2020 AHA Prizes and Awards Shortlists

The AHA Executive Committee is delighted to announce the shortlists for the 2020 AHA Prizes and Awards. We would like to thank the judges for their work in arriving at their shortlists. The AHA and judges congratulate all the historians on the below shortlists.

The Magarey Medal for Biography is awarded biennially to the female person who has published the work judged to be the best biographical writing on an Australian subject. It is jointly administered by the Australian Historical Association and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL).

  • Helen Ennis, Olive Cotton. A Life in Photography
  • Mary Hoban, An Unconventional Wife. The Life of Julia Sorell Arnold
  • Suzanne Robinson, Peggy Glanville-Hicks: Composer and Critic
  • Angela Woollacott, Don Dunstan: The Visionary Politician Who Changed Australia
  • Clare Wright, You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World

The Kay Daniels Award recognises outstanding original research with a bearing on Australian convict history and heritage including in its international context, published between 2017-2019. The $1,500 prize is sponsored by members and associates of the Australian Historical Association, the University of Tasmania, and the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority.

  • Hilary Carey, Empire of Hell: Religion and the Campaign to End Convict Transportation in the British Empire 1788-1875
  • James Dunk, Bedlam at Botany Bay
  • Dianne Snowden, White Rag Burning. Irish women committing arson to be transported

The Serle Award is given biennially to the best postgraduate thesis in Australian History awarded during the previous two years. The $2,500 prize was established through the generosity of Mrs Jessie Serle to honour the contribution to Australian history of her former husband, Dr Geoffrey Serle.

  • Kylie Andrews, ‘Australian broadcasting’s female ‘pilgrims’: Women and work in the post-war ABC.’
  • Mia Martin Hobbs, ‘Nostalgia and the Warzone Home: American and Australian Veterans Return to Viet Nam, 1981-2016. ‘
  • Annmarie McLaren, ‘Negotiating Entanglement: Reading Aboriginal- Colonial Exchanges in Early New South Wales, 1788 – 1835’
  • Alexandra Roginski, ‘A Touch of Power.  Popular Phrenology in the Tasman World’.

The W.K. Hancock Prize recognises and encourages an Australian scholar who has published a first book in any field of history in 2018 or 2019. The $2,000 prize was instituted in 1987 by the AHA to honour the contribution to the study and writing of history in Australia by Sir Keith Hancock.

  • Iva Glisic, The Futurist Files: Avant-Garde, Politics and Ideology in Russia, 1905-1930. (Northern Illinois University Press) 

Covering one of the most volatile periods in Russian history, Glisic’s book superbly traces how avant-garde artists constructed and adapted to a rapidly unfolding revolutionary situation. Glisic deftly uncovers how Russian Futurists created the artistic preconditions for radical cultural change, and demonstrates how they applied new technologies and techniques to representing an emerging world. Interrogating the relationship between the cultural and political realms, Glisic foregrounds the Futurists’ adroit adaptation to the new artistic possibilities offered by Bolshevism and vividly portrays their artistic battle against counterrevolutionary cultural tendencies. The Futurists emerge in Glisic’s work as not mere ‘utopian daydreamers’, but as lively participants in the process of revolutionising Russian life in all its facets. 

  • Charlotte Greenhalgh, Aging in Twentieth-Century Britain (University of California Press) 

This imaginative and sensitive study breaks new ground in its examination of how elderly people understood the experience of aging. The introduction of state provision for old age created a new need for knowledge of the circumstances of elderly Britons, and the experts who conducted this research generated an extraordinary volume of observation and testimony. Yet from the moment social researchers knocked on the doors of the elderly, they changed the experience of aging, so that both interviewer and respondent gained new insights. Greenhalgh subjects a rich body of material, including transcripts, photos and life stories to a critical rereading, revealing how elderly people understood their lives in their own terms. Her command of the material and her attention to the emotional and embodied lives of the aged is particularly impressive. 

  • Samia KhatunAustralianama: The South Asian Odyssey in Australia (University of Queensland Press). 

A stylistic milestone in Australian cross-cultural history, Australianama expands both our understanding of what constitutes historical knowledge and how we might uncover it. Khatun moves assuredly between the past and present, weaving herself and a large cast of hitherto unheard voices into a new and eloquently self-reflexive history. She pushes her audience towards an alternative historiographical practice by bringing together Indigenous and South Asian perspectives on the global unfolding of colonisation in a close study of Australian frontier encounters. It is an innovative compendium of untold histories and a personal travelogue centred on Khatun’s attempt to understand the textual and extra-textual traces of cross-cultural exchanges in Australia’s past. 

  • Laura Rademaker, Found in Translation: Many Meanings on a North Australian Mission (University of Hawai’i Press) 

Found in Translation is a rich and evocative account of language and cross-cultural relations on the archipelago of Groote Eylandt following the establishment of the Angurugu evangelical mission in the 1940s. Coming relatively late in a settler society where missions were highly dependent on government, this one straddled the official policies of assimilation and self-determination. Rademaker’s perceptive and nuanced reading suggests that missionaries and the Ainindilyakwa-speaking people each used language to evade or engage with each other in a series of selective ‘mistranslations’. She explores the Aboriginal-missionary relationship through studies of spoken and written English, the attempts to use the mother tongue as a language of the heart and the ways that Groote Eylanders adapted hymns to their own singing traditions. Rademaker raises important questions about the act of translation and missionary forms of colonisation and offers an impressive model of ways in which the binaries of colonisers and colonised can be bridged. Carefully plotted, assured and constantly engaging, this book opens important new perspectives on the entangled history of cross cultural relations. 

  • Ben Silverstein, Governing Natives: Indirect rule and settler colonialism in Australia’s North (Manchester University Press) 

An ambitious and important book which challenges conventional understandings of how Australia’s Aboriginal population was governed. Silverstein’s focus on the Northern Territory reveals a nuanced interpretation of 1930s governmentality, one where the Aboriginal population’s assertion of their laws and customs coincided with anthropological recognition, resulting in partial recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty through ‘indirect rule’ – a significant contrast to the model of assimilation implemented elsewhere in Australia. Silverstein deftly situates his analysis within the broader imperial context, exposing the ways ideas, practices and policies in other parts of the Empire, helped shape the model of Aboriginal governance developed in Northern Australia. Assured and sophisticated in its reading, Silverstein’s study illuminates the significance and ongoing legacy of indirect rule for settler Australia. 

There is no shortlist for the Allan Martin Award, Ann Curthoys Prize or Jill Roe Prize. Winners will be announced for all prizes and awards at the AHA AGM on Thursday 2 July.