Volume 11, November 2003
The Network for Research in Women's History Conference held in Mildura, Victoria in October 2003 was the first such conference to be held in a regional centre and was associated with the small regional conference of the Australian Historical Association Conference. It was a great success with around a dozen papers addressing the theme, 'Imagined Worlds'. The topics ranged widely with papers exploring representations of white women in Australian pioneer paintings, the involvement of white women's organisations in Aboriginal Advancement issues in the inter-war years and Lady Jane Franklin's tour of Europe, as a young woman. Two of the papers, by Goldie Osuri and Shannon Shedlich-Day are now reproduced in this issue of Outskirts.
In her paper, Goldie Osuri asks a number of carefully positioned questions about the meaning of her project on conversion narratives in the Seventh Day Adventist Community in Andhra Pradesh in the 1930s and 1940s. Here she explores the experiences and positions of herself, her mother and grand-mother, but does not assume some common world. She meticulously explores the specificities of the position of each. She also asks what it means to carry out this research in the particularly racialised and historicised environment of contemporary Australia - not only in relation to her own position in that environment, but also for the descendants of settler Australians.
Shannon Shedlich-Day's paper explores representations of white women in Australian pioneer paintings. Towards the end of her paper she focusses upon Alexander Schramm's painting 'A scene in South Australia' which,she argues, offers an alternate view of the dominant image of pioneer women, one which fits more comfortably within the current academic history which acknowledges pioneer women of ethnic descent besides the traditionally remembered English.' Links to the paintings enrich this interesting paper.