Past research projects
Classics and Archaeology
Australian research at Pessinus, sacral city of Cybele, the great mother goddess: myth and reality (2010-2014)
Assoc. Professor Gocha Tsetskhladze
Australian Research Council Discovery project
This international multi‑disciplinary project to investigate ancient Pessinus in modern Turkey will enrich the standing of Australia in the world as one of the foremost countries in the study of Anatolian and classical archaeology. It offers an exceptional opportunity for Australian students to learn and experience archaeology in the field alongside their peers and scholars of international reputation from several countries. The multi‑ethnic character of the site will form a good ancient parallel for the diversity of modern‑day Australia. The project will advance Australian‑Turkish cultural contacts and potentially deepen economic relations through encouraging tourism to a new part of Turkey.
The Transformations of Terence: Ancient Drama, New Media, and Contemporary Reception (2011-2013)
Dr K.O. Chong-Gossard and Honorary Professor Bernard J Muir (School of Culture and Communication)
Australian Research Council Discovery project
This project examines the history of the illustrated text of the 'Comedies' of the Roman playwright Terence. This material, ranging from the manuscript tradition of the fifth century CE to the Age of Print at the end of the fifteenth century, offers unparalleled evidence for the processes of technological change and the introduction of new media, from papyrus scroll to parchment book to the paper of the mechanical printing press. Our project will study how innovations and changes in these media shaped the understanding and interpretation of the written word, using Terence as a test case. At the same time, this project allows a fresh look at contemporary reception - how the attitudes and prejudices of scholars working at these key periods of change reinterpreted the text, and how these reinterpretations became encoded in the subsequent textual tradition. The two major outcomes for this project will be a monograph, followed by a DVD publication containing images of relevant manuscript pages, together with transcriptions, translations, commentary, and introductory text.
In the Wake of the Sea Peoples, In the Footsteps of Goliath: Excavating the Philistine Site of Tell es-Safi/Gath (2010-2013)
Dr Louise Hitchcock and Professor Aren Maeir
Australian Research Council Discovery project
This project will enhance the international reputation of Australian research by bringing it into current scholarly debate on Philistine archaeology, a quickly growing sub-discipline in Mediterranean archaeology. Marginalized in the Bible as decadent, recent research sees the Philistines as a cosmopolitan culture resulting from migration from Cyprus and the Aegean, and interaction with the local Canaanite population.
The goals of the project are to:
- Work in collaboration with the project directory to identify local, regional, and foreign components in the Philistine material at Tell es-Safi/Gath.
- Compare these features to those at Canaanite, Cypriot, Aegean, and other Philistine sites.
- Document and analyze continuity and change in the earlier Late Bronze Age (14th - 13th c BCE) and Iron Age I-II (between 1180 and 800 BCE).
- Consider the formation of Philistine culture as a product of interaction by a limited number of migrants from multiple neighboring regions in the Mediterranean
- Increase the presence of Australian scholarship in Near Eastern and Aegean archaeology
- Produce collaborative publications and workshops on the site of Tell es-Safi/Gath with other members of the team
Funding to support up to 5 graduate excavation assistants and 20 undergraduate or graduate student trainees from The University of Melbourne to excavate at Tell es-Safi/Gath.
This project represents a collaboration to excavate the site of Tell es-Safi (Israel), ancient Gath, the largest of five Philistine cities, the biblical home of Goliath. We are documenting new architectural features and finds, and analysing and interpreting the use of buildings, built features (ie hearths), and associated artefacts (utilitarian and symbolic).
Recent work has uncovered several large deposits of feasting debris and ritual objects, locally made Mycenaean-style pottery, and numerous Aegean-style hearths, one of them dated to the 10th century BCE, by a sealing of the Egyptian Pharaoh Siamoun. Reconstructing the daily lives of the Philistines, is advancing our knowledge of the formulation of Philistine ethnic and cultural identity, believed to be the product of settlement by groups of Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples are believed to include Mycenaean-Greek and Cypriot refugees that became involved in a cascade effect of destructions across the Mediterranean after the collapse of their civilization at the end of the Bronze Age (1180 BCE). In contrast to biblical accounts of the Philistines, which portray them as corrupt, evil, and decadent, archaeology shows them to be an artistically and technologically advanced culture, who introduced iron working to the region. This is a training excavation, which includes field trips to local sites, and evening lectures on biblical archaeology. Student volunteers at any level and from any discipline are welcome to join us each July.
More information on the project can be read on The University of Melbourne VOICE web page.
Aetiana: Laying Foundations for the Study of the History of Ancient Philosophy Part 2 (2009-2012)
Professor David Runia; Professor Jaap Mansfeld (Utrecht University, Netherlands) and Professor Oliver Primavesi (University of Munich)
Australian Research Council Discovery project
Our knowledge of ancient philosophy must be based on transmitted texts. Unfortunately almost all writings of the early Greek philosophers are lost, making us dependent on second-hand reports. An important source of information is the genre of doxography, brief systematically organised accounts of important doctrines attributed to individual philosophers. The project will uncover and produce the text of the most important ancient doxographer, Aetius, based on principles developed in our previous research. The resultant edition will supersede the work of Diels (1879) and be of inestimable value to all scholars working in the field of early Greek philosophy. The grant also includes an APA project on the vocabulary and syntax of doxographical Greek.
Transfer of Hegemonic Power: Geopolitical Revolutions in World History (2012-2015)
Dr Hyun Jin Kim
ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA)
This project aims to contextualise the current political debates on hegemonic power transfer in the 21st century by situating those debates and speculations on the US and China within the wider context of world history. By subjecting the current geopolitical situation to comparative analysis with similar geopolitical situations in the history of Late Antiquity and medieval Eurasia, the project seeks to shed new light on both the geostrategic objectives of past empires (Roman, Hunnic, Sassanian, Mongol etc.) and also the geostrategic aims of China and the US in the 21st century.
Archaeological Conservation: The development of analysis and assessment protocols for adhesives used on archaeological pottery (2008-2012)
Assoc. Professor Robyn Sloggett, Professor Antonio Sagona, Ms Deborah Lau and Dr Petronella Nel
Material conservation aims to preserve the original fabric of cultural material with minimum intervention. Adhesives required to repair archaeological pottery require high standards in performance and formulation. One particular 'conservation grade' adhesive has been used since the 1980s. We identified a formulae variation that occurred thirteen years ago with this product that potentially compromises its performance. There appears to have been no industry awareness of this change, so the product is still used by conservators. Using the University of Melbourne Cypriot pottery collection this research will develop analytical pathways and protocols for adhesive identification, formulation monitoring and performance assessment.
Cultural Materials Conservation
Explore past Cultural Materials Conservation research projects on the Grimwade Centre website.
Discovery projects: ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions
Intersections of Religion, Emotion, Visual Culture and Print in Early Modern Europe (2011-2018)
Professor Charles Zika
This seven-year project concentrates on German-speaking Europe from the 15th to early 18th century and includes the following:
- Emotions, Community and Sacred Space - focusing on the role of emotions in shaping pilgrimage rituals and communal identity at the Austrian shrine of Mariazell, in its transformation into an instrument of Hapsburg religious ideology
- Emotions and Exclusion in Witchcraft Imagery - tracing reversals in witchcraft belief from demonisation to derisive fantasy during the 17th and 18th centuries
- Natural Disasters and Apocalyptic Anxiety - exploring religious response through the prism of pamphlets and broadsheets collected by the Zurich pastor Johann Jakob Wick, 1560-1588
- Emotions and the Visual in the Transformations of Early Modern Europe - which investigates the emotional power, resonance and function of religious objects and images, linked to an exhibition to be held at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2017.
Feeling the Sacred: Emotions and Material Culture in Medieval Chartres
Dr Sarah Randles, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne
Sarah Randles is conducting a research project on emotions, materiality and sacred place, focusing on the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres, a significant centre for medieval pilgrimage and an outstanding example of and gothic architecture and art. The project will investigate the emotional responses of worshippers to the built environment and visual programs of the Cathedral, to the relics and other holy material housed there and taken from the site, and to the material and performative aspects of the religious practices at this site.
Digging out some emotional roots of British anti-Catholicism: A study of the English representations of the seventeenth-century massacres of Piedmontese Waldensians
Dr Giovanni Tarantino, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne
Giovanni is working on a project concerned with the affective language used in English-language reports of the persecution of the Waldensians in the later seventeenth century (with Waldensianism being considered the only 'heresy' of the twelfth century to survive in unbroken continuity into the sixteenth century to link hands with the Protestant Reformation) and how the rhetoric within these reports helped shape notions of British Protestant identity and community. He is also exploring the methodological legitimacy of reading (Waldensian) geographic maps not merely in technical or geopolitical terms, but in a way that he believes can justifiably be defined as 'affective geography'.
Disasters, Emotions, and the development of Scottish National Identity, 1490-1700 (working title)
Dr Gordon David Raeburn, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the ARC Centre for the History of Emotions at the University of Melbourne
Gordon is investigating the emotional responses to a series of Scottish disasters between 1490 and 1700, including massacres, plagues, and economic disasters, in order to determine the extent to which these emotions show a shift over time from localised identity, such as clan based or geographically based, towards a more national sense of identity. This project will also investigate the effects of major societal changes, such as the Reformation, upon the emotion responses to these events, as well as any differing emotional responses due to cultural or geographical influences. Gordon is also a member of the AHRC Research Network 'Crossing Over - New Narratives of Death', based at the University of Hull.
Past Discovery projects
Slavery in British Guiana in the Age of Abolition, 1804-1834 (2015-2017)
Professor Trevor Burnard
British Guiana became the most important slave colony in the British Empire following the abolition of the slave trade. Its history and the experience of the slaves who made up the majority of its population is the focus of this project, designed so that rich archival sources will be used to enable slaves to speak directly about their experience. This project is expected to illuminate the character of slavery and slave resistance in an especially profitable but harsh slave society in a late period of slavery. It is intended to explore the alternative kinds of colonisation that were possible in the early nineteenth-century British Empire, to deepen our understanding of slave management in plantation societies and to contribute to the historical analysis of race and slavery.
An international history of Australian democracy: the impact of Australian innovation overseas and of international human rights in Australia (2011-2016)
Professor Marilyn Lake
ARC Australian Professorial Fellowship and Discovery grant
This project will chart the international career of Australian democracy and the impact of innovations such as manhood suffrage, the Australian ballot, women's rights and industrial arbitration overseas. It will also investigate the impact of new international definitions of human rights on re-shaping Australian democracy after World War Two.
Sounds of War (2013-2016)
Professor Joy Damousi
Hell Sounds will explore how the experience of war is mediated by sound. Drawing on diaries, memoirs and contemporary accounts, this project will for the first time explore how war sounds of the battlefield and the homefront during the First and Second World War have shaped the experience and memory of these events by civilians and combatants. Through a history of the technology of modern warfare during the twentieth century such as bombings, shelling, explosives and air sirens, this project will re-conceptualise the history of the two world wars through the auditory landscape created by inflicting violence on the senses.
The origins and effects of the Unified National System of higher education (2013-2015)
The project will provide the first systematic and fully documented account of the genesis, aims, authorship, design, negotiation, carriage and implementation of the changes introduced to Australian higher education from 1987 to 1992. In addition, it will evaluate the immediate and long-term effects of these changes in reference to the purpose and rationale of the reforms as presented in the policy documents of the period. The project will undertake detailed case studies of four Australian universities, tracing how they were affected by the creation of the Unified National System of higher education. This account and analysis of the changes orchestrated by Minister John Dawkins will help inform future higher education policy debate.
Rationality and modernity: a history of fortune telling in modern America (2013-2015)
Assoc. Professor David Goodman
This project will produce the first scholarly history of commercial fortune telling in modern America, told from the point of view of customers as well as practitioners. The history of the persistence of the trade in prophecy well into the twentieth century will shed new light on the relationship of rationality and modernity in United States history.
The fate of the artisan in revolutionary China: tailors in Beijing, 1930s - 1960s (2013-2015)
Professor Antonia Finnane, Dr Peidong Sun and Professor Chien Yu
This study of tailors and garment production in mid-twentieth century Beijing explores the effects of Communism on the city's foremost handicraft industry and it practitioners, shedding light on the history of a state, society and industry which were to become surprisingly important to Australia.
Designing Australian schools: a spatial history of innovation, pedagogy and social change
Professor Julie L Willis, Professor Kate Darian‑Smith, Professor Philip J Goad, Assoc. Professor Hannah Lewi, Dr David G Nichols, Dr Elain Harwood, Professor Julie E McLeod
This project will provide understanding of the design, educational and environmental motivations underpinning modern Australian schools in the twentieth‑century, thus informing current ideas about the school as a centre of the broader social and local community fabric.
Globalising the Magic System: a history of advertising industry practices in Australia 1959-1989 (2012-2014)
Professor John Sinclair, Assoc. Professor Robert Crawford (UTS), Professor Linda Brennan (RMIT), Professor Susan Smulyan (Brown University), Dr Sean Nixon (University of Essex), Senior Research Associate Dr Jackie Dickenson
The project aims to shed light on the complex relationship between advertising and Australian society by recording, for the first time, the impact of globalisation on the work practices of this significant but under analysed industry. Most advertising studies concentrate on the analysis of the end product, the advertisements. This project is significant because it examines the processes through which these advertisements are produced, including hiring practices, agency hierarchies, client/agency relations, and technological change. Expected outcomes include a monograph, numerous scholarly articles, a website, an oral history archive at the National Library of Australia, and, eventually, Australia's first advertising archive.
Rethinking the history of Soviet Stalinism (2012-2014)
Professor Stephen Wheatcroft
This project will provide a more sophisticated understanding of the complexities of Stalin's Russia by considering critically the data now available in Soviet archives. It will explain how the system evolved in response to real social, economic and international problems, rather than exclusively in response to individual or psychological factors.
Making Torture Unthinkable: The International Campaign Against torture, 1967-1984 (2011-2014)
Dr Ara Keys, Dr Bradley R. Simpson (Princeton University, USA)
The project aims to explain why international outrage about state-sponsored torture in Greece, Latin America, and Indonesia in the 1970s coalesced into a powerful global movement to eradicate torture, and how the focus on torture shaped and spurred the popularisation of human rights as a universal moral language of global activism.
Narrating Trauma and Displacement: Historical and Cultural Experiences of Iran-born Men in Australia (2011-2013)
Dr Sara J. Wills, Dr Mammad Aidani
This project aims to understand the trauma facing Iranian men who have settled in Australia in the last 30 years, and to contribute to programs for their recovery and care. It provides the first social, cultural and historical study of this phenomenon, and aims to strengthen social cohesion by promoting new knowledge about refugees and migrants.
Reading the Signs: disaster, apocalypse and demonology in European print culture, 1450-1700 (2009-2013)
Professor Charles Zika, Dr Jennifer Spinks and Professor Susan Broomhall (UWA)
Violent religious conflict, apocalyptic speculation and heightened fears of diabolical threat were critical themes in the stories and images of natural disaster that rolled off German, French, Dutch, Austrian and Swiss presses in the first two centuries of print. This project will provide the first systematic and comparative study of the representation, meaning, impact and control of such disasters in early modern European culture. Significantly, it will assess the resilience of religious frameworks in a period when views of nature were becoming more secular. The project will result in several book-length studies and a major public exhibition.
Past linkage projects
Comedy - no laughing matter: identifying and preserving the history of comedy in Melbourne from the 1960s through the 1980s (2013-2015)
Professor Joy Damousi, Assoc. Professor Robyn J. Sloggett, Ms Judy Morton, Ms Janine Barrand, Dr Susan L. Bye.
Industry partners: Victorian Arts Centre Trust, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Arts Victoria
The project aims to identify, rescue and restore the physical materials, and record the oral histories, that inform our knowledge of the development of comedy in Melbourne. The period to be studied saw a wave of invention and creativity that reflected Australian society and culture, yet it has been severely under researched in spite of the wealth of material still in existence. It is important that this research is carried out now, while most of those involved are still alive to contribute. The expected outcomes would involve the preservation of material culture in this area and the mending of a substantial gap in the knowledge of Australia's cultural history.
A History of Press Photography in Australia (2012-2015)
Professor Kate Darian-Smith, M. Gawenda, Dr F. Anderson, Dr S. Young, with National Library of Australia and Walkley Foundation
Industry partners: National Library of Australia, Walkley Foundation
Press photography has long influenced how Australians have understood themselves and their world. In collaboration with the National Library of Australia and the Walkley Foundation, the project explores the evolving role of photographs in breaking news, and historical shifts in photographic technologies, media practices and ethics.
Past ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA)
Memory and Authoritarianism: The Struggle for the Past in Putin's Russia (2015-2017)
Dr Julie Fedor
Over the past decade, the Russian state has reasserted a role in shaping how the past is narrated and represented, both within Russia and beyond. This project critically examines this phenomenon, drawing on close readings of sources including history textbooks, monuments and mass media. The project aims to enhance understanding of how narratives about the past are being mobilised in contemporary dynamics between the Russian state and Russian civil society.
Creating the Atlantic World: transnational relationships and family ties in trading networks and voyages of discovery, 1480-1580 (2014-2016)
Dr Heather Dalton
This project will investigate the part played by transnational family-based trade networks in laying the foundations of the Atlantic World. It will focus on merchants from the British Isles who cooperated with merchants from the Italian and Iberian Peninsulas in the South Atlantic from 1480 to 1580. This project will examine these merchants' trading reach and the extent to which their relationships transcended national ties and traditional boundaries relating to gender, class and religion, and it will place families and hybrid networks at the heart of this neglected area of global history. It will demonstrate their influence on locations in Europe and across the Atlantic, and on emerging ideas of trade, 'discovery', settlement, colonisation and race in Britain.
Australia-Japan relations between 1945 and 1957: the Japanese perspective (2012-2014)
Dr Ai Kobayashi
This project reassesses Australia-Japan relations by analysing the Japanese perspective during the period of normalisation of bilateral relations between 1945 and 1957. It sheds new light on the understanding of the nature and scope of Australia-Japan relations.
Past ARC Future fellowships
Dancing to Whose Tune? Indonesian Transnational Political Activism in the Shadow of the Cold War 1949-1966 (2013-2017)
Dr Kate McGregor
Since the 1990s there has been a boom in memory and in human rights activism relating to historical injustice in Indonesia. Using an innovative framework of the concept of 'regions of memory' this project examines how human rights activists located within and outside Indonesia use memory for the purposes of achieving human rights outcomes. Through national and international collaborations this project will analyse why transnational activism concerning crimes from the Japanese occupation (1942-45), the independence struggle (1945-1949) and the 1965 mass violence escalated at particular points in time and deepen our understanding of the relationship between memory and human rights.
Spare Parts: The Cultural History of Organ Transplantation (2011-15)
Dr Helen MacDonald
The remarkable ability to harvest organs from the dead and transplant them into the living is being commemorated as a miracle of twentieth-century medical science. Yet transplantation has also always been a controversial undertaking. This major study examines the complicated past of 'spare part' surgery in England, Scotland and Australasia, mapping the ripples left in the wake of transplantation's celebrated moments. It analyses the dilemmas these raised, contributing to contemporary understanding of the ethical, legal and public policy issues surrounding a biomedical endeavor that continues to be haunted by its past.
McKenzie postdoctoral fellowships
Remembering Houses of Cloth: Workers' Histories of Textile Production in Bengal, 1590-2015 (2014-2016)
Dr Samia Khatun, McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow
This project offers a timely opportunity to produce a historical resource base about textile workers in Bengal that will inform and strengthen contemporary labour rights campaigns in the garments industry, addressing some of the most pressing social equity issues in the Asian region. Presenting a history of globalisation from the perspective of the textile worker, the analytical aim is to tackle a question of central importance to the discipline of history: How are articulations of the past actively used to fashion imagined futures? The twin objectives are to firstly piece together an episodic workers' history of textile production in Bengal from the sixteenth century to the present day, and secondly to generate insights into how workers across different epochs have actively employed narratives about the past in their struggles for the future. This project will produce outcomes 'Remembering Houses of Cloth' that explore the contested politics of memory and contribute significantly to the global visibility of textile workers.
International research grants
Luxury and the Manipulation of Desire: Historical Perspectives for Contemporary Debates (2013-2015)
Network partners: Dr Catherine Kovesi with Professor Giorgio Riello - Network Co-director, University of Warwick; Dr Rosa Salzberg - Network Co-director, University of Warwick; Mr Glenn Adamson, Museum of Art & Design, New York; Dr Marta Ajmar, Victoria & Albert Museum; Professor Peter McNeil, University of Stockholm and UTS Sydney; Professor Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli, University of Bologna.
Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
Luxury is no longer seen as the pastime of a small wealthy elite. Today's luxury industry is one of Europe's most dynamic sectors; consumers are allured by luxury brands and services; and nation states heavily tax luxuries. Yet, luxury is not just a product and outcome of the twentieth century. There is a long, complex and well documented role for luxury within history. The business, marketing and creative sectors are also keen to consider 'luxury' within its historical framing, allowing for a better understanding of the genesis, evolution and transformation of this material and psychological phenomenon.The Leverhulme International Network "Luxury & the Manipulation of Desire" aims to connect the long history of luxury with the importance that luxury has assumed in contemporary society. It does so by fostering dialogue between academics and curators based in partner institutions as well as experts, journalists and business people working in the luxury sector internationally.
History and Philosophy of Science
Past Australian Research Council-funded projects
Online Memorials (2013-2016)
Professor Michael Arnold, Dr Martin Gibbs, Dr Tamara Kohn, Dr Bjorn Nansen, Dr Elizabeth Hallam
This project investigates the interrelated commemorative practices, technology platforms, and social formations associated with digital commemoration. The urgency of this project arises as diverse forms of digital commemoration are increasingly used to express grief, solidarity and community, but are also a source of public and often personal disquiet. Digital commemoration is an emerging and often controversial practice with important implications for social institutions, cultural conventions and personal values. This study makes a timely evidence-based contribution to an understanding of changing commemorative practices, their digital mediation, and the interactions between them.
An investigation of the early adoption and appropriation of high-speed broadband in the domestic environment (2013-2015)
Professor Michael Arnold, Dr Martin Gibbs, Dr Rowan Wilken
The success of the National Broadband Network (NBN) depends upon its adoption by Australian households. This project will examine the NBN in the domestic environment across two first-release sites, and will make a significant evidenced-based contribution to an assessment of this important initiative over its crucial first years.
Challenges to moral responsibility (2011-2013)
Assoc. Professor Neil Levy, Dr Daniel B. Cohen
Agents deserve various kinds of benefits and burdens (such as punishment) only if they are morally responsible for their actions. This project aims to assess several sorts of alleged threats to our moral responsibility, and thereby to better the social allocation of goods to individuals.
Past Discovery projects
Meaning in Action - new techniques for language, logic and information (2015-2019)
Professor Greg Restall
This project aims to bridge philosophy, linguistics, logic and computation by developing proof-theoretical semantics for a comprehensive fragment of Montague Grammar (a formal language suited to analysing natural languages). It aims to show how this can be implemented in software, exploring and evaluating the philosophical assumptions grounding inferentialism and proof-theoretical semantics. It seeks to exploit and examine the connections between logic, linguistics philosophy and computer science and to chart how information is grounded in our interaction with the world and our norms for dialogue. The result is expected to be a more realistic and comprehensive understanding of logic and language, and tools for software that communicates more flexibly and effectively.
The Many Moral Rationalisms (2011-2014)
Dr François Schroeter, Dr Karen F Jones, Professor Michael A. Smith (Princeton)
This project addresses the foundations of morality. It contributes to our self-understanding by generating new insights into the objectivity of morality and into the role of reason and emotion in moral judgment.