| participants: richard waterhouse|
| ||Richard Waterhouse|
Professor, Head of School
School of Philosophical & Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)
The University of Sydney
Most Significant Contributions to This Research Field
I have researched and written in the field of Australian cultural history for almost twenty years. My most significant contributions to Australian cultural history have focussed on the role of popular culture in shaping Australian values, and institutions, indeed our world-view. Although many Australian cultural historians have written from a nationalist perspective my works trace how imported values and institutions were reworked and adapted to meet local circumstances and conditions. My studies of the role of the popular stage, particularly From Minstrel Show to Vaudeville (1990), have shown that the influence of America on Australian popular culture impacted much earlier than historians had previously argued. My co-authored study of the history of the AJC, The Principal Club: a History of the Australian Jockey Club (1992) sought to demonstrate both the historical significance of horse racing in Australian culture and the processes involved in the transformation of Australian sport from pre-industrial and rural to modern and urban. My general study of Australian popular culture, Private Pleasures, Public Leisure: a History of Australian Popular Culture Since 1788 (1995) remains the standard work on its subject. It reveals Australian popular culture as derivative yet nevertheless not only cohesive and complicated but also unique. Overall, my studies in the history of Australian popular culture have demonstrated its importance to a comprehensive understanding of Australian society and its history, and made a significant contribution to legitimising the study of the history of Australian popular culture as an important field of academic endeavour.
Over the last few years my research has focussed on the cultural history of rural Australia. This focus has developed from a sense that Australian historiography has become too concentrated on urban subjects, and from a realization that rural cultural values and institutions were not replicas of their urban counterparts. I have become convinced that a fuller understanding of Australian cultural history requires a comprehensive understanding both of its rural as well as its urban aspects. The outcomes of my research have included articles in the Journal of Popular Culture, Australian Historical Studies, Arts, and Australasian Drama Studies. A book, The Vision Splendid: a Cultural History of Rural Australia, will be completed in early 2004. My work on rural culture has revealed the complicated origins, inspirations and nature of the myths and legends that emerged about the Bush and its peoples in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and their critical role in shaping a sense of identity and place among European Australians. It also demonstrates the complex relationship between urban and rural values and institutions. And finally, it studies the cultures of work and leisure in rural Australia, and the nature and impact of transcultural relations between Indigenous and European Australians.
Private Pleasures, Public Leisure: A History of Australian Popular Culture Since 1788, Longman, Melbourne, 1995, pp. xii+266
(With Martin Painter), The Principal Club: A History of the Australian Jockey Club, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1992, pp. xii+252
From Minstrel Show to Vaudeville: the Australian Popular Stage, 1788-1914, UNSW Press, Sydney, 1990, pp. xv+160
A New World Gentry: the Making of a Merchant and Planter Class in South Carolina, 1670-1770, Garland, New York, 1989, pp. ii+218
'Cultural Transmission', in Hse-Ming Teo and Richard White (eds.), Australian Cultural History, UNSW Press, 2003), 113-26
'High Culture and Low Culture: The Changing Role of Shakespeare, 1833-2000', in John Golder and Richard Madeleine (eds.), O Brave New World: Two Centuries of Shakespeare on the Australian Stage, Currency Press, Sydney, 2001, 17-39
'The Structure and Functioning of Local Government in South Carolina', in A.J.R. Russell-Wood (ed.), Local Government in European Overseas Empires, 1450-1800, Ashgate Valorium, Aldershot, 1999, 275-306
'Popular Culture', in Philip Bell and Roger Bell (eds.), Americanization and Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney, 1998, 45-60
'Bare-Knuckle Prize Fighting, Masculinity and Nineteenth Century Australian Culture', Journal of Australian Studies, number 73, 2002, 101-110
'Rural Culture and Australian History: Myths and Realities', Arts, vol. 24, 2002, 83-102
'Australian Legends: Representations of the Bush, 1813-1913', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 31, October 2000, 201-221
'The Curriculum Tales: Teaching History at Sydney in the Second Half of the Century', Arts, vol. 21, 1999, 37-47
"The Vision Splendid": Conceptualising the Bush, 1813-1913', Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 33, Summer 1999, 23-34
'Travelling Shows in Rural Australia, 1850-1914', Australasian Drama Studies, number 35, October 1999, 19-30
'The Minstrel Show and Australian Culture', Journal of Popular Culture, vol 24, Winter 1990, 147-166
'Minstrel Show and Vaudeville House: the Australian Popular Stage, 1838-1914', Australian Historical Studies, vol. 23, October 1989, 366-85
'England, the Caribbean and the Settlement of Carolina', Journal of American Studies, vol 9 (December 1975, 259-81
I teach an undergraduate unit of study, Cultural Transmissions: Society and Culture in America and Australia, 1750-2004, which is also taught simultaneously as part of the American Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The students undertake common assignments and communicate via the Blackboard web program. Once a week they also communicate via teleconferencing. I also usually go to Chapel Hill for one week to teach and Professor Robert Allen from Chapel Hill visits the University of Sydney for a week to teach in the Sydney based unit of study. This unit/course has received international recognition and both Allen and Waterhouse have delivered papers on its pedagogical underpinnings and outcomes.
Other Evidence of Impact and Contributions to the Field
Postgraduate Completions in Last Five Years
Amanda Card, Modernism and Australian Dance
Katherine Biber, Masculinity and Australian Cinema
Rachel Landers, The Professionalisation of Australian Acting
Ruth Balint, A History of the Timor Sea (winner of the Vogel Prize for 2003)
Peter Bruce, The Early Career of William Lane
I have given papers at a number of major universities including The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Texas, the University of North Carolina, the University of South Carolina, and Georgetown University. In 2002 I was invited to become the James B. Frey Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) where I taught a course in comparative US/Australian cultural history.
Any Other Aspect of My Career or Opportunities for Research that Are Relevant to Assessment and that have not Been Detailed Elsewhere in This Application
My work in the field of Australian cultural history has received international recognition. An article published in the Journal of Popular Culture in 1990, 'The Minstrel Show and Australian Culture', was awarded the Russel B. Nye Prize for the best article in the JPC for that year.
I have been invited to give papers at numerous conferences both in Australia and overseas. These have included the Popular Culture Association (1989, 1991) and Organization of American Historians (1979, 1993) annual conferences. In 1994 I was invited to attend a conference in Charleston, South Carolina, to honour a small group of scholars (including myself) who were considered to have made the most significant contributions to the history of the Carolina Low Country. In 1998 to celebrate the opening of the new quarters of the Woodrow Wilson Institute, Professor Michael Kammen (Cornell) organised a conference entitled 'American Popular Culture and the World'. Twelve leading cultural historians gave papers to an invited audience. I was the only speaker invited from outside the US.
I have been the chief investigator on four major ARC Large Grants. I am a frequent commentator on radio and in the press on matters relating to Australian history and culture. I have also made occasional television appearances both on current affairs programs and in historical documentaries. I have served as a consultant to the National Maritime Museum and the National Museum of Australia. Since 1999 I have acted as a consultant to advise the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts on matters relating to the Protection of Movable Heritage Act.
For the past decade I have carried very extensive administrative responsibilities. I have served as Associate Dean of Arts (1993-94), Deputy Chair of the Academic Board (1995-96), Pro-Dean of Arts (1998), Head of the History Department (1999) and Head, School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (2000-). In that time I have managed to publish one book, four book chapters and seven articles. Private Pleasures has become acknowledged as the standard work on its subject and is used as a text in Australian history and Australian Studies courses not only in Australia but also in Europe and the United States.
I have also completed the first draft of another book, The Vision Splendid: A Cultural History of Rural Australia, 1813-1963, which I will complete in 2003. I am sure that my research output would have been considerably greater if I had not been required to assume these administrative offices.
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