Research Centre Team Sweeps Up Awards

Some of the stellar Research Centre team members were the stars of the Australian Historical Association’s AGM last Thursday evening.

Laura Rademaker took out two awards! The W.K. Hancock Prize, which recognises and encourages an Australian scholar who has published a first book in any field of history in 2018 or 2019, was presented to Laura for her publication Found in Translation: Many Meanings on a North Australian Mission. Laura’s PhD thesis of the same title had previously been awarded the Serle Award, given biennially to the best postgraduate thesis in Australian History. The judges found the publication:

“…a rich and evocative account of language and cross-cultural relations on the archipelago of Groote Eylandt following the establishment of the Angurugu evangelical mission in the 1940s. Coming relatively late in a settler society where missions were highly dependent on government, this one straddled the official policies of assimilation and self-determination. Rademaker’s perceptive and nuanced reading suggests that missionaries and the Ainindilyakwa-speaking people each used language to evade or engage with each other in a series of selective ‘mistranslations’… Carefully plotted, assured and constantly engaging, this book opens important new perspectives on the entangled history of cross cultural relations.”

There were thirty-nine entries submitted in consideration for this year’s W.K Hancock Prize. The judges noted the overall high standard of the entries submitted and thanked all the entrants for taking the time to submit their work. Ben Silverstein was one of only five shortlisted. The judges commended his publication Governing Natives: Indirect rule and settler colonialism in Australia’s North, as “an ambitious and important book which challenges conventional understandings of how Australia’s Aboriginal population was governed”. The judges noted it was “assured and sophisticated in its reading.” Their concluding comment was that it illuminated the significance and ongoing legacy of indirect rule for settler Australia.

Laura also won the Ann Curthoys Prize, with Mike Jones receiving a high commendation. The Prize recognises the best unpublished article-length work by an Early Career Researcher in any one or combination of the fields in which Ann Curthoys has published.

Laura’s A history of Deep Time: Indigenous knowledges and deep pasts in settler-colonial presents was assessed as “elegantly written and providing a timely reminder of the complications inherent in reading stories across cultures. Overall, the essay offers a subtle and insightful exploration of the many ways in which settler Australians have engaged with Aboriginal ‘Dreaming’ stories.”

The Temple of History: historians and the sacralisation of archival work by Mike, likewise received a glowing review by the judges. They noted that: “In this bold and ambitious essay, Mike Jones undertakes a fine-grained analysis of historians’ use of sacred language in their descriptions of archives and archival research … Demystifying and explaining the work of historians and archivists, he contends, will help rebuild public trust and respect for historical expertise in the ‘post-truth’ era.” The Temple of History, they conclude, “is a beautifully written and provocative work of cultural history.”

Mike was also a joint winner with Alexandra Dellios of the Allan Martin Award. A research fellowship to assist early career historians further their research in Australian history, the judges praised the interdisciplinary reach of Mike’s project Culture, common law, and science: representing deep human history in Australian museums, and the way it engaged with the GLAM sector. The project will examine the way Australian Museums represent deep human history in their galleries and exhibitions. The judges concluded that “Mike Jones’ highly regarded work on archival thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration, and his engagement with a major ARC funded research project offers a firm foundation for this searching and significant scholarship”.

Finally, Bethany Phillips-Peddlesden, was greatly appreciated for her commitment to AHA as its outgoing Executive Officer. Bethany joined the team late last year to work on the development of resources for the data base.

What a dream time! Explore their blogs, articles and other publications on our website and through social media.