Dr Kate Ariotti

Dr Kate Ariotti

Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (History)

From footnotes to front cover: Defining the ill-defined in Australia’s history

Digging into the past and turning up surprising – and sometimes uncomfortable – truths, Dr Kate Ariotti is seeking to put names, faces and facts to the First World War prisoner of war experience.

Kate Ariotti "I specifically study the 200-odd who were held captive by the Turks," she clarifies.

"Nearly half were light horsemen taken in Sinai and Palestine."

"Others were soldiers, submariners and airmen captured at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia."

Born out of a "very strong interest" in the stories of those held captive by the Japanese during the Second World War, Kate believes her research into the Australian prisoners of the Turks highlights the importance of learning how people cope with less-than-ideal circumstances. The energetic scholar has spent years gathering and analysing the POWs' personal tales, ambitiously looking to recount their experiences from the battlefield to back home.

"I've collated responses from family members, governments, military authorities and charity organisations too," she shares.

"I wanted to figure out how all involved, but particularly the POWs, felt about their imprisonment and whether they suffered any ongoing physical or psychological issues as a result."

"So far, what I've discovered goes against much of what we tend to think about the Australian First World War experience."

"They were not your stereotypical Anzacs."

Filling in the gaps

Kate first started examining this hidden history during her PhD candidature. Undertaken in 2010 at the University of Queensland, the four-year study sought to shed light on a topic most knew "very little" about.

"I managed to track down the names of all the Australians who had been taken prisoner by the Turks, as well as multiple accounts of how they had fared in such a foreign environment," she reveals.

"From there, I was able to trace many of their family histories and repatriation histories."

"I also read newspapers from the time to see what was being said about them and how their captivity was reported to Australians at home."

In discovering the methods by which those affected by captivity coped with the experience, Kate went on to correct a "common perception" about wartime captivity. 

"It wasn't a passive experience by any means," she comments.

"People actively responded to the many challenges captivity in Turkey presented."

"Families of the POWs worked to overcome the lack of communication with their loved ones in the various prison camps throughout the Ottoman Empire, for example."

"Letters from the POW camps took a long time to reach home, if at all, and they were often subject to censorship, so they weren't necessarily true reflections of how prisoners were going."

"The families of the prisoners formed a strong community network, relying on the Australian Red Cross Society and on other POW families, friends and each other for information and emotional support."

Joint efforts

Kate continued investigating the First World War after receiving her PhD in 2014, employed as an historian at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra before joining the University of Newcastle in 2015.

"It's been an interesting journey," she states.

"I'm really enjoying teaching and researching at Callaghan."

Recently awarded the prestigious CEW Bean Prize for Military History from the Australian Army History Unit, Kate is simultaneously focused on getting her thesis published as a book. The School of Humanities and Social Science lecturer is also in the process of putting in a publishing proposal for an edited collection that internationalises the Australian experience of the First World War.

"This idea came out of a conference the University hosted in March," she reveals.

"Dr James Bennett and I are hoping to put the Australian experience of the First World War into a global context."

"My chapter will be about the Turkish POW camps and the cultural melting pots that they appear to have been."

"Our soldiers lived alongside prisoners from other countries, such as Britain, France and Russia."

"They were some of the first Australians to live in such a multinational environment, and their responses to these cultural encounters are very interesting."

Trials and tribulations

In another offshoot of her PhD, Kate is planning to explore the difficulties associated with reintegrating into normal life after conflict. A project for 2016, the scheduled endeavour will see the Centre for History and Violence affiliate evaluate how individuals have coped and continued to cope with the muddied transition from soldier to civilian.

"I want to look at how people who have been taught to be violent or to overcome their natural tendencies not to be violent, are able to switch that part of themselves off once the war is over," she explains.

"Maybe some aren't able to."

Exploring this niche from an exclusively Australian perspective, Kate will be considering the role and capabilities of military authorities as well.

"I want to know how they helped prepare the servicemen for life after war," she asserts.

"I'm anticipating to find a fair bit of material in official army documents, newspapers and police reports, particularly about those who have come back and had issues with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm and other risky behaviours."

Kate Ariotti

From footnotes to front cover: Defining the ill-defined in Australia’s history

Digging into the past and turning up surprising – and sometimes uncomfortable – truths, Dr Kate Ariotti is seeking to put names, faces and facts to the First

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Career Summary

Biography

Kate Ariotti is a lecturer in Australian History in the School of Humanities and Social Science. Prior to joining the University of Newcastle in 2015, she worked as a Historian in the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial. Kate completed a PhD at the University of Queensland, in which she explored the impact on Australians of wartime imprisonment during the First World War, specifically how those affected by captivity in Turkey coped with the many challenges it posed. She also has longstanding research interests in the history of the home front during the First World War and the social and cultural impact of war, particularly relating to gender and the work of women, grief and mourning, and memory and commemoration. Kate has several publications related to the prisoners of the Turks, has spoken about her research at various international and national conferences, and has previously taught at both the University of Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland. Kate is a member of the Australian Historical Association and the International Society for First World War Studies.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Arts, University of Queensland

Keywords

  • Australian history
  • First World War
  • prisoners of war
  • war and society

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
4/08/2014 - 6/03/2015 Historian Australian War Memorial
Australia

Awards

Award

Year Award
2015 Dean's Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses 2014
The University of Queensland
2015 CEW Bean Prize for Military History (Postgraduate Division)
Australian Army History Unit

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
HIST2650 War and Australian Society
University of Newcastle - School of Humanities and Social Science
Coordinator 27/07/2015 - 6/11/2015
HIST1051 The Australian Experience
University of Newcastle, School of Humanities and Social Science
Course Coordinator 27/02/2017 - 30/06/2017
HIST2668 Reading and Writing Australian Biography
University of Newcastle - School of Humanities and Social Science
Course Coordinator 22/02/2016 - 24/06/2016
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Ariotti KA, ''At present everything is making us most anxious': Families of Australian prisoners in Turkey', Beyond Surrender: Australian Prisoners of War in the Twentieth Century, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne 57-74 (2015) [B1]
2014 Ariotti KA, 'Australian Prisoners of the Turks: Negotiating Culture Clash in Captivity', Other Fronts, Other Wars?: First World War Studies on the Eve of the Centennial, BRILL, Leiden 146-166 (2014)

Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Ariotti K, '"I¿m awfully fed up with being a prisoner"* Australian POWs of the Turks and the Strain of Surrender', Journal of Australian Studies, 40 276-290 (2016) [C1]

© 2016 International Australian Studies Association.Nearly 200 Australians were captured and held as prisoners of war (POWs) by Ottoman Turkish forces during the First World War.... [more]

© 2016 International Australian Studies Association.Nearly 200 Australians were captured and held as prisoners of war (POWs) by Ottoman Turkish forces during the First World War. They have largely been overlooked in Australian history and memory of the conflict with the result that little is known of their time in captivity or of its wider ramifications. In examining the emotional impact of their capture and imprisonment, this article offers intimate insights into how these Australian POWs felt about their captivity, from the moment of surrender until long after the war had ended. The humiliation of capture and confinement at the hands of a culturally, religiously and linguistically different enemy and the restrictions imposed by wartime imprisonment exacerbated the prisoners¿ private feelings of shame and failure, feelings that were publicly reinforced in the aftermath of the war as the two dominant narratives of the conflict-the heroic Anzac fighter and the Turks as the honourable enemy-excluded or, at best, marginalised their experiences. Such analysis tells us much about the psychological dimension of wartime captivity, and adds to our understanding of the legacy of this POW experience.

DOI 10.1080/14443058.2016.1199585
2014 Ariotti K, Crotty M, 'The role of sport for Australian POWs of the Turks during the first world war', International Journal of the History of Sport, 31 2362-2374 (2014)

© 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Nearly 200 Australians were taken prisoner by the Turks during World War I, some 76 of them during the Gallipoli campaign and the remainder ove... [more]

© 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Nearly 200 Australians were taken prisoner by the Turks during World War I, some 76 of them during the Gallipoli campaign and the remainder over the succeeding three years during the ongoing campaigns against the Ottoman Empire. Approximately a quarter of them died in captivity. In contrast to the experiences of Australians taken prisoner by the Japanese during the Pacific War, Australian history and collective memory, and Australian commemorative activities, have almost totally overlooked the Australian prisoners of the Turks. This article redresses the balance somewhat by looking at an important aspect of the prisoners lives; the games they played while in captivity. The article suggests that sports and games were an important part of their methods for coping with the captivity experience, although there were some significant differences in the role sport played for captives of the Turks as compared to the role it played for those taken prisoner by the Japanese in the next World War.

DOI 10.1080/09523367.2014.915519

Review (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Ariotti K, 'The War with the Ottoman Empire: The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War, vol 2', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND HISTORY (2016)
DOI 10.1111/ajph.12215
2012 Ariotti KA, 'Exhibition Review of 'Nurses: From Zululand to Afghanistan' (2012)
2012 Ariotti KA, 'Review of 'P.O.W.: Australian Prisoners of War in Hitler's Reich', by Peter Monteith (2012)
2011 Ariotti KA, 'Review of 'Keep the Men Alive', by Rosalind Hearder (2011)
2011 Ariotti KA, 'Review of 'On Radji Beach,' by Ian W. Shaw (2011)
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Other (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Ariotti KA, '"Living with the legacy: The long-term health effects of captivity"', The Changi Book ( pp.266-267). Sydney: NewSouth (2015) [O1]
2015 Ariotti KA, Inglis K, 'Return to Gallipoli', ( issue.70 pp.58-63): Australian War Memorial (2015) [O1]
2015 Ariotti KA, 'Review of 'The Ghosts of Roebuck Bay', by Ian W. Shaw', ( pp.67-67): Australian War Memorial (2015) [O1]
2014 Ariotti KA, 'Another Side of Anzac', Courier Mail ( pp.10-11) (2014)
2013 Ariotti KA, 'Taken by the Turks', Wartime ( pp.52-55) (2013)
Show 2 more others

Thesis / Dissertation (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Ariotti KA, Coping With Captivity: Australian Prisoners of the Turks and the Impact of Imprisonment during the First World War., University of Queensland (2014)
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 4
Total funding $11,535

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20171 grants / $1,100

FEDUA Conference Travel Grant: Eric Richards Symposium in British and Australasian History$1,100

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Scheme FEDUA Conference Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20163 grants / $10,435

New Staff Grant$4,960

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

ECR Mobility Grant$3,475

Funding body: Centre for 21st Century Humanities, University of Newcastle

Funding body Centre for 21st Century Humanities, University of Newcastle
Scheme ECR Travel/Mobility Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Exploring the Aftermath of Captivity: British and Australian POWs and the Legacy of Imprisonment in Turkey during the First World War$2,000

Funding body: Australian Academy of the Humanities

Funding body Australian Academy of the Humanities
Project Team Doctor Kate Ariotti
Scheme Travelling Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600777
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD1

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD The Kidnapping of Australian Aboriginal People in the Colonial Period: Labour, Retaliation and The Colonial Project in Queensland and Western Australia, 1850 to 1901 PhD (History), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2016 PhD Australian Women in World War I PhD (History), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2015 PhD Valour Down Under: Constructions of Australian Military Heroism from Sudan to Afghanistan, 1885 - 2015 PhD (History), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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News

Entangled Histories Conference: Inspiring historians to create connections

August 16, 2017

For an Early Career Researcher like Dr Kate Ariotti of the Centre for the History of Violence and Centre for 21st Century Humanities, the Australian Historical Association Conference is an annual opportunity to be inspired, network with Australia’s leading historians and create connections in the world of Australian historical research.

New book reveals a fresh Australian perspective on the First World War

July 10, 2017

University of Newcastle historians have published a new book that explores race, gender, culture, politics and Australian society during the First World War.

Research Directions 2016

July 7, 2016

Read the latest research highlights from the Faculty.

Kate Ariotti wins CEW Bean Prize

UON researcher receives 2015 CEW Bean Prize

October 9, 2015

Dr Kate Ariotti, an Historian with the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, has been awarded the prestigious CEW Bean Prize for Military History from the Australian Army History Unit.

Dr Kate Ariotti

Position

Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

History

Contact Details

Email kate.ariotti@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5324

Office

Room MCLG16A
Building McMullin Building
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