Past Events

Masculinity, romance and ‘temperate heroism’
Dr Alison Twells
Public Lecture as part of the Gender Seminar Series
Venue: Flinders University Victoria Square campus.
9 July 2018

[Knitted Garmets photo courtesy Dr Alison Twells]

Dr Twells explored romance and masculinity in the Second World War through letters from British servicemen to the women and girls who knitted for them in their patriotic duty.

[Norah age 16 photo courtesy Dr Alison Twells]

[Norah’s personal diaries photo courtesy Dr Alison Twells]

The talk, presented by visiting UK academic Dr Alison Twells, examined the motivators for the correspondence, the deployment of sex and romance as mechanisms to maintain wartime morale, and instances of men leaning on their mobility and anonymity to engage in sexually explicit or abusive correspondence.

[Doris Dockrill best wishes photo courtesy Dr Alison Twells]

Dr Twells adressed a range of current critiques in the history of masculinity and look at how the letters relate to current issues today – do they provide a way of exploring wider gender dynamics, particularly in the light of the #MeToo movement?


[Dr Alison Twells photo courtesy Ella York Flinders University]

Dr Alison Twells is from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. She is Reader in History at Sheffield Hallam University and the author of several publications. She currently works on gender and sexuality in 19th and 20th centuries diaries and letters; creative history; and (with Dr Jane Haggis of Flinders University), a project exploring the applications of history in the present day.

[Associate Professor Jane Haggis photo courtesy Ella York Flinders University]

[Interesting discussion ensued photo courtesy Ella York Flinders University]

Public Lecture video now available:
Masculinity, romance and temperate heroism during the Second World War


Cosmopolitics Past and Present: Global Activisms and the Dynamics of Race, Faith and Affect
International Symposium
Venue: City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Friday 1 and Saturday 2 December 2017

This Friday evening public lecture and Saturday one-day symposium was conceived in a political environment highly hostile to cosmopolitanism. The current British Prime Minister has dismissed those who claim to be citizens of the world as citizens of nowhere. Antiimmigrant, Islamophobic and racist political groups are on the rise across Europe, the USA, Australia, and beyond. In this context, we set out to bring together an international group of historians and sociologists in order to explore cosmopolitics, past and present. Our focus was on cosmopolitanism as an activist positioning which can challenge racism and nationalism, promote inter-faith dialogue, and foster affective communities and practical co-operation across cultural differences and national divides.

The aim of the public lecture and symposium was to illuminate how a deeper historical understanding of cosmopolitics and cosmopolitan activist networks might inform and enrich contemporary debate through nuancing or destabilising received ideas. Building on recent work in this field, most recently in European Cosmopolitanism: Colonial Histories and Postcolonial Societies, edited by Gurminder K. Bhambra and John Narayan (Routledge 2017), we set out to bring into dialogue a range of cosmopolitics relating to a diversity of interlinked localities, with a particular but not exclusive focus on Australia, the Indian subcontinent and Britain.

To this end, the symposium set out to:
• Explore the relationship between the religious and the secular dimensions of cosmopolitanism.
• Consider the relationship between ‘liberal cosmopolitanism’ and alternative or vernacular cosmopolitanisms, with particular reference to issues of race and racism.
• Examine the affective dimensions of cosmopolitan activist networks, particularly the role of friendship in sustaining collaboration across difference.
• Develop transnational and trans-disciplinary connections between participating scholars and thus provide intellectual groundwork for an international scholarly network on ‘Race, religion and emotion in transnational activist networks’.
Planned publication outcome:
• Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies has expressed interest in a special issue from the symposium

This conference is a key outcome of an ARC research project, ‘Beyond Empire: transnational religious networks and liberal cosmopolitanisms’ led by Jane Haggis Flinders University and with Margaret Allen University of Adelaide for which we have been awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant for three years. Additional funding for the symposium has been secured from Griffith University, Sheffield Hallam University and Flinders University.

[Symposium participants at the end of Saturday 2 December 2017, courtesy Kathy Davies Sheffield Hallam University]

Claire Midgley Sheffield Hallam University
Fiona Paisley Griffith University

Public Lecture

Ipek Demir University of Leicester

‘“I want my country back”: Cosmopolitanism, Multiculturalism and Brexit?’
Dr Ipek Demir discussed contemporary issues around race, difference and culture in the context of debates about multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism and Brexit. The presentation argued that multiculturalism was never about purely recognising diversity; it was about questioning national homogeneity and allowing minoritised groups to make claims and participate as equal citizens. She also linked  multiculturalism to cosmopolitanism. The latter is typically conceived and read as a critique of nationalism as a sign of openness and thus the normative defence of the idea of human capacity to expand the sphere of identification and belonging beyond national boundaries. The political backlash against both can help us situate some of the debates which arose during Brexit.

Biography: Dr Ipek Demir is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Leicester. Her work sits at the intersections of the fields of diaspora studies, ethno-politics, race and identity, nationalism, indigeneity, global politics as well as social and critical thought and interdisciplinarity. She has also carried out empirical research on Kurdish and Turkish diasporas, funded by an AHRC fellowship. She is the founder and co-coordinator of British Sociological Association’s Diaspora, Migration and Transnationalism Study Group and the former Vice-Chair of European Sociological Association’s Migration Research Network. Before joining Leicester she was a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, and also taught sociology and politics at the Open University, the Universities of of Sussex and Cambridge.

The complete program may be found here:
FINAL PROGRAM International Symposium Sheffied EY


Entangled Histories
The Australian Historical Association Conference 2017

Monday 3 July – 7 July 2017

Plenary 1: Imperial Entaglements of Faith, Emotion and Affect

[l – r: Jane Haggis, Margaret Allen, Anna Johnston, Fiona Paisley, photo courtesy Fiona Paisley]
Chair: Anna Johnston
Speakers: Jane Haggis, Margaret Allen, Fiona Paisley
4 July 2017

Book Launch

[Anna Johnston photo courtesy Fiona Paisley]
Anna Johnston launched Jane Haggis, Clare Midgely, Margaret Allen and Fiona Paisley’s book Cosmopolitan Lives on the Cusp of Empire: Interfaith, Cross-Cultural and Transnational Networks, 1860 – 1950 (Palgrave 2017)