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Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 2, 2019 »

The second issue of the Australian Journal of Biography and History is a joint project between the National Centre of Biography at The Australian National University (ANU), and the Canberra and District Historical Society (CDHS). It seeks to recognise, perhaps reiterate, the relationship between the study of biography, as exemplified by the Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), and the practice of local and family history and heritage, the mission of the society. Most of the contributors are members of the society, and have been involved in the often painstaking and minute study of aspects of the history of Canberra and its region for many years. In ‘A City and Its People: Canberra in the Australian Dictionary of Biography’, Karen Fox explores Canberra history by discussing some of wide array of people ‘who have lived, worked, loved, and fought in the Canberra district’, and who are represented in the ADB. James McDonald, in his article ‘A Good Sheep Station Ruined’, examines the pastoral origins of the Canberra district, finding that the industry in the region was, before the founding of the capital city, a centre of innovation and enterprise, with stations such as Henry ‘Babe’ Curran’s Ginninderra a national exemplar of the wool industry. In a second article, ‘Migration as an Opportunity for Reinvention’, McDonald discusses the potential of immigration to refashion identities, using the biographies of Alfred and Margaret Rich, early settlers at Gundaroo, who had faced disadvantages in England because of their racial backgrounds. ‘Three Years in the Life of Chief Constable Patrick Kinsela’, by Gillian Kelly, examines the role of the first policeman in the district, who took up his posting at the nascent town of Queanbeyan in 1837, and in many ways exemplified the system of justice in the region until his early death in 1841. Kinsela is an unusual biographical subject as very little is known about his life until he assumed the role, while from then on, his life and times comes into focus by virtue of his reports, reports in the local press and colonial government inquiries. Michael Hall, in his article ‘The Sentinel over Canberra’s Military History’, explores the connections between the Anglican Church of St John the Baptist, now in the Canberra suburb of Reid, and the military, and the war experiences of some of its parishioners. The final two articles of the issue move towards aspects of the modern history of Canberra, the first exploring the life stories of Vince and Viola Kalokerinos who, for many years, ran a milk bar at Curtin, a place that has assumed a prominent place in both the commercial and social history, and indeed has become almost a part of the folklore, of the city. Their story is a reminder of the impact of Greek immigrants on the development of Canberra, and their willingness to work long hours to provide essential services to a population that was made up largely of government employees. Finally, Nick Swain discusses the life and work of one of Canberra’s early photographic entrepreneurs, Les Dwyer, who came to Canberra as a construction labourer in 1924 but, as a consequence of the Depression and workplace injury, converted a hobby into an enterprise. Included also are two essay length review articles, and a series of reviews on recently published Australian biographical works.

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Power, Protection and Magic in Thailand »

The Cosmos of a Southern Policeman

Authored by: Craig J. Reynolds
This biographical study of an unusual southern policeman explores the relationship between religion and power in Thailand during the early twentieth century when parts of the country were remote and banditry was rife. Khun Phan (1898–2006), known as Lion Lawman, sometimes used rather too much lethal force in carrying out his orders. He was the most famous graduate of a monastic academy in the mid-south, whose senior teachers imparted occult knowledge favoured by fighters on both sides of the law. Khun Phan imbibed this knowledge to confront the risks and uncertainty that lay ahead and bolster his confidence and self-reliance for his struggle with adversaries. Against the background of national events, the story is rooted in the mid-south where the policeman was born and died. Based on a wide range of works in Thai language, on field trips to the region and on interviews with local and regional scholars as well as the policeman’s descendants, this generously illustrated book, accompanied by short video clips, brings to life the distinctive environment of the lakes district on the Malay Peninsula.

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Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform: Volume 26, Number 1, 2019 »

Edited by: William Coleman
Agenda is a refereed, ECONLIT-indexed and RePEc-listed journal of the College of Business and Economics, The Australian National University. Launched in 1994, Agenda provides a forum for debate on public policy, mainly (but not exclusively) in Australia and New Zealand. It deals largely with economic issues but gives space to social and legal policy and also to the moral and philosophical foundations and implications of policy. Subscribe to the Agenda Alerting service if you wish to be advised on forthcoming or new issues.

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The Realities and Futures of Work »

Authored by: David Peetz
What do we know about the current realities of work and its likely futures? What choices must we make and how will they affect those futures? Many books about the future of work start by talking about the latest technology, and focus on how technology is going to change the way we work. And there is no doubt that technology will have huge impacts. However, to really understand the direction in which work is going, and the impact that technology and other forces will have, we need to first understand where we are. This book covers topics ranging from the ‘mega-drivers’ of change at work, power, globalisation and financialisation, to management, workers, digitalisation, the gig economy, gender, climate change, regulation and deregulation. In doing this, it refers to some of the great works of science fiction. It demolishes several myths, such as that the employment relationship is doomed, that we are all heading to becoming ‘freelancers’ or ‘gig workers’ one day, that most jobs will be destroyed by technological change, that the growth in jobs will mainly be in STEM fields, that we will no longer value collectivism as we will all be ‘individuals’, or that the death of unionism is inevitable. The Realities and Futures of Work also rejects the idea of technological determinism—that whatever will be, will be, thanks to technological change—and so it refuses to accept that we simply need to prepare to adapt ourselves to the future by judicious training since there is nothing else we can do about it. Instead, this book provides a realistic basis for thinking about both the present and the future. It emphasises the choices we make, and the implications of those choices for the future of work.

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Tulagi »

Pacific Outpost of British Empire

Authored by: Clive Moore
Tulagi was the capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate between 1897 and 1942. The British withdrawal from the island during the Pacific War, its capture by the Japanese and the American reconquest left the island’s facilities damaged beyond repair. After the war, Britain moved the capital to the American military base on Guadalcanal, which became Honiara. The Tulagi settlement was an enclave of several small islands, the permanent population of which was never more than 600: 300 foreigners—one-third of European origin and most of the remainder Chinese—and an equivalent number of Solomon Islanders. Thousands of Solomon Islander males also passed through on their way to work on plantations and as boat crews, hospital patients and prisoners. The history of the Tulagi enclave provides an understanding of the origins of modern Solomon Islands. Tulagi was also a significant outpost of the British Empire in the Pacific, which enables a close analysis of race, sex and class and the process of British colonisation and government in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Teacher for Justice »

Lucy Woodcock's Transnational Life

‘Teacher for Justice is a major contribution to the history of the women’s movement, working‑class activism and Australian political internationalism. But it is more than this. By focusing on the life of Lucy Woodcock – an unrecognised and under-researched figure – this book rewrites the history of twentieth-century Australia from the perspective of an activist who challenged conventions to fight for gender, race and class equality, exploring the complex and multi-layered intersections of these aspects. It explores Woodcock’s personal relationships and the circles she mixed in and the friendships she forged, as well as the conventions she challenged as a single woman in possibly a same-sex relationship. The book makes a key contribution to the history of progressive education and the experience of women teachers. Above all, it charts the life of a transnational figure who made connections globally and, in particular, with refugees and with women in India and the Asian region. It is a detailed, thoroughly researched and richly textured history which places Woodcock within the context of the times in which she lived.’ Joy Damousi, Professor of History, University of Melbourne ‘Meet Lucy Woodcock, a complex, undaunted woman in a tough and changing world. From her role as a public school principal in Depression and wartime, to her union and feminist organising, to her transnational engagements for peace, this clear and thoughtful book brings to life forgotten forms of activism. It’s the gripping story of how Lucy navigated the minefields of gender, class, race and coloniality to change her world.’ Raewyn Connell, Professor Emerita, University of Sydney ‘Just over a century ago, the last of the pupil-teachers, Lucy Woodcock, co-founded the NSW Teachers Federation. So many of the principles and traditions that underpin our union today can be traced back to the lifelong work of Lucy Woodcock. She fought for the industrial rights of teachers deep in the knowledge of the broader social and economic context in which she lived and worked. Too often the role of working-class women whose influence is profound is ignored. This biography installs Lucy Woodcock into her rightful place as pivotal player in the history of twentieth-century Australia.’ Maurie Mulheron, President, NSW Teachers Federation ‘A fascinating history of a fascinating woman: Lucy’s interests were so broad and so modern – equal pay, racism, internationalism, Indigenous rights and anti-war struggles were all part of Lucy’s world. She had a vision beyond nationalism, championed the cause of world peace when peace was being treated as a dirty word and saw women as global citizens. Lucy was one of the heroes of our disgracefully unfinished Equal Pay struggle.’ Hon Dr Meredith Burgmann, anti-racism and peace activist, former President of the NSW Legislative Council

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Everyday Revolutions »

Remaking Gender, Sexuality and Culture in 1970s Australia

The 1970s was a decade when matters previously considered private and personal became public and political. These shifts not only transformed Australian politics, they engendered far-reaching cultural and social changes. Feminists challenged ‘man-made’ norms and sought to recover lost histories of female achievement and cultural endeavour. They made films, picked up spanners and established printing presses. The notion that ‘the personal was political’ began to transform long-held ideas about masculinity and femininity, both in public and private life. In the spaces between official discourses and everyday experience, many sought to revolutionise the lives of Australian men and women. Everyday Revolutions brings together new research on the cultural and social impact of the feminist and sexual revolutions of the 1970s in Australia. Gay liberation and Women’s Liberation movements erupted, challenging almost every aspect of Australian life. The pill became widely available and sexuality was both celebrated and flaunted. Campaigns to decriminalise abortion and homosexuality emerged across the country. Activists set up women’s refuges, rape crisis centres and counselling services. Governments responded to new demands for representation and rights, appointing women’s advisors and funding new services. Everyday Revolutions is unique in its focus not on the activist or legislative achievements of the women’s and gay and lesbian movements, but on their cultural and social dimensions. It is a diverse and rich collection of essays that reminds us that women’s and gay liberation were revolutionary movements.

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Following the Water »

Environmental History and the Hydrological Cycle in Colonial Gippsland, Australia, 1838–1900

Authored by: Kylie Carman-Brown
Water reflects culture. This book is a detailed analysis of hydrological change in Australia’s largest inland waterway in Australia, the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, in the first 70 years of white settlement. Following air, water is our primal need. Unlike many histories, this book looks at the entire hydrological cycle in one place, rather than focusing on one bit. Deftly weaving threads from history, hydrology and psychology into one, Following the Water explores not just what settlers did to the waterscape, but probes their motivation for doing so. By combining unlikely elements together such as swamp drainage, water proofing techniques and temperance lobbying, the book reveals a web of perceptions about how water ‘should be’. With this laid clear, we can ask how different we are from our colonial forebears.

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In from the Cold »

Reflections on Australia’s Korean War

Open hostilities in the Korean War ended on the 27th of July 1953. The armistice that was signed at that time remains the poignant symbol of an incomplete conclusion – of a war that retains a distinct possibility of resuming at short notice. So what did Australia contribute to the Korean War from June 1950 to July 1953? What were the Australians doing there? How significant was the contribution and what difference did it make? What has that meant for Australia since then, and what might that mean for Australia into the future? Australians served at sea, on land and in the air alongside their United Nations partners during the war. They fought with distinction, from bitterly cold mountain tops, to the frozen decks of aircraft carriers and in dogfights overhead. This book includes the perspectives of leading academics, practitioners and veterans contributing fresh ideas on the conduct and legacy of the Korean War. International perspectives from allies and adversaries provide contrasting counterpoints that help create a more nuanced understanding of Australia’s relatively small but nonetheless important contribution of forces in the Korean War. The book finishes with some reflections on implications that the Korean War still carries for Australia and the world to this day.

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Rosalie Gascoigne »

A Catalogue Raisonné

Authored by: Martin Gascoigne
Rosalie Gascoigne (1917–1999) was a highly regarded Australian artist whose assemblages of found materials embraced landscape, still life, minimalism, arte povera and installations. She was 57 when she had her first exhibition. Behind this late coming-out lay a long and unusual preparation in looking at nature for its aesthetic qualities, collecting found objects, making flower arrangements and practising ikebana. Her art found an appreciative audience from the start. She was a people person, and it pleased her that through her exhibiting career of 25 years, her works were acquired by people of all ages, interests and backgrounds, as well as by the major public institutions on both sides of the Tasman Sea. In the media Read the ANU Reporter article: Art in road signs.

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Levelling Wind »

Remembering Fiji

Authored by: Brij V. Lal
‘What I have sought to do in my work is to give voiceless people a voice, place and purpose, the sense of dignity and inner strength that comes from never giving up no matter how difficult the circumstances. History belongs as much to the vanquished as to the victors.’ — Brij V. Lal ‘Professor Brij Lal is the finest historian of the Indian indentured experience and the Indian diaspora. His Girmitiyas is a classic.’ — Emeritus Professor Clem Seecharan, London Metropolitan University ‘Brij Lal is a highly respected, versatile and imaginative scholar who has  made a lasting contribution to the historiography of the Pacific.’ — Dr Rod Alley, Victoria University of Wellington ‘Professor Brij Lal’s life is a remarkable journey of a scholar and an intellectual whose writings are truly transformative; a man of moral clarity and courage who also has deep pain at being cut off from his homeland.’ — Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University ‘Brij Lal is a singular scholar, whose work has spanned disciplines – from history, political commentary, encyclopedia, biography and “faction”. Brij is without doubt the most eminent scholar in the humanities and social sciences Fiji has ever produced. He also remains one of the most significant public intellectuals of his country, despite having been banned from entering it in 2009.’ — Emeritus Professor Clive Moore, University of Queensland ‘Brij Lal is an accomplished and versatile historian and true son of Fiji. Above all, there is affirmation here of the enduring worth of good literature and the value of good education that Lal received and wants others to experience. The world needs more Lals who speak out against ruling opinions and dare to stray into  the pastures of independent thought.’ — Professor Doug Munro, historian and biographer, Wellington, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Queensland

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