High & Cliff captures the intersections of research in the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Meeting on the corner of High and Cliff streets in Fremantle, Western Australia, this multidisciplinary team of researchers share their insights – the challenges, triumphs, unexpected quirks and delights found when delving into scholarly investigations and personal journeys of research.
Episode 1 explores the Soweto Flying Squad, a frontline mobile force of armed policemen in the South West Townships on the outskirts of Johannesburg. From 1994 to 1998 Joan rode with the Soweto Flying Squad and completed 200 shifts observing the activity of Soweto after dark. Soweto was a defiant place, still transitioning from apartheid to freedom; Joan reveals its dark and dangerous sides while showing the human reality of the area and the policemen with whom she observed and built lasting connections.
Joan Wardrop, Adjunct Professor at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, trained as a medieval historian (UWA and Oxford) but became more interested in modern history, undertaking some oral history and discovering Southern African history and politics, and its similarity with Australian experience. Her interests then turned to ethnography, and has gradually returned to European history, rereading it in light of her ethnographic studies.
Episode 2 explores the history of the bombing of the small Spanish town of Gernika (Basque name) in April 1937 and through Pablo Picasso’s immortalising work of the event, Guernica, this episode investigates the connections between historical reality and artistic imagination. By engaging with poets such as Seamus Heaney and reporter Christopher Holme, Riley further emphasises the transcendental qualities of art. She navigates the complexities of art and artists in understanding historical realities through creative invention.
Riley Buchanan is an MPhil student at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Her research interests concern the exploration of artistic imagination when interpreting historical realities. In her MPhil project, Riley used Pablo Picasso's Guernica as a case study to demonstrate how the Francoist bombing of the town of Guernica in 1937 was imaginatively interpreted. Her research interests also include the use of art in the making of history, particularly of violent histories of the 20th century.
Season 1. Episode 3. Alexandra Wallis: Hysterical Women: Female Patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum
Episode 3 engages with local Fremantle history and explores the lives of the female patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, 1858-1908, revealing what behaviours were acceptable or unacceptable for women in 19th century Fremantle. Alexandra explains the concept of moral insanity, and the ways in which women could be admitted to the Asylum for drunkenness or prostitution, or even just for their female bodies, seen as mad when it came to menstruation and pregnancy. Alexandra also details what life was like for these women inside the Asylum, with moral treatment tactics, seclusion, and jobs as rehabilitation that could lead to their discharge back into the community.
Alexandra Wallis is a PhD candidate and sessional academic at the University of Notre Dame Australia, whose research focuses on the female patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum 1858-1908. She graduated with a BA Hons in History and English in 2014 from Edith Cowan University. Alexandra’s historical interests are in outcast women, sexualities, and criminal histories.
Episode 4 explores a giant of English literature and “bard of Empire”, Rudyard Kipling. Dave Balasubramanian examines the “other” in Kipling’s work with reference to race and gender. He questions the portrayal of Kipling’s treatment of “natives” as complimentary towards or critical of colonialism while exploring Kipling’s own understanding of England and India as not only geographical places, but abstractions shaped by their colonial connections.
Dave Balasubramanian was born in India and spent his early childhood in Scotland and South Yemen before returning to India for high school. He has a BA in English and Theatre, and an MA in Literature from Middlebury College, USA. Dave has taught at high school and university levels, been a veterinary nurse, a storeperson in builders’ supplies, and a stay-at-home husband and father. He has recently moved to country WA, where he hopes to finish his PhD thesis on Kipling at the University of Notre Dame Australia
Episode 5 enters the world of cyberspace; it has its own rules and is fraught with ambiguities. Deterrence and warfighting tenets established in other media do not necessarily translate into cyberspace and therefore such tenets must be rethought. Bryn’s exploration of cyber deterrence in the context of Australia and China examines whether Australia is prepared to fight cyberwar effectively in the new battle front of international relations.
Bryn Lacey is a PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He majored in International Relations, and was awarded First Class Honours for his thesis investigating nation building in Afghanistan.
Episode 6 explores how the research of one environmental scientist is contributing to the rehabilitation and re-establishment of ancient native forests following mining. In the Darling Range, south-east of Perth, Tai’s research aims to re-establish jarrah (Eucalpytus marginata) and marri (Corymbia calophylla) in the Northern Jarrah Forest after bauxite mining. Tai discusses the challenges of her research, with the trees taking decades if not hundreds of years to reach maturity, and the challenges of navigating the mining industry as a woman scientist.
Tai White-Toney graduated from the University of Portland (Oregon, USA) with a Bachelor’s degree in biology. Her Honours research investigated patterns of autonomy and regeneration in purple shore crabs and discussed the constraints of evolution. Tai’s PhD research with the University of Notre Dame Australia and Alcoa examines the ecological factors causing variable establishment of the two dominant canopy species, jarrah and marri, in the Northern Jarrah Forest after bauxite mining. Tai’s research areas include establishment ecology, seed ecology and restoration.