Monday, September 30, 2013

Upcoming journal article - ‘What better excuse for a real adventure’: History, memory and tourism on the Kokoda Track.

Another teaser! I'm excited to announce that my first journal article will be published in The Public History Review (vol 20) in late 2013. I'll write a blog post closer to the date that explores the topic in more detail. In the meantime you can view the abstract below:

‘What better excuse for a real adventure’: History, memory and tourism on the Kokoda Track.

Rapidly growing numbers of Australian tourists visiting overseas battle sites associated with Australian military history have been met with enthusiastic academic interest by historians, yet the vast majority of studies focus on Gallipoli, rather than the Kokoda Track. Prior to 2001, few tourists had undertaken a journey along the narrow jungle pathway, which winds 96km through the Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea. Just over a decade later, the track supports a competitive tourism industry, dominated by Australian companies, and attracts thousands of trekkers each year. This paper applies an interdisciplinary methodology to better understand the duality of locations of battlefield tourism as sites of commemoration and, unavoidably, sites of commerce. A survey of 107 trekkers suggests that, in addition to an expression of national identity, the mythology associated with the Kokoda Track has been appropriated by Australian tourists to represent individualistic goals of personal development and transformation: meanings that originate from the site’s history but extend beyond it.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikipedia (Luke Brindley)

Upcoming conference paper - Anzac for Sale: The Gallipoli Campaign in Consumer Culture, 1915-1921

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 October, 1917.
I'm excited about delivering a paper at upcoming conference 'The British Empire and the Great War - Colonial Societies/ Cultural Responses', which will be held at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore between 19-22 February 2014.

"In 1914 almost one quarter of the earth's surface was British. When that same empire and its allies went to war in 1914 against the Central Powers, history's first global conflict was inevitable…It is the social and cultural reactions within these distant, often overlooked, societies now thrust into the mainstream of modern industrial conflict, which is the focus of this conference." Source: conference website.

The conference programme (draft) has recently been released and it looks fantastic. You can also read my abstract below.

Anzac for Sale: The Gallipoli Campaign in Consumer Culture, 1915-1921

The cultural impact of the Great War in Australia is most often examined in the shadow of the Anzac Legend, a powerful national mythology rooted in ideas of Imperial militarism and masculinity. While scholarship is commonly conceptualised around monuments and commemoration my own research examines Anzac in consumer culture. As Michael Billig has theorised, ‘every day’ representations of the nation may be banal but they are certainly not benign. After the Gallipoli Landing on 25 April 1915, the word ‘Anzac’ came to represent a set of aspirational values and attributes. Tea, soap, toys, soft drinks and other goods branded with the word ‘Anzac’ flooded the market, and businesses, such as hotels and cafes, were renamed to include it. Consequently in 1916, the federal government issued regulations restricting the use of the word. These regulations were enacted barely twelve months after the landing and only four months after the evacuation. This paper will consider what motivated Australians to use the word ‘Anzac’ for commercial purposes and why authorities moved so quickly to stop its use. It will argue that consumer culture offers an unexamined site of contest from which to examine the personal and collective impact of the Great War.