School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses
Now showing items 1-12 of 1634
Death, devotion, and despair: examining women’s authorial contributions to the early modern English ars moriendi
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.
The Hotel Kurrajong and the public/domestic dichotomy: Women, Work, & Canberra 1926-66
To discover the world of Canberra’s hotels, of which the Hotel Kurrajong is a descendent, is to find a Canberra of women. Women as wives and mothers but also doctors, omnibus entrepreneurs, and bookshop owners. Apart from the Hotel Kurrajong’s managers, Isabelle (Belle) Southwell and Gladys Coles, there were women within and without the hotel who contributed to the making of Canberra. These managers, secretaries, activists, and politicians represent a fraction of the women who lived and worked in Canberra between 1926-66. While the working women of Canberra were more likely to be waitresses than palaeontologists, women were more of a presence in the city in its formative years than is commonly acknowledged. Population records show their percentage of the total population has never been less than thirty-nine per cent. If we accept women were a substantial proportion of the Canberra population from its 1911 inception, we must also accept they were contributing to the city’s culture and workforce. To have a more nuanced understanding of our federal capital’s history, we need to re-examine women’s contribution to the formation and development of that society through a re-evaluation of their paid work.
On the relationship between the infinite and finite, and between adequate and inadequate knowledge in Spinoza's philosophy
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.
Glorious Gardens and Exuberant Grounds: The History of Urban Public Parks in Australia
From the colonial period until the present day, Australia’s urban public parks, botanic gardens, and its sports and recreation grounds have been places of special value, considerable cultural and environmental significance and complex social use. In urban places they are distinctive as locations of ornamental charm and floral allure, of physical recreation and entertainment, of sad and happy remembrance, and as containers of botanical and ecological knowledge. Within the fabric of the city, suburb and country town, they provide space, beauty, community and healthful or spiritual respite. A national study of the social history of the public parks of Australia has never been undertaken, despite the many social, cultural and symbolic roles they have played in the country. This thesis examines the spatial and cultural shaping of Australian urban public parks by a national evaluation of their histories, of the pressures that have affected them, the diversity of their forms and the multiplicity of their use across time and the nation. The thesis also considers aspects of the Australian public park’s development within international contexts, and the extent to which the public park in the nation may be considered an exemplar of modern urban life. Australia’s versions of the botanic garden, public park and outdoor playing field emerged in the first half of the nineteenth century and new ones have been added to urban places ever since. The evolution of such parks has been influenced by the growth of the modern city, the rise of the botanical sciences, new forms of recreation, public participation, political and community contestations, and changing ideas about urban land use, aesthetics, knowledge, health, entertainment, commemoration, heritage, nature and the environment, and who (and what) has rights to public space.
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.
P. R. Stephensen and Transnational Fascism: From Interwar Adoption to Postwar Survival and Transmission
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.
The Outer Circle Railway: Boroondara’s aspiration for a much-derided nineteenth-century railway
The Outer Circle Railway (OCR) was the last urban railway built in Melbourne in the nineteenth century. Historians subsequently described this ten-mile cross-radial railway as strange, notorious and a ‘white elephant’. This thesis corrects the largely negative characterisation of the OCR as a metaphor for government excess, political self-interest and the result of corrupt land boomers in the late 1880s. By examining the OCR's history forwards rather than in hindsight, this thesis argues that OCR was consistently supported and promoted by local communities, such as Boroondara, from the early 1870s. The thesis posits that the OCR was a logical aspiration given the economic incentives faced by Melbourne’s shires and their desire to influence the direction of economic development in their favour. This thesis describes the political and economic circumstances that led to an almost two-decade delay in the OCR's realisation, a delay ultimately fatal to the OCR’s viability with the onset of the catastrophic 1890s depression.
Kura-Araxes obsidian: a case study from Sos Hoyuk.
The Kura-Araxes complex has a distinctive material assemblage that stretched across a wide geographical area from the Transcaucasus, through Lake Urmia basin in Northern Iran to Eastern Turkey and the Upper Euphrates region over at least 1000 years (3500–2400 BC); in certain locations it lasted even longer. Similar assemblages became apparent in the Amuq Plain and further south in the Levant later in the Early Bronze Age. This phenomenon is characterized by small village-type settlements, an agro-pastoralist lifestyle and handmade red-black burnished pottery. However, in most of the studies dealing with this culture, lithics have been overlooked. This thesis examines the technological aspects of stone tool making in the highlands of Turkey during the Early Bronze Age. My research discusses the limits of urbanisation from the lithics perspective and examines the tool types and stone tool making techniques in the ancient site of Sos Hoyuk. Stratigraphic analysis of stone tools provides insights to daily activities of the inhabitants. Two techniques were employed in different places in the settlement: flake technology used in domestic production and blade technology as a specialised activity producing a regionally exchanged commodity. Percussion and bipolar techniques were present in the assemblage, which mostly consisted of retouched blades and flakes, scrapers, notched and nosed tools. Micro-lithics and bifacial technology is almost absent in contrast to other sites in the region. From the results of fieldwork conducted for this research, I was able to identify raw material procurement strategies concerning obsidian artefacts from the settlement. The obsidian used to make artefacts in Sos Hoyuk seems to have been locally sourced from nearby deposits. In addition, a regional exchange system developed across the Erzurum Plain. Furthermore, the absence of caches and significant artefact density throughout the stratigraphic deposits indicates that obsidian was always available to the inhabitants. Recent research in the region concerning obsidian quarries, support the possibility that Sos Hoyuk played an important role in obsidian distribution networks the highlands.
Disjunctivism, Perceptual Capacities and Our Point of View on the World
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.
Non-ideal Epistemic Contextualism
Epistemic contextualists claim that in order for knowledge ascribing sentences, i.e., sentences of the form ‘S knows that p’, to be true S must meet different epistemic standards in different contexts. Some contextualists, those who I’ll label conversational contextualists, claim that speakers can change which standards are contextually operative by making certain conversational moves, e.g., by raising an alternative to the proposition that features in the knowledge ascription to salience. The examples that these theorists work with and the theories that they develop off the back of them tend to build in the assumption that all speakers have equal abilities to pull off standards raising moves. But this is an idealisation that neglects the fact that in our non-ideal world, speakers have unequal abilities to successfully pull off conversational moves, where these unequal abilities vary with unfairly and unjustly distributed power. The project of this thesis is to show that paying greater attention to this fact has three substantial payoffs. Firstly, it allows us to see unrecognised problems with various existing forms of contextualism. In chapter 3 I argue that Keith DeRose’s gap view is vulnerable to an objectionable form of trolling. In chapter 4 I argue that the combination of Michael Blome-Tillmann’s presuppositional epistemic contextualism, unjust power relations, and certain assumptions about the functions of knowledge ascriptions give rise to a host of problematic implications that are grounds for rejecting the view. In chapter 5 I argue that all current versions of conversational contextualism are unable to diagnose an important sub-class of cases of testimonial injustice. Secondly, it helps us to develop an account of an unrecognized form of epistemic injustice that I call irrelevance injustice. Irrelevance injustice occurs either when a speaker raises an alternative that is not taken seriously when it should be, or when a speaker raises an alternative that is taken seriously when it should not be. Thirdly, I argue that the problems that I identify with existing forms of conversational contextualism motivate two new forms of contextualism. Chapter 7 develops a virtue epistemology inspired version of conversational contextualism that excludes the conversational moves of viciously motivated actors from influencing the standards for ‘knows’. Chapter 8 develops a stakes-based view that divorces the determination of the standards for ‘knows’ from conversational dynamics altogether, and instead ties them to what’s at morally at stake in the context of ascription. I stop short of a full endorsement of either of these views, and instead rest content with showing that they provide solutions to the problems I identify for existing forms of contextualism in this thesis whilst retaining some of their central selling points, and that as such both are worthy of further development.
The public value of conservation in Australia: a social justice framework
Abstract Access to conservation, and thus to cultural heritage, has economic, social and cultural benefits; lack of access can lead to loss, both of cultural materials and of the opportunity to enjoy the benefits stemming from conservation. In Australia as in many other places, however, conservation is not widely accessible outside of the major collecting institutions where the profession has developed. This thesis explores patterns of access to conservation in Australia, the risks facing collections, and the experiences of those working to conserve collections across the country. Interwoven with new readings of conservation’s public value, and its links to social equity and justice, these studies clearly demonstrate the need for access to conservation to be broadened, and the ramifications of an unchallenged status quo. A tripartite methodology is established, encompassing discursive, quantitative and qualitative studies. First, a background to the concepts of value, social equity and justice is given, with critical discourse analysis of key texts in conservation and heritage. Two statistical mapping studies follow, examining the geographical distribution of access to conservation, and environmental risks to collections associated with climate change; both are interested in the ‘uneven development’ of the conservation sector in urban, regional and remote Australia, and the increased burden of risk for the national collection carried by those with low access to conservation. In the third part of the thesis, the focus on place continues in the results presented of a series of qualitative interviews held with 39 people working with collections at the periphery of dominant conservation practices in Australia. The conversations elicited participants’ thoughts on the value and significance of their collections; the types of risk they encounter; their needs and challenges; the effects of any actual or potential losses; and the benefits collections bring to their surrounding communities. To understand the interplay of these themes in the interviews – and the wider thesis – a dialectical framework is developed to theorise the persistent co-existence of binary oppositions: value and risk, impact and need, preservation and loss. This framework constitutes the thesis’s central contribution, together with the findings that emerge from the data analysis. These reveal the presence of inequities in the field, both in terms of accessing conservation and where the risk of material and opportunity loss lies; the impact of disasters, both sudden and incremental, on collections; and the mitigative effects of different forms of conservation and caretaking. A significant finding is that community collections, which are formed in response to the needs of particular places, require a decentralised policy approach that prioritises the embedding of conservation within collections. Each part of the thesis informs a final synthesis of the sector’s needs for consideration in future national conservation policy. Towards this goal, a set of indicators for understanding the broader impact of conservation is also posited. The findings have implications for how conservation in Australia is understood, mapped, theorised, and – it is hoped – more adequately supported by governments. As it reflects upon the various modes of analysis used as forms of evidence for conservation’s public value, the research maintains the importance of listening to the voices of those who are conserving collections.
Memory and Cooperation: Genocide recognition efforts among Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians in twenty-first century Australia
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.