My time as a DECRA research fellow, 2016–2019

In January 2016 I took up an appointment as ARC DECRA Research Fellow in History in the School of Humanities & Social Inquiry, Faculty of Law, Humanities & the Arts at the University of Wollongong. DECRAs are a three-year fellowship, but being part-time (0.8 FTE), my fellowship stretched to 3.5 years.

My DECRA project is/was a transnational, comparative study titled ‘Chinese seeking citizenship in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, 1860 to 1920’. It’s an exploration of the history of Chinese naturalisation in the British settler colonies, which intertwines biographies and case studies with analysis of naturalisation law and policy. In essence I have been thinking about how, why and in what circumstances Chinese migrants became British subjects in New South Wales, New Zealand and British Columbia, and what it meant for them. I’ve presented on my DECRA research at various conferences and will be working on completing my databases and publishing in the future.

Being a DECRA fellow has also given me the opportunity to continue my earlier work on Chinese Australian women and families, and to embark upon the exciting adventure of running the Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour. Sophie Couchman and I have run the tour on three occasions, with about about fifty guests in total, each time collaborating with Selia Tan Jinhua from Wuyi University.

Now my DECRA has finished, I will continue on at UOW as an Honorary Fellow. I’m very lucky to have had the chance to work with such a fabulous cohort of historian colleagues at UOW – most particularly, Julia Martínez, without whom I would never have imagined that a DECRA could be within my reach.

Listed below is an assortment of things I’ve done during my fellowship and some photos that show the glamorous side of life as a jet-setting transnational historian.

With Selia Tan and Sophie Couchman, Cangdong, Kaiping, China, March 2019

Peer-reviewed publications

2019 Tim Sherratt and Kate Bagnall, ‘The people inside’, in Kevin Kee and Timothy Compeau (eds), Seeing the Past with Computers: Experiments with Augmented Reality and Computer Vision for History, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, DOI: 10.3998/mpub.9964786.

2018 ‘Potter v. Minahan: Chinese Australians, the law and belonging in White Australia’, History Australia, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 458–474, DOI: 10.1080/14490854.2018.1485503.

2018 ‘Writing home from China: Charles Allen’s transnational childhood’, in Paul Longley Arthur (ed.), Migrant Lives: Australian Culture, Society and Identity, Anthem Press, London.

2017 ‘“To his home at Jembaicumbene”: Women’s cross-cultural encounters on a colonial goldfield’, in Jacqueline Leckie, Angela McCarthy and Angela Wanhalla (eds), Migrant Cross-Cultural Encounters in Asia and the Pacific, Routledge, Abingdon & New York.

In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, July 2016

Peer-reviewed publications (in progress)

Forthcoming 2019

‘Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: From absence to presence’, Global History Review 全求史評論, vol. 16 (in Chinese).

Sophie Couchman and Kate Bagnall, ‘Memory and meaning in the search for Chinese Australian families’, in Kate Darian-Smith and Paula Hamilton (eds), Remembering Migration: Oral Histories and Heritage in Australia, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Special issue in memory of Barry McGowan, Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, vol. 8.

Under review

Kate Bagnall and  Julia Martínez (eds), Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between China and Australia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong

Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez, ‘Chinese Australian women, migration and mobility’, in Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez (eds), Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between China and Australia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong

‘Example or exception? Ham Hop and the Poon Gooey case’, in Kate Bagnall and Julia Martínez (eds), Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between China and Australia, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong

Kate Bagnall and Tim Sherratt, ‘Missing links: Data stories from the archive of British settler colonial citizenship’, Journal of World History (submitted to special issue by invitation from Antoinette Burton)

‘Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: From absence to presence’, Journal of Biography and History

In preparation

Kate Bagnall and Peter Prince (eds), Subjects and Aliens: Histories of Nationality in Australia and New Zealand before 1948 (edited collection)

‘Chinese naturalisation in colonial New Zealand and Australia’ (book chapter)

‘Paragraph (m): Chinese wives, migration law and White Australia’ (journal article)

‘Women and the Chinese family in colonial Australia and New Zealand’ (journal article)

In Beitai, Zhongshan, China, March 2019

Tiger’s Mouth blog posts

Outside the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan, July 2017

Other publications

2019 ‘Cantonese connections: The origins of Australia’s early Chinese migrants’, Traces, issue 6, pp. 43–45.

2018 ‘Chinese Australians in print’, Unbound: The National Library of Australia Magazine, September 2018.

2018 ‘The murderer and the missionary: Gazettes and newspapers in Trove uncover Chinese-Australian history’, Trove blog, 18 January.

2017 ‘A new perspective on Australia and China’ (review of Australians in Shanghai by Sophie Loy-Wilson), History Australia, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 666–67.

2017 Chinese Australians and the Immigration Restriction Act in New South Wales: A Guide to Finding Records, self-published.

2017 ‘Early Chinese newspapers: Trove presents a new perspective on Australian history’, Asian Library Resources of Australia (ALRA) Newsletter, no. 70, July.

2016 ‘Women, history and the shifting patterns of Chinese Australian life’, in John Young, Modernity’s End: Half the Sky, exhibition catalogue, Willoughby City Council, March, pp. 14–19.

Subjects and Aliens Symposium, University of Wollongong, 28 November 2017 (L–R: Emma Bellino, Kate Bagnall, Sophie Couchman, Jane Carey, Kim Rubenstein, Julia Martínez, Angela Wanhalla)

Databases

Three research databases are still in preparation:

  • Naturalized Chinese in British Columbia to 1914 (data extracted from BC Archives records; with data entry by Karen Schamberger, Sophie Couchman and Tracy Olverson)
  • Naturalized Chinese in New Zealand to 1908 (data extracted from Archives NZ records)
  • Naturalized Chinese in colonial New South Wales (data extracted from State Archives NSW records; with research and data entry by Naomi Parry)
With Sophie Couchman in Taicheng, Taishan, China, March 2019

DH projects

2017 Real Face of White Australia transcription project and website (with Tim Sherratt), <https://transcribe.realfaceofwhiteaustralia.net>.

2016 The Chinese in New South Wales: A History in Pictures to 1940, <http://baibi.github.io/chinese-in-nsw-in-pictures/>.

(in preparation) James Minahan’s Homecoming LODBook project (with Tim Sherratt) – a new form of digital publication combining historical narrative and structured data.

With Selia Tan by the Fraser River, British Columbia, July 2016

Keynotes and invited lectures

2019 ‘The Real Face of White Australia: Seeing the People Inside’, Digital Histories Research Seminar, Australian Centre for Public History, University of Technology Sydney, 9 May.

2019 ‘Writing women into Chinese Australian history’, Department of History / Gender Studies Programme, University of Hong Kong, 21 March.

2018 ‘Gold Mountain guests: Cantonese settlers across the southern colonies’, public lecture, Global Dunedin Lecture Series, Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand, 10 June.

2018 ‘“All the rights and capacities”? Chinese naturalisation and colonial mobility’, keynote lecture, Amidst Empires: Colonialism, China and the Chinese, 1839–1997, Flinders University, Adelaide, 29–30 January.

2017 ‘Australia and China: Before and below the nation’, keynote and public lecture, Looking Back, Moving Forward: Symposium on the Future of Australia-China Relations, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney, 24 October.

2016 ‘Communities in the Qing era: The Chinese in Australia’, public lecture, National Library of Australia, 24 January.

In Cangdong, Kaiping, China, December 2018

Conference papers

( * invited)

2019 ‘From Hong Kong to Sydney: The voyage of the Glamis Castle, 1881’, ‘All Roads Lead to Hong Kong’: Hong Kong History Project Conference, University of Hong Kong, 5–7 June.

*2018 ‘White women and the transnational Chinese family in colonial New South Wales’, 2018 International Symposium on Transnational Migration and Qiaoxiang Studies: International Migration Research from a Gendered Vantage Point, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China, 8–9 December.

2018 ‘White women, Chinese men: Interracial intimacies in colonial New South Wales’, 2018 International Federation for Research on Women’s History Conference, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, 9–11 August.

2018 ‘Chinese Australian families and the legacies of colonial naturalisation’, Australian Historical Association Conference, Australian National University, 2–6 July.

*2017 ‘Communication and collaboration in the digital age’, Related Histories: Studying the Family, National Library of Australia, 29 November.

2017 ‘Chinese restriction, naturalisation and mobility in colonial and post-Federation Australia’, Subjects and Aliens: Histories of Nationality in Australia and New Zealand, University of Wollongong, 28 November.

2017 ‘Chinese women in colonial New South Wales: A case study approach’, International Conference on Chinese Women in World History, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 11–14 July.

2017 ‘Naturalisation and Chinese restriction in colonial Australasia’, Entangled Histories: Australian Historical Association Conference, University of Newcastle, 3–7 July.

*2017 ‘Naturalised Chinese in colonial Australia’, Beyond the New Gold Mountain: Chinese Community Council of Australia (Victoria) 2017 Conference, RMIT, Melbourne, 24 June.

2016 ‘Naturalised Chinese in British settler societies of the Pacific Rim, 1860 to 1920’, Colonial Formations: Connections and Collisions, University of Wollongong, 23–25 November.

2016 ‘Potter v. Minahan 1908: a legal challenge to White Australia’, 9th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO), Richmond BC, Canada, 6–8 July.

*2016 ‘A culture of suspicion: Chinese at the border of White Australia’, The Commonwealth Department of Immigration—Then and Now, La Trobe University, 19 February.

In Taipei, Taiwan, with Mei-fen Kuo, Julia Martínez and Sophie Loy-Wilson, July 2017

Community talks and outreach

2019 ‘Tracing the origins of Chinese Australian ancestors’, webinar, Society for Australian Genealogists, 15 April.

2018 ‘Researching Chinese Australian families’, Sailing into History: NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Annual Conference, Bateman’s Bay, 15–16 September.

2017 ‘Researching early Chinese Australian families’, U3A Wollongong, 23 October.

2017 ‘Researching early Chinese Australian families – 8 sources to know’, Deniliquin Family History Expo, Deniliquin Genealogy Society, Deniliquin, 14 October.

2017 ‘Women and the records of White Australia’, Real Face of White Australia Transcribe-a-Thon, Museum of Australian Democracy, 9 September.

2017 ‘Researching early Chinese Australian families’, Family History Month workshop, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 August.

2016 ‘From Canton to the colonies: Chinese women in nineteenth-century New South Wales’, History Week talk sponsored by Wollongong City Libraries, Corrimal District Library, 7 September.

2016 ‘Researching Chinese Australian family history’, 2-hour seminar, Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney, 30 April.

2016 ‘Women, history and the shifting patterns of Chinese Australian life’, opening of John Young Zerunge’s Modernity’s End: Half the Sky exhibition, Incinerator Art Space, Willoughby City Council, Willoughby, 2 March.

At the top of Mingshilou, Zili, Kaiping, China, January 2018

Study tour

2017–2019 ‘Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour’

I organised and hosted, with Sophie Couchman, an annual history and heritage study tour to Hong Kong and Guangdong for 15–20 guests; participants included Chinese Australian family historians, writers, heritage practitioners and postgraduate students

Our first tour was held from 22 to 31 March 2017:

Our second tour was held from 14 to 24 January 2018:

Our third tour was held from 6 to 17 March 2019: 2019 brochure (pdf, 1.7mb)

With Guo Feixiang in Yuanxia, Baiyun, Guangzhou, China, June 2019

Teaching and supervision

Higher Degree Research supervision

Emma Bellino, PhD, School of Humanities & Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong – ‘Marriage, women’s nationality, and Australia’s Asian communities in the early twentieth century’ (commenced 2017; UOW PhD scholarship tied to my DECRA fellowship)

Undergraduate lectures

2019 ‘Theory & skills – Working with digital archives: The Chinese in Australia’, History Honours HIST470, University of Wollongong, 12 April

2019 ‘The Chinese diaspora in Australia’, CCGL9056 How We Move: Migration, Border Crossing, and Identity, University of Hong Kong, 20 March

2018 ‘Developing a research project: Charlie Allen’s transnational childhood’, Hands On History HIST281, University of Wollongong, 17 September

2018 ‘Theory & skills – Working with digital archives: The Chinese in Australia’, History Honours HIST470, University of Wollongong, 4 May

2017 ‘The archives of White Australia’, Exploring Digital Heritage 10154.1, University of Canberra, 15 August

2017 ‘Doing history in the digital age’, Making History HIST355, University of Wollongong, 29 August

2017 ‘Developing a research project: Charlie Allen’s transnational childhood’, Hands On History HIST281, University of Wollongong, 22 August

2017 ‘Doing history in the digital age’, UOW Discovery Days, University of Wollongong, 10 February

2016 ‘Historical research in the digital age’, Making History HIST355, University of Wollongong, 6 October

2016 ‘Using sources: The curious case of Ernest Sung Yee’, Hands On History HIST281, University of Wollongong, 7 September

With Tim Sherratt at the Deniliquin Family History Expo, October 2017

Grant and publication review

Peer review

University of Sydney Press; Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History; Australian Historical Studies; Journal of Australian Studies; History Australia; New Zealand Journal of History; Fabrications: The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand; Australasian Journal of Irish Studies; Limina

Grant assessment

ARC Discovery Project, 2018; Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund Standard Grant, 2018

Being interviewed by Siobhan Heanue, ABC TV, Museum of Australian Democracy, September 2017

Other professional and outreach activities

Conference and event organisation

2017 Convenor, Subjects and Aliens Symposium, University of Wollongong, 28 November.

2017 Co-organiser with Tim Sherratt, Real Face of White Australia Transcribe-a-Thon, Museum of Australian Democracy, Canberra, 9–10 September.

Professional presentations and activities

2019 Presented on ‘Collaboration and communication: Engaging with public audiences’, Early Career Convivium, School of Humanities, University of Hong Kong, 20 March

2017 Co-organised (with Claire Lowrie) and presented at the ‘Invited Workshop on Digital Humanities and ARC Linkage Projects’, University of Wollongong

2017 Participated in the invitation-only ‘Under the Southern Cross’ Chinese Australian history book project workshop, University of Technology Sydney

2017 Social media and blog manager for the UOW Colonial and Settler Studies Network

2016 Presented on my DECRA project at the UOW Research Week ‘History Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers’ event, University of Wollongong

2016 Participated in an invitation-only workshop on the ‘Cantonese Pacific in the Making of the Modern World’, University of British Columbia

2016 Participated in the invitation-only ‘Whisper Workshop 2016’ (linking university researchers with creative and cultural industries), Australian National University

2016 Spoke about my career path from PhD to DECRA at the ACHRC Humanities in the Regions symposium ‘Humanities in the Regions: Building Capacity Through Connectivity and Knowledge’, University of Wollongong

2016 Spoke on my DECRA project at the UOW LHA Early Career Research Presentations with the Vice Chancellor, University of Wollongong

Exhibitions

2017 Co-ordinator and contributor to ‘Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility Between Australia and China’, a historical photographic exhibition on display at the Feminist Research Network Symposium, University of Wollongong,
September

2017 Contributor to ‘Chinese Fortunes’, on display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (January to July 2017); Immigration Museum Melbourne (August 2017 to March 2018)

Training

  • Fundamentals of Higher Degree Research Supervision, University of Wollongong, October 2018
  • Project Management – Introduction, University of Wollongong, May 2016
With actor John Jarratt on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, May 2017

Media

Television

2018 Historical advisor assisting John Jarratt, Who Do You Think You Are?, Series 9, Episode 4, broadcast on SBS TV, 8 May.

2017 Interview with Siobhan Heanue, ABC News Canberra, broadcast on ABC TV evening news and ABC News 24 late news, 3 September.

Radio

2019 Podcast interview with Valerie Khoo, New Stories, Bold Legends: Stories from Sydney Lunar Festival, February.

2018 Interview with Keri Philips, ‘Chinese immigration to Australia’, Rear Vision, ABC Radio National, 2 September.

2018 Historical advisor to Jane Lee, ‘William Ah Ket: the first Chinese-Australian barrister’, The History Listen, ABC Radio National, 28 August.

2017 Broadcast of ‘Australia and China: Before and below the nation’, recorded at the University of Sydney, 24 October 2017, Radio National Big Ideas, 11 December.

Print and online

2018 Quoted in Jason Fang, ‘200 years of Chinese-Australians: First settler’s descendants reconnect with their roots’, ABC News online, 10 June.

2018 Quoted in Isabella Kwai, ‘200 years on, Chinese-Australians are still proving they belong’, New York Times, 7 May; also published as Isabella Kwai, ‘Years on, Chinese Australians are still proving they belong’, Straits Times, 8 May.

2017 Featured in 45 Years, 45 Stories: Celebrating 45 Years of Australia–China Diplomatic Relations, Australian Government.

2017 Quoted in Siobhan Heanue, ‘White Australia Policy: Documents reveal personal stories of life under Immigration Restriction Act’, ABC News online, 4 September.

2016 Katherine Crane, ‘Q & A with Kate Bagnall: Authors at the National Library’, National Library of Australia blog, 15 January.

2018 International Symposium on Transnational Migration and Qiaoxiang Studies: International Migration Research from a Gendered Vantage Point, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China, 8–9 December 2018

Travel

I drove up and down the highway between Canberra and Wollongong and Sydney a lot, but here’s a list of the more distant places I travelled to:

  • July 2016: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – workshop, conference and archival research
  • March 2017: Hong Kong and Guangdong, China – 2017 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour, fieldwork and archival research
  • June 2017: Adelaide and Melbourne – archival research and conference
  • July 2017: Newcastle – conference
  • July 2017: Taipei, Taiwan – conference
  • August 2017: Byron Bay – meeting
  • October 2017: Deniliquin – family history conference
  • January 2018: Hong Kong and Guangdong, China – 2018 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour and fieldwork
  • January 2018: Adelaide – conference
  • June 2018: Wellington and Dunedin, New Zealand – archival research and public lecture
  • August 2018: Vancouver, Ottawa, and Victoria BC, Canada – conference and archival research
  • December 2018: Jiangmen, China – conference and fieldwork
  • March 2019: Hong Kong and Guangdong, China – 2019 Chinese Australian Hometown Heritage Tour and presentations at the University of Hong Kong
  • May 2019: Wellington, New Zealand – archival research and meetings
  • June 2019: Hong Kong, Guangdong (Zhuhai and Guangzhou), Macau – conference and fieldwork
With Sophie Couchman in Zhaoyangli, Kaiping, China, March 2017 (photo: Jonathan O’Donnell)

Thanks

Finally, some thanks.

To my research assistants: Karen Schamberger, Naomi Parry, Sophie Couchman and Tracy Olverson.

To my co-authors and collaborators: Sophie Couchman, Julia Martínez and Tim Sherratt.

To the staff at: the National Library of Australia and Trove, National Archives of Australia, State Archives NSW, State Library NSW, Archives NZ, Hocken Library, National Library of New Zealand, Digital NZ, NZ Presbyterian Archives, HK Public Record Office, Wuyi Qiaoxiang Culture Research Centre, British Columbia Archives, Vancouver City Archives, City of Victoria Archives, Library Archives Canada, UBC Library, China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, University of Wollongong Library.

To those who have offered me opportunities, shown me kindness, and helped, encouraged and supported me along the way over the past four years, especially when I’ve been far from home:

Tony Ballantyne, James Beattie, Emma Bellino, Dorry Chen Meixian, Chen Ruihuai, Georgine Clarsen, Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shawn Graham, Guo Feixiang, Min Guo, Ben He Zhibin, Carrie Huang Qiaoyi, Di Kelly, Nicki Kemp, Alastair Kerr and Lynn Smith, Tseen Khoo, Vivian Kong, Mei-fen Kuo, Elizabeth LaCouture, Catherine Ladds, Amy Li Dongmei, Sophie Liang Lu, Claire Lowrie, Sophie Loy-Wilson, Jane McCabe, Vera Mackie, Laura Madokoro, Megan Neilson, Amy Nichol, Jonathan O’Donnell, Lachy Paterson, Jayne Persian, Jason Petrulis, David Pomfret, Peter Prince, Kim Rubenstein, Frances Steel, Selia Tan Jinhua, Angela Wanhalla, Howard Wilson, Dawn Wong, Tori Wright, Simon Ville, Henry Yu, Angel Zhao Ruizhu.

One comment

  1. Georgine Clarsen says:

    Sooo very impressive Kate. You were a very active and positive member of our program. We hate to see you move on, but trust that it is to bigger and better things – and that you will keep a close connection with us. Georgine Clarsen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *