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The Histories of Raphael Samuel »

A portrait of a people's historian

Authored by: Sophie Scott-Brown
Publication date: May 2017
In the first integrated biographical study of his work, this book situates British historian Raphael Samuel (1934–1996) in relation to his distinctive form of activist politics as they developed from youthful Cold War communism to the first British New Left, 1960s radicalism to the 1980s history wars. As the catalyst behind the History Workshop movement, Samuel championed the democratisation of history-making and practised an eclectic form of people’s history in his own work. His unique approach was controversial, drawing impassioned responses from across the ideological spectrum, the most sustained critique often coming from his left-wing contemporaries. It is argued here that this compelling figure has been unjustly neglected and that he continues to offer important insights into the politics of history-making in a post-Marxist world.

The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929–1953 »

Archetypes, inventions and fabrications

Authored by: Anita Pisch
Publication date: December 2016
From 1929 until 1953, Iosif Stalin’s image became a central symbol in Soviet propaganda. Touched up images of an omniscient Stalin appeared everywhere: emblazoned across buildings and lining the streets; carried in parades and woven into carpets; and saturating the media of socialist realist painting, statuary, monumental architecture, friezes, banners, and posters. From the beginning of the Soviet regime, posters were seen as a vitally important medium for communicating with the population of the vast territories of the USSR. Stalin’s image became a symbol of Bolshevik values and the personification of a revolutionary new type of society. The persona created for Stalin in propaganda posters reflects how the state saw itself or, at the very least, how it wished to appear in the eyes of the people. The ‘Stalin’ who was celebrated in posters bore but scant resemblance to the man Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, whose humble origins, criminal past, penchant for violent solutions and unprepossessing appearance made him an unlikely recipient of uncritical charismatic adulation. The Bolsheviks needed a wise, nurturing and authoritative figure to embody their revolutionary vision and to legitimate their hold on power. This leader would come to embody the sacred and archetypal qualities of the wise Teacher, the Father of the nation, the great Warrior and military strategist, and the Saviour of first the Russian land, and then the whole world. This book is the first dedicated study on the marketing of Stalin in Soviet propaganda posters. Drawing on the archives of libraries and museums throughout Russia, hundreds of previously unpublished posters are examined, with more than 130 reproduced in full colour. The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929–1953 is a unique and valuable contribution to the discourse in Stalinist studies across a number of disciplines.

A Difficult Neighbourhood »

Essays on Russia and East-Central Europe since World War II

Authored by: John Besemeres
Publication date: October 2016
Through a series of essays on key events in recent years in Russia, the western ex-republics of the USSR and the countries of the one-time Warsaw Pact, John Besemeres seeks to illuminate the domestic politics of the most important states, as well as Moscow’s relations with all of them. At the outset, he takes some backward glances at the violent suppression of national life in the ‘bloodlands’ of Europe during World War II by the Stalinist and Nazi regimes, which helps to explain much about the region’s dynamics since. His concern throughout is that a large area of Europe with a combined population well in excess of Russia’s could again be consigned by the West to Moscow’s care, not this time by more and less malign forms of collusion, but by distracted negligence or incomprehension. ‘This is a wonderful collection of essays from a leading Eastern Europe specialist. John Besemeres brings a lifetime of experience, profound insights, and an incisive style to subjects ranging from wartime and post-war Poland through contemporary Ukraine to Putin’s Russia. At a time when doublespeak has become the new normal, his refreshing honesty has never been in greater need.’ — Bobo Lo This publication was awarded a Centre for European Studies Publication Prize in 2015. The prize covers the cost of professional copyediting.

Hesychasm and Art »

The Appearance of New Iconographic Trends in Byzantine and Slavic Lands in the 14th and 15th Centuries

Authored by: Dr Anita Strezova
Publication date: September 2014
“Although many of the iconographic traditions in Byzantine art formed in the early centuries of Christianity, they were not petrified within a time warp. Subtle changes and refinements in Byzantine theology did find reflection in changes to the iconographic and stylistic conventions of Byzantine art. This is a brilliant and innovative book in which Dr Anita Strezova argues that a religious movement called Hesychasm, especially as espoused by the great Athonite monk St Gregory Palamas, had a profound impact on the iconography and style of Byzantine art, including that of the Slav diaspora, of the late Byzantine period. While many have been attracted to speculate on such a connection, none until now has embarked on proving such a nexus. The main stumbling blocks have included the need for a comprehensive knowledge of Byzantine theology; a training in art history, especially iconological, semiotic and formalist methodologies; extensive fieldwork in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Turkey and Russia, and a working knowledge of Greek, Old Church Slavonic, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, Latin as well as several modern European languages, French, German, Russian and Italian. These are some of the skills which Dr Strezova has brought to her topic.” Professor Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA Adjunct Professor of Art History School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics The Australian National University

No Truck with the Chilean Junta! »

Trade Union Internationalism, Australia and Britain, 1973–1980

Authored by: Ann Jones
Publication date: August 2014
When lorry drivers in Northampton slapped stickers on their cabs declaring ‘No truck with the Chilean Junta!’ they were doing more than threatening to boycott. They were asserting their own identity as proud unionists and proud internationalists. But what did trade unionists really know of what was happening in Chile? And how could someone else’s oppression become a means to solidify your own identity? The labour movements of Britain and Australia used ‘Chile’ as an impetus for action and to give meaning to their own political expression, though it was not all smooth sailing. Throughout the 1970s, social movements and unions alternately clashed and melded, and those involved with ‘Chile’ were also caught within the unhappy marriage of the cross-cultural left. This book draws together the events and stories of these complex times.

France in the South Pacific »

Power and Politics

Authored by: Denise Fisher
Publication date: May 2013
France is a Pacific power, with three territories, a military presence, and extensive investments. Once seen by many as a colonial interloper in the South Pacific, by the early 2000s, after it ended nuclear testing in French Polynesia and negotiated transitional Accords responding to independence demands in New Caledonia, France seems to have become generally accepted as a regional partner, even if its efforts concentrate on its own territories rather than the independent island states. But France’s future in the region has yet to be secured. By 2014 it is to have handed over a set of agreed autonomies to the New Caledonian government, before an independence referendum process begins. Past experience suggests that a final resolution of the status of New Caledonia will be divisive and could lead once again to violent confrontations. In French Polynesia, calls continue for independence and for treatment under UN decolonisation procedures, which France opposes. Other island leaders are watching, so far putting faith in the Noumea Accord, but wary of the final stages. The issues and possible solutions are more complex than the French Pacific island population of 515,000 would suggest. Combining historical background with political and economic analysis, this comprehensive study offers vital insight into the intricate history – and problematic future – of several of Australia’s key neighbours in the Pacific and to the priorities and options of the European country that still rules them. It is aimed at policy-makers, scholars, journalists, businesspeople, and others who want to familiarise themselves with the issues as France’s role in the region is redefined in the years to come.

A Good Life »

Human rights and encounters with modernity

Authored by: Mary Edmunds
Publication date: May 2013
This book is a story. It’s a story about ordinary people in very different parts of the world dealing with rapid change in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It’s about times of turbulent and violent social upheaval and rupture with the past. It’s about modern times. It’s also about being human; what it is to be human in a modernising and globalising world; how, in responding to the circumstances of their times, different groups define, redefine, and attempt to put into practice their understandings of the good and of what constitutes a good life. And it’s about how human rights have come to be not abstract universal principles but a practical source of consciousness and practice for real people. Drawing on the author’s experience as an anthropologist, the book examines different groups over the last three decades of the twentieth century and the first years of the twenty-first: Thai factory workers over a period of two coups in the 1970s; Spanish nuns in the 1980s, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council and the end of the Franco dictatorship; Aboriginal people in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia dealing with the impact of late colonialism and moves towards self-determination, from the 1980s to the present. Each of these groups has its own stories, illuminating ways in which, despite the assault of modernisation on deeply held traditional beliefs and practices, particular cultural understandings and practices continue to shape people’s responses to their novel circumstances. The very diversity of the studies presented in the book raises some of the most compelling moral and social questions of our time and invites the reader, both academic and lay, to focus on what it is that makes us human; whether there are human universals as well as cultural particularities; whether human rights provide universal norms and practices; what unites as well as divides us; and where morality, and understandings of a good life, can be sourced in a secular modern world. “This is a book about hope, the hope that we have ways to live together in a rapidly changing world which will enable us to ‘live a good life in the modern world.’” Hon. Fred Chaney AO.

Conquering the Highlands »

A history of the afforestation of the Scottish uplands

Authored by: Jan Oosthoek
Publication date: February 2013
Deforestation of Scotland began millennia ago and by the early 20th century woodland cover was down to about 6 per cent of the total land area. A century later woodland cover had tripled. Most of the newly established forestry plantations were created on elevated land with wet peaty soils and high wind exposure, not exactly the condition in which forests naturally thrive. Jan Oosthoek tells in this book the story of how 20th century foresters devised ways to successfully reforest the poor Scottish uplands, land that was regarded as unplantable, to fulfil the mandate they had received from the Government and wider society to create a timber reserve. He raises the question whether the adopted forestry practice was the only viable means to create forests in the Scottish Highlands by examining debates within the forestry community about the appearance of the forests and their longterm ecological prospects. Finally, the book argues that the long held ecological convictions among foresters and pressure from environmentalists came together in the late 20th century to create more environmentally sensitive forestry.

Humanities Research Journal Series: Volume XIX No. 1. 2013 »

Nationalism and Biography: European Perspectives

Edited by: Jonathan Hearn, Christian Wicke
Publication date: January 2013
Humanities Research is an internationally peer-reviewed journal published by the Research School of Humanities at The Australian National University. The Research School of Humanities came into existence in January 2007 and consists of the Humanities Research Centre, Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, National Europe Centre and Australian National Dictionary Centre. Launched in 1997, issues are thematic with guest editors and address important and timely topics across all branches of the humanities.

Radical Spaces »

Venues of popular politics in London, 1790–c. 1845

Authored by: Christina Parolin
Publication date: December 2010
Radical Spaces explores the rise of popular radicalism in London between 1790 and 1845 through key sites of radical assembly: the prison, the tavern and the radical theatre. Access to spaces in which to meet, agitate and debate provided those excluded from the formal arenas of the political nation–the great majority of the population–a crucial voice in the public sphere. Radical Spaces utilises both textual and visual public records, private correspondence and the secret service reports from the files of the Home Office to shed new light on the rise of plebeian radicalism in the metropolis. It brings the gendered nature of such sites to the fore, finding women where none were thought to gather, and reveals that despite the diversity in these spaces, there existed a dynamic and symbiotic relationship between radical culture and the sites in which it operated. These venues were both shaped by and helped to shape the political identity of a generation of radical men and women who envisioned a new social and political order for Britain.