Laura Rademaker Shortlisted for New South Wales Premier’s History Award

Laura Rademaker, postdoctoral member of the RDHP program, has been shortlisted for the 2019 NSW Premier’s History Award for her book Found in translation: Many meanings on a north Australian mission’, published in April 2018.

These are the comments from the Judges: “Found in Translation explores the Anindilyakwa people’s interactions with Christian missionaries on Groote Eylandt in the mid-1900s. Laura Rademaker demonstrates how members of the Church Missionary Society sought to change these north Australian people’s beliefs by teaching them English and translating the Bible into their language – and changed themselves in the process. While demonstrating the missionaries’ impact, Rademaker also shows how the Anindilyakwa exploited their movement between languages, using creative interpretations and mis-translations to assert agency. Functioning both as a metaphor and a focus for concrete historical investigation, Rademaker’s interest in translation proves an inspired choice. While delving into the specifics of intercultural contact on Groote Eylandt, this generous interdisciplinary work thoughtfully illuminates wider themes. Readers will learn about the history of missions, mid-century assimilation policy, the phenomenon of settler colonialism and an Indigenous people’s efforts to negotiate its impact – all while appreciating Rademaker’s dazzling use of oral history and glowing prose.”

Laura’s publication is in competition with two other publications: Taking Liberty: Indigenous Rights and Settler Self-Government in Colonial Australia, 1830-1890 by Ann Curthoys and Jessie Mitchell and The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History by Meredith Lake. The New South Wales Premier Award is a highly competitive, nationally recognised award. The winning publication will be announced on 30 August, with the author receiving $15,000.