Ashley Barnwell

Ashley Barnwell is a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Melbourne. She is interested in sociological aspects of emotions, memory, and narrative, and the role of life writing, archives, and literature in sociological research. She is an ARC DECRA fellow working on the project ‘Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia’. This project aims to investigate the inherited family secrets, stories and memories that inform Australians’ understandings of colonial history. Ashley publishes across sociology, history and literary studies, and is co-author of the book Reckoning with the Past: Family Historiographies in Australian Literature (with Joseph Cummins, 2019). She is a settler descendant who was born on Birrpai Country. In an ongoing collaboration with Birrpai historian John Heath, she has written about local and family histories of Indigenous-settler relations in the journal Life Writing, and the book, Burrawan: The Desecration and Resurrection of Lake Innes (2023).


Memory in Place »

Locating colonial histories and commemoration

Publication date: November 2023
Memory in Place brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars and practitioners grappling with the continued potency of memories and experiences of colonialism. While many of these conversations have taken place on a national stage, this collection returns to the rich intimacy of the local. From Queensland’s sweeping Gulf Country, along the shelly beaches of south Sydney, Melbourne’s city gardens and the rugged hills of South Australia, through Central Australia’s dusty heart and up to the majestic Kimberley, the collection charts how interactions between Indigenous people, settlers and their descendants are both remembered and forgotten in social, political, and cultural spaces. It offers uniquely diverse perspectives from a range of disciplines including history, anthropology, memory studies, archaeology, and linguistics from both established and emerging scholars; from Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors; and from academics as well as museum and cultural heritage practitioners. The collection locates some of the nation’s most pressing political issues with attention to the local, and the ethics of commemoration and relationships needed at this scale. It will be of interest to those who see the past as intimately connected to the future.