ACU scholar wins prestigious humanities fellowship

Dr Kristie Flannery has won a Travelling Fellowship from the Australian Academy for the Humanities.

The Humanities Travelling Fellowships (HTF) enable early career researchers to undertake research overseas on projects of national and international significance.

Dr Flannery is researching the history of slavery in the Philippines and the Pacific and will use the fellowship to visit the national archives in Mexico City.

“The national archives are located in an old panopticon prison building in the middle of Mexico City – I can’t wait to start trawling through piles of dusty files and reconnecting with colleagues,” she said.

“A lot of important conversations in my field shifted online in these past few pandemic years but meeting in person goes a long way towards developing and strengthening professional networks that nurture research collaboration across universities and national borders.”

Dr Flannery is a research fellow within ACU’s renowned Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. She is hoping her visit to the national archives in Mexico will uncover new information about the slave trade across Asia.

“We know a lot about how slavery and the slave trade in the Americas and the Atlantic world, but historians are only beginning to understanding what humans bondage and trafficking were like in maritime Asia,” she said.

“From the mid-1500s to the early 1800s, the Philippines were part of the viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico), which was an administrative unit within the global Spanish Empire.

“Much of the working government archive that colonial bureaucrats created and used to manage Spain's colonies in the Asia Pacific were kept in Mexico, and they remained there after the country became independent in 1821.

“I'm interested in finding and analysing materials that deal with slavery in the Philippines in the Mexican archives.”

Dr Flannery was one of nine academics across Australia to win a Humanities Travelling Fellowship – part of a diverse range of scholarship that underlines the importance of humanities research.

“The fellowships underscore the world-class research in the humanities that is being done in Australia,” she said.

“Our work helps deepen knowledge and understanding of the history of our world and the roots of the key challenges we face as a society today.

“By thinking critically about the past, we develop the tools to respond effectively to present and future problems.”

Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Director, Professor Joy Damousi, said the fellowship reflected the calibre of humanities research being undertaken at ACU.

“Kristie's success in securing this fellowship reflects the commitment by IHSS to nurturing the next generation of humanities scholars and researchers,” Professor Damousi said.

“These awards provide support for early career researchers to conduct essential research overseas.”

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