Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

ANZSANA Conference 2019

conferencedinnerThe Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies celebrated its 30th anniversary by hosting the 2019 meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Studies Association of North America (ANZSANA). The conference kicked off with a welcome reception at the Bullock Texas State History Museum that featured live music performed by Antares, a local band that includes a didgeridoo player. Two full days of panels and a conference dinner followed. The Hon. Peter McGauran, Australia’s Consul-General and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Houston, delivered a lively after-dinner address in which he recounted tales from his career in Australian politics.

johnhigleyThat same night, ANZSANA recognized UT-Austin’s Professor Emeritus John Higley for his contributions to Australian and New Zealand studies. A founding director of the Clark Center and a founding member of ANZSANA, John’s research, leadership, and mentorship over his decades-long career fostered the study of Australia and New Zealand across a wide range of disciplines. Professor Higley taught in the Department of Sociology at UT-Austin from 1969 through 1974 before joining the Research School for Social Science at the Australian National University as a Fellow in Sociology. During that time, he led a major research project on Elites in Australia, a book that resulted.  In 1984, Professor Higley returned to Austin, where he worked with Dr. Desley Deacon to establish the Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies. The Center was launched in 1988. Professor Higley served as its Director for 24 years.  He advanced Australian and New Zealand Studies through his research on subjects that included immigration and trade policies as well as funding research by UT faculty and graduate students across a wide range of disciplines. A founding member of ANZSANA, as its president Professor Higley hosted two of the Association’s annual meetings at UT-Austin.

In his honor, ANZSANA established a new award with a $500 purse for the best paper presented by a graduate student at its annual meeting. The inaugural John Higley Prize was awarded at the close of the conference to Matthew Birchall, a Smuts Scholar at Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, for his paper "History, Sovereignty, Capital: Company Colonization in South Australia and New Zealand."

The conference brought scholars from around the world to the Forty Acres. The interdisciplinary program included research from the fields of law, political science, history, and literature as well as media studies and educational instruction. Keynote addresses were delivered by Professor John Ravenhill, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo, and Professor Paul Pickering, Director of the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian National University. Benjamin T. Jones, a historian at Central Queensland University, launched his book, This Time: Australia’s Republican Past and Future. A contingent of scholars from UT-Austin also participated. They included Andrew Gibbons, a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Clark Center, and Amy Liu, an Associate Professor of Government and recent recipient of Clark Center research funding. Kathryn Dawson, Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, delivered a presentation on the Creative Body-Based Learning Project, a multi-year collaboration with the University of South Australia that seeks to improve educational experiences and promote culturally appropriate learning environments. Clark Center support has facilitated Dawson’s participation in the Project. Graduate students, Laura de Castro Quaglia (Department of Government) and Ally Tufenkjian (Department of Theatre and Dance) also presented papers. 

Looking to the coming year, efforts to organize ANZSANA 2020 are underway, with plans to hold the meeting in Canada. Emily Cornish, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, joined the ANZSANA leadership team. She was elected to the post of Vice-President. Miguel Híjar-Chiapa, Associate Professor at the University of Guadalajara, will continue as ANZSANA’s President, and Rhonda Evans, Director of the Clark Center at UT-Austin, will remain Secretary-Treasurer. To view the full conference program and learn more about ANZSANA, visit www.anzsana.com and be sure to follow ANZSANA on Twitter and Facebook.