New releases

International Review of Environmental History: Volume 9, Issue 2, 2023 »

Edited by: James Beattie
Publication date: February 2024
The histories and legacies of extraction and toxicity are innumerable. Globally, these forces have both facilitated and been a by-product of industrial growth, technological advancement and nation-building for centuries, but so too have they enabled and exacerbated environmental degradation, structural inequality, and the continued colonisation of lands and peoples. In addressing the histories and legacies of extraction and toxicity, this special issue of the International Review of Environmental History draws attention to several of the most pressing themes taken up by historians dealing with these processes. The papers within explore how extraction and toxicity have been woven into the colonial fabric of various countries, the ways that the exploitation and contamination of specific landscapes have come to define the history of such places and spaces, the response of various groups to these processes, and the extent to which long-term environmental consequences wrought by extractive practices and their toxic by-products are—in many cases—yet to be revealed. The articles in this special issue span Australia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Southern Ocean, consider the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and draw on a range of disciplinary methods and perspectives. What binds them together is a deep engagement with the significant legacies of extraction and toxicity that endure into the present and inform contemporary environmental debates.

Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 8, 2024 »

Publication date: February 2024
The Australian Journal of Biography and History No 8 (2024) applies biographical methodologies to enliven themes and episodes in Australian history. Studying John Wear Burton, the head of the Commonwealth department of external affairs between 1947 and 1950, Adam Hughes Henry explores some of the ways in which anti-communism in 1950s Australia served to limit critical thinking on the country’s foreign policy. Gary Osmond and Jan Richardson write on the Black sports promoter and entrepreneur Jack Dowridge, who lived and largely thrived in Brisbane between the mid-1870s until his death in 1922. Phillip Deery and Julie Kimber examine the often-overlooked figure of Evdokia Petrov, considering the ‘disjuncture between historical imagination and the archival record.’ In Richard Fotheringham’s article on the variety entertainer and singer Jenny Howard, aka Daisy Blowes, Howard emerges as a character in her own play. Martin Thomas relates in his article ‘Patrick White and the Path to Sarsaparilla’ how the novelist Patrick White demanded a ‘final pound of flesh from his biographer’ by making David Marr ‘sit with him at the dining table while he read it in front of him from beginning to end.’ The result was a biography of ‘complete artistic freedom’, ‘unauthorised’ certainly, but ‘aided and abetted by its subject.’ Patricia Clarke describes the experience of the journalist Iris Dexter, née Norton (1907–1974), in seeking, but until 1950 failing to obtain, a divorce from an abusive husband, and the devastating impact the episode had on her life. Two further articles in this number utilise collective biographical methodologies to illuminate historical episodes which have become emblematic in Australian history: Nichola Garvey relates the story of the ‘death ship’ Neptune, which arrived in New South Wales in 1790 as part of the infamous second fleet; and Peter Woodley examines the 1891 Queensland bush workers’ strike. This affair has generally been portrayed as a ‘war’ between capital and labour, but as Woodley argues, the strike also showed the ‘often intense and fraught intersections of individuals’ lives’, many of which would never have come to light were it not for the strike and its judicial consequences.

Mandates and Missteps »

Australian Government Scholarships to the Pacific – 1948 to 2018

Authored by: Anna Kent
Publication date: February 2024
Mandates and Missteps is the first comprehensive history of Australian government scholarships to the Pacific, from the first scheme in 1948 to the Australia Awards of 2018. The study of scholarships provides a window into foreign and education policy making, across decades, and the impact such policies have had on individuals and communities. This work demonstrates the broad role these scholarships have played in bilateral relationships between Australia and Pacific Island territories and countries. The famed Colombo Plan is here put in its proper context within international aid and international education history. Australian scholarship programs, it is argued, ultimately reflect Australia, and its perception of itself as a nation in the Pacific, more than the needs of Pacific Island nations. Mandates and Missteps traces Australia’s role as both a coloniser in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and a participant in the process of decolonisation across the Pacific. This study will be of interest to students and scholars of international development, international education and foreign policy.

The Chinese Communist Party »

A 100-Year Trajectory

Publication date: January 2024
This volume brings together an international team of prominent scholars from a range of disciplines, with the aim of investigating the many facets of the Chinese Communist Party’s 100-year trajectory. It combines a level of historical depth mostly found in single-authored monographs with the thematic and disciplinary breadth of an edited volume. This work stands out for its long-term and multiscale approach, offering complex and nuanced insights, eschewing any Party grand narrative, and unravelling underlying trends and logics, composed of adaption but also contradictions, resistance and sometimes setbacks, that may be overlooked when focusing on the short term. Rather than putting forward an overall argument about the nature of the Party, the many perspectives presented in this volume highlight the complex internal dynamics of the Party, the diversity of its roles in relation to the state, as well as in its interaction with society beyond the state. Our historical approach stresses impermanence beyond the apparent permanence of the Party’s organisation and ideology while also bringing to light the recycling of past practices and strategies. Looking at the Party’s evolution over time shows how its founding structures and objectives have had a long-lasting impact as well as how they have been tweaked and rearranged to adapt to the new economic and social environment the Party contributed to creating.

Redeveloping China’s Villages in the Twenty-First Century »

The Dilemmas of Policy Implementation

Authored by: Lior Rosenberg
Publication date: January 2024
Implementing national policies is a crucial function of the local Chinese bureaucracy and an indispensable part of Beijing’s overall state capacity. Yet the specifics of how and why local officials interpret and implement such policies have so far escaped detailed attention. In Redeveloping China’s Villages in the Twenty-First Century, Lior Rosenberg fills this gap by examining the national Village Redevelopment Program, one of China’s most significant policies of recent decades to promote rural change. Based on Rosenberg’s on-site research, Redeveloping China’s Villages in the Twenty-First Century investigates the Village Redevelopment Program’s implementation in both the industrialised county of Chenggu, in Shandong province, and the predominantly agricultural county of Beian, in Anhui province. At the book’s heart is a puzzle: the program was supposed to prioritise poorer villages, but in both Chenggu and Beian—despite being carried out in surprisingly divergent ways—it has subsidised improved infrastructure and services in already industrialised and prosperous villages, while leaving behind poorer ones. In explaining this outcome, Rosenberg elaborates on the larger economic, political and social environment in which Chinese local officials operate, as well as the pressures they face from above. He analyses the dual role played by higher-level authorities, as both policy enablers and thwarters in a system that sanctifies commandism but where the distinction between principals and agents is blurred.

Lilith: A Feminist History Journal: Number 29 »

Publication date: December 2023
The 2023 issue of Lilith showcases the journal’s dedication to encouraging underrepresented voices in historical writing, including early-career scholars, First Nations voices and historians from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Six of the research articles in the issue focus on nineteenth and early twentieth-century topics, with papers on women’s roles in interwar international diplomacy, on Indian prostitution under British colonialism, on the relationship between interracial rape and white femininity on the Australian colonial frontier, on the role of gender in the NSW Shipwreck Society of the late nineteenth century, and on the struggle of women for public lavatories in 1912 Meanjin (Brisbane). Two of the research articles concern more recent histories, with papers on the role of Māori women in feminist movements of the 1970s, and the construction of sexual consent in Dolly Magazine of the late twentieth century. There is also a review essay about global histories of feminism and gender struggle which evaluates several recent such works, reflecting on their methodological innovations and concerns. The edition includes six short book reviews that span a wide range of international and local interests, covering topics such as the digital humanities, the global history of sexual violence, US queer history, Australian queer women’s history, gender in European colonial travel, and the history of the pram in Australia. Several of the articles in the volume concern the international engagement of feminist struggles and intercultural questions in relation to gendered roles in history, while others gesture beyond the concerns of historical studies alone, addressing issues of rape culture, political activism, women’s spaces, and gendered emotions, making valuable contributions to the wider Australian humanities and social sciences. The volume exemplifies the value of balancing international trends in feminist history with the recognition of local episodes in the history of gender struggle, underscoring Lilith's commitment to advancing new forms of feminist historical writing and showcasing innovative research by scholars at diverse career stages.
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Grassroots Law in Papua New Guinea »

Edited by: Melissa Demian
Publication date: December 2023
The introduction of village courts in Papua New Guinea in 1975 was an ambitious experiment in providing semi-formal legal access to the country’s overwhelmingly rural population. Nearly 50 years later, the enthusiastic adoption of these courts has had a number of ramifications, some of them unanticipated. Arguably, the village courts have developed and are working exactly as they were supposed to do, adapted by local communities to modes and styles consistent with their own dispute management sensibilities. But with little in the way of state oversight or support, most village courts have become, of necessity, nearly autonomous. Village courts have also become the blueprint for other modes of dispute management. They overlap with other sources of authority, so the line between what does and does not constitute a ‘court’ is now indistinct in many parts of the country. Rather than casting this issue as a problem for legal development, the contributors to Grassroots Law in Papua New Guinea ask how, under conditions of state withdrawal, people seek to retain an understanding of law that holds out some promise of either keeping the attention of the state or reproducing the state’s authority.

After the Coup »

Myanmar’s Political and Humanitarian Crises

Publication date: December 2023
The coup in Myanmar on 1 February 2021 abruptly reversed a decade-long flirtation with economic and political freedoms. The country has since descended into civil war, the people have been plunged back into conflict and poverty, and the state is again characterised by fragility and human insecurity. As the Myanmar people oppose the regime and fight for their rights, the international community must find ways to act in solidarity. There is an urgent need for new policy settings and for practical engagement with local partners and recipient groups. The contributors to After the Coup offer timely insights into ways international actors can try to reduce the suffering of millions of citizens who are again being held hostage by a brutal and self-serving regime. Chapters analyse topics including coercive statecraft, international justice, Rakhine State (Rohingya) dynamics, pandemic weaponisation, higher education, non-state welfare and aid delivery, activism from exile, self-determination and power sharing in the National Unity Government’s alternative constitution, and the roles of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China between Peace and War »

Mao, Chiang and the Americans, 1945–1947

Authored by: Victor Cheng
Publication date: November 2023
In China between Peace and War, Victor S. C. Cheng explores the gripping history of peace talks and international negotiations from 1945 to 1947 that helped determine the shape of the Chinese Civil War. The book focuses on the efforts of the two belligerent parties—​the Chinese Nationalists, or Guomindang, and the Communists—to achieve an enduring peace. It presents previously unexplored major elements of the peace talks: ambiguous treaties, package deals and short-term solutions. It identifies the burning challenges that confronted attempts at peacemaking, including the two warring parties’ high-risk decision-making styles and the temptation to veto agreements and resume fighting. Cheng argues against popular notions that differences between the two belligerents in the Chinese Civil War were irreconcilable, that the failure of the peace talks was predetermined and that the US government mediators needed to remain neutral. Because the actions around the negotiating table occurred in a developing theatre of war, Cheng also explores the military decision-making of the opposing sides as well as the conflicts that ultimately plunged China into the world’s largest military engagement of the seven-plus decades since World War II. China between Peace and War highlights the contradictory role of political leaders who micromanaged the military, including their struggle to connect political objectives and military power, their rhetorical use of the ‘decisive war’ concept, and their pursuit of radical military-political goals at the expense of a negotiated peace.

ANU Historical Journal II: Number 4 »

Publication date: November 2023
In the fourth issue of the ANU Historical Journal II, broad and urgent historical questions about memorialisation, environmental change, and violence are elucidated by detailed and thoughtfully contextualised studies of local places and communities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The six peer-reviewed articles span topics including frontier sexual violence, the categorisations of child patients in mental hospitals, the politics of war memorialisation, the long history of flooding in Queensland, and changing practices in community cemeteries. Complementing these articles are five book reviews which cast a critical eye on a wide range of new work, encompassing Australian, global, military, political, colonial, and disciplinary history. This issue also features the inaugural Robin-Griffiths Lecture in Environmental History, reflecting on Libby Robin and Tom Griffiths’ path-breaking work and changing sensibilities around national parks, as well as a conversation-style review of ‘Marking Country: Mapping Deep History’, presented by the Research Centre for Deep History. Together these pieces speak to the contributions of the research centres in the School of History, and to the rich range of ways in which history can be meaningfully created and communicated.

East Asia Forum Quarterly: Volume 15, Number 4, 2023 »

Publication date: November 2023
It’s back: the past decade has seen a remarkable resurgence of industrial policy in the developed world. Geopolitical fragmentation and resultant suspicions of international trade, the politically induced adoption of second-best industrial policies to address carbon emissions, and the use of manufacturing incentives sparked by fears of deindustrialisation and widening inequality risk tit-for-tat protectionism and further splintering of the global economy. This issue of East Asia Forum Quarterly examines what the new enthusiasm for industrial policy activism means for the global system and Asian economies: exploring its effects on the ability of emerging Asian economies’ to break into manufacturing in global value chains; investigating how measures aimed at encouraging domestic processing of raw materials affect the stability of policy environments and green industrialisation; detailing and comparing the experiences of major regional economies with policy developments in semiconductor and electric vehicle manufacturing and renewable energy; and appraising industrial policy’s effects on smaller economies and the rules-based trading system from a global perspective.
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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.

Made in China Journal: Volume 8, Issue 1, 2023 »

Publication date: November 2023
The year 2023 began with a series of jolts in China, as the government abruptly rolled back its notoriously strict pandemic measures following countrywide protests in late 2022. While external popular perceptions saw China as being uniformly locked down for the first years of the pandemic, the reality was that the country’s pandemic governance was unevenly applied and varied substantially from place to place. The result was mixed—and often even contradictory—attempts to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, with vastly differentiated experiences on the ground. While heterogeneous and fragmented governance in China is nothing new—and indeed is the basis of how most scholars understand policy implementation in the country—the pandemic nevertheless produced patterns of governance that were at times surprising, while also reinforcing previous trends. This issue of the Made in China Journal examines patterns of pandemic governance and the subjectivities associated with living through lockdown and the ever-present possibility of quarantine.

Visions and Revisions in Sanskrit Narrative »

Studies in the Sanskrit Epics and Purāṇas

Publication date: November 2023
Sanskrit narrative is the lifeblood of Indian culture, encapsulating and perpetuating insights and values central to Indian thought and practice. This volume brings together eighteen of the foremost scholars across the globe, who, in an unprecedented collaboration, accord these texts the integrity and dignity they deserve. The last time this was attempted, on a much smaller scale, was a generation ago, with Purāṇa Perennis (1993). The pre-eminent contributors to this landmark collection use novel methods and theory to meaningfully engage Sanskrit narrative texts, showcasing the state of contemporary scholarship on the Sanskrit epics and purāṇas.

The Road to Batemans Bay »

Speculating on the South Coast During the 1840s Depression

Authored by: Alastair Greig
Publication date: November 2023
The Road to Batemans Bay is the story of competing ventures to create ‘the Great Southern Township’ on the South Coast of New South Wales in the early 1840s. The idea of developing the furthest reaches of settlement was linked to the hopes of southern woolgrowers for a road from their properties to the coast, over the Great Dividing Range. The township proponents dreamed that having a quicker and cheaper connection to Sydney would allow them to open a port second only to Port Jackson. The scene begins with the proposed coastal township of St Vincent, in an age of optimism: settlement is expanding, exports are growing and land prices are soaring, generating Australia’s first land boom. Before long, however, the colony experiences a catastrophic economic depression whose ‘pestilential breath’ infects those with a stake in the coastal townships. Alastair Greig follows the fate of these individuals, while also speculating on the broader fate of South Coast development during the mid-nineteenth century. Greig gives a unique insight into many aspects of colonial life—including the worlds of Sydney’s merchants, auctioneers, land speculators, surveyors, map-makers and lawyers—as well as its maritime challenges. The Road to Batemans Bay is a chronicle of how Australia first developed its land-gambling habit and how land speculation led to the road to ruin.

The Compleat Busoni, Volume 2 »

Busoni’s other music: A complete survey

Authored by: Larry Sitsky
Publication date: November 2023
VOLUME 2: Busoni’s other music: A complete survey. Larry Sitsky, professor emeritus at The Australian National University, is an internationally known composer, pianist, scholar, and teacher. His books are fundamental reference works on subjects such as Australian piano music, the 20th-century avant-garde, the piano music of Anton Rubinstein, the early 20th-century Russian avant-garde, and the classical reproducing piano roll. The Compleat Busoni is the result of Sitsky’s lifelong focus on the composer Ferruccio Busoni. Over three volumes, Sitsky surveys Busoni’s vast output, provides an ending to the unfinished opera Dr. Faust, and presents definitive realisations of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica in two-piano and orchestral versions. New insights into Busoni’s style and aesthetics are an integral aspect of this work.

The Compleat Busoni, Volume 3 »

Ending to Dr. Faust and the definitive realisations of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica

Authored by: Larry Sitsky
Publication date: November 2023
VOLUME 3: I. Ending to Dr. Faust II. Definitive version of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica for two pianos III. Concerto for Orchestra: Completion and orchestration of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica. Larry Sitsky, professor emeritus at The Australian National University, is an internationally known composer, pianist, scholar, and teacher. His books are fundamental reference works on subjects such as Australian piano music, the 20th-century avant-garde, the piano music of Anton Rubinstein, the early 20th-century Russian avant-garde, and the classical reproducing piano roll. The Compleat Busoni is the result of Sitsky’s lifelong focus on the composer Ferruccio Busoni. Over three volumes, Sitsky surveys Busoni’s vast output, provides an ending to the unfinished opera Dr. Faust, and presents definitive realisations of the Fantasia Contrappuntistica in two-piano and orchestral versions. New insights into Busoni’s style and aesthetics are an integral aspect of this work.

Sisters in Peace »

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Australia, 1915–2015

Authored by: Kate Laing
Publication date: November 2023
Is preparing for war the best means of preserving peace? In Sisters in Peace, Kate Laing contends that this question has never been solely the concern of politicians and strategists. She maps successive generations of twentieth-century women who were eager to engage in political debate even though legislative and cultural barriers worked to exclude their voices. In 1915, during the First World War, the Women’s International Congress at The Hague was convened after alarmed and bereaved women from both sides of the conflict insisted that their opinions on war and the pathway to peace be heard. From this gathering emerged the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), which to this day campaigns against militarism and nuclear weapons. In Australia, the formation of a section of WILPF connected political women to a worldwide network that sustained their anti-war activism throughout the last century. In examining the rise of WILPF in Australia, Sisters in Peace provides a gendered history of this country’s engagement with the politics of internationalism. This is a history of WILPF women who committed to peace activism even as Australia’s national identity and military allegiances shifted over time—a history that has until now been an overlooked part of the Australian peace movement.

Adapting for Inertia »

Delivering Large Government ICT Projects in Australia and New Zealand

Authored by: Grant Douglas
Publication date: October 2023
Despite much learning and research over many decades, large ICT software projects have continued to experience poor outcomes or fallen short of original expectations—some spectacularly so. This is the case in the Australian and New Zealand public sectors, even though these projects operate within historically developed institutional frameworks that provide the rules, guidelines and controls, and aim to consistently improve outcomes. Something is amiss. In Adapting for Inertia, Grant Douglas questions the effectiveness of these institutional frameworks in governing large ICT software projects in the Australian and New Zealand public sectors. He also gauges the perspectives of a large number of actors in projects in both sectors and examines two case studies in detail. The main narrative to emerge is that the institutional frameworks are in a state of inertia: they are failing to adapt, owing to various institutional factors—all of which have public policy implications. Sadly, Douglas finds, this inertia is likely to continue. If there is difficulty in changing the capacity to govern, he proposes, policymakers should look to change the nature of what is to be governed.

Return to Volcano Town »

Reassessing the 1937–1943 Volcanic Eruptions at Rabaul

Publication date: October 2023
Wally Johnson and Neville Threlfall re-examine the explosive volcanic eruptions that in 1937–43 killed more than 500 people in the Rabaul area of East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. They reassess this disaster in light of the prodigious amount of new scientific and disaster-management work that has been undertaken there since about 1971, when strong tectonic earthquakes shook the area. Comparisons are made in particular with volcanic eruptions in 1994–2014, when half of Rabaul town was destroyed and then abandoned. A striking feature of historical eruptive periods at Rabaul is the near‑simultaneous activity at Vulcan and Tavurvur volcanoes, on either side of Rabaul Harbour. Such rare ‘twin’ eruptions are interpreted to be the result of a common magma reservoir beneath the harbour. This interpretation has implications for ongoing hazard and risk assessments and for volcano monitoring in the area.