Seminar with Ashley Barnwell, University of Melbourne

“Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia”

Onsdag, 6 oktober, 2021 - 10:30 to 12:00

Seminar with Ashley Barnwell, University of Melbourne:

“Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia”


Abstract: In this talk, I will share some of the work-in-progress from my research into how inherited family secrets, stories, and memories inform Australians' understandings of colonial history. So far, efforts to address historical silences focus on how we can change narratives at the macro level – in public commemorations, national museums, and school curricula. The role of the family as a place where colonial histories are told, edited, and hotly debated, has received far less attention. But the stories we inherit within families – stories that anchor our very sense of identity and belonging – may be the most deep-seated, and the most difficult to transform. By examining how families negotiate difficult memories, emotions, and silences, the study seeks to learn more about how Australians deal with historical responsibility, inherited trauma, and diverse cultural histories in everyday life. In this talk I will discuss some of the patterns that are emerging in the archival and qualitative research I have done so far, especially around the circulation and reproduction of colonial mythologies within settler descendent families.

Bio: Ashley Barnwell is a Senior Research Fellow in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia. She is interested in sociological aspects of emotions, memory, and narrative, and the role of life writing, personal archives, and literature in sociological research. Her book Critical Affect: The Politics of Method was published in 2020 with Edinburgh UP.

This seminar is part of a seminar series hosted by Associate Professor Justine Grønbæk Pors and organized in relation to the research project ‘Gendered formations of educational interests and aspirations in primary and secondary schooling’

The project is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark.

The seminar is open for attendance through the following Zoom-link:  

Time: Oct 6, 2021 10:30 AM Copenhagen

Meeting ID: 671 2039 2254