Sydney Sawyer Seminar: Session Five

The session is free, but registration is essential.
RSVP for both the session and the book launch to
Katherine Anderson katherine dot anderson at usyd dot edu dot au
or 02 9036 5347 by October 26.

Session Five
Varieties of Empire in the Antipodes:
Taking Over and Letting Go

Friday, 30 October 2009, 3–5.30pm
Sutherland Room, Holme Building, Science Road,
The University of Sydney

To be followed by the launch of Kirsten McKenzie’s book,
A Swindler’s Progress: Nobles and Convicts in the Age of Liberty.
6pm for a 6.30 launch.

Convenor: Kirsten McKenzie

Discussant: Angela Woollacott (Manning Clark Professor of History, ANU)

Emma Christopher (University of Sydney)
‘The non-free white men and their freed African slaves: claims to British Liberty and its realities in Australia and Sierra Leone’

Kirsten McKenzie (University of Sydney)
‘The Daemon Behind the Curtain: prize slaves, convict escapees and the antipodean theatres of liberty’

Mark McKenna (University of Sydney)
‘Turning away from Britain: Manning Clark, History, Public Intellectuals and the end of Empire in Australia’

James Curran (University of Sydney)
‘The “great age of confusion”: Intellectuals and the “new nationalism” in Australia’

Settler colonialism has raised profound questions about the process of imperial expansion and the limits of decolonisation. The papers in this session bookend the period from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth centuries, dealing with such diverse commentators as public intellectuals, renegade slave traders and maverick convict escapees. They explore how northern hemisphere debates about political power, social status, national identity and ideas of freedom were worked through in southern settler colonies. Battles over the nature of citizenship were fought out on the imperial periphery in ways that would profoundly shape political rights in Europe. By the end of the twentieth century new varieties of nationalism were grappling with the problem of divesting themselves of a civic identity associated with imperial models they had helped to forge.

The University of Sydney is the proud host of the first Mellon Sawyer Seminar to be held in Australia. The seminar will run roughly from March 2009 to August 2010, consisting of eight special seminar sessions and one international conference. Its theme is “The Antipodean Laboratory: Humanity, Sovereignty and Environment in Southern Oceans and Lands, 1700-2009.”

Generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of Sydney

For further information regarding the Mellon Sawyer Seminar series visit:





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