Discovery Project grant success for Centre for 21st Century Humanities researchers

Monday, 9 December 2019

Centre for 21st Century Humanities members Professor Victoria Haskins and Associate Professor Bill Palmer have both been awarded ARC Discovery Project grants.

Professor Haskins has been awarded $191,437 for her research project Ayahs and Amahs: Transcolonial Servants in Australia and Britain 1780-1945. The project will run 2020 – 2022 and looks at female domestic care workers from India and China who travelled to Australia and elsewhere during the period of British colonialism.

Accompanying colonial families along circuits of empire between Australia, Asia, and the UK over two centuries, these were extraordinarily mobile women. By exploring the historical experiences and cultural memories of these earliest global domestic workers, the project aims to illuminate a broader transcolonial history of domestic work. Expected outcomes include a number of publications and a website; and the project offers the social and cultural benefits to be gained by advancing our historical understanding of the forgotten cross-cultural relationships that have shaped our world today.

Associate Professor Palmer has been awarded $455,000 for his research project Landscape, language and culture in Indigenous Australia.

His project aims to determine how culture and social diversity interact with landscape in representing physical space in the minds and grammars of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages.

The project will conduct the first Australia-wide survey of Indigenous spatial description correlated with landscape, and the first large-scale investigation of diversity in spatial behaviour among individuals within communities. The findings are expected to inform crucial debates on the formative role of landscape in language, and advance our knowledge of human spatial cognition. It will collect completely new experimental and natural data in six endangered languages, with significant benefits for the maintenance of Indigenous languages and cultures.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.