Dr Rademaker’s thesis was an interdisciplinary work of history that made extensive use of oral history interviews with Aboriginal elders and missionaries as well as anthropological, musicological and linguistic data to tell a story of cross-cultural interactions and negotiations at Christian missions.
Dr Rademaker said, “I wanted to move beyond understanding Aboriginal people’s history in terms only of victimhood or resistance against colonization – showing ways that they have strategically navigated complex situations to pursue their interests.”
She is now building on this research, conducting a new project on Aboriginal engagements with Catholicism, working closely with communities on the Tiwi Islands.
The Serle Award is a prestigious prize awarded every two years by Australia’s peak body of historians, The Australian Historical Society. The Serle Award recognises the “best postgraduate thesis in Australia history”.