Tamson Pietsch is Associate Professor in Social & Political Sciences and Director of the Australian Centre for Public History at UTS.
Tamson's research focuses on the history of ideas and the politics of knowledge in international contexts. She has a particular interest in higher education. Tamson is the author of Empire of Scholars: universities networks and the British academic world, 1850-1939 (Manchester, 2013) and the co-editor of The Transnational Politics of Higher Education (Routledge, 2016). Tamson is currently writing a book about the 1926 world-cruise of the "Floating University" as well as leading an ARC project on expertise in interwar Australia. She is the Director of the UTS audio unit, Impact Studios, and host of the History Lab podcast.
Tamson received her DPhil from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar and then held a Junior Research Fellowship at New College and lectureship at Corpus Christi College. Prior to coming to UTS, Tamson was ARC DECRA Fellow at the University of Sydney and Lecturer in Imperial and Colonial History at Brunel University, London.
Can supervise: YES
- History of ideas, history of science
- British & Imperial history
- Global, transnational & international history
- History of universities
- Martime history
- British history and the history of empire
- Global & transnational history
- Historiography, methods and theory
- History of ideas
- History of universities
Pietsch, T 2013, Empire of Scholars Universities, Networks and the British Academic World, 1850–1939, Manchester University Press, New York, USA.
Drawing on extensive archival research conducted in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, this book remaps the intellectual geographies of Britain and its empire.
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019. This article examines the "new professions" as alternative settings where women thought and wrote about the international. Presenting the case studies of Fannie Fern Andrews, Mary Parker Follett and Florence Wilson, it shows that, in emerging professional and disciplinary contexts that have hitherto lain beyond the purview of historians of international thought, these women developed their thinking about the international. The insights they derived from their practical work in schools, immigrant communities and libraries led them to emphasize the mechanics of participation in international affairs and caused them to think across the scales of the individual, the local group and relations between nations. By moving beyond the history of organizations and networks and instead looking for the professional settings and audiences which enabled women to theorize, this article shifts both established understandings of what counts as international thought and traditional conceptions of who counts as an international thinker.
© 2020, © 2020 Australian Historical Association. The challenge of our era is to find ways to respond to the ecological, social and political breakdown our world is facing as an entwined and inseverable phenomenon. These interwoven crises are taking place in a context where fatalistic and managerialist conceptions of change enjoy almost hegemonic power in key institutions. If society is to be remade in ways that preserve a commitment to democracy, it is crucial that citizens be imaginatively equipped to be able to respond to deterministic claims that refuse their agency as members of multiple political communities. This is precisely the kind of orientation that historicity enables. Our times call upon historians to understand themselves as community-builders whose task is, through dialogue, to connect the past to the present and gather the people so that we might build a better kind of world together.
Pietsch, T 2019, 'Commercial travel and college culture: The 1920s transatlantic student market and the Foundations of Mass Tourism', Diplomatic History, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 83-106.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to: introduce the topic of the relationship between universities and the First World War historiographically; put university expertise and knowledge at the centre of studies of the First World War; and explain how an examination of university expertise and war reveals a continuity of intellectual and scientific activity from war to peace. Design/methodology/approach: Placing the papers in the special issue of HER on universities and war in the context of a broader historiography of the First World War and its aftermath. Findings: The interconnections between university expertise and the First World War is a neglected field, yet its examination enriches the current historiography and prompts us to see the war not simply in terms of guns and battles but also how the battlefield extended university expertise with long-lasting implications into the 1920s and 1930s. Originality/value: The paper explores how universities and their expertise – e.g. medical, artistic, philosophical – were mobilised in the First World War and the following peace.
This article considers the different ways British history has been located and defined in the last forty years, highlighting in particular the shifting and porous nature of its borders. The article reflects on the disinclination of many contributors in this issue to adopt the label of 'British historian'. It points out that, despite the emergence of transnational history, those historians working in Australia on British sources continue to find themselves pulled between the national imperatives of multiple countries. But both transnational and national historical approaches might be seen as attempts to make sense of human lives and institutions made within systems that work by at once connecting and separating localities. The article concludes by arguing that historians working on British sources in Australia need to claim both labels of 'British' and 'Antipodean'. They need to situate themselves both within the supply chains of trade, labour and governance, family, expertise and belief that stretched across space, and within the various politics that sought to locate and contain them in different locations.
This article considers the bodily experience of being at sea in the age of sail. Using shipboard
diaries written by eight passengers during the high period of free migration to the Australasian
colonies, it argues that oceanic journeys disrupted and upended the land-based bodily practices
being fashioned in nineteenth-century Britain. At sea, these mechanisms of bodily comportment
were rendered fragile and unstable, leaving middle- and working-class bodies alike vulnerable
and open to refashioning and reformation. In so doing, it points to the need for scholars to
bring together land- and sea-based histories and to historicize and particularize oceanic spaces.
© 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to bring together the history of war, the universities and the professions. It examines the case of dentistry in New South Wales, detailing its divided pre-war politics, the role of the university, the formation and work of the Dental Corps during the First World War, and the process of professionalization in the 1920s. Design/methodology/approach: The paper draws on documentary and archival sources including those of the University of Sydney, contemporary newspapers, annual reports and publication of various dental associations, and on secondary sources. Findings: The paper argues that both the war and the university were central to the professionalization of dentistry in New South Wales. The war transformed the expertise of dentists, shifted their social status and cemented their relationship with the university. Originality/value: This study is the first to examine dentistry in the context of the histories of war, universities and professionalization. It highlights the need to re-evaluate the changing place of the professions in interwar Australia in the light both of the First World War and of the university's involvement in it.
Pietsch, T 2013, '''They do not go as strangers': Academic connections between Australia and Britain, 1880-1939', Australian Studies, vol. 5, pp. 1-13.
This article examines academic connections between Australian and Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It contends that, beginning in the 1880s, Australian universities looked for ways to make new sorts of connection with British scholarship. They established travelling scholarship schemes, leave of absence programmes and appointments practices designed to forge ties that bound academics in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide with their colleagues in the United Kingdom.
Pietsch, T 2011, 'Many Rhodes: travelling scholarships and imperial citizenship in the British academic world, 1880-1940', HISTORY OF EDUCATION, vol. 40, no. 6, pp. 723-739.View/Download from: Publisher's site
At the Allied Colonial Universities Conference, held in London in 1903, delegates from across the universities of Britain's settler empire professed the existence of a British academic community, defined not by location, but by shared culture, shared values and shared ethnicity. This article examines the extent to which these claims reflected actual patterns of academic mobility in the settler empire between 1850 and 1940. By mapping the careers of the 350 professors who served at the Universities of Sydney, Toronto, and Manchester during this period, it concludes that, between 1900 and 1930 especially, there existed a distinctly British academic world within which scholars moved frequently along different migratory axes. Though not as united, extensive and uncomplicated as that in which the 1903 Conference delegates believed, this world nonetheless shared more in common with their vision of an expansive British academic community than it did with the image of an unconnected and isolated periphery that has characterised portrayals by subsequent university historians. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Pietsch, T 2019, 'Tools of the Trade: The Interwar Fight for Control of Dentistry in Australia' in The First World War, the Universities and the Professions in Australia 1914-1939, Melbourne University Press, Australia, pp. 61-76.
In the three decades between 1900 and 1930, dentistry in Australia shifted from a fragmented and largely unregulated occupation to a profession that was licensed under state Acts, required a university ãducation and possessed a national representative body and an ethical code of conduct. In doing so it acquired the four characteristics that David Scuilli suggests designates professionalisation: licensing and the regulation of admission; training (usually at university); professional association; and professional ethics't For dentists' this transformation was a fraught one: fought for and against by various factions within dentistry and politics, and dominated by the expanding power of the universities and the mobilising effects of World War I.
This chapter highlights three distinct periods of transformation in the function and foundation of universities across the last 200 years. First, it focuses on the last decades of the nineteenth century when the modern university came into existence; second, on the years after the Second World War when a new relationship with the state was fashioned; and, third, on the 1990s when deregulation and internationalization reshaped higher education systems. It pays particular attention to universities in the English-speaking world and especially to the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia. Although there are many other periods of change and many other geographic and linguistic contexts worthy of attention, thinking about these three moments in the context of the English-speaking world casts into relief the contours of the early twenty-first century when the so-called "American model" of a teaching and research institution is both hugely influential across the globe and also in the process of being challenged and refashioned.
Pietsch, T 2017, 'Geographies of Selection: Academic Appointments in the British Academic World, 1850-1939' in Jöns, H, Meusburger, P & Heffernan, M (eds), Mobilities of Knowledge, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 157-183.
Pietsch, T & Chou, MH 2017, 'The politics of scholarly exchange: Taking the long view on the rhodes scholarships' in Global Exchanges: Scholarships and Transnational Circulations in the Modern World, pp. 33-49.
Chou, M-H, Kamola, I & Pietsch, T 2016, 'Introduction: the transnational politics of higher education' in Chou, M-H, Kamola, I & Pietsch, T (eds), Transnational Politics of Higher Education: Contesting theGlobal/Transforming the Local, Routledge, London, pp. 1-20.
Pietsch, T 2016, 'Between the local and the universal: Academic worlds and the long history of the university' in Chou, M-H, Kamola, I & Pietsch, T (eds), Transnational Politics of Higher Education: Contesting theGlobal/Transforming the Local, Routledge, London, pp. 21-41.
Pietsch, T 2014, 'Imperium et Libertas: G.C. Henderson and 'Colonial Historical Research' in Prest, W (ed), Pasts Present: History at Australia's third university, Wakefield Press, Adelaide, pp. 77-85.
In 1907 J.M. Dent & Co, London, in partnership with E.P. Dutton & Co,
New York, published a book by the Professor of History at the University of
Adelaide: G.C. Henderson's Sir George Grey: Pioneer of Empire in Southern
Lands. The volume was well received, both in Australia and in Britain. The
Academy called it 'an able piece of work, clear, discriminating, judicial' and
Frederick Watson, later to be editor of Historical Records of Australia, sung its
praises.1 'Nearly all the London papers & reviews [spoke] very favourably of
the work', reported Henderson in December 1908 to the Australian Prime
Minister, Alfred Deakin, who had written with his own compliments.2 An
'Oxford scholar, holding a chair in an Australian university', Henderson
possessed an outlook that, according to The Academy, was 'Imperial rather
than Colonial'.3 His position in a colonial university did not – or so the reviewer
believed – set him apart from his metropolitan colleagues: 'he delivers himself
of no shibboleths', concluded the article.4
This chapter argues that Henderson's book, and the outlook and experiences
that informed both it and his work at the University of Adelaide, need to
be understood in terms of the social and institutional contexts that linked
Australia and Britain at the turn of the century. Moving within the networks of
the British academic world, Henderson's travels and the landscapes of affection
and connection born of them, not only shaped the way he approached his work,
but his experience of undertaking it in turn also shaped his vision for 'colonial
historical research' at Adelaide.5
Born in 1870 near Newcastle in New South
Pietsch, T 2013, 'Out of Empire: The Universities' Bureau and the Congresses of the Universities of the British Empire, 1913-1939' in Schreuder, D (ed), Universities for a 'New World': A Commonwealth of Knowledgeand Skills, 1913-2013, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, pp. 11-26.
Pietsch, T 2012, ''Mending a broken world': The Universities and the Nation, 1918-36' in Beers, L & Thomas, G (eds), Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation-building in Britain between the Wars, Institute of Historical Research, London, pp. 189-208.
On 4 July 1921, the chancellors and rectors of the universities of the United
Kingdom, together with delegates from their sister institutions across the
British empire, sat down to lunch at the Savoy Hotel. They were gathered
in London to attend the second Congress of the Universities of the British
Empire, scheduled to begin the following day in Oxford. Proposing the
toast on behalf of the government, the former Conservative prime minister
and foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour, reflected on the dramatic events that
had elapsed since the first congress had taken place in 1912. In those nine
years, he suggested,
had been crowded and compressed changes the magnitude of which no man
living – none even of the learned thinkers whom it is my privilege to address
– can as yet estimate. Nobody can tell how great is the change which this
deflection of civilized development has produced in the social elements of the
world; nobody can tell whether it has hurried changes which were in any case
inevitable, or whether it has modified in any profound sense the character
of those changes. The work of estimating its magnitude falls, and must fall
inevitably, to the historian, and to him alone. But we can see quite plainly each
one of us, within our own experience, how the world has been shaken by the
vast catastrophe of the Great War.1
Though not yet sure of its meaning, Balfour and his contemporaries
nonetheless sensed that the world that had emerged fro
Pietsch, T 2011, 'Between the Nation and the World: J.T. Wilson and scientific networks in the early twentieth century' in Bennett, B & Hodge, J (eds), Science and Empire: Knowledge and Networks of Science in the British Empire 1850-1970, Palgrave Macmillan, UK, pp. 140-160.
The categories of 'metropole' and 'colony' have long been fundamental
to scholars' imagination of empire. However in recent years, against the
background of the contemporary consciousness of global forces, migration
and postcolonialism, historians from both Great Britain and from
the countries that previously fell under its influence have started to question
their utility.1 Increasingly, the work of researchers has focused
instead on the complex connections and the multiple and mutually
constitutive practices that occurred between those who lived in and
across imperial spaces. In doing so it has also challenged the partition of
domestic and national from imperial history.
In particular, a number of scholars have argued that one way of understanding
this revisioned empire is to see it as a series of exchanges or networks.
As noted by Joseph Hodge in Chapter 1, a number of distinct, but
overlapping strands of scholarship characterize this new field.2 Influenced
by colonial discourse theory, 'new' imperial historians have come to
see Western culture as not just influenced but itself forged in the perpetually
changing process of interaction between metropole and periphery.
They have explored the ways that 'raced', 'classed' and 'gendered'
imperial 'Others' helped to construct the identities of both colonized and
colonizer, both in Britain and abroad. Catherine Hall's work has been
particularly influential and studies by Paul Gilroy, Mrinalini Sinha and
Antoinette Burton among others have been guided by similar aims.3 British
history, these historians argue, 'has to be transnational': challenging the
binary of imperial and national histories 'and critically scrutinising the
ways in which it has functioned as a way of normalising power relations
and erasing our dependence on and exploitation of others'.
URLs for 7 x episodes:
S1Ep1 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/241871
S1Ep2 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/245729
S1Ep3 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/251368
S1Ep4 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/258653
S2Ep1 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/306949
S2Ep2 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/308702
S2Ep3 - https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode/310373
When was the last time you were asked to sign something and did you stop to think how the strange squiggly mark you make on a page could be used?
The signature is a performative act, crucial to the law's way of knowing, but it's also been used as a tool of oppression.
In this episode of History Lab we hear from a boy who was stolen, the man who took him away and the judge who was asked to decide if a mother's thumbprint was a sign of consent.
From the Yirrkala Bark Petitions in 1963 to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017 Aboriginal people have been reclaiming this marker of individual identity to represent the many and speak back to an empire.
Pietsch, T & Loy-Wilson, S 2016, 'Shanghai Princess', Earshot, ABC Radio National.
Pietsch, T 2013, De-territorialising knowledge: strategies in the universities of the British settler empire in the 1880s, Universities 2030: Learning from the past to anticipate the future, pp. 12-14.
Pietsch, T 2016, 'On institutions: Why we (still) need them', pp. 117-128.