School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses

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    Death, devotion, and despair: examining women’s authorial contributions to the early modern English ars moriendi
    Bigaran, Ilaria Meri ( 2017)
    This thesis examines women’s intervention into the English ars moriendi genre over the course of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It focuses on three printed works: Rachel Speght’s 'Mortalities Memorandum, with a Dreame Prefixed' (1621), Alice Sutcliffe’s 'Meditations of Man's Mortalitie, Or, A Way to True Blessednesse' (1634), and Lady Frances Norton’s 'Memento Mori: or Mediations on Death' (1705). Expanding upon previous research in this field, this thesis provides the first comparative historical study of all three texts and their authors. It frames these printed works both as meditations on religious practice, and as carefully constructed responses to contemporary debates concerning religious expression, female authority in matters of devotion, learning, and authorship, and cultural standards of appropriate emotional expression.
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    In Black and White: The rise, fall and on-going consequences of a racial slur in Australian newspapers
    Farley, Simon ( 2019)
    In Australia, racism cannot be extricated from settler expropriation of indigenous labour. In this thesis, I trace this entanglement through the lens of a single word – ‘nigger’ – as it has appeared in Australian print media in reference to Aboriginal people and Papuans, from when the term gained currency in the 1860s until its dwindling nearly a century later. I argue that increasing use of ‘nigger’ represented a shift in the way settlers perceived these peoples. Settlers began to conceive of indigenous peoples less as primitive savages or land-occupying natives and more as an exploitable source of cheap labour. This occurred as part of a global process, as Europeans and especially Neo-Europeans consolidated and invested in a dichotomous discourse of race, increasingly figuring themselves as ‘white’ and those whose bodies and labour they exploited as ‘black’. While the use of the slur itself rose and fell, the hierarchical racial schemata of which it was the herald are yet to be dismantled.
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    Survival, camraderie and aspirations: the intimate lives of Chinese and Vietnamese women in Melbourne's 1990s textiles industry
    Lu, Vivian ( 2019)
    This thesis examines the working subjectivities of female Chinese and Vietnamese textiles workers in 1990s Melbourne, with a particular focus on raced and gendered agencies. While traditional labour historians elucidate worker resistance through protest and trade union dynamics, such a framework does little to account for the 'hidden' agency of migrant workers who were outwardly circumspect and forbearing. Drawing extensively on oral history interviewing and diasporic memory, this thesis takes a ‘history from below’ approach and hones in on the intimate, personal dimensions of garment factory work that were central to the contestation of power. In doing so, it demonstrates how persistence and tacit expressions of resistance in the workplace amongst Chinese and Vietnamese textiles workers were located in interpersonal factory relationships, class aspirations and motherhood.
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    Green bans forever: the public and the Press in the 1970s Sydney green ban movement
    Hogg, James ( 2019)
    This thesis recounts the relationship between the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation and the Press in Sydney between 1970-1975. The thesis contends that the Press maintained an adversarial role in the 'green ban' movement, despite prior claims in the historiography that criticisms of the movement waned as it grew in size and significance.
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    The Forgotten Broadcaster: Alan Bell and the Spirit of England
    Goonetileke, Harshini ( 2018)
    From Prologue: As he stepped off the boat at Circular Quay, Alan Bell was wonderstruck. “Was it England I had come from?” he asked, “or some misty outer planet?”1 England, with its wintery landscape seemed a whole world away when Bell met the lazy blue skies of Australia in May 1942. Having spent weeks at sea, the well-known London journalist had arrived in Sydney fascinated by the country he would call home for the duration of the war.2 Melbourne would be the city from which he played his part in the conflict as a radio broadcaster for 3DB.3 Every night of the week, except Saturday and Sunday, Bell delivered ten minute talks that discussed and analysed Australia’s involvement in the war.4 His broadcasts served as a propaganda service that demonstrated a clear bias towards Britain’s war effort in Europe, informing his listeners that defeat of Hitler was more necessary to the war effort than defeating the Japanese in the Pacific………
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    Australia's Monumental Women: Pioneer Women's Memorial Gardens and the Making of Gendered Settler-Colonial Place
    Gardiner, Thea ( 2019)
    From its inception in the nineteenth century, Australia’s public commemorative landscape has centred on a white, nationalist and masculine identity. In recent years, Australian public memorials have been subject to increasing public and academic scrutiny. Occupying public space, colonial monuments legitimise settler-colonial narratives of Indigenous dispossession, effacing Indigenous histories, counter-narratives, and claims to land. An important absence from this debate over physical markers of historical consciousness in Australia is the discussion of memorials dedicated to white settler women. These monuments make up only twenty per cent of all Australian monuments, those conceived of and produced by women even less. Australia’s ‘monumental women’ are in need of critical historiographical analysis as the question ‘whose history are we telling?’ continues to permeate both public and academic historical debate. As is broadly accepted in Australian historiography, white settler women – at once coloniser and colonised – contributed to the processes of colonisation in a myriad of ways. The analysis of their historical markers of memory is challenging yet necessary historiographical terrain if Australia is to reconcile with its settler-colonial past and present and find new ways of memorialising in the future.
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    Collection, collation & creation: girls and their material culture Victoria, 1870-1910
    Gay, Catherine ( 2018)
    The thesis broadly explores the lives of girls who resided in the colony/state of Victoria, Australia between 1870 and 1910. A largely understudied and underappreciated area of historical study, the thesis takes a broad scope. Three case studies- urban girls’ collection of dolls, rural girls’ collation of scrapbooks, and Indigenous Victorian girls’ creation of fibrecraft- illustrate that tangible material culture can serve as evidence for intangible and marginalised histories. It overarchingly contended that girls, in any historical period, can express agency and resilience, individuality and creativity, through their material culture. In interacting with their day-to-day, seemingly mundane things, girls challenged, however subtly, repressive societal ideals that attempted to circumscribe their identities and their lives.
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    Beyond boycotts: Melbourne's response to Japanese aggression in China, 1937-1939
    Cook, Emily ( 2018)
    University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) History Thesis.
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    The unseen victors: the Royal Australian Engineers in the forgotten New Guinea campaigns
    Stewart, Francis ( 2018)
    This thesis argues that the road, bridge and overall infrastructure creation undertaken by the Royal Australian Engineers during World War Two were crucial to the success of the New Guinea campaigns, particularly the Lae-Salamaua (22nd April 1943 - 16th September 1943) and Huon Peninsula campaigns (22nd September 1943-15th January 1944). The roads and bridges built by the Royal Australian Engineers were vital to the movement of supplies and troops through the jungles and mountains of New Guinea and this infrastructure also enabled the successful deployment of both tanks and artillery in the jungle. The thesis further argues that, despite the importance of these engineering efforts, army engineering and the ingenuity it involved, has been ignored in Australia's military history which instead focuses on narratives of sacrifice and glory.