The 26th Annual Conference of ANZSANA took place at the University of Texas at Austin, on 6-8 February, 2019. The year 2019 was very special for ANZSANA as well as for our host institution, the Edward A. Clark Center for Australian and New Zealand Studies, as both celebrated their 30th Anniversaries.
The conference kicked off with a welcome reception at the Bullock Texas State History Museum that featured live music performed by Antares, a local band that includes a didgeridoo player. Two full days of panels and a conference dinner followed. The Hon. Peter McGauran, Australia’s Consul-General and Sernior Trade Commissioner to Houston, delivered a lively after-dinner address in which he recounted tales from his career in Australian politics. That same night, ANZSANA recognized UT-Austin’s Professor Emeritus John Higley for his contributions to Australian and New Zealand studies. A founding director of the Clark Center and a founding member of ANZSANA, John’s research, leadership, and mentorship over his decades-long career fostered the study of Australia and New Zealand across a wide range of disciplines. In his honor, ANZSANA established a new award with a $500 purse for the best paper presented by a graduate student at its annual meeting. The inaugural John Higley Prize was awarded at the close of the conference to Matthew Birchall, a Smuts Scholar at Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, for his paper “Companies and Colonization, 1820-1840.”
The conference brought scholars from around the world to the Forty Acres. The interdisciplinary program included research from the fields of law, political science, history, and literature as well as media studies and educational instruction. Keynote addresses were delivered by Professor John Ravenhill, Director of the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo, and Professor Paul Pickering, Director of the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian National University. Benjamin T. Jones, a historian at Central Queensland University, launched his book, This Time: Australia’s Republican Past and Future.
Looking to the coming year, efforts to organize ANZSANA 2020 are underway, with plans to hold the meeting in Canada. Emily Cornish, a graduate student at the University of Michigan, joined the ANZSANA leadership team. She was elected to the post of Vice-President. Miguel Híjar-Chiapa, Associate Professor at the University of Guadalajara, will continue as ANZSANA’s President, and Rhonda Evans, Director of the Clark Center at UT-Austin, will remain Secretary-Treasurer.