RE: Otago Regional History Roundup for 2015

It’s time to reflect on all the history activities around the region, first up is Otago University. Thanks for your contribution, from the NZHZA team.

Dr Kate Stevens, who completed her Honours degree in the Department of History at Otago, is back with us now for three years as a postdoctoral fellow on Professor Judy Bennett’s Marsden project on “Constant Coconuts.” In the future she will do some teaching of Pacific history and she will advance her own research in addition to working with Judy.

Dr Jane McCabe was selected by her students as one of the inaugural recipients of the Otago University Students Association’s Otago Summer School Teaching Awards.

Dr Mike Stevens has an article – ‘A “useful” approach to Māori history’ – forthcoming in the April issue of the New Zealand Journal of History. He is also launching an exciting initiative to enhance our Department’s undergraduate capacity around Māori history: this programme ‘Making Māori History’ is targeted at our Department’s 200- and 300-level Māori students.

Last February Professor Barbara Brookes has had her edited collection, Bodily Subjects: Essays on Gender and Health, 1800-2000 published by McGill-Queen’s Press in Canada. It was co-edited with Tracy Penny Light and Wendy Mitchinson and, in part, grows out of a very successful symposium that Barbara ran here at Otago.

Professor Hilary Radner’s A Companion to Contemporary French Cinema is about to appear from Wiley. It is a very impressive volume – 712 pages! It was co-edited with Alistair Fox, Michel Marie, and Raphaëlle Moine and is part of Wiley’s series of companions to national cinemas.

‘Global Dunedin’, an initiative designed to open up conversations about Dunedin’s past, present and future and, in particular, to promote an appreciation of the city’s rich history. One part of ‘Global Dunedin’ is a series of public lectures that will be held in conjunction with Toitu Otago Settlers Museum beginning in mid-April (more on those later). The other part of the initiative at this stage is a blog dedicated to exploring Dunedin’s past. The first post explores the John Wickliffe’s arrival and what the colonists made of their first experiences in Otago.

The Global Dunedin lecture series has been a great success so far. The 4 talks have drawn an average attendance of 70 people per event. Jonathan West, who wrote an outstanding PhD in our Department on the Otago peninsula, and Jane McCabe have been amongst the speakers and they have really showcased the research produced in our Department in a most effective manner.

Check it out here:

Follow us and get involved in the conversations!

Professor Tom Brooking’s 2014 book, Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own won the 2015 Ernest Scott Prize. Recently the book was launched for the third time in Parliament sponsored by the Attorney General Chris Finlayson with former Chief historian and editor of Te Ara, the electronic New Zealand Encyclopedia, giving the book his blessing [Jock Phillips].

Dr Angela Wanhalla has recently returned from a trip to Canada. She was awarded distinguished visitorships to the University of Alberta (22 February-6 March) and University of Manitoba (7-14 March). Furthermore, Angela has been appointed to the Archives Council of New Zealand for a three-year term.

Associate Professor Erika Wolf’s project on the Soviet artist Aleksandr Zhitomirsky will be realised as an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, one of America’s most prestigious cultural institutions, opening in April 2016. In conjunction with the exhibition, she is currently working on both an exhibition catalogue and a scholarly monograph on the artist. Both will be published by the Art Institute, with the monograph being distributed by Yale University Press. The exhibition is likely to travel to the UK and Germany.

Professor Tony Ballantyne delivered a University winter lecture, both at Parliament (hosted by Minister Michael Woodhouse) and at the University of Otago centre in Auckland. Both events went very well. His lecture was on ‘Place and Belonging in New Zealand History’.

Tony is taking up a new role as the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) at Otago in October. His successor as Head of History and Art History is Takashi Shogimen.

Professor Takashi Shogimen has recently published four chapters on medieval European and modern Japanese political thought since the end of last year. Also his 2014 book in Japanese, Genron Yokuatsu: Yanaihara Jiken no Kozu (The Suppression of Speech: Mapping the Yanaihara Incident) (Tokyo: Chuo Koron Shinsha, 2014) has been reviewed or discussed within four months of publication by 20 outlets including Japan’s four largest national newspapers (Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi and Nikkei). It has received particular attention from the influential liberal quality paper Asahi Shinbun.