Date and Time: Thursday November 2 @ 6pm – 7.30pm
Venue: History House, 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney
– Elicia Taylor, PhD candidate, University of Newcastle
‘Unspeakably happy and content’: unmarried Australian women and First World War service
Historical analysis of Australian women’s overseas service during the First World War has typically focused on the Australian Army Nursing Service or charitable fundraising efforts in which women’s roles conformed to conventional standards of feminine behaviour. Yet the conclusion that Australian women merely performed patriotic duties that adhered to accepted notions of femininity and maternalism overshadows our understanding of other models of women’s war service. Directing our focus to the specific experiences of some unmarried Australian women reveals surprising examples of individuals who defied convention and, like Australian men, pursued service and adventure overseas during the First World War.
– Bryce Abraham, PhD candidate, University of Newcastle
‘A stimulating effect on the recruiting movement’: propaganda and military celebrity in First World War Australia
Afghanistan veteran and Victoria Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith is one of the most well known faces of modern conflict in contemporary Australia. But Roberts-Smith’s social currency as a hero is not a recent phenomenon. It has its origins in the First World War, when ‘war heroes’ became entangled in the politics of recruitment and propaganda in wartime Australia. This paper explores how such men were used to inspire enlistment and promote a sense of loyalty to the war effort, which thereby created a legacy for the promotion of martial heroism and military celebrity that is reflected in Roberts-Smith’s status today.
– James Farquharson, PhD candidate, Australian Catholic University
The response of African-Americans to the Nigerian Civil War, 1967-70
The Nigerian Civil War (1967–70) has been acknowledged by historians to have had a crucial transnational dimension. However, the response of African-Americans to the war and the subsequent humanitarian catastrophe in Nigeria has been neglected. This paper will argue that African-Americans were politically, socially, and intellectually active in addressing the war in Nigeria. Using a variety of untapped primary sources, this paper will demonstrate that the war in Nigeria forced African-Americans to think deeply about questions of self-determination, the viability of Pan-Africanism, sovereignty and the protection of human rights, and the impact of neo-colonialism; even while continuing to fight for racial equality at home.