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Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 6, 2022 »

Publication date: May 2022
This special issue of Australian Journal of Biography and History, ‘Writing Slavery into Biography: Australian Legacies of British Slavery’, uses biographical approaches to explore how British slavery shaped the Australian colonies. It is the first stand-alone journal issue to feature an emerging body of historical work tracing the movement of people, investment and ideas from the Caribbean to Australia. Seven refereed articles and a roundtable discussion show how investment, imperial aspiration and migration turned towards Britain's ‘Second Empire’ in the aftermath of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. A substantive introduction reviews this emerging field of research and outlines preliminary findings. In her article, Jane Lydon examines the movement of two interconnected families (the Ridleys and Walcotts) from Demerara to Britain to the Swan River, where they acquired large land grants, participated in exploration and resource exploitation, and led the search for labour sources. Georgina Arnott investigates Western Australia’s first governor James Stirling’s biographical links to American and Caribbean slavery in light of ideas about race and labour that he promoted in Western Australia. And together Zoë Laidlaw and Georgina Arnott show how dictionaries of biography can be used alongside the Legacies of British Slavery database (hosted by University College London) to identify Australasian settlers with connections to slavery. They note the ways in which collective approaches to biography can reveal otherwise invisible patterns in global transfers of wealth, people and ideas. With an eye to regionally specific processes of subjugation and enslavement in the northern Western Australian pearling and pastoralist industries, Malcolm Allbrook considers biography’s potential to illustrate the shadowy world of ‘blackbirding’ in relation to the perpetrators, the officials and the Aboriginal enslaved. Emma Christopher brings to life the colonial legacies of slavery in her account of Albert Messiah, Ishmael Williamson and John Henderson, sailors of African origin who worked on Pacific labour ships during the late nineteenth century, and whose lives illuminate the complex racial hierarchies of the Queensland frontier. Beth Robertson tells the layered story of her own great-great-grandfather, Edward Stirling, the illegitimate son of a British slave-owner and a woman of Ghanaian descent, whose material benefit from slavery helped him become a successful pastoralist and miner in South Australia, despite remaining the subject of racial prejudice. Paul Arthur and Isabel Smith note the ‘biographical turn’ in museum exhibitions featuring stories of enslavement over the last two decades. They argue that this has enabled exhibitors to show stories of resistance, contingency and agency, albeit while navigating the ethical complexities of telling other people’s traumatic life stories. The feature section of this issue concludes with a roundtable discussion between Catherine Hall, Keith McClelland, Zoë Laidlaw, Jeremy Martens and Georgina Arnott on the topic of linking the legacies of British slave ownership to Australian colonisation. Here, Hall observes that biography, when used in combination with prosopography, reveals how the lives and family trajectories of slave owners were distinguished amongst imperial capitalists at large. This issue builds understanding of the precise ways that slavery shaped the Australian colonies.

Honiara »

Village-City of Solomon Islands

Authored by: Clive Moore
Publication date: May 2022
Nahona`ara—means ‘facing the `ara’, the place where the southeast winds meet the land just west of Point Cruz. Nahona`ara became Honiara, the capital city of Solomon Islands with a population of 160,000, the only significant urban centre in a nation of 721,000 people. Honiara: Village-City of Solomon Islands views Honiara in several ways: first as Tandai traditional land; then as coconut plantations between the 1880s and 1930s; within the British protectorate (1893–1978) and its Guadalcanal District; in the 1942–45 war years, which created the first urban settlement; in the directly post-war period until 1952 as the new capital of the protectorate, replacing Tulagi; and then as the headquarters of the Western Pacific High Commission (WPHC) between 1953 and 1974. Finally, in 1978, Honiara became the capital of the independent nation of Solomon Islands and the headquarters of Guadalcanal Province. The book argues that over decades there have been four and sometimes five changing and intersecting Honiara ‘worlds’ operating at one time, each of different social, economic and political significance. The importance of each group—British, Solomon Islanders, other Pacific Islanders, Asians, and more recently the 2003–17 presence of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)—has changed over time.

Contradiction »

Edited by: Linda Jaivin, Esther Sunkyung Klein, Sharon Strange
Publication date: May 2022
In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the many facets of crisis—the theme of last year’s China Story Yearbook—fractured into pictures of contradiction throughout Chinese society and the Chinese sphere of influence. Contradiction: the ancient Chinese word for the concept holds within it the image of an unstoppable spear meeting an impenetrable shield. It describes a wide range of phenomena that English might express with words like conflict, clash, paradox, incongruity, disagreement, rebuttal, opposition, and negation. This year’s Yearbook presents stories of action and reaction, of motion and resistance. The theme of contradiction plays out in different ways across the different realms of society, culture, environment, labour, politics, and international relations. Great powers do not necessarily succeed in dominating smaller ones. The seemingly irresistible forces of authoritarianism, patriarchy, and technological control come up against energised and surprisingly resilient means of resistance or cooptation. Efforts by various authorities to establish monolithic narrative control over the past and present meet a powerful insistence on telling the story from an opposite angle. The China Story Yearbook: Contradiction offers an accessible take on this complex and contradictory moment in the history of China and of the world.

Rethinking Social Media and Extremism »

Publication date: 2022
Terrorism, global pandemics, climate change, wars and all the major threats of our age have been targets of online extremism. The same social media occupying the heartland of our social world leaves us vulnerable to cybercrime, electoral fraud and the ‘fake news’ fuelling the rise of far-right violence and hate speech. In the face of widespread calls for action, governments struggle to reform legal and regulatory frameworks designed for an analogue age. And what of our rights as citizens? As politicians and lawyers run to catch up to the future as it disappears over the horizon, who guarantees our right to free speech, to free and fair elections, to play video games, to surf the Net, to believe ‘fake news’? Rethinking Social Media and Extremism offers a broad range of perspectives on violent extremism online and how to stop it. As one major crisis follows another and a global pandemic accelerates our turn to digital technologies, attending to the issues raised in this book becomes ever more urgent.

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Persons of Interest »

An Intimate Account of Cecily and John Burton

Publication date: April 2022
A world in upheaval; two lives lived under stress … This story is set in the social and political landscape of pre– and post–World War II. It tells two vastly different tales of Cecily and John’s lives in Australia and overseas, as nations clashed, and governments and international organisations tried to remake the world. Cecily Nixon knew that marrying John Burton would be bad for her. But she loved him and, impressed with this handsome, sullen young man and his belief that he could change the world for the better, saw her role in life as to serve the world through John. Cecily’s story is a deeply personal and psychological one of love, duty and betrayal that explores the complexities of relationships. In a world that overwhelmed her, Cecily searched for ‘wholeness’ and delved deep into her psyche to find herself and emerge from John’s shadow. John has been known as an influential and controversial young head of Australia’s Department of External Affairs – and as a would-be politician. It is less known that he was also an innovative farmer, bookseller, entrepreneur, arts patron and writer. He received international acclaim for his later work in conflict analysis and resolution. These combined stories of courage and achievement unfold amid political intrigue and psychological trauma. ASIO surveillance, love triangles, loyalty, infidelity and tragedy all play their part in the Burtons’ lives. ‘A remarkable memoir of a remarkable couple, exploring the fraught dynamic between the personal and political facets of their lives, the perspective lying at the core of modern feminism. Pamela Burton’s own insights are those of their youngest child, on whom the disruptions of the 1960s and 1970s had a heavy impact, but also that of her maturity, bringing her sharp forensic skills to the project. Assisted by Meredith Edwards, her eldest sister, Burton has given us an unflinchingly honest and utterly gripping record of our lives and times.’ — Sara Dowse, author of West Block and Sapphires

Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 45 »

Edited by: Crystal McKinnon, Ben Silverstein
Publication date: April 2022
This volume begins with Michael Aird, Joanna Sassoon and David Trigger’s meticulous research tracing the well-known but sometimes confused identity of Jackey Jackey of the Lower Logan River in south-east Queensland. Emma Cupitt describes the multivocality and intertextuality of Radio Redfern’s coverage of Aboriginal protests in Sydney as the 1988 Australian Bicentenary celebrations took place elsewhere in the city. Similarly approaching sources for their multiplicity, Matt Poll and Amanda Harris provide a reading of the ambassadorial work performed by assemblages of Yolngu bark paintings in diverse exhibition spaces after the Second World War. Cara Cross historicises the production and use of mineral medicine—or lithotherapeutics—derived from Burning Mountain in Wonnarua Country, issuing a powerful call for the recognition of Indigenous innovation as cultural heritage. In a collaborative article, Fred Cahir, Ian Clark, Dan Tout, Benjamin Wilkie and Jidah Clark read colonial records against the grain to narrate a nineteenth-century history of Victorian Aboriginal relationships with fire, strengthening the case for the revitalisation of these fire management practices. And, based on extensive oral history work, Maria Panagopoulos presents Aboriginal narrations of the experience of moving—or being moved—from the Manatunga settlement on the outskirts of Robinvale into the town itself, on Tati Tati Country in the Mallee region of Victoria. In addition to a range of book reviews, we are also pleased to include Greg Lehman’s review essay concerning Cassandra Pybus’s recent award-winning Truganini: Journey through the Apocalypse, which considers the implications of our relationships with history and how they help to think through practices of researching and writing Aboriginal history.

Child-directed Speech in Qaqet »

A Language of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea

Authored by: Henrike Frye
Publication date: 2022
Qaqet is a non-Austronesian language, spoken by about 15,000 people in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. In the remote inland, children acquire Qaqet as their first language. Much of what we know about child‑directed speech (CDS) stems from children living in middle‑class, urban, industrialised contexts. This book combines evidence from different methods, showing that the features typical for speech to children in such contexts are also found in Qaqet CDS. Preliminary insights from naturalistic audio recordings suggest that Qaqet children are infrequently addressed directly. In interviews, Qaqet caregivers express the view that children ‘pick up’ the language on their own. Still, they have clear ideas about how to talk to children in a way that makes it easier for them to understand what is said. In order to compare adult- and child-directed speech in Qaqet, 20 retellings of a film have been analysed, half of them told to adults and half to children. The data show that talk directed to children differs from talk directed to adults for several features, among them utterance type, mean length of utterance, amount of hesitations and intonation. Despite this clear tendency, there seems to be a cut-off point of around 40 months of age for several of those features from which the talk directed to children becomes more like the one directed to adults.

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Youth in Fiji and Solomon Islands »

Livelihoods, Leadership and Civic Engagement

Authored by: Aidan Craney
Publication date: April 2022
Fiji, Solomon Islands and the wider Pacific region are experiencing a ‘youth bulge’. As such, the livelihoods pathways of youth in these countries will be a key determinant of their social, political and economic futures. This book looks at the cultural expectations of Fijian and Solomon Islander youth, as well as the socio-political positioning of youth activists. It investigates how formal and informal structures – such as education, employment and civil society – affect the ability of youth to achieve their potential and actively engage in their societies. Through this investigation, a recurrent theme develops of the structural minimisation of youth in these countries: they are ‘to be seen but not heard’. But Pacific youth are more than citizens in waiting; they are already important members of their communities, with varying degrees of engagement in critical civil society. More than simply leaders of tomorrow, they are partners for today. Youth in Fiji and Solomon Islands documents and details some of the ways that young people in Fiji and Solomon Islands are forging their way as leaders not just of youth, but of their communities. Whilst the majority of youth are engaging in society in acceptable, social ascribed ways, and the majority of adults resist youth participation as a technique to maintain the social status quo, a small but influential cohort of both youth and adults are creating spaces for today’s young people to help to shape the developmental futures of the Great Ocean States of the Pacific.

Mobilising the Masses »

Populist Conservative Movements in Australia and New Zealand During the Great Depression

Authored by: Matthew Cunningham
Publication date: April 2022
The radical right has gained considerable ground in the twenty-first century. From Brexit to Bolsonaro and Tea Partiers to Trump, many of these diverse manifestations of right-wing populism share a desire to co‑opt or supplant the mainstream parties that have traditionally held sway over the centre right. It is now more important than ever to understand similar moments in Australian and New Zealand history. This book concerns one such moment—the Great Depression—and the explosion of large, populist conservative groups that accompanied the crisis. These ‘citizens’ movements’, as they described themselves, sprang into being virtually overnight and amassed a combined membership in the hundreds of thousands. They staunchly opposed party politicians and political parties for their supposed inaction and infighting. Whether left or right, it did not matter. They wanted to use their vast numbers to pressure their governments into enacting proposals they believed were in the national interest: a smaller, more streamlined government where Members of Parliament were free to act according to their conscience rather than their party allegiance. At the same time, the movements prescribed antidotes for their nations’ economic ill‑health that were often radical and occasionally anti-democratic. At the height of their power, they threatened to disrupt or outright replace the centre right political parties of the time—particularly in Australia. At a time when fascism and right-wing authoritarianism were on the march internationally, the future shape of conservative politics was at stake.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 14, Number 1, 2022 »

Publication date: March 2022
Economic cooperation in East Asia has progressed in its own distinct way, and the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019 is a huge achievement of strategic significance that pushes back against threats to the multilateral system. RCEP is the world’s largest regional pact in terms of GDP, trade volume, foreign direct investment and population. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly looks at RCEP going forward, the ways Asia’s largest economies are embracing the deal, the supply chain and manufacturing trends that are emerging and the RCEP framework for dealing with issues beyond those already negotiated.
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