Recent event: Our project is pleased to be involved in this wonderful conference at ANU in November 2018. Another ARC Linkage grant is hosting a two-day conference called ‘Reframing Indigenous Biography’. Our grant, though, is delighted to sponsor the keynote at the National Portrait Gallery by Alice Te Punga Somerville on the evening of 15th Nov. Please register here. 


Recent event: Thinking the Empire Whole: A Workshop on Lives and Debates in the British Empire through the long eighteenth century. With Visiting Professor Steven Pincus (U. Chicago). Thursday, 9th August, 2018, 10.15am-5.30pm, Conference Room C, MUSE Building, 18 Wally’s Walk, Macquarie University.

Nostalgia for the British Empire is back, not only in various public spaces but also in certain academic circles. Scholarly pushback against this resurgent nostalgia has come mostly from historians of the 19th and 20th century. Experts on the 18th century have been quieter in reply. This is partly due to the fractured nature of 18th-century British imperial history, divided as it is into the fields of colonial America, colonial India, African slavery, Pacific exploration, Australian settlement and so on. One aim of this workshop is to forge more comprehensive thinking about the British Empire through the long eighteenth century. It will encourage cohesion among disparate scholars that will help to answer renewed questions about the purpose, morality, and exercise of British settler and non-settler colonialism throughout the modern era.

Thinking more connectedly about empire also aligns with how many involved in British trade, settlement, protection, and exploration at the time understood it. Prof. Pincus’s opening paper especially will address how the global consideration of British imperial practice worked on the ground—its agents, its imperatives, and its effects. The two following roundtables will test and extend the consequences of thinking about the British Empire as one global phenomenon. They will also showcase recent Australian scholarship on British intellectual and social history. The first roundtable features the perspectives of some lives in imperial spaces, from slavers to the enslaved, from settlers to sojourners, and from the transported to the dispossessed. The second focuses on different levels and spaces for debating the empire, from popular culture, political economy, landed gentry, and the Scottish Enlightenment.

—> Download flyer with abstract etc here: Empire workshop flyer MQ.

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Our first event in this project was a paired talk on our paired first exhibition, by Jo and Kate. Held at the ANU National Centre for Biography, on 31st May 2018, we spoke on Indigenous Lives Through Portraiture. That talk is now a podcast!  Click on the link in previous sentence.

Our talk focusses on the forthcoming Founding Pairs exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. This show is the first production of an ARC Linkage grant on comparative approaches to the early history of Australasia through portraiture and biography. Entailing a reimagined and refocused installation in the NPG’s Robert Oatley Gallery, the show will pair so-called European founding fathers with the indigenous interlocutors who made their work possible (including Banks and Tupaia, Flinders and Bungaree, and so on). It will also feature the work of European artists who took differing approaches to the representation of indigenous people. Joanna Gilmour will outline the broad approach of the gallery and the re-hang in terms of the representation of lives, focusing especially on the artists Augustus Earle and Charles Rodius. Kate Fullagar will speak on new historical approaches to indigenous biography, using the examples of Tupaia, Mai, and Bennelong. Downloadable flyer for this event: Flyer NPG May shortened bios