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September 2017

Welcome to the Centre for 21st Century Humanities eNewsletter. This Newsletter will keep you updated and informed about our latest activities and achievements. 

Huge response to massacres map

The recent launch of the Colonial Frontier Massacres Map, an online tool which maps the Aboriginal massacres that occurred across colonial Australia, saw a huge influx of visitors to the Centre for 21st Century Humanities website to view the map.

News of the map had reached more than 28 million people within the first 2 days of its launch. A few weeks later the map website still has at least 10 people from around the world viewing the map at any given time of day. 

The research team behind the map, led by historian, Conjoint Professor Lyndall Ryan, were blown away with the public reaction. Digital Humanities Specialist, Dr Bill Pascoe who implemented the  map, believes the response was due to a combination of an issue of great importance and presenting it a visual, interactive and information rich way on the web.


New research project examines the complaints of a culture past

What does the poetry of the disadvantaged people of the Renaissance tell us about the culture of that time?

That’s the question that will be answered by a new $115,000 research project called Early modern women and the poetry of complaint, 1540-1680 led by the Centre for 21st Century Humanities’ Deputy Director and co-founder of the Early Modern Women Research Network, Associate Professor Ros Smith.

Associate Professor Smith says the poetry of complaint is one of the most powerful rhetorical modes in the English Renaissance, voicing political, religious and erotic protest and loss across a diverse range of texts.

“This project will interrogate new texts including the confessions of those about to go to the gallows, and songs sung by women who were illiterate. We’ll also include anonymous complaints that are often overlooked in research on literary history,” she said.


Atolls, Arkansas and how the place you live shapes your language

How does the physical environment you live in impact on the language you use to describe it?

That’s the question a group of linguistics researchers led by Dr Bill Palmer from UoN’s Endangered Languages Documentation, Theory and Application research program and the Centre for 21st Century Humanities have examined as part of an Australian Research Council funded project.

“We found that there is a relationship between the physical environment and the language that is spoken in the way people talk about space,” Dr Palmer observed. “But it goes beyond that. In the Marshall Islands, for example, people live on the sheltered lagoon side of their islands, where they can launch their boats safely and are not exposed to the elements. So terms for lagoon side and ocean side play an important role.”

The team also compared the way Marshallese speakers in the Marshall Islands talk about space with a community of Marshallese speakers in Springdale, a landlocked city in Arkansas, United States. They found that removed from their island environment, the Springdale speakers used egocentric terms like left and right in ways not seen in the Marshall Islands.


Chinese Marxism increasing collaborations with UoN

After 11 years of increasingly longer visits to China, The Centre for 21st Century Humanities’ Professor Roland Boer is tapping into collaboration opportunities with Chinese scholars of Marxism and has created deep connections for Chinese students to spend time at The University of Newcastle.

Professor Boer is forging bonds that are leading to an increasing level of collaboration for UoN, especially in the area of Marxism, which is now a scholarly discipline in China in its own right.

“It is now mandatory that every Chinese university lecturer who is seeking promotion must spend a year overseas, so an increasing number of Marxist scholars are coming to UoN for that year. Also, postgraduate scholars are often expected to spend a semester or year overseas, so more of these are coming to UoN.”


Prof Haskins to take up Visiting Fellowship at Birkbeck

Member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities and Co-Director of Purai Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre, Professor Victoria Haskins has been successful in an application for a Visiting Research Fellowship position at the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Professor Haskins will take up the fellowship at Birkbeck University of London in October and will spend a month there. While there she will hold a symposium on domestic labour and transnational mobility and present a public talk on domestic service and Indigenous activism.

“The BIH Fellowship provides a great opportunity for me to engage with colleagues in the highly rated Birkbeck Humanities research departments,” Professor Haskins says. “I’ve been nominated by Professor Rosie Cox, a leading geographer of domestic labour, and Dr Julia Laite, a historian working on histories of international trafficking, and the chance to work with these scholars and others from different disciplines to develop new insights into domestic service histories and race is incredibly exciting. I’m also keen to build connections between UoN and Birkbeck researchers, through the Centre for 21st Century Humanities and Purai.

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History scholar takes up visiting fellow position in Newcastle

International scholar, Professor Michael Roper, from the University of Essex, will take up a visiting fellow position with the Centre for the History of Violence this month.

With a background in the study of masculinity, psychoanalysis, biography and personal testimony, Professor Roper will bring to UoN expertise on the long-term emotional effects of World War One.


Entangled Histories Conference: Inspiring historians to create connections

For an Early Career Researcher like Dr Kate Ariotti of the Centre for the History of Violence and Centre for 21st Century Humanities, the Australian Historical Association Conference is an annual opportunity to be inspired, network with Australia’s leading historians and create connections in the world of Australian historical research.

Held this year in Newcastle on July 3 – 7, and convened by Professor Philip Dwyer, Director of the of the Centre for the History of Violence and member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities, the conference showcased the depth of research talent at the University of Newcastle.

“We had a very strong showing of UoN academics and post-graduate students. A lot of the post-grads are working on local history projects and this conference was an excellent opportunity for them to showcase their research, plus it had the added bonus of bringing in Newcastle residents who might not normally attend an academic conference but who want to hear about the history of their local area,” Dr Ariotti said.