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  • (2017) Barrett Meyering, Isobelle
    This thesis offers a new history of children’s liberation as part of Australian feminism between the pivotal years of 1969 and 1979. It explores how women activists conceived of feminism as a means of advancing children’s interests and documents the presence of children within the movement. Taking as its focus the women’s liberation movement, the revolutionary strand of the ‘second wave’, this thesis identifies children’s liberation as a new mode of feminist child politics in which adults’ power over children was characterised as a source of structural inequality to be contested alongside sexual inequality. The new paradigm was most closely associated with North American radical feminist Shulamith Firestone’s bestseller, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970), which received an enthusiastic reception when it arrived in Australia. However, this thesis shows that the concept of children’s liberation also reverberated through other influential feminist works of the period and developed in new directions in activists’ own writings. Moreover, an emphasis not only on theory but praxis produced wide-ranging interventions that redefined the lives of women and children. The children’s liberation agenda was an ambitious one and flowed through to feminist activism across the arenas of the family, education, culture, sexuality and violence. The impact of the new feminist child politics is revealed in this study through close examination of archival collections created by activists, as well as a vast array of movement publications, including key theoretical works, self-help literature, fiction, and local journals and newsletters. It augments these sources with later feminist accounts of the period, including autobiographical writings and oral history. Although these sources reveal tensions in the process of translating the theory of children’s liberation into praxis, they also demonstrate that children’s liberation was far from a marginal aspect of women’s liberation. In retrieving this hitherto neglected history, this thesis serves as an important counterpoint to prevailing views of 1970s feminists as uninterested in children or even anti-child. Most importantly, it provides evidence of women’s liberation’s utopian politics and links with other radical groups, joining other recent histories in highlighting the wide vision of social change that animated the movement throughout the decade.

  • (2020) Dashwood, Genevieve
    From the late 1940s, international students from parts of Asia became a new, distinct presence in Australian educational institutions. Despite the existence of a racially exclusionary immigration policy, the numbers of international students increased in the following decades. These included both privately funded students as well as those training under government sponsored educational exchanges programs: the most notable of which was the Colombo Plan. Building on existing foreign policy and migration histories, this thesis addresses how the Australian government, motivated by Cold War anxieties, sought to build goodwill in Asia, at the same time as it promoted non-European international students from Asia to a domestic population conditioned by the White Australia Policy. It also examines how international students, in turn, experienced Australia. The unique starting point for this thesis is the previously overlooked archive of publicity material produced by the government’s Australian News and Information Bureau. This vast resource affords a fruitful lens through which to explore the government’s investment in international student schemes. By looking beyond the frame, this thesis contributes to a new social history of international students in Australia. The first part of the thesis looks closely at official publicity methods, which sought to promote the ‘soft diplomacy’ of student exchange in both Asia and Australia. It investigates how a new genre of student stories was shaped and how the voices of Asian students and trainees were inculcated to promote Australia in Asia. A special focus on the monthly magazine Hemisphere shows how the government endeavoured to maintain connections with returned students. In the second part of the thesis, the social history of international students’ experiences of housing, health, relationships, and migration is explored. The publicity material produced at this time often touched on these themes, as they were central to the international student encounter with local Australians. A key concern of this thesis is the gendered nature of these encounters. White Australian women tended to play a central role in hosting and socialising with international students, and the relationships they established could be transformational for them, too. Catalysed by the official photographs, this thesis creates a fuller picture of students’ lives in Australia and the impact their presence had on Australian society. Finally, this thesis adds an important contribution to a much longer history of international students in Australia. The period under investigation here, from the late 1940s to the 1960s, established Australia as a core destination for international students for the decades to follow. Since that time, international student numbers have continued to grow, and their impact on Australian education, immigration, and economy is now tremendous. As in the postwar period, however, international students still confront a society conditioned by its past and suspicious of its neighbours. This thesis seeks build understanding of how past international students and their Australian hosts navigated the contradictions of such entanglements.