2016 Symposium

Australian Women’s History Network Conference
Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Melbourne
March 31-April 1 2016

This conference will explore past and present ‘intersections’ in women’s, feminist and gender history, broadly conceived. Its title gestures towards the theoretical framework of ‘intersectionality’, more usually seen in sociology and gender/cultural studies where it has recently emerged as a key paradigm. This framework insists that multiple categories of analysis (gender, race, class, sexuality among others) must be deployed together to understand social processes and experiences. It has also emerged as an important rallying point for activism. This conference proceeds in part from the understanding that women’s history, and women’s activism, has actually paid attention to multiple categories of analysis for quite some time – even if these contributions are not well recognised.

The conference will also mark a series of significant milestones for the Australian Women’s’ History Network, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2017, and Lilith, which turned 30 in 2014. Plenary speakers will include Ann Curthoys, Carolyn D’Cruz, Samia Khatun, Vera Mackie, Crystal McKinnon, Lynette Russell, Zora Simic, Crystal Feimster and Patricia Grimshaw who was instrumental in founding the Network.

Conference convenors: Jane Carey, Jordy Silverstein and Mary Tomsic.

Contact: auswhn@gmail.com.

Conference Publication

A special issue of the AWHN’s journal, Lilith: A Feminist History, for postgrads and ECRs, will emerge from the conference papers in 2017.

The conveners are exploring a number of possible avenues for a special issue in another journal to be announced.

Plenary Speakers

Ann Curthoys

Ann Curthoys is a historian and honorary professor at the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia. She has written on a range of subjects in Australian history and on questions of historical theory and writing, her books including Freedom Ride: A Freedom Rider Remembers (2002), and (with John Docker) Is History Fiction? (2005, rev. 2010). She is currently writing with Jessie Mitchell a book for Cambridge University Press tentatively titled Colonising Liberty: How Settlers in the Australian Colonies gained Self-Government and Indigenous People Lost it.

Carolyn D’Cruz

Carolyn D’Cruz is a senior lecturer and program convenor of Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Studies at La Trobe University. She is author of Identity politics in deconstruction: Calculating with the incalculable and is co-editor of the anthology, After homosexual: The legacies of gay liberation.

Ruth DeSouza

Ruth De Souza is the Stream Leader for Research, Policy and Evaluation at the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health at North Richmond Community Health.

Crystal Feimster

Crystal N. Feimster, a native of North Carolina, is an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies, the American Studies Program and History Department at Yale University; and she is also affiliated with the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Her publications include “The Impact of Racial and Sexual Politics on Women’s History,” Journal of American History (2012), “’How are the Daughters of Eve Punished?’ Rape During the American Civil War,” in Writing Women’s History, ed. Elizabeth Anne Payne (Oxford: Mississippi University Press, 2011), and “General Benjamin Butler & the Threat of Sexual Violence During the American Civil War,” Daedalus (American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Spring, 2009). Her prize winning book, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching (Harvard University Press, 2009) examines the roles of both black and white women in the politics of racial and sexual violence in the American South. In 2010 she was named in the The Root 100 as one of a new generation of African-American leader. She has been a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Science (Cambridge, Ma) and a visiting scholar in the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ).

Patricia Grimshaw

Patricia Grimshaw is an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Melbourne, where she previously held the Max Crawford Chair. She is internationally recognised for her pioneering work in women’s history, missionary history and comparative colonial history, where she has focussed on issues of gender and race in settler societies. Her publications include Paths of duty: American missionary wives in nineteenth century Hawaii (University of Hawaii Press, 1989) and, with Julie Evan, David Philips and Shurlee Swain, Equal subjects, unequal rights: Indigenous people in British settler colonies, 1830-1910 (Manchester University Press, 2003), among other books as well as dozens of articles and chapters. Professor Grimshaw was instrumental in the formation of the Australian Women’s History Network.

Samia Khatun

Samia Khatun is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Melbourne. She is a historian of South Asia and Australia.

Vera Mackie

Vera Mackie is Senior Professor of Asian Studies and Director of the Centre for Critical Human Rights Research in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong. Recent publications include The Social Sciences in the Asian Century (ANU Press, 2015, co-edited with Carol Johnson and Tessa Morris-Suzuki), Ways of Knowing about Human Rights in Asia (Routledge, 2015), The Routledge Handbook of Sexuality Studies in East Asia (Routledge 2015, co-edited with Mark McLelland) and Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan (Routledge 2014, co-edited with Andrea Germer and Ulrike Wöhr).

Crystal McKinnon

Crystal McKinnon is an Amangu woman from the Yamatji nation on the west coast of Australia. She is a PhD student at Latrobe University, examining Indigenous resistance to oppression through the use of the creative arts, including music and literature, and is co-editor of History, Power and Text: Cultural Studies and Indigenous Studies (UTS ePress, 2014). She is also the Project Coordinator at Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women’s Service, and is on the board of Flat Out Ltd and the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women.

Lynette Russell

Lynette Russell is an anthropological historian, and Director of the Monash University Indigenous Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Originally trained in archaeology she now works across the disciplines of history, archaeology and anthropology. She is the author or editor of numerous books, including Roving Mariners: Aboriginal Whaler and Sealers, in the southern oceans 1790-1870, (2012 SUNY) and Governance and Victoria: Colonial History, Postcolonial Theory and the “Aboriginal Problem, (2015, Aboriginal History Press) and with Ian J. McNiven Appropriated Pasts: Archaeology and Indigenous People in Settler Colonies, (2005, AltaMira Press).

Zora Simic

Zora Simic is a Lecturer in History and Convenor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of New South Wales. She has published widely on the past and present of Australian feminism, including articles in Australian Feminist Studies and History Australia. Her research and teaching interests are also closely integrated. Drawing on teaching of post-war migration to Australia, she continues to extend research on the impact of migration on wider Australian society. Her other current research interest – female sexuality in the context of western modernity – emerges from teaching the history of sexuality and introductory women’s and gender studies.


You can download a PDF of the program here and the book of abstracts here.

Thursday 31 March – Morning Sessions

9am Welcome to Country: Dianne Kerr (Victoria Room)
9.15 Conference Welcome and Opening Plenary Panel: Victoria Room


Intersectionality and the Writing of Women’s History

Chair: Jane Carey


Speakers: Ann Curthoys, Crystal Feimster, Lynette Russell, Zora Simic


10.30 Morning Tea: Victoria Room

Short film screening: The Women Who Were Never There (10.35-10.50 – Courtyard Room)

11.00 Crime & Scandal/Speech & Sound

Victoria Room

Chair: Catherine Kevin


Kiera Lindsey, Scandal and Self-Government: Sydney in 1848

Alana Piper, Categories of Female Thieves in Victoria, 1875-1920

Nadia Rhook, Unsettling speech: A Norwegian woman in an “English-speaking” colony

Catherine Horne, ‘A Delight to the Ear’: Dame Enid Lyons’s Macquarie Network Broadcasts, 1939-1940


Violence, War and Dislocation

Courtyard Room

Chair: Zora Simic


Stephanie Woodbridge, “Just a few lines”: Repatriation advocacy through correspondence 1916-1940

Alexandra Dellios, ‘It was just you and your child’: single mothers and generational storytelling in Australia’s migrant hostels

Hannah Loney, New Order Gender Ideology and the Indonesian Occupation of East Timor

Claire Jansen, “We really missed them when they were away”: Looking for Alibrandi and the re-telling of Australian migrant women’s history


Nationalism, Internationalism and Advocacy

Meeting Room
Margaret Allen

Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, Divided Sisterhood? Nationalist Feminism and Militancy in England and Ireland

Dianne Hall, Irish revolutionary women in Australia, 1924-5.

Jude Conway, “They would still be doing the dishes after the revolution”: The intersection of old and new left women and second wave feminists in the celebration of International Women’s Day in Newcastle, NSW, 1970 – 1990

Faye Yik-Wei Chan, Intersectionality and the Law: The Legal Status of Ethnic Chinese women in Indonesia


1.00 Lunch: Victoria Room – AWHN AGM @ 1.2 

Thursday 31 March – afternoon Sessions

1.50 Violence and Invisible histories

Victoria Room

Chair: Katherine Ellinghaus


Catherine Kevin, Intersectional analysis and the history of domestic violence in Australia 1788 -1901

Meg Foster, “At the mercy of Governor’s wife”?: the life and times of Ethel Page in (what is commonly depicted as) the Jimmy Governor story

Anne O’Brien, Homeless women and the problem of visibility


Sexuality and Transgender

Courtyard Room

Chair: Chelsea Barnett


Thao Phan, Imitating Alan Turing: Biography of a gay activist icon

Sophie Robinson, The intersections of Liberation: Sexuality and Difference in Women’s and Gay Liberation

Noah Riseman, Transgender Women and the Australian Defence Force


Transnational Exchange and Women’s Leadership

Meeting Room

Chair: Faye Yik-Wei Chan


Tanya Fitzgerald, Globalizing ‘home’: Women home scientists at the University of New Zealand 1911-1961

Caroline Jordan, Fostering Australian Women Modernists as Leaders in the 1930s and 1940s

Diane Kirkby & Vera Mackie, Women Leading America’s Cold War in the Asia-Pacific

3.20 Afternoon Tea
3.505.20 Feminism and Difference in the 1970s

Victoria Room

Chair: Crystal Feimster


Zora Simic, The rise and fall of Women’s Liberation; or what did intersectionality have to do with it?

Petra Mosmann, Banners, identity and protest at the Pine Gap Women’s Peace Camp

Rebecca Sheehan, Restoring Colour to the Second Wave: Feminism, Racial Patriarchy and Sexual Sovereignty

Writing Difference in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Courtyard Room
Penny Russell

Françoise Daquin, Feminism and Abolitionism in Mme de Staël’s Activism as Shown in her Life and Works

Ana Stevenson, The Woman-Slave Analogy: A Failed Allusion to Intersectionality in Nineteenth-Century American Social Movements

Shane Greentree, ‘To shed a generous tear’: Gender and Emotion in Catharine Macaulay and David Hume’s Accounts of the Death of Charles I


Insights from the Trailblazing Women Lawyers Oral History Project: interdisciplinary approaches to speaking, listening to and interpreting women’s gendered experiences in Australian legal studies and practice

Meeting Room

Chair: Sophie Robinson


Kim Rubenstein, How does being a lawyer enable women to be active citizens and productive public beings?

Nikki Henningham, Is the recorder switched off?’ – Public interest, private narratives and Trailblazing Women lawyers in Australia.

Louise Baker, Computational Methods and Qualitative Data: Trailblazing Women Lawyers and their Networks.

Helen Morgan, Presenting women’s life stories online, public and private: Rights, re-usage and research data management of oral history data

6.30 for 7 Conference Dinner Kri Kri Greek Restaurant, 37 – 41 Little Bourke St.

Friday 1 April – morning sessions

9am Plenary Panel: Intersectionality, Resistance, and History-Making

Victoria Room

Chair: Jordy Silverstein


Speakers: Carolyn D’Cruz, Ruth DeSouza, Crystal McKinnon, Samia Khatun


10.15 Morning Tea: Victoria Room
10.45 Race & Gender

Victoria Room

Chair: Ruth DeSouza


Katherine Ellinghaus, Blood, Gender and Native American Assimilation: The Unwritten Stories of the 1887 General Allotment Act

Liz Conor, Graphic Encounters: Gender and Race in the Colonial Print Archive

Kathryn Ticehurst, In the Field: Gendered Experience and Authority in Anthropology 1940-1960

Crystal N. Feimster, The American Civil War: Rape and Mutiny at Fort Jackson

Maculinities, class, race and gender relations

Courtyard Room

Chair: Charlotte Macdonald


Katie Holmes, The “Mallee-made man”: making masculinity in the Mallee lands of south east Australia

Bethany Phillips-Peddlesden, Joe and Enid Lyons: Political masculinity, gender relations and class in Australian historiography

Laura Ticehurst, Migrants in White Australia: a romance? Class, race and intercultural relations.

Chelsea Barnett, “What sorta man are you anyway”: Masculinity, Class, and Conflict in Australian Postwar Cinema


Professional Women & Equality

Meeting Room

Chair: Bethany Phillips-Peddlesden


Sarah Gibson Walker, Ruby Lindsay: a professional artist of the suffrage-era

Donna Lee Brien, From “household names to obscurity”: Forgotten Post-war Australian Women Food Writers

Marama Whyte, “In the same boat (or balcony)”: The fight for gender equality in the National Press Club by the Women’s National Press Club, 1953-1971

Helen Anderson, The Links in a Life: Anna Brennan 1879-1962



Lunch: Victoria Room

Journal launch: Law & History special issue ‘Intersections: Gender Law and History in Time and Place’ (1.15pm)

Friday 1 April – afternoon sessions

1.45 Religion, Modernity & Cross Cultural Exchange

Victoria Room

Chair: Anne O’Brien


Jane Haggis, Building cosmopolitan amity in inter-faith, cross-cultural friendships in imperial contact zones: ‘difficult conversations’ between Indian and British women of faith 1880 to 1940.

Margaret Allen, ‘Force and initiative unusual in an Indian woman: Mohini Maya Das’

Laura Rademaker, 150 wives speak back: Tiwi women’s stories of the conversion of the Tiwi

Jennifer Jones and Emma Robertson, A Scottish Woman’s experience on the Bendigo goldfields: Negotiating work, family and respectability


Creative and Performative Interventions

Courtyard Room

Chair: Liz Conor


Elizabeth Emery, Holding Time, Survival and Place: Aboriginal Women’s Basketry and Cross-cultural Encounter

Julie Montgarrett, Invisible Mending: fraught fictions and fragile facts

Lydia Nicholson, ‘Integrity’ and the performance of working class women

Alexander Hunter, Intersectionality and Experimental Music

Approaching Class & Emotions

Meeting Room

Chair: Katie Holmes


Cathy Brigden, Visible, hidden and assumed intersections: constructing an intersectionally-sensitive analysis of a female trade union activist

Christine Yeats, “On the up”: family ambitions intersecting with class in post colonial society and Sarah Hynes’ battle for position and place

Wendy Michaels, When feminism intersects with classism: Millicent Preston Stanley’s reconstruction of the gender/class terrain

Judith Smart and Marian Quartly, Women’s History and the Emotional Turn


3.45 Afternoon Tea

Closing plenary: Looking Back/Looking Forward

Victoria Room

Chair: Mary Tomsic


Speakers: Professor Patricia Grimshaw and Professor Vera Mackie



Closing remarks from the conference convenors and incoming national convenors of the AWHN.


Registration for the AWHN 2016 Conference “Intersections in History” is now open. Registration fees are as follows:

  •  Member-full $185
  •  Member-concession $120
  •  Non-member – full $230
  •  Non-member ­– concession  $145
  •  Day rate  – full $150
  •  Day rate – concession  $90

Please dowload a copy of the registration form here and return it along with payment to auswhn@gmail.com.

Please note that ALL speakers must be members of the Australian Women’s’ History Network. Please see our Membership page for details of how to join.