School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses

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    Revisiting Anzac in the Wake of World War Two: Memory and Identity in the Post-War Period, 1945-1960
    Donohoe-Marques, Anton Tarrant ( 2021)
    This thesis explores how war remembrance—in the form of commemorative observance and the building of memorials—developed in Australia in the period that followed World War Two, from 1945 to 1960. It investigates three key questions. First, what was the nature of the interplay between post-World War Two memorialisation and commemoration and the remembrance traditions that had been established during World War One and the interwar period? Second, how was Australia’s post-World War Two remembrance shaped by the particular social, political, and economic circumstances of the period? And finally, what influence did the process and practice of post-World War Two remembrance have on changing conceptions of the Anzac legend and Australian national identity? In addressing these questions, this study contains five distinct case studies, each of which explores a different aspect of war remembrance between 1945 and 1960. These case studies examine the building of memorials, the efforts of veterans to enact remembrance projects, the observance of Anzac Day, the construction of cemeteries overseas, and interactions between Australian war remembrance and foreign diplomacy. In large part these case studies investigate the Australian state’s efforts to enact control over memorialisation and commemoration. However, the thesis also explores various responses to these projects, analysing how resistance from people outside of government, particularly from veterans of both world wars, was an integral part of how war remembrance in the period took shape. Between 1945 and 1960 there was significant change in the ways that Australians remembered war. During World War One and the interwar period, Australians commemorated the war by building around 1,500 memorials, erected in towns and cities across the country. It was also during World War One that Australians began to observe Anzac Day each year on 25 April. But with the advent of a second global conflict, a new range of perspectives, experiences, and memories were incorporated into this pre-existing culture of war remembrance. Forms of commemoration also reflected the shifting circumstances of Australian society. In the post-World War Two period, communities grew rapidly through migration, industrialisation, and economic expansion. It was also a time in which a new generation of veterans returned and reintegrated into society. Finally, Australia was forging a series of new international partnerships during this period. These social, political and economic changes influenced the way that Australians imagined themselves, their place in the world, and the meaning of the Anzac legend. Post-World War Two remembrance was therefore distinguished by an enthusiasm for utilitarian memorials, by the inclusion of new veterans into the fold of war remembrance, and diplomatically, by the representation of new international relationships with the United States and other Pacific nations through commemoration and memorialisation.
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    Contentious Routes: Ireland Questions, Radical Political Articulations and Settler Ambivalence in (White) Australia, c. 1909 - 1923
    Yan, Jimmy H. ( 2021)
    This thesis is a transnational history of the ‘Ireland Question' in the imperial and ethico-political imaginary of radical and labour movements in (‘White’) Australia during the ‘Irish revolutionary period’, broadly conceived. It traces the contestation of 'Ireland' as a political signifier, with attention to its constitutive differences, transnational circuitries, utopian investments, relations of recognition and desire, and articulatory practices. Where previous studies of Irish nationalisms in Australia have deployed 'the nation' as a consensualist category of analysis, this study reinterprets the ‘Ireland Question’ in postnational terms as contentious and within routes. Combining attention to settler-colonial difference with the discursive articulation of political forms, it situates the 'Ireland Question' firstly in relation to the political as a signifier of settler ambivalence, and secondly to politics as a social movement. Drawing on archival research in Australia, Ireland and Britain, it analyses personal papers, letters, political periodicals, state surveillance records, political ephemera and pamphlets. Beyond the 'Ireland Question' in the imperial labour movement, this study affords serious attention to historical dimensions at the hybrid boundaries of ‘long-distance nationalism’ including political travel performances in Ireland, non-nationalist transnational political networks ranging from feminist to socialist connections, and non-Irish political identification with 'Ireland.' It proposes that this unstable play of meanings comprised a heterogeneity of political positions and networks whose convergence during the conjuncture of 1916-1921 was both contingent and politically contested: one that signified in excess of either Australian nationalist historical teleologies or a coherent 'transnational Irish revolution.'
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    P. R. Stephensen and Transnational Fascism: From Interwar Adoption to Postwar Survival and Transmission
    Parro, Joseph Yeno Bromham ( 2021)
    This thesis examines Percy Reginald ‘Inky’ Stephensen (1901 – 1965), Australian author, publisher, authors’ agent, and political activist, in relation to the transnational fascist phenomena of the twentieth century. It challenges previous characterisations of Stephensen as an Australian nationalist first and a fascist second, who retired from political activism after the war. It utilizes the historiographical frameworks of transnational fascism and historical network analysis to position Stephensen within the history of fascism: first as it spread over the globe in the interwar period through complex multidirectional processes of transfer, adoption, adaptation, and recontextualization; and then in the survival of fascism, and its transmission to new generations of actors, through marginalized mutually-re-enforcing subcultural networks after 1945. Fascism as it emerged in Europe deeply resonated with Stephensen’s nationalist vision of a racially homogenous white Australia, and his desire for a cultural and political revolution that would rescue European culture from the decadent liberal-democratic forces that were driving its decline. Australia’s history as a British colony, in particular the violent process of colonization, complicated fascist understandings of violence for Stephensen, but Hitler’s self-declared war against a racial Jewish-Communist enemy became a foundational component of Stephensen’s support for the White Australia Policy. After Stephensen’s release from internment, he played a significant role in the survival and transmission of fascism in Australia by providing emotional and ideological encouragement, validation, and support for like-minded actors, and serving as a conduit for material, information, and ideas in an internationally-connected extreme-Right network that existed in the political margins. Stephensen remained committed to the cause he had adopted prior to internment, and demonstrated an ability to edit his message for different post-war audiences, without compromising his belief in an international Jewish-Communist conspiracy that posed an existential threat to white nations. This thesis contributes to understanding not only the impact that fascism had in Australia, but also the processes by which fascism spread in the interwar period and survived in a hostile post-war environment.
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    Memory and Cooperation: Genocide recognition efforts among Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians in twenty-first century Australia
    Kritikakos, Themistocles ( 2021)
    This thesis examines a unique period in the early twenty-first century when Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians in Australia cooperated to achieve genocide recognition. The Armenian genocide during the First World War (1915) has been commonly associated with genocide in the late Ottoman Empire. Whilst the Armenian genocide has gained international awareness, the persecution of Greeks and Assyrians in the late Ottoman Empire (1914-1923) remains largely unknown. This thesis brings to public attention the intergenerational memories of traumatic experiences of Greeks and Assyrians living in Australia for the first time. Using an oral history method, it investigates the place these memories have in families and communities in Australia. The Greeks and Assyrians, traditionally neglected in the genocide discourse on the late Ottoman Empire, sought recognition alongside the Armenians. There were challenges to establishing a common narrative of victimhood given the Armenians were active in recognition efforts since the 1960s, and the Greeks and Assyrians only became active in the 1990s. The success of Armenian recognition efforts influenced intercommunal dialogue and collaboration in the late twentieth century, which led to solidarity at the turn of the century. By referencing each other’s experiences, and negotiating memories, they developed a common understanding of the past as co-victims of genocide. Genocide recognition was achieved in the Parliament of South Australia (2009) and New South Wales (2013) with the aim of attaining national recognition from the Australian Federal Government. The recognition of their experiences could only be achieved by reimagining the Australian humanitarian response to their plight (1915-1930). The narratives of the three groups became an Australian issue and provided them with a sense of belonging. However, this challenged the shared history between Australia and Turkey surrounding Gallipoli. The Australian connection spearheaded the recognition efforts, and provided new perspectives on Australian history. Nevertheless, the Australian Federal Government is yet to recognise their plight as genocide. Although differences inform how each group remembers the past, remembrance has been negotiated among the three groups to represent a common experience of genocide.
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    A Quarrel with the German People? The Totalising Logic of Enmity, Narratives of Enmity and the “German Question” on the Australian Home Front During the Second World War
    Duan, Trent ( 2021)
    A significant aspect of wartime discourse is the construction, definition and redefinition of in-group and out-group identities which justify, rationalise and strengthen the support and unity behind a war effort. The totalising “logic” of contemporary visions of twentieth century peoples’ wars, and the horrific realities of such conflicts, facilitated the systematic demonisation, dehumanisation and condemnation of entire peoples and nations. Recent scholarship, however, has emphasised the need to account for unique contexts and political, cultural and moral choice when analysing enmity during the Second World War. Such factors rendered the totalisation of enmity during the conflict, and its concurrent “communitarisation” of identities, contextually contingent, conditional, and far from inevitable, notwithstanding the irrevocable momentum of the enmity process in totalising peoples’ wars. This thesis explores the logic of totalising enmity during the Second World War. It analyses Australian public discourse and contemporary framing of the German enemy between 1939 and 1945. It focuses on the dynamic of this logic by exploring the structures, forms and contested nature of various “narratives of enmity” relating to the “German Question” in the Australian context. Reduced to its core, the German Question summarises the polarising debates on the Allied home fronts as to whether the German nation and people, through their national character, history, culture and aims, expressed bellicose intent and complicity with the objectives, ideology and horrors of National Socialism and the Nazi regime. These questions, this thesis posits, heavily influenced wartime enmification and problematised Australian conceptions of the enemy, despite the unanimity of Australian support for a perceived just, defensive, “good” war against Nazism. Qualitative analysis, largely focusing on Australian print media – editorials, foreign correspondence cables, reports, the correspondence columns, published speeches, cartoons and images across a variety of newspapers, magazines, journals – and other published materials, reveals several ambiguous, contested and often contradictory enmity narratives relating to the German people and nation. This thesis demonstrates Australia’s complex response to the totalising logic of enmity. This thesis proposes that totalising narratives of enmity encompassing the German people were far more pronounced in Australian wartime discourse than previously accounted for in the historiography, and grew exponentially as the war progressed. Widely held distinctions between the German people and Nazism professed in the first months of the war evaporated as the war progressed in light of changing wartime contexts. This process, however, remained contested between 1939 and 1945, even though there was a widespread receptiveness to, and expression of, totalising enmity narratives by the end of the conflict. This thesis investigates the intersecting relationship between three major themes in Australian war discourse – totalising enmity, narratives of enmity and the German Question – to further historical understanding of Australian experiences and attitudes under the pressures of a totalising peoples’ war and situate these findings within the broader historiography of such conflicts.
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    Communicable Knowledge: Medical Communication, Professionalisation, and Medical Reform in Colonial Victoria, 1855-66
    Orrell, Christopher Edward Gerard ( 2020)
    This thesis examines the process of medical professionalisation in colonial Victoria from 1855-66. During this eleven-year period the medical profession of colonial Victoria were able to create Australia’s first long lasting medical societies and medical journal, found the first medical school, and receive legislative support of their claims to exclusive knowledge of medicine. The next time an Australian colony would have these institutions created would not be for another 20 years. This thesis examines these developments through a framework of communication, primarily from the medical community itself. Communication was central to the process that resulted in the creation of the above listed institutions. Here communication is examined as the driving force behind the two processes of professionalisation: the internal, community creating and boundary forming aspect; and the external process through which the community gains external recognition of their claims. For Victorian practitioners during the period of this study the internal process drives the creation of the societies, the journal, and the medical school, whereas the external process is typified by the campaign for ‘Medical Reform’ that sees the community engage in agitation for legislative backing of their conception of medicine as science over other alternate medicines. Communication was not isolated within the colony. As such the place of the Victorian medical community as a node within transnational networks of knowledge exchange is examined. As Victoria was better integrated into these networks than its colonial neighbours, an examination of the involvement of said flow of information in the creation of professional communities is considered an important part of this analysis. Behind these processes of community creation, I trace a thread of disunity sparked by professional differences. Highly publicised arguments over differences in medical opinion play out in the colonial press. This comes to a head at the end of the period of study. Despite their focus on communication the medical community ignores the role their public conduct plays in this process. The end result is that, while they were able to create these lasting institutions, their public conduct saw the public’s opinion of them stay low through to the end of the century.
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    Sex, Psychiatry and the Cold War: A Transnational History of Homosexual Aversion Therapy, 1948-1981
    Davison, Katherine Maeve ( 2020)
    Aversion therapy was a method of ‘treatment’ for sexual ‘deviation’ adopted by some psychiatrists and psychologists in the decades following the Second World War. There were several variations of the procedure, but most involved subjecting a patient to nausea or electric shocks while showing them erotically stimulating images in order to de- and re-condition their sexual behaviours. Aversion therapy enjoyed two short but intense waves of clinical experimentation, first in Czechoslovakia (1950-1962), and then in the British world, including Australia (1962-1975). The Sydney psychiatrist Dr Neil McConaghy, a self-declared ‘Marxist’ and himself bisexual, was directly inspired by the Czechoslovakian experiment led by Dr Kurt Freund and promoted the practice in Australia. McConaghy, Freund and some other practitioners of aversion therapy believed themselves to be sympathetic to sexual minorities, rejected the idea that sexual orientation could be changed and supported decriminalisation. How was this possible? The explanation is to be found in the specific context of its emergence: the geopolitical polarisation of the Cold War and a parallel theoretical polarisation within psychological medicine. A behaviourist paradigm based on the ideas of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov gained popularity in contradistinction to Freudian psychoanalytic theories favoured in the United States, and from 1949 was the unofficial doctrine of the Eastern Bloc. As homosexuality became a crucial area for expert research by intelligence and security organisations, technologies of detection and diagnosis turned to behaviourism through emotional observation, visual surveillance, psychometric testing and physiological measurement. In a therapeutic context, the Pavlovian framework was taken up in Western countries by practitioners who sought a more empirical and scientific – and therefore ‘humane’ – approach to clinical practice. Patients, however, did not view the procedure as ‘humane’. Nor did activists in the new social movements for gay and women’s liberation and in 1972 in Australia Neil McConaghy became their number one target. This thesis draws on intelligence documents, medical and psychiatric literature, gay print and radio media, oral history interviews, and a newly discovered archival collection: Neil McConaghy’s personal papers. My research charts shifting understandings of sexual orientation from endocrinological and psychoanalytic theories that were dominant in the first half of the twentieth century, to more emotional and behavioural theories in the post-war period. This shift was accompanied by the development of new technologies of detection and treatment which tied in with post-war modernity’s promotion of scientific and materially efficient machines and methods. My contention is that the influence of Pavlovian ideas in post-war therapeutic approaches to homosexuality can only be understood as part of the transnational Cold War circulation of sexological knowledge. By focusing on the movement of this knowledge from East to West, I hope to contribute to the project of ‘decentering Western sexualities’ (Mizlielinska & Kulpa, 2011) and to emerging scholarship charting the global histories of sexology.