Skip to content

I'm a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. I'm currently based in the Race and Ethnicity in the Global South Research Collaboration.

My research interests include histories of youth, gender, welfare, education and disability. I have a keen interest in digital history and all things web.

My dissertation is titled "Help Us/Help Them: How Australian parents understood the problem of mental retardation, and what they did about it, 1945-1970."

I’d rather talk to my Goldfish: A (failed?) Twitter experiment

June 21, 2012

Decorative element including student response: "Twitter is a waste of time!"

We often here how today’s students love technology. So do I. I also like to play a bit and try and see how we can best use it to enhance our higher education teaching.

This past semester I’ve been teaching Australian Social History (HSTY2614), a survey course which spans from 1918 through to today. As lead tutor for the course, I tried to engage the students through a range of online initiatives. This included a set of online resources available through the custom bit.ly address bit.ly/hsty2614; email updates providing responses to in-tutorial activities such as setting class rules and a stop/start/continue peer -review exercise; a webCT site offering lecture recordings; and (something new) a twitter hashtag for the course.

Twitter is what I discuss here. Read more…

Conference Abstract: ‘Habilitating the retarded”: Why sheltered workshops for ‘mentally retarded’ Australians became ‘terminal’, 1945-1970

June 20, 2012

Decorative element showing book pages

Abstract for my upcoming paper at Connections, Australian Historical Association national conference in Adelaide, 2-6 July 2012.

The New Disability History, which seeks to trace the changing meanings attached to impairments over time, has alerted us to the contingent and protean nature of disabilities, and exposed the fuzzy boundaries between embodied impairments and culturally constructed disablements. The borderlands of disabilities are often diffuse, and different groups of individuals have moved within or through them over time.

In the decades immediately following the Second World, the group of classifications we now call ‘intellectual disabilities’ was in a state of flux. Australian parents with ‘mentally retarded’ youngsters had emerged as a new political force, organising themselves into large, influential voluntary bodies, and driving particularly rapid shifts in both popular and scientific understandings of who constituted the ‘mentally retarded’ group, and the needs, abilities and potentialities of its constituents. Read more…

1950s Suburban Domesticity: Living the Dream?

April 20, 2012

Read more…

HSTY2614 Australian Social History Resources

February 28, 2012

The Course

Hashtag #HSTY2614 on Twitter

Tweet your readings before the tutorial. What do you think? Can it be summarised in less than 140 characters?

Readings at the Library e-reserve

Further readings at the library Read more…

The Rise of the Nuclear Family in Australia

January 12, 2012

Resources¬†for Sydney University Summer School lecture to HSTY2614, “Australian Social History”: The Rise of the Nuclear Family

Read more…

Reflecting on Achilles and the Black Dog

September 9, 2011

Decorative element

Yesterday I went to Driving the Future of History and Philosophy, and saw Dr. Larissa Aldridge’s amazing keynote address, “Achilles and the Black Dog: Coping with Feelings of Inadequacy during the PhD Process.”[1] People familiar with psychology will have guessed that Larissa’s title references the “black dog” metaphor for depression, and Harold Bloomfield’s Achilles Syndrome, a (pseudo?) psychological book published in 1985 which popularised the concept of pseudocompetence, more commonly referred to as “Impostor Syndrome.”[2]

In her address, Larissa shared the battles with self-doubt and depression that she fought during her PhD journey. It was a touching, and also brave, talk, because I believe that most, if not all, graduate students, and academics, frequently exhibit depression-like symptoms and self-doubt. But we are encouraged (socialised, perhaps?) not to discuss it. Instead, we have rooms full of graduate students sitting at their desks, tapping away, all worried that the person next to them is achieving more than they are. We have conferences full of historians who have a book a year overdue, a half-finished peer-reviewed article they hate, a course outline barely started but due to be finished tomorrow, and a huge grant application to complete, trying their best to project an air of calmness and self control. Read more…

  • RSS Previously Bookmarked

  • AHA australia australian national maritime museum bibliography blogs bradley review cerberus cerebral palsy childhood chinese conferences culture databases dave earl depression diability digital disa disability Eat History eugenics euthanasia Food gun higher education history History Week impostor syndrome intellectual disabilities kew cottages library mental illness mercy killing murder museums naval navy new south wales NLA non-government not for profit NSW NSW History Council online papers parent advocacy parent advocay parents phd phds pistol politics Publications queensland race racial research rifle RSS schonell spastic centre subnormal children welfare association subscriptions suicide sydney university tasmania teaching and learning vision impairment voluntarism voluntary volunteers weapons welfare western australia whiteness studies