The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Clark Center Hosts International Conference

Tue, February 19, 2019
Clark Center Hosts International Conference
Australia's Consul-General: Peter McGauran

Last week, the 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. That 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. 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 and be sure to follow ANZSANA on Twitter and Facebook.

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