AANZEHN publication round-up March to October 2023

Themes
Biography
Climate, Weather, and Climate Change
Earthquakes, Fires, and Floods
Environmental Activism
Environmental Management and Governance
Fish and Fisheries
Forests, Forestry and Forest industry
Gender
Heritage
Infrastructures
Literature, Art, and Visual Culture
Marine, Coastal, Estuarine, and Island Environmental History
Mining and Natural Resources
Place
Plants and Fungi
Political Ecology
Public Health
Other

Biography

Alessandro Antonello, ‘Thomas, Patricia Marietje (Pat) (1915–1999)’, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/thomas-patricia-marietje-pat-32858.
“Patricia Marietje Thomas (1915⎼1999), parasitologist, was born on 13 April 1915 at Windsor, Melbourne, elder of two daughters of Sir Douglas Mawson, geologist and Antarctic explorer, and his wife Francisca Adriana (Paquita), née Delprat, community worker, writer, and daughter of Dutch mining engineer Guillaume Delprat. As an infant, Pat was raised by her maternal grandmother, aunt, and uncle in San Francisco, United States of America, while her parents were in London contributing to the war effort. Returning to Australia with her grandmother and aunt towards the end of 1918, she grew up at Brighton, a beachside suburb of Adelaide, then considered an outer suburb.”

Climate, Weather, and Climate Change

Karen Twigg, Lawrie Zion & Linden Ashcroft, ‘The Long, Continued Dry: Themes of the Federation Drought in Australian Regional Newspapers’, Media History (2023), https://doi.org/10.1080/13688804.2023.2229864.

“Droughts are a canonical feature of Australian history and climate, and Australia’s paleoclimate and colonial past is dotted with extended periods of low rainfall. The Federation Drought was one such period. The result of a series of El Niño events, it parched much of Australia between 1895 and 1903 and remains one of the most significant and prolonged periods of rainfall deficiency since European colonisation. It also coincided with, and fuelled, a substantial increase in press coverage of the weather. In this article we examine reportage of the Federation Drought through two newspapers from the Victorian city of Bendigo: The Bendigo Advertiser and The Bendigo Independent. We identify themes that have persisted in drought coverage to the present day, highlighting the role the press has played in shaping how communities and policy makers have understood and managed the extremities of Australia’s climate. We also offer insights into the evolution of current drought reportage and the perspectives it enables or silences.”

Earthquakes, Fires, and Floods

Paul Cloke, David Conradson, Eric Pawson and Harvey C. Perkins, The post-earthquake city: Disaster and recovery in Christchurch, New Zealand, London: Routledge, 2023, http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780429275562.
“This book critically assesses Christchurch, New Zealand as an evolving post-earthquake city. It examines the impact of the 2010–13 Canterbury earthquake sequence, employing a chronological structure to consider ‘damage and displacement’, ‘recovery and renewal’ and ‘the city in transition’. It offers a framework for understanding the multiple experiences and realities of post-earthquake recovery. It details how the rebuilding of the city has occurred and examines what has arisen in the context of an unprecedented opportunity to refashion land uses and social experience from the ground up. A recurring tension is observed between the desire and tendency of some to reproduce previous urban orthodoxies and the experimental efforts of others to fashion new cultures of progressive place-making and attention to the more-than-human city. The book offers several lessons for understanding disaster recovery in cities. It illuminates the opportunities disasters create for both the reassertion of the familiar and the emergence of the new; highlights the divergence of lived experience during recovery; and considers the extent to which a post-disaster city is prepared for likely climate futures.”

Environmental Activism

Nikolas Orr and Nancy Cushing, ‘Monumental Copper and Coal: The Case for Including Extractivism in the Rethinking of Colonial Commemorations’, Bronwyn Carlson and Terri Farrelly (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook on Rethinking Colonial Commemorations, London: Routledge, 2023, 217⎼238, https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-28609-4_13.

This chapter expands the scope of the critique of colonial commemorations to encompass the entanglement of statues in extractivist economies. Starting with the distinction in semiotic theory, we draw attention to statues as signs composed of signifier and signified. First, through a case study on copper, we consider the substances from which the physical monument, or signifier, is made. Then, in keeping with more established approaches, we address the signified: the prototype to which the monument refers via its iconographic programme, in this case the people and events associated with coal mining. These two case studies traverse monumental landscapes of the Spanish and British empires, and of South Africa, the United States and Australia. We conclude that debates about colonial commemorations, and arguments for the alteration or removal of statues, should take into account not only individuals responsible for direct harm to colonised peoples but also the industries and practices that have degraded their lands, waters and atmosphere and, now, the global climate.

Darug Ngurra, Lexodious Dadd, Corina Norman-Dadd, Harriet Narwal, Paul Glass, Sandie Suchet-Pearson, Emily O’Gorman, Donna Houston, Marnie Graham, Rebecca Scott, and Jess Lemire, ‘Legal pluralism on Dyarubbin: Country-as-Lore/Law in Western Sydney, Australia’, Geohumanities, 2023, https://doi.org/10.1080/2373566X.2023.2182699.

“In Australia, urbanisation is synonymous with ecological and cultural fragmentation. In places that became cities through deeply colonising processes, this destruction is imbricated with the relegation of Indigenous Lore/Law below English-derived law. In this article we argue for appropriate recognition and respectful intercultural engagements with Country-as-Lore/Law as a counter to the conception of land as a passive subject of anthropocentric law. Weaving together autoethnography, historical research and more-than-human geographies we identify the colonial practices that perpetuate ecological and cultural fragmentation in Sydney, Australia, while providing a novel, situated engagement with the humans, animals, plants, lands and waters that co-become to co-create particular and overlapping more-than-human legal landscapes. We show how Indigenous-non-Indigenous collaboration grounded in Darug Country-as-Lore/Law refracts and disperses the colonial logics of the state on urban Country that is ostensibly held, yet certainly neglected, by the Crown.”

Environmental Management and Governance

Alessandro Antonello and Justina Dahl, ‘The History of Polar Environmental Governance’, Adrian Howkins and Peder Roberts (eds), The Cambridge History of the Polar Regions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023, pp. 648⎼671, https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108555654.

“Over the course of their histories, a range of polities and communities have reached into higher latitudes to control and benefit from polar spaces and resources, enrolling what they thought of as peripheral regions into global geopolitical, legal, and economic systems. In the process they have taken to the poles certain ideas of resource use, value, and humanity’s relationship with nature and the environment. With these ideas came practices that disrupted polar ecologies, eviscerated animal populations, polluted landscapes, and undermined Indigenous societies and cultures. From the mid-twentieth century, more extensive national and international frameworks of environmental governance have emerged, including through legislation, treaties, and other conservation practices, to attenuate human impacts and foster some level of ecological productivity and resilience.”

Margaret Cook, ‘Drowning in data: The Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry’,
Scott Prasser (ed.), New Directions in Royal Commissions and Public Inquiries: Do we need them?, Connor Court Publishing Cleveland, Australia, 2023, https://www.connorcourtpublishing.com.au/NEW-DIRECTIONS-IN-ROYAL-COMMISSIONS-PUBLIC-INQUIRIES-Do-we-need-them-Edited-by-Scott-Prasser_p_520.html.

“This new edited volume has been developed because governments in Australia and overseas continue to appoint public inquiries in considerable numbers. Public inquiries are those temporary, ad hoc bodies appointed by executive government to report on corruption, calamitous events and many different policy issues. Using Australian and international case studies, this new volume explores why royal commissions and public inquiries are appointed, their processes and their impacts. It provides an up-to-date review of current Australian and international developments. Contributors include leading academic specialists and practitioners from across Australian and international jurisdictions.”


Guy Geltner and Gregory Roberts, ‘Social and Environmental Policing in Medieval Cities’, Hannah Skoda (ed.), A Companion to Crime and Deviance in the Middle Ages: A Handbook, Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, 2023, pp. 258⎼74, http://www.guygeltner.net/s/Social-and-environmental-policing.pdf.
“This chapter describes the many ways in which police— understood broadly as governance by regulation— strove to discipline urban communities. The first section shows how the management of various things, spaces, and activities created a detailed catalogue of deviant behaviour and subjected otherwise law- abiding citizens to public authority. The second section shows how elite concerns over social deviants such as beggars and habitual gamblers inspired new police techniques that in turn reinforced these social identities. A third section highlights the similarity between the environmental and social policing of the previous two sections, and how they served elites’ claims to promote good governance. In the conclusion, we point out examples of urban policing in the premodern world beyond western Europe to suggest the fundamental (but not exclusive) link between urbanization and the growth of policing. Overall, this sketch will suggest that policing was a driving force behind the growth of the administrative state in western Europe well before the nineteenth century, and as such its history challenges a common understanding of the pre/ modern divide.”

Heather Downey, Evelien Spelten, Katie Holmes, Scott MacDermott, and Prue Atkins, ‘A Green Social Work Study of Environmental and Social Justice in an Australian River Community’, Social Work Research 47 (3/2023) pp. 207-219, https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svad013.

“In Australia the impacts of climate change are resulting in considerable water scarcity, a scenario affecting the green and blue spaces that provide well-recognized individual health benefits. However, far less is known about the social health benefits of these spaces, particularly for those residing in rural Australian river communities. In this geographic context, water issues are compounded by a dominant culture that privileges the commodification of water for agricultural purposes over other interests. Using an environmental justice perspective consistent with a green social work approach, this proof-of-concept study contributes a critical element to water debates by examining the cultural, recreational, and environmental meanings of water for the rural river community of Mildura. Results from an online mixed-methods questionnaire (N = 33) show that people privileged cultural meanings of water as fundamental to life, were concerned for river health, and felt marginalized in water debates. Findings suggest that understanding communities’ hydrosocial relationships is key to environmentally and socially just water management and to individual, community, and environmental health. Social work can contribute to such environmental issues by working collaboratively to enable communities to exercise their voices and to advocate to decision makers to include consideration of environmental, social, and cultural impact.”

Benjamin J. Richardson, Before Environmental Law: A History of a Vanishing Continent, New York Bloomsbury / Hart Publishing, 2023, https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/before-environmental-law-9781509969036/.

“This landmark book unveils the history of defending Australia’s natural environment, examining the subject’s legal and political contexts from the birth of the nation in 1901 until the advent of the so-called ‘modern’ era of environmental regulation in the late 1960s. It rejects the mythology that Australia lacked environmental law before the late 1960s in revealing how many of today’s environmental laws, from pollution control to nature conservation, emerged from precedents or events much earlier in the 20th century.”

Fish and Fisheries

Rick De Vos, ‘Crypsis, Discovery and Subjectivity: Unsettling Fish Histories’, in Rick De Vos (ed.), Decolonising Animals, Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2023, pp. 137-159, https://sydneyuniversitypress.com.au/products/180327.

“This chapter considers how Western scientific knowledge of fish is shaped by a history of colonial violence that is often disposed of in its representation. Stories of miraculous discoveries, the overcoming of danger, the enduring of hardships and the commitment of natural historians and fishing communities provide the cornerstone for fish narratives, and for the establishment of Western science as the unquestioned reference for determining the status of fish, and their ultimate fate. Fish, however, can provide a problem for colonial authority and postcolonial demands, in the way they transgress the times, spaces and structures of colonisation. Their oceanic and fluvial movements and relationships can transgress the boundaries of nation or colony, their histories exceed the temporalities of colonisation, and their knowledges and perceptions surpass the determinations of science. Indigenous fish knowledges in specific contexts suggest less formal distinctions between fish and humans, less hierarchical relations of power, and a deeper awareness of ongoing relationships of ecological and cultural connection and kinship. They also point more clearly to what fish know about us.”

Forests, Forestry and Forest industry

Anton Sveding and James Beattie, ‘“A Lesson from China”: Soil Menace Stories in New Zealand Conservation, 1910s–1940s’, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 25 (1/2023), pp.71-94, https://www.nzasia.org.nz/journal.html.

“Large-scale deforestation in Aotearoa New Zealand following British colonisation sparked environmental concerns amongst some authorities. To promote conservation, and demonstrate the evils of deforestation, New Zealand conservationists drew upon local and international examples. This article examines the employment by New Zealand conservationists of descriptions and images of deforestation in China, many originally written or taken by Americans. To Western conservationists, China constituted a cautionary tale of what awaited countries that failed to conserve their forests. In New Zealand, this narrative, which also encompassed a racial element, proved popular amongst non-scientifically trained conservationists until the 1940s, when erosion had become a widespread problem in New Zealand and China having become an ally in the war against Japan.”

Jared Davidson, ‘Money Trees’, Turnbull Library Record 55, Alexander Turnbull Library: October 2023.

“’Money Trees’ traces the commodity frontier of pine in 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, when private companies channelled land, labour and dubious bond-selling schemes into vast pine plantations. The boom and bust of these tree-planting ventures adds to the larger story of social and environmental change in twentieth-century New Zealand, as well as the role of advertising and film during this period.”

Gender

Susan Broomhall, ‘Writing Doctors, Body Work, and Body Texts in the French Revolution’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 46 (2023), pp. 93-112, https://doi.org/10.1111/1754-0208.12871.

“This paper explores the construction of the identities of Philippe Curtius and his protégé Marie Grosholtz, known as Madame Tussaud, as providers of medical and health services, body workers, and entrepreneurs in key works that charted their experiences during the volatile period of the French Revolution. As purveyors of entertainment that derived its attraction from perceived close rendering of the likenesses of noteworthy individuals, modellers in wax required attentive discernment of bodies, or at least the capacity for imaginative descriptive skills, establishing a professional language for body work. Moreover, Tussaud’s account explicitly foregrounds complex gender dynamics as a young woman interacting with the bodies of male and female clients. This essay explores how important eighteenth-century gendered conceptualizations of body work are revealed in the body texts produced in this period.”

Heritage

Mark Butz, Majura House Precinct ACT: report on heritage values. Mark Butz. Learnscapes, Canberra: March 2023.

“What we have in the Majura House Precinct is a complex of great value to the ACT, for the nature and rarity of its built features, for the two-century span of its connection and association with key stages of historical and social development of the district, and for opportunities that it offers to heritage research and education. Its retained rural setting and its proximity to the city combine to heighten its value for research and education, while increasing the risk of its loss to unsympathetic development. Its emergence as a centre for innovation in holistic and sustainable production has attracted considerable community interest in the property and an energetic constituency that shares its aspirations to show us all a better way. In common with other parts of the Majura valley, at ‘Majura House’ that better way places strong value on the stories and traces of what it has been, within the emerging story of what it is on its way to becoming. This report is an initial attempt at collating and appraising the breadth of its heritage values, and bringing these to the attention of those who might care about both its past and its future.”

Infrastructures

Daniel Rothenburg, ‘Reformatting a Socionatural Space: The Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District, Australia’ in: Marian Burchardt, Dirk van Laak (eds.), Making Spaces Through Infrastructure. Visions, Technologies, and Tensions, Berlin/Boston 2023, pp. 83–108, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111191850-005.

“Pyramid Hill lies in what today is still Australia’s most intensive and largest irrigation region, the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District (GMID), situated on the Victorian Northern Plains. This space, considered the continent’s “food bowl”, is shaped profoundly by the needs of irrigation and was made by hydrologic infrastructures. And yet the monument suggests a static nature, which, as a closer look reveals, is deceptive: the GMID is just not that, a monument. Rather, it can aptly be described as a dynamic hybrid of natural and social features, sometimes precariously balanced, often conflicting, and in need of near constant respatialization. As such, even though its natural features have been overlaid or replaced by artefacts, it has retained many of its “pre-development” characteristics and dynamics. Thus, the district lends itself to ask how the conflicting forces of nature, culture, and technology have shaped, made, and remade this social and economic space. This offers insights into the complex character of social and economic spaces made by infrastructures, understood as “anthropogenic social-ecological systems.”

Literature, Art, and Visual Culture

Margaret Hickey, Broken Bay, Leicester: Penguin / Ulverscroft, 2023.

“Old loyalties and decades-long feuds rise to the surface in this stunning crime novel, set in a spectacular Australian landscape known for its jagged cliffs and hidden caves. Detective Sergeant Mark Ariti has taken a few days’ holiday in Broken Bay at precisely the wrong time. The small fishing town on South Australia’s Limestone Coast is now the scene of a terrible tragedy. Renowned cave diver Mya Rennik has drowned while exploring a sinkhole on the land of wealthy farmer Frank Doyle. As the press descends, Mark’s boss orders him to stay put and assist the police operation. But when they retrieve Mya’s body, a whole new mystery is opened up, around the disappearance of a young local woman twenty years before. Suddenly Mark is diving deep into the town’s history – and in particular the simmering rivalry between its two most prominent families, the Doyles and Sinclairs. Then a murder takes place at the Sinclairs’ old home – and Mark is left wondering which is more dangerous: Broken Bay’s hidden subterranean world or the secretive town above it . . .”

Marine, Coastal, Estuarine, and Island Environmental History

Ruwan Sampath, James Beattie, and Joana Gaspar De Freitas, ‘Managing coastal sand drift in the Anthropocene: A case study of the Manawatū-Whanganui Dune Field, New Zealand, 1800s-2020s’, Environment and History 28 (3/2023), pp. 423–448, https://doi.org/10.3197/096734021X16328497562933.

“In the Anthropocene, predicted sea-level rise is expected to continue, threating human life and activities along the coast. Dunes play a vital role in providing protection from this threat, aside from the ‘ecosystem’ services that they supply. This article uses scientific, popular and unpublished sources from the nineteenth century and twentieth to examine New Zealand’s largest coastal dune system: the Manawatū-Whanganui dune field. Extending south from Pātea to Paekakariki, it comprises approximately 900 square kilometres. Here, destabilized dunes drifting inland caused social, economic and political problems over the last 150 years. In the nineteenth century, human activities were responsible for setting the dunes in motion. Debates about the matter and attempts to prevent and stop it were then occurring in many parts of the world. Since dunes were a common concern, knowledge and practices were shared and travelled between countries though experts and migrants. The consequences of the solutions implemented and new environmental conditions explain that dunes are still a major issue in the Manawatū Whanganui region. This article presents a comparative analysis of historical and present-day human responses to dune management to better understand long-term dune drift, its mechanisms and responses. Despite looking at a local case, this study can be extrapolated to dunes worldwide. It shows that holistic management of coastal ecosystems must take into account interdisciplinary analyses of long-term relations between dunes and society. Otherwise, the full picture about the present situation of dunes cannot be apprehended, compromising the implementation of future adaptation measures.”

Mining and Natural Resources

Guy Geltner, ‘Mine Air Makes Free? Rural Liberty, Materiality and Agency in Europe’s Long Thirteenth Century,’ Journal of Social History 57 (1/2023), pp. 1-23, https://doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shac064.
“Mines and miners began to proliferate in Europe from the late twelfth century on, in lockstep with the region’s accelerating economic integration and urbanization. Mining communities were often rural and remote, reflecting landlords’ capacity to attract workers through freedoms that echoed the era’s incentives for urban migration. If, according to the adage, “city air makes free,” so apparently did the mine. Yet the specific affordances of mines’ materiality, and the mobility regimes they fostered, shaped distinct social dynamics. These emerge in their complexity when mining ordinances—a new type of legal subgenre—are explored for their handling of matter and movement. Mining legislation attests that the composition of ores, the underground extension of seams, the quality of available tools, and the behaviour of gas, water, and air across different topographies were salient factors over which elites had little control. The raw physical constraints on directing the flow of people and matter into, through, and out of mines thus created a network of subterranean agency that translated under certain conditions into exterranean power.”
Guy Geltner, ‘Ecological Impacts and Environmental Perceptions of Mining in Europe, 1200⎼1550: Preliminary Notes,’ Parergon 40 (1/2023), pp. 157⎼80, http://www.guygeltner.net/s/Ecological-impacts-and-environmental-perceptions-of-mining-in-Europe-1200-1550-Preliminary-notes.pdf.
“The proliferation of mines in Europe since the late twelfth century is well documented, but only recently have scholars begun to fathom the scale of the industry’s ecological impact, on the one hand, and its role in stimulating environmental thinking and action, on the other. Focusing on the extraction and processing of metal ores, this article begins by illustrating how the renascent sector reshaped different ecosystems, as traced by several palaeo-scientific methods. It then turns to cultural-historical sources to propose that, rather than becoming passive, unwilling, or ignorant victims of a polluting industry, contemporaries criticised what they perceived as extraction’s harms and sought to reduce them, but also developed ways to justify their risks. Communities’ actions, which mingled with the materiality of mines and their surroundings, wrote a major chapter in Europe’s environmental history, one whose ongoing impact remains poorly understood.”

Place

Harrison Croft, ‘How to write like a river’, https://niche-canada.org/2023/04/13/how-to-write-like-a-river/ .

“Reflecting on this question, James C. Scott suggested that ‘everything moves when you widen the temporal lens.’ Mountains and valleys that once seemed immovable are suddenly just as fluid and changing as the river passing through. Geographical and historical axioms become arbitrary, and an ontological deconstruction and a re-centring on the river can finally commence in earnest. Hesse wrote that the river is everywhere; I agree. I also write that the river is everything. The Kulin know this, their Birrarung does not empty into Port Phillip Bay – it flows under it. The river is everything. This has to be true. The river is the rain waiting to fall from the clouds in the sky.”

Clare Gleeson, ‘The Mt Crawford Prison Garden, Wellington, New Zealand: A place for learning and reflection’, Australian Garden History 35 (1(2023), pp. 10–13, https://www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au/journal/.

“Few gardens are home to a hippopotamus but there is a reason the Miramar Prison Garden is the perfect place for this one. From 1926 until 2012 the garden at Mt Crawford Prison was cultivated by guests of His or Her Majesty, growing food for the prison kitchen as well as those caged in Wellington Zoo – hence the hippo. Now a community garden, reminders of its sombre past are all around those who till the soil there today.”

Rachel Goldlust, ‘The Politics of Home: Transformations on the home front in a post-pandemic world’, Meanjin 82 (2/2023), pp. 58⎼65, https://meanjin.com.au/essays/the-politics-of-home/.

“I have been spending a lot more time than usual on my front porch. Previously inclined to the protection of our back yard, now I go out front at night (especially if it’s raining) and watch the curfew-emptied streets from behind the safety of an overhanging tree. It seems natural, given this ‘unprecedented’ moment, to want to see what’s going on ‘out there’, even if it is just the comings and goings of joggers, tradesmen, dog walkers, kids on bikes, postmen and delivery drivers.”

Tom Griffiths, ‘Odyssey down under’, Inside Story, 8 September 2023, https://insidestory.org.au/odyssey-down-under/.

“The Australian story, in parallel with other colonial cataclysms, was a forerunner of the planetary crisis. Indigenous management was overwhelmed, forests cleared, wildlife annihilated, waters polluted and abused, the climate unhinged. Across the globe, imperial peoples used land and its creatures as commodities, as if Earth were inert. They forgot that the planet is alive.”

David Harris, ‘Livingston: A One-Teacher School in the Gippsland Hills, 1913–1938’ in
Victorian Historical Journal, 94 (1/2023), pp. 159⎼176, https://www.historyvictoria.org.au/product/vhj-hard-copy-volume-94-number-1-june-2023-victorian-historical-journal/.

“The Livingston one-teacher school was in South Gippsland on Gunaikurnai country in the range of the Gippsland hills called the Strzelecki ranges after a Polish adventurer from the colonial period. Livingston was isolated, not by distance but topography. Access to the settlement was difficult because of poor roads that followed the steep contours of hills intersected by deep gullies. High rainfall meant dairying was feasible only in summer and late spring, and the difficulty of getting in and out of the area made it impossible for white settlers to take up other work any distance from where they lived. Location, climate and terrain influenced student numbers at the school. Families stayed to earn a livelihood only if they were willing to struggle with the physical conditions or if they had no other choice.”

Plants and Fungi

Tonia Cochran, ‘Saving ancient plants from extinction: Inala Jurassic Garden’s Noah’s Ark project’, Australian Garden History 34 (4/2023), pp. 4–7, https://www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au/journal/.

“The ancient Gondwanan supercontinent conjures up images of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, giant horsetails and araucarias. The dinosaurs and flying reptiles are long since gone and Gondwana has fragmented but the ancestors of many of the plant families around at that time are still with us, albeit now geographically widely spread. The earth’s plate tectonics caused what are today’s southern continents to ‘drift’ apart incrementally over the eons, carrying their floral passengers with them. Araucarias are little changed from their dinosaur-cohabiting predecessors and still dominate the landscapes in which they grow. This family has been around for 200 million years, so it is distressing to know that many are now facing extinction because of the human impact from overharvesting and an unprecedented rate of climate change!”

Kate Senior, ‘State prohibited weed and treasured memory; the Stockton Thorn Tree’, Australian Garden History 35 (10/2023) pp. 14⎼17, https://www.gardenhistorysociety.org.au/journal/.

“On a place called the ballast grounds in the Newcastle suburb of Stockton is a bench with a curious inscription – ‘Acacia Karoo: this is the site of the 100-year-old thorn tree of great significance to the people of Stockton’ – erected by the Stockton Historical Society. There are many beautiful views across the Hunter River to the city of Newcastle, with its historic buildings and towering cathedral, but the view from this bench is not among them. The bench is positioned to provide the person resting on it a view of massive industry, with its chimneys belching smoke and steam and behind this, towering mounds of coal.”

Political Ecology

Lilian M. Pearce, Ella Furness, Daniel T. Spencer, Mark Bachmann, ‘Ecological Restoration: A Critical Social and Political Practice’, Singarayer Florentine, Paul Gibson-Roy, Kingsley Wayne Dixon, Linda Broadhurst (eds) Ecological Restoration, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan 2023, https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-25412-3.

“Ecological restoration is a social practice filled with the meaning making and the messiness of real life. This chapter describes the ways that certain people have understood, challenged, and participated in ecological restoration. It reviews the history of ecological restoration to reiterate the importance of the social and political aspects of our practice in a changing world. Through three case studies, drawn from diverse contexts, it demonstrates the integral role that social and cultural aspects play at all stages in the planning, initiation, and long-term management of restoration projects. It is the contention of this work that the field of ecological restoration has the strength, opportunity, and responsibility to enhance the ethical and political dimensions of its activities so as to contribute to positive and inclusive societal change. It asserts that both the success of ecological restoration projects and the cultivation of more equitable and thriving communities can be nurtured through careful practice that appropriately responds to local historical, cultural, and ecological contexts.”

Public Health

Paul Rhodes and James Dunk, ‘Eco-psychology: a critical paradigm in the climate emergency’, Australian Psychologist 58 (3/2023), pp. 154⎼160, https://doi.org/10.1080/00050067.2022.2157240.

“This paper presents an argument that mainstream psychological practice is not equipped to respond to distress associated with the climate emergency. This is because the field focusses on individual pathology, rather than ecological context. It remains reticent about activism and politics and is ontologically aligned with the Anthropocene, a new era in which the human species is creating an observable effect in the geological record, to the detriment of the planet and its life forms. An introduction is provided to ecopsychology, a movement that has sought to subvert and transform mainstream psychology over the last three decades. Ecopsychology still offers an opportunity for mainstream psychology to alter its approach in the face of the climate emergency.”
Guy Geltner and Janna Coomans, ‘The Healthscaping Approach: Towards A Global History of Early Public Health’, Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 56 (2023), 18⎼33, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01615440.2022.2128487.
“This article presents a modular, multidisciplinary methodology for tracing how different communities in the deeper past adapted their behaviours and shaped their environments to address the health risks they faced, a process also known as “healthscaping.” Historians have made major strides in reconstructing preventative health programs across the pre- or non-industrial world, thereby challenging a common view of public health as a product of Euro-American modernity and biomedicine. However, these studies’ general focus on cities and their reliance on archival and other documents that are more readily available in Euro-American contexts, limit the intervention’s potential for rethinking the earlier history of public health comparatively, transregionally and on a global scale. A broader definition of health, additional sources and alternative methodologies allow us to expand research in and especially beyond urban Europe, promoting a global turn in health historiography that operates outside the seductive teleology of modernization, colonialism and imperialism.”

Lee-Ann Monk, Katie Holmes, and Richard Broome, Failed Ambitions: Kew Cottages and Changing Ideas of Intellectual Disabilities, Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2023, https://publishing.monash.edu/product/failed-ambitions/.

“The history of Melbourne’ s Kew Children’ s Cottages (1887- 2008) is the challenging story of an institution that failed its residents – and it is vividly relevant to today, when the rights of people with disabilities are the subject of a royal commission. Those with an intellectual disability were historically the most vulnerable in our society and the least protected. Governments continually failed them by underdelivering on ambitious promises of reform. Failed Ambitions traces the development of Kew Cottages and the broader themes it gives rise to, including changing social ideas about intellectual disability. Australia saw a shift from a belief that those with intellectual disabilities were educatable to a view, which took hold in the 1920s, that the ‘ feebleminded’ were unreclaimable and a menace to society. It took until the 1980s to formally recognise the rights of disabled peoples, and demanded dismantling institutions like Kew and associated ideas of disability. Throughout Kew Cottages’ history, a cohort of journalists, parents, activists and residents fought for and finally gained greater rights and respect. This is a moving and powerful story that deserves to be read by all policymakers so we can avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Other

Blogs

http://www.guygeltner.net/

https://www.catherineknight.nz/blog-1

http://www.gretchenmiller.com.au/about.html

http://www.ruthamorgan.com/ruth-cv

https://wild.com.au/author/geoff-mosley/

https://nandinikoza.blogspot.com/p/my-detailed-profile.html

Reviews

Heather Goodall, ‘Barka: The Forgotten River exhibition’, History Australia 20 (3/2023), pp. 438-439, https://doi.org/10.1080/14490854.2023.2236667.

Amanda Wells, Review of da Silva, Claiton Marcio; de Majo, Claudio (eds.), The Age of the Soybean: An Environmental History of Soy during the Great Acceleration, H-Environment, H-Net Reviews, July 2023, http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=58897.