University of Melbourne
I am a sociologist interested in the relationship between family and national histories. I’m fascinated by the way that stories, emotions, and memories circulate within families and get passed (or not) across generations. My current project is called Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia and is funded by the Australian Research Council (2019-2022). It investigates how inherited family secrets, stories, and memories inform Australians’ understandings of colonial history and explores the role that family histories might play in national truth-telling processes. For the project I will interview family historians and their relatives; read written family histories; and also do some of my own family history research. Previously, I have written about Australian life writing and literature based on family histories in Reckoning with the Past: Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature (2019, with Joseph Cummins).
The image here is of a family photograph I keep pinned to the mirror on my dressing table. It shows my maternal grandmother Marina Wallace posing on the beach in my hometown, Port Macquarie. The picture was taken for a photo-shoot after Nan won a local beauty contest, Princess of the Pines. I’d like to think I’ve inherited a few of her genes, though in truth I look more like my dad. Obviously I never met my Nan when she was 16 but most days I think about how she looks just the same now really – something in people endures, a spark.
My profile is here: https://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person708324