Current students

Rachel Caines

Rachel Caines

Supervisors: Professor Amanda Nettelbeck (Principal Supervisor); Professor Joy Damousi (Co-Supervisor); Deborah Tout-Smith (Associate Supervisor End-user)
Thesis title: “The empire needs men”: Imperial masculinities in First World War propaganda
Thesis abstract: The First World War was a time of great socio-cultural, economic, and political upheaval across the globe. The instability and trauma of the 1914-1918 period resulted in a simultaneous reaffirmation of and rebellion against established gender norms throughout British imperial and colonial society (Meyer, 2009; Gullace, 2002; Bourke, 1996). The stability offered by Victorian and Edwardian expectations around fatherhood and marriage, athleticism and strength, work, and ‘manliness’ was challenged by the conflict, both in combat and on the home front. However, these expectations were also reinforced by governments, communities, and individuals in an attempt to maintain social order. This doctoral thesis investigates the ways in which imperial and national ideals of masculinity were expressed in First World War propaganda throughout the British Empire. It seeks to understand how factors such as race, class, and inter-colonial change influenced understandings of “the ideal man” throughout the period of the First World War, how these understandings were deployed to garner support for the war effort, and why certain tensions or factors were highlighted or minimised by propagandists. The thesis contributes to a growing body of literature which aims to historicise our understanding of masculinity (and gender more broadly), as well as to highlight the inextricable connections between gender, race, class, and national (or imperial) belonging (Fisher-Tine & Gehrmann, 2009; Lake & Reynolds, 2008; Woollacott, 2006; Hooper, 2001). This thesis will explore the inter-colonial dynamics of propaganda posters in former settler colonies of the British Empire in which the First World War created considerable debate and discourse about imperial and national loyalties. With this scope, the thesis will tease out the commonalities and tensions between projected national and imperial identities during wartime, and contribute to a wider transnational historiography on cultural formations and transitions across the British Empire (Salesa, 2011; Lake & Reynolds, 2008).

Joseph Parro

Joseph Parro

Supervisors: Professor Bryan Turner (Principal Supervisor); Professor Joy Damousi (Co-Supervisor)
Thesis title: Australian fascism 1945-now: Narrative of nation, race, politics, and violence
Thesis abstract: Joseph’s thesis explores the Far Right in Australia in the decades following the end of the Second World War. It examines activists who took part in the interwar transnational fascist movement and who remained active in the Far Right after 1945, as well as younger generations of activists who emerged in the following decades. It investigates how these activists engaged with the legacies of German Nazism and Italian Fascism, their own political (and, frequently, social) marginalisation, the political dynamics of the Cold War, the increasingly transnational nature of Far Right networks, and the shift from ‘White’ to ‘multicultural’ Australia. The aim of this thesis is to increase understanding about the impact of historical fascism on the post-war Australian Far Right, Australian Far Right ideology itself, and marginal political activism more broadly.

Jennifer Rose

Thesis Title: Migrant rights activism in Melbourne and the development of multiculturalism and public culture, 1940s to the 1980s
Dr Mary Tomsic (Principal Supervisor); Dr Rachel Stevens (Co-supervisor); Carmel Guerra OAM (Associate Supervisor End-user)
Thesis abstract: Culturally diverse Melbourne has been the site of significant migrant rights activism due in large part to the post-World War II migration program. Jen is undertaking a study that spans beyond specific ethnic/cultural groups to consider broadly the nature and influence of migrants’ rights activism in Melbourne from the late 1940s to the 1980s in areas such as migrant workers’ rights, rights to education, health and social services, cultural rights and democratic rights. This project contributes to the cultural history of Melbourne by exploring episodes of migrant’s rights activity within the historic context of local urban settings and the influence of migrants’ rights activism in shaping multiculturalism and ‘public culture’ in Melbourne.

Jason Smeaton

Thesis Title: Nurse or not? Voluntary aids and the Australian Army Medical Women’s Service during World War Two: Tension, disruption, and the value of work
Professor Joy Damousi (Principal Supervisor), Dr Mary Tomsic (Co-Supervisor)
Thesis abstract:
This research investigates the experience of Australian women who served in the Army’s nursing auxiliary service during World War Two. Through an exploration of the events, relationships and tensions that shaped the work of the auxiliary service, this study questions what effect untrained servicewomen and the war more broadly had on the nursing profession.

Harriet Steele

Thesis Title: Reading community: Periodicals as archives for Australian lesbian public cultures, 1970-2000
Professor Joy Damousi (Principal Supervisor); Dr Mary Tomsic (Co-Supervisor)
Thesis abstract:
My thesis examines the place of Australian lesbian magazines in community production and maintenance from the 1970s to the 1990s. This research is located within histories of identities and sexualities, informed by the discourses of the extensive lesbian periodical archives. I consider how the magazines have functioned as archives for their communities, preserving the debates around significant issues. My thesis examines how these discussions have operated over time and across periodicals and their interaction with feminism and gay rights frameworks.

Dr Ayah Abubasheer

Thesis Title: The politics of mobilising piety: Islam and women in the Gaza Strip
Supervisors: Professor Bryan Turner, Dr Rachel Busbridge, Dr Naser Ghobadzadeh
Year of completion: 2022

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