In the six months leading up to the finalisation of this issue of ANU Historical Journal II (ANUHJ II), people the world over have had to grapple with uncertainty to an extent not experienced for decades. Australians have found themselves engulfed by world-altering natural disasters, suffocated day after day by blankets of impenetrable smoke, and faced with the physical, emotional and economic burden of a catastrophic fire season. Chaos continued to reign with the advent of a global pandemic that altered our everyday lives.
Luckily, in times of uncertainty, history remains a constant. In times such as these, historians have the ability to draw upon the past to make sense of the chaos. It is under such circumstances that we deliver the second issue of ANUHJ II, 34 years after the first iteration of the journal folded.
As detailed by Emily Gallagher in the editorial of Number 1 of ANUHJ II (2019), the original ANU Historical Journal was created by and for students of ANU School of History. Thus, the ANU Historical Journal, both between 1964 and 1987 and now, has dedicated itself to showcasing the talent and collegiality that binds scholars at various points in their historical careers. Much the same as the ANUHJ of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the articles that make up Number 2 of ANUHJ II are geographically, stylistically and topically diverse. Such diversity is a reflection of our contributors; we are delighted to publish the exceptional work of undergraduate students alongside that of postgraduates, early career researchers and distinguished professors of history.
By encouraging submissions from students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate studies, one of the aims of ANUHJ II is to provide opportunities for mentorship and experience in preparing work for publication. We are proud to showcase the exceptional work of both undergraduate and postgraduate students, but this does not mean ANUHJ II compromises on quality. Rather, we are dedicated to ensuring the intellectual rigour of student work through mentorship, creating conversations between students and academics by publishing their work side-by-side.
Highlighting the communication fostered by Number 2 of ANUHJ II is our editorial conversation with Ben Silverstein about his new book, Governing Natives. This conversation platforms the links between students and academics in history within ANU. Commenting directly on such linkages in her own university, Bri McKenzie’s article reflects upon her role as a lecturer of history, considering the importance of self-reflexivity in incorporating LGBTQI+ perspectives into historical pedagogy for her students. Both Silverstein and McKenzie provide valuable insight into historical practice in Australia.
In focusing in on Australia, several other contributors have chosen to reflect internally on our more recent past. In light of former prime minister Bob Hawke’s death in May 2019, Joshua Black critically examines the role played by memoir, biography and media in moulding and cementing Hawke’s legacy. Accompanying Black, Lucinda Fretwell considers ordinary Australians’ sense of themselves as a result of the Anzac legend. In the final section of this issue—and contributing to vital discussions of key Australian scholarship—our reviewers, Clare Parker, Margaret Harris, Emma Cupitt and Matthew Cunneen, provide insightful analyses of four new and noteworthy books, all of which engage in issues of great importance to Australian history.
While many of our contributors have tackled Australian history, several have undertaken studies that place Australia in transnational and international contexts. Tom Gardner takes up Australia’s continuing relations with Asia by exploring Australian journalist George Morrison’s engagement with China during the early twentieth century. In a study of the ‘housewife syndrome’, Keeley Adams examines the sociopolitical subjugation of American women between the 1940s and 1970s, and Chelsie Baldwin takes a close look at the nationalistic utilisation of Indonesia’s Borobudur temple, an architectural feat seldom considered in a historical light by scholars.
Much the same as architecture, art and culture are vital vehicles for examining history. This is demonstrated starkly by David Roth in his consideration of the popularly characterised ‘moral’ nature of seventeenth-century Dutch art. Further to this, Lucinda Janson artfully demonstrates how Australia’s cosmopolitan magazine, Home, grappled with modernism in the 1920s, demonstrating that the magazine’s dedication to the ‘modern woman’ was not so straightforward.
In addition to these diverse articles, we are fortunate to showcase the generous intellect of several professors in Number 2. This is highlighted by our reproduction of David Farber’s lecture, ‘Trump’s Republic’, originally delivered as the 2019 Allan Martin Lecture, a key annual event in the School of History’s calendar. We are also grateful for the contributions of professors Tim Rowse and Carroll Pursell, both of whom provide thought-provoking pieces: Rowse on then Prime Minister John Howard’s Indigenous policies and Pursell on technological novelty and inventors.
We are privileged to publish all of the works within this issue and we remain indebted to those who have assisted us in demonstrating the importance of collegiality and intergenerational discussion to the success of ANUHJ II, and history more generally. The articles within Number 2 of the ANUHJ II follow in the footsteps of their forebears, contributing to the diverse intellectual work of student and academic historians alike. This issue demonstrates the power of history in unearthing untold or oft-overlooked stories, while contributing to our understanding of what seem like highly uncertain times.
Your Author: Jessica Urwin