RE: News from Te Whare Wananga o Te Upoko o Te Ika a Maui, VUW, Wellington

News from Te Whare Wananga o Te Upoko o Te Ika a Maui – the head of the fish – Victoria University of Wellington.

In 2015 we have said farewell to Tim Beaglehole (28.4.1933-18.7.2015), W. H. (Bill) Oliver (14.5.1925 – 16.9.2015) and Beryl Hughes (18.11.1920-7.12.2015). All three have left strong legacies in the minds and memories of students, colleagues and readers.

An honour was bestowed on a former student and staff member of History at VUW, Jock Phillips. Jock was awarded a D.Litt at the December graduation ceremony.

Postgraduate life

VUW postgrad students have continued to shine, completing MA theses on:

  • freethinker Joseph ‘Ivo’ Evison, Stephen Clarke; The Ladies Mirror, 1920s Jessie Annett-Wood; the Wairarapa wealthy 1876-193, Joseph Cruden; on the New Zealand Railway Magazine, Robert Kelly; on Maori reading in the 19thC, Frith Driver-Burgess; on Ladies Governor and Governor-General 1887-1926, Sarah Burgess; on the Petone working men’s club and masculinity, Nicola Braid; on journalists and the Rwandan genocide, Mark Shaw.

Current MA theses in progress include:

  • Displaced People, Displaced Objects: material culture and intergenerational memory of German-Jewish refugee migration to New Zealand, 1933-1941, Louisa Hormann; WW1 nurses, Hannah Clark; Women as amateur health workers in eastern Africa, Julia Wells; Moral Sensationalism and Sympathy in Leeds Newspapers, 1808-1840, Evgeniya Kryssova; William Watkin diaries, Mary Anne Woodfield; the New Zealand Socialist Party 1901-1913, Mark Dunick.

Four students have successfully defended PhD theses on topics in South Asian/Indian history:

  • Sabbaq Ahmed, ‘Religious ideology and Muslim militancy in South Asia: selected case studies’, (2015).
  • Ambalika Guha, ‘Reproductive Health and Childbirth: A Study of Techno-medical intervention in Colonial Bengal’, (2015).
  • Ben Kingsbury, ‘An Imperial Disaster: The Bengal Cyclone of 1876’, (2015).
  • Esha Verma, ’Sindh in Transition: From Mughal Rule to British Annexation, c.1739-1843’, (2015).

Janine Cook also completed her PhD thesis in 2015: ‘Feathered Friends and Human Animals: General Biology and Comparative Description within the New Zealand Poultry Industry Press, 1900-1960’.

Current PhDs in progress include:

  • Nazima Parveen, ‘Partition and Politics of Space: A Study of Muslim Localities of Delhi’.
  • Sarah Pinto, ‘Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds: A Study of Insanity, Western Psychiatry and the Asylum Systems in the Bombay Presidency in the Nineteenth Century’.
  • Louisa Mataia-Milo ‘Women and War in Samoa, c.1939-45’
  • David Hall, ‘New Zealand Agriculture post-1945 – reaction or innovation?’
  • Clare Gleeson, ‘Sheet music and the paper world, c.1880s-1940s’

On 31 August-1 September 2015 the postgrad students ran the tenth New Historians Conference, an occasion for presentation of work in progress, debate and exchange. VUW students hosted a number of History postgrads from around the country, and from other parts of VUW.

Staff research

History staff have been involved in a wide range of research activities.

The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was marked by a series of events co-organised by Giacomo Lichtner (History) and colleagues in the Italian Programme. Robert Gordon (Cambridge) spoke at a public lecture at the National Library and in the History Programme. The theme was carried forward in a series of events under the project ‘Legacies of Loss and Liberation’.

The Friday Research Seminar hosted a number of local and visiting speakers including Linda Kealey (U of New Brunswick), Aaron Kamugisha (University of the West Indies), Tamara Myers (UBC, Vancouver), Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney), Maartje Abbenhuis (Auckland), John Pettegrew (LeHigh University).

Publications from History staff in 2015 include 5 articles by Alexander Maxwell, including “‘The Handsome Man with Hungarian Moustache and Beard’: National Moustaches in Habsburg Hungary,” Journal of Cultural and Social History, vol. 12, no. 1 (2015), 51-76; Calcutta: The Stormy Decades ed Sekhar Bandyopadhyay and Tanika Sarker (Social Science Press); Rebecca Lenihan’s From Alba to Aotearoa: Profiling New Zealand’s Scots Migrants 1840s-1920 (Otago University Press, launched at a function in the History Programme in late July). Rebecca has joined the Programme as a Postdoc for 3 years.

Kate Hunter won the VUW Research Excellence Award.

Sekhar Bandyopadhyay continued to lead the New Zealand India Research Institute in a series of seminars, conferences and other events.

Adrian Muckle, Cybèle Locke and Kate Hunter went on Research and Study Leave in the second half of the year; Jim McAloon taking over as Acting Head of Programme in Kate Hunter’s absence. In January 2016 Sekhar Bandyopadhyay will take up the position as Head of the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations. Kate Hunter will complete her term as head of Programme as Jim McAloon and Simone Gigliotti go on Research and Study Leave in the first half of 2016.

Bettina Bradbury (emerita professor York University, Canada, and 2015 winner of the prestigious Garneau Prize) became an Honorary Research Fellow at VUW.

Teresa Durham in the History office, together with the team led by Pennie Gapes (School manager) won the Team General Staff Award for Excellence.

Dolores Janiewski completed a long period of service as the Staff representative on the University Council. 2015 was a big year of change with the size of Councils dramatically reduced and the level of representation similarly shrunk. Two academic staff rep positions were maintained. In November Kate Hunter was elected to one of these positions.

Kate Hunter took part in the Writers Week in Wanaka in April speaking in a series of public and school events on her recently published Holding on to Home, Te Papa Press, 2014, with Kirstie Ross). Simone Gigliotti has played a major role at the New Zealand Holocaust Centre.

Grace Millar (PhD, 2012) became the Convener of the Labour History Project, succeeding another member of the programme, Jim McAloon, in that role. Cybèle Locke is the third member of the programme to be involved in the LHP.

Charlotte Macdonald, Professor of History, VUW.