School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses

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    The Paper Negatives of Reverend George Wilson Bridges: A Preliminary Investigation into their History, Materials and Techniques
    Gourley, Belinda Mia ( 2023-03)
    The Reverend George Wilson Bridges (1788-1863) was an English clergyman, writer and early photographer who lived in and travelled extensively through Jamaica, Canada, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. He played a significant part within a group of nineteenth-century British photographers, learning the paper negative and salted paper print processes from their inventor, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) and other associates during the mid-1840s. Bridges created his photographs during his travels around the Mediterranean and the Middle East between 1846-52, and published some of these upon his return to England. His production of images was reasonably prolific, however, for numerous reasons his photographic work appeared to not gain much attention during his lifetime and these days are considered relatively obscure and an adjunct to the work of his mentors. This research explores the life and work of this fascinating character through the lens of fourteen paper negatives attributed to Bridges that are held in the collections of Museums Victoria (MV). The focus is to begin understanding and identifying of the scope of photographic works created by this relatively unexamined photographer, and then more specifically, the photographic materials and techniques he used to create his paper negatives. The results of this research are intended to inform future methods of care for the works in the MV Collection, and more broadly, to advance the collective understanding of Bridges’ overall photographic oeuvre and begin filling a significant gap in scholarly knowledge of this area. This investigation begins with a review of the historic literature written about Bridges’ life and photographic career, comparing secondary accounts against the historic primary sources they are derived from, and exploring what photographic works are generally believed to have been created by him. In particular, numerous letters written by Bridges in which he explains his working methods, materials, and various issues he had with resulting images are interrogated. This discussion draws upon the significant number of secondary and primary resources that describe Talbot’s methods of producing paper negatives and salted paper prints, in which Bridges’ practice was based. The second part of the thesis documents and collates results gained from visually examining a range of paper negatives attributed to Bridges. It begins by reviewing how other conservation professionals have conducted similar studies of nineteenth-century paper negatives and salted paper prints in the past and details the visual examination and documentation methods that were developed and utilised in this study. Two sets of results are then presented and discussed. The first set of results is derived from the visual examination of 44 paper negatives attributed to Bridges in three other collecting institutions, and the second is from visual examination of 14 such works in the MV collection. Following this, a final third section details the overall results obtained from all four collections. Results are discussed in the light of the earlier review of historic literature about Bridges and observable trends are drawn out to create a sketch of the characteristic elements of his paper negatives. Discussion of the results from the MV collection in particular, focusses on where those works fit into the broader context of his oeuvre, and how the results of these investigations may influence the future care of this collection. The study finishes by listing numerous recommendations for further study on the topic.
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    Romans, Religion, and Residences. Investigating the relationship of domestic cult spaces and Roman homes throughout Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Iberian Peninsula.
    Cooper, Robyn Margaret ( 2023-03)
    Using domestic cult spaces as a source material, this project explores how the nature of space within Roman residences interacted with and influenced on the expression of religious beliefs. As domestic cult spaces acted as ritual centres, they can reveal much about how a household’s beliefs interacted with the wider domestic sphere. Using domestic cult spaces from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Iberian Peninsula, over 800 cult spaces were compiled into a database and analysed both spatially and statistically. Several methods were employed, such as space syntax, with a focus on location, function, decoration, accessibility, and visibility. This project produced several significant results, with the aim of increasing our understanding of the interaction between religious and domestic space in Roman residences as well as providing new insights into Roman domestic religion as a whole.
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    Divergent Dominions: Comparing Pre-First World War Defence Policies of British Dominions and their Effects on the Introduction of Wartime Conscription
    McCall, Natham Oliver ( 2023-01)
    By the third year of the First World War, the voluntary enlistment rates in Australia, Canada and New Zealand had fallen to a level that could not be relied upon to sustain the dominion’s expeditionary forces in France, Belgium and the Middle East. Individually, the leaders of each dominion concluded that in order to maintain their war efforts abroad, their governments would need to introduce conscription. New Zealand successfully introduced a conscription policy in August 1916 while Canada followed in September the following year despite strong opposition from the French-speaking population. In Australia, two efforts were made to introduce conscription via plebiscite, one in 1916 and another in 1917. Both failed to secure a majority ‘Yes’ vote and so Australia continued to rely on a voluntary system to provide reinforcements to its expeditionary forces. Why these three dominions responded to calls for conscription in such different ways, despite the similarities that existed between them, is a field of research that has not yet been thoroughly explored. Even less well explored are the impacts of pre-war policies, ideologies and attitudes on the wartime efforts to introduce conscription. This thesis will explore those pre-war factors and embed them in our understanding of how the conscription efforts in each dominion developed and why they developed differently. Examining how those pre-war factors shaped the defence policies of the dominions prior to the war and linking them with the forces that supported and opposed wartime conscription allows us to better investigate the interplay between politics and societies during wartime. The three cases explored in this thesis were chosen due to the relative similarities between them in regards to their statuses as British dominions, origins as settler/colonist societies, political traditions and societal makeup. Just as important to the similarities between cases are the differences. The influential and vocal French speaking population of Canada sets it apart from the other dominions in this study while the strength of the labour movement and its political arm in the Australian Labor Party does the same in Australia. While each dominion could boast of its strong ties with Britain, the New Zealand people considered themselves to be particularly close both culturally and politically, denoting that country as more willing to act in a way that better benefited the British Empire. These factors led to varied responses to pre-war defence issues and calls for greater dominion partnership in imperial defence. In examining pre-war factors, it is clear that in many cases, the factors that tended to support or oppose pre-war compulsionists schemes would be the same that supported or opposed wartime conscription policies. For example, in Australia, the Australian Labor Party prior to the war had restricted the sending of conscripted men outside of Australian territory. During the war, the same party would oppose the introduction of conscription. In Canada, French-Canadian support for the Liberal government had, prior to 1911, seen the Canadian government work to temper imperialist and militarist policies to placate Quebecois opposition. From 1911, the Liberal government had been replaced by the conservative government of Robert Borden which did not depend on support from the French-speaking population. This would culminate in the Borden government pursuing conscription in 1917 as an election policy. The resultant electoral win for Borden would destroy the Liberal opposition and cement support for conscription in Canada. The situation in New Zealand was markedly different from both Australia and New Zealand. Widespread pre-war support for both compulsory military training and conscription for overseas service translated into widespread public calls for conscription in 1916. By examining the factors that influenced pre-war dominion national defence and imperial defence policies, this thesis will examine how those factors would in turn influence the outcomes of the varied wartime conscription debates and further explain why the debates had such varied outcomes.
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    “Romantic, idealistic, fiercely partisan”: emotion and the Communist Party of Australia, 1920-1945
    Sellers, Tonia Louise ( 2022)
    This thesis questions and explores the role of emotion in the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), 1920-1945. During this time, the CPA grew from a small fringe group to the dominant force in Australia’s Far-Left, and members’ lived experiences of Party life varied widely. Through the use of oral history interviews, autobiographies, and CPA publications, this research seeks to understand how Party authorities wanted members to experience emotions, and how they hoped these emotions would manifest in individuals’ behaviour. It demonstrates ways that individual members responded to these expectations, and aims to show how communists managed and expressed their feelings in this environment.
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    Beyond an Antagonistic Approach: the Role of Universalism in the Formation of Koine Culture
    Matanis, Athanasios ( 2022)
    Classical scholarship has tended to emphasise dichotomies and polarity when addressing the topic of Greek/non-Greek relations in antiquity. This anachronistic paradigm however is insufficient for understanding the multidimensional nature of Greek/non-Greek interactions and exchange during the Hellenistic period. Rather, this thesis argues the dominant strategy adopted in cases of Greek/non-Greek interactions were both sides appealing to certain similarities and commonalities (universalism) that would allow diverse cultural traditions to bridge the gaps between them and overcome barriers to acculturation and exchange.
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    Distaff Displacement: Narratives of Female Exile in Ovidian Poetry
    Zindilis, Stephanie Sara-Rose ( 2022)
    Displacement is a torment experienced by numerous women in Ovid’s Heroides and Fasti. Reading these episodes from a gendered perspective reveals nuances in the female vs. male experience of exile, broadening understanding of how exile is experienced by women and its impact on their psychology, agency, and identity. These episodes explore the myriad of factors that can influence a woman’s success or failure in finding refuge, and how gender and exile intersect to create an oppressive cycle of dual-marginalisation. The increased vulnerability of exiled women provides a powerful model for Ovid to voice his own experience of displacement in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto. Thematic and linguistic echoes link his pre- and post-exilic work, bridging poetic fact and fiction to identify the poet with his characters through the shared experience of social exclusion and persecution by a more dominant, masculine force.
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    On the relationship between the infinite and finite, and between adequate and inadequate knowledge in Spinoza's philosophy
    Mickova, Josipa ( 2021)
    The relationship between substance and modes is an enduring problem in Spinoza studies. How this relationship is understood is consequential on all aspects of Spinoza’s tightly–knit philosophical system. This thesis focuses on two problems downstream from this core issue, namely the relationship between the infinite and finite, and that between adequate and inadequate knowledge, both of which are also matters of ongoing debate. I propose new solutions to these problems that avoid the consequences of fatalism and escapism that, I suggest, are endemic in dominant solutions to these problems in the contemporary Anglo–American literature. The latter are characteristic of naturalising renderings of Spinoza’s system that, I suggest, level the ontological ground between substance and modes, thereby construing substance as a top–down force that determines modes. By contrast, I maintain an ontological distinction through a bottom–up model, on which substance becomes the determining ground that determines modes insofar as it enables them to be modes. My solution explains the relationship between substance and modes through Spinoza’s causal apparatus, which allows for these downstream problems to be reframed and thereby dissolved.
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    Pragmatic Silencing
    Johan Abdullah Munday, Sakinah Nadiah ( 2021)
    Philosophers have long theorised that we use our words not just to communicate ideas, but also to perform everyday actions known as ‘speech acts’. More recently, feminist philosophers have argued that speakers, particularly individuals from marginalised groups, might be systematically and unjustly prevented from performing certain speech acts. This idea has sparked a wealth of work in feminist philosophy of language, commonly referred to as the ‘silencing’ literature. Because the term ‘silencing’ is broad, and other terms are theoretically laden, I suggest we label the phenomenon ‘pragmatic silencing’. The question of how we should conceive of this nuanced form of silencing is not yet settled. My goal is to contribute to this enquiry. Specifically, I explore two questions. First, what do we want to achieve with a concept like pragmatic silencing? That is, what are the political and social aims for implementing such a concept? Second, given these aims, how should the concept be constructed, and which (if any) theoretical tools are most apt for the job? In answering these questions, I sketch how the notion of pragmatic silencing has the potential to radically challenge existing mainstream paradigms around ideas of language use and its value, paradigms that are often socially and politically detrimental to marginalised speakers. I then argue that, to realise this potential, we should not articulate pragmatic silencing through an intentionalist lens. Instead, I advocate for an amended conventionalist framework: our understanding of pragmatic silencing should account for the central role of social norms in constraining and enabling speech acts.
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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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    Disjunctivism, Perceptual Capacities and Our Point of View on the World
    Rajaratnam, Alisha ( 2021)
    Negative Disjunctivism is a frequently misunderstood position. Disjunctivists of this stripe hold that all that can be said about the phenomenal character of a hallucination of an F is that it is introspectively indiscriminable from a veridical perception of an F to an subject (Martin 2004; 2006). Many take this account to be unsatisfying in that it fails to account for the sensory nature of hallucinations. What critics are missing is that introspective indiscriminability, when properly interpreted, characterizes a subject’s apparent point of view which is sufficient for phenomenal consciousness. I argue that a positive claim can be derived from Martin’s (2006) position, that characterizes a subject’s apparent perceptual ‘point of view’ which is sufficient for phenomenal consciousness. I argue that the notion of a ‘perceptual capacity’ can bolster Martin’s notion of a ‘point of view.’ The following are two constraints that a disjunctivist approach must adhere to: Constraint 1: The indiscriminability of a hallucination from a veridical perception to a subject does not entail that the two share introspectable phenomenal properties in common. Constraint 2: The phenomenal character of a hallucination must be characterized derivatively from a veridical perception. I develop a proposal that utilizes Schellenberg’s (2018) Perceptual Capacity Approach to specify a ‘point of view’ in terms of a subject exercising perceptual capacities to discriminate and single out. In doing so, I argue that my proposal meets constraint 1 & constraint 2, staying true to Disjunctivism.