Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies
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NEWSLETTER NO. 37         SPRING 2008


The Australian and New Zealand Studies Assn. of North America, ANZSANA, and the American Assn. for Australian Literary Studies, AAALS, gathered in Austin at the end of February for their annual joint meeting. Sixty scholars, who presented some 50 papers, attended, along with four diplomats who represent Australia and New Zealand in Washington and Ottawa. The annual conference dinner was at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and organized by Frances Cushing, the Clark Center's administrative assistant. Stuart Macintyre, the Ernst Scott Professor of History at Melbourne University and this year's holder of the Australian Studies Chair at Harvard, gave an entertaining and provocative keynote address about exposing Harvard -- and by extension other North American university students -- to Australian history. Another prominent Australian historian, Prof. Cassandra Pybus, a Fellow of the Australian Research Council from Sydney University, delivered a well-received luncheon address about her research on former American slaves' roles in the British settlement of Australia and resulting ambiguities in Aboriginal identity. On the preceding day, Andrew Needs, New Zealand's Deputy High Commissioner to Canada, gave a luncheon address assessing "ANZSANA and AAALS: A Metaphor for the Relationships Within?"  During 2008-09 Rhonda Evans Case will continue as ANZSANA's president, and Ted Sheckels will be the new president of AAALS.


ANZSANA and AAALS will hold their next joint conference in Calgary, Alberta, 26-28 February 2009. The conference will take place at the Olympic Volunteer Centre, which is located adjacent to the Univ. of Calgary. Andrew Banfield and his colleagues at Calgary will serve as the local organizers and they have negotiated reduced accommodation rates at Calgary's Best Western Village Park Inn and the Hampton Inn's Suites. ANZSANA will shortly issue its call for papers and post conference details on its website, Both associations hope that their members and other interested scholars and students will make strong efforts to attend the Calgary conference. There is understandable concern that costs and difficulties in traveling to Calgary will inhibit attendance. So it is hoped that the enthusiasm with which Andrew Banfield and his colleagues are organizing the conference, together with the many delights of this dynamic Canadian city, will attract a large attendance.



 Message from the Director

Too often in these recent years, it seems to me, I've had to commemorate the life of a colleague and friend who has contributed importantly to Australian Studies but who has left us. This time it is Prof. Roy Mersky, Director of the Tarlton Law Library at UT-Austin, who passed away at the age of 82 just two days before this message is being written. As many Yacker readers will know, Roy contributed in fundamental ways to developing several of Australia's most distinguished law libraries. At UT-Austin Roy, together with his wife Rosemary Bunnage-Mersky, was an inveterate supporter of the Clark Center, a regular attendee at ANZSANA conferences, and he brought numerous Australian legal scholars and students to our campus.

Announcing Roy's death on Tuesday, May 6, 2008, the president of UT-Austin, William Powers, ably summed up Roy's outstanding life and achievements: "Roy Mersky was a giant figure at our Law School and in legal education for almost half a century. He built one of the finest law libraries in the world, and helped other law schools and institutions around the world build their own. He was a scholar and teacher. He was a tenacious defender of civil rights and religious freedom. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge when he was 17. He left an enormous mark on this world, and made it a far better place. But even more than that, he was a decent man and a dear friend. I will sorely miss him. We all will."
Throughout the Clark Center's 20-year existence it was seldom that more than few weeks would pass without Roy sending the Center some tip about visitors to UT-Austin or about interesting developments in Australia's legal fraternity. He graciously took Ph.D. students like Jason Pierce and Rhonda Evans Case, who wrote dissertations about Australian legal matters, under his wing, advising them and making their research known to senior jurists in the U.S. and Australia. He was, quite simply, an irreplaceable link between the Center and the Law School and we will not see his like again.


John Higley



A decade ago Don Graham, the J. Frank Dobie Professor of American Literature at UT-Austin, invented a course, English 344L, on Australian Literature & Film, and he has been offering it regularly to large numbers of intrigued undergraduates ever since. The course begins with background lectures about the founding of Australia and the question of whether it was a "gulag" as Robert Hughes maintains in The Fatal Shore. The course then flashes forward to a modern text, Robyn Davidson's Tracks (1980), to provide students with a feel for the Outback's unique geography and the encounters of White Australia with the indigenous peoples. Students then view the film "Walkabout" before returning to the 1890s and Henry Lawson's archetypal "The Drover's Wife," followed by the amazing sequence of Drover's Wife stories that run through the twentieth century, including "The Drover's De Facto," "The Driver's Wife," and "The Wife's Drover." Next comes the development of Australia's national identity captured in "Gallipoli." The course then examines the Whitlam Government's election in 1972 and the development of a new sense of Australian history, culture, and creativity. The urban fiction of two of Australia's most important short story writers, Michael Wilding and Frank Moorhouse, is studied. The final assignment is Kate Jennings' Snake, a recent novel of great power and intensity that takes students back into the country's "dead heart" via a compressed and highly innovative family saga about Australian feminism and masculinity.  During the semester students report on a number of significant Australian films. Don Graham hopes that when students finish the course they are ready to book passage to Oz, and apparently many do exactly that.


The research project organized by the Clark Center and Monash University's Institute for the Study of Global Movements to study recent changes in Australian and US immigration flows and policies has harnessed teams of leading specialists from the two countries to compare these flows and policies along several dimensions: magnitudes and compositions of immigration flows; impacts on labor markets; social cohesion among new immigrant groups; citizenship issues; and convergence/divergence between the two countries' policies. The US
team, led by Gary Freeman in UT-Austin's Dept. of Government and John Higley in the Clark Center, consists of Frank Bean (UC-Irvine), David Leal (UT-Austin), Stephen Trejo (UT-Austin), and Cara Wong (Univ. of Illinois). The Australian team, led by John Nieuwenhuysen at Monash and Jim Jupp at ANU, consists of Bob Birrell (Monash), Graeme Hugo (Univ. of Adelaide), Andrew Jakubowicz (Univ. of Technology Sydney), and Santina Bertone (Victoria Univ. in Melbourne). The teams will meet for a two-day workshop this coming 19-21 October at the Monash University Centre in Prato, Italy.


Pam Ryan, Research Associate of the Center, delivered the Graduation Address at the Univ. of South Australia in April, and her own research center in Austin, Issues Deliberation America, graciously hosted the inaugural meeting of the Austin New Zealand Australia Circle (ANZAC) in late January.

Rhonda Evans Case, Ph.D. graduate of UT-Austin and current ANZSANA president, who teaches at East Carolina Univ., is conducting research on advocacy services for refugees in Australia during May.

Tim Forest, a Ph.D. candidate in History at UT-Austin, successfully defended his dissertation examining the transport of Scots Hebrideans to Western Australia and British Columbia during the 1920s -- the WA research for which was supported by the Clark
Center -- in April. Dr. Higley served on Forest's dissertation committee.

Jane Hayman, an Austin lawyer and UT-Austin alumnus, has become an associate of the Center, ex officio, and has
played the key role in founding ANZAC.

Jason Pierce, a Ph.D. graduate of UT-Austin and former ANZSANA president, now a tenured Associate Professor at Univ. of Dayton, delivered lectures deriving from his controversial and now published dissertation about the Mason High Court at the Univ. of New South Wales and Monash University in early February.

Cassandra Pybus, visiting scholar at the Clark Center and UT-Austin's Dept. of History, has been a highly visible figure throughout the spring semester, giving a variety of papers at UT-Austin and other US universities and conferences. At May's start,
she sparked the second meeting of ANZAC with a talk about causal ties between the American Revolution and Australia's European settlement.

Recent Clark Center Visitors
Chris Dixon, Cultural History Unit, University of Queensland
John Hayton, Australian Embassy in Washington
Minyue Hou, Center for Australian Studies, East China Normal University
David Pritchard, Cultural History Unit, University of Queensland
Sarah Wolf, Education Section, Australian Embassy in Washington
Mike Woods, New Zealand Embassy in Washington

YACKER Is published in the fall & spring by The Edward A. Clark Center for Australian & New Zealand Studies,
Harry Ransom Center 3.362
The University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713-7219
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This Newsletter was not printed with state funds.

  • Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies

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