2012 she was the JD Stout Fellow in New Zealand Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, and in 2011 she was the Jay I. Kislak Fellow in American Studies at the John W. Kluge Centre at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. From 2001-2013 she was visiting Associate Professor in the Centre for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She is the author of The Pacific Muse: Exotic Femininity and the Colonial Pacific (Seattle, 2006) and is currently working on a biography of Samoan nationalist leader Ta’isi O. F. Nelson.

Dr. O’Brien is visiting the Centre until March 24th and while in Dunedin will be giving two research talks. Her first talk is on Wednesday March 18th in the Department of History and Art History (Burns 5, from 3.30) on ‘Ta’isi O. F. Nelson and the Mau: Australian Dimensions to New Zealand and Samoan History’. On March 23rd she will present a paper to Te Tumu: School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies called ‘The Trials of Mr Nelson: Ta’isi O. F. Nelson and Indigenous Resistance in Interwar Samoa’. This talk will take in Cen3 (Central Library) from 2.30.

We hope to see you at both talks!

 

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!’

 

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