The Centre would like to congratulate recent successes of our members.
Earlier this month the Royal Society of New Zealand announced the successful applicants for its prestigious Marsden Fund. Centre member, Dr Jane McCabe won a three-year Marsden Fast-Start research grant, valued at $300,000 for her new project “Splitting up the farm? A cross-cultural history of land and inheritance in Aotearoa”.
Jane will be investigating two rural districts at different ends of the country, the Taieri in Otago and the Hokianga in Northland, looking at how people of various ethnic backgrounds owned and inherited land. This project marks a shift in focus from Jane’s previous research around her PhD topic on the “Kalimpong Kids” on teenage Indian migrants sent to New Zealand in the early twentieth century.
Last week Centre director, Professor Tony Ballantyne was awarded the Humanities Aronui Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand. This medal recognises his work over time in reshaping scholarly thought on British imperial history. In particular Tony has advanced the metaphor of “webs of empire” to explain the nature of the British Empire, that it was less a wagon wheel, with London as the hub, and more like a spider web with multiple interconnections between nodes.
Humanities Aronui Medal: For innovative work of outstanding merit in the humanities. Citation: To Anthony John Ballantyne for reshaping the scholarly interpretation of British imperial history by demonstrating the importance of networks, cultural difference and mobility, and reconstructing the centrality of colonialism and empires in the making of the modern world.
We are also very pleased to note that Professor Hamish Spencer of Genetics Otago, who co-organized the CROCC symposium ““Eugenics in British Colonial Contexts: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa” in February 2015 was the recipient of the Callaghan Medal “for an outstanding contribution to science communication and raising public awareness of the value of science to human progress” for his work with with Ngai Tāmanuhiri, and the people of Tolaga Bay/Uawa.
Last but not least, it is wonderful news that Professor Barbara Brookes’, A History of New Zealand Women, has been long-listed for the Illustrated Non-Fiction Award for the 2017 Ockham NZ Books Awards. The judges will announce their shortlist on March 7 next year, and the winner will be announced on May 16 at the Auckland Writers Festival. Her book provides a wide-ranging and comprehensive history of New Zealand as seen from a female perspective. Barbara has long been a leader in the field of New Zealand women’s history, with CROCC honouring her and her work at the “Making Women Visible” conference in February this year.
Congratulations to CROCC member, Professor Judy Bennett, who was awarded $710,000 in the recent Marsden Fund round. Her research will explore ‘Constant coconuts: a history of a versatile commodity in the Pacific world’. Judy was also the lead investigator in the the Marsden Fund project ‘Mothers’ Darlings: children of indigenous women and World War Two American servicemen in New Zealand and South Pacific societies’ awarded in 2009.
‘Constant coconuts: a history of a versatile commodity in the Pacific world’.
Within the humid tropics, along the shorelines of atolls and high islands, the coconut palm flourishes, providing food, medicines, cosmetics, and household items for myriad Pacific societies. Yet no commodity history of the coconut exists. As a pathway to understanding globalisation, this research will analyse how from c.1840 onwards, products from the “nut” became commodities, how their production and consumption affected individual communities, power relations, mobility, culture, economies, and environment within the Pacific world and beyond. It will consider why, for most Island societies, the coconut became often the sole export staple, and the consequences of such dependency. A key focus is the fluctuating relationship between production and natural conditions, such as rainfall, as well as external challenges, such as declining markets, which tested indigenous agency. Recently, the coconut’s value as a source of biofuel and health and beauty products has significantly revived production. While the distant past is mainly recorded in archives, this network of producers, marketers, governments, and consumers is accessible to ethnographic methods, such as extended observation. The planned book will combine two perspectives: a) commodity chain analysis to trace economic and social linkages; b) ethnographic investigation. Archival and other documentary research will provide evidence for both.