Message from the president
Dear ISFAR members and friends,
We trust this newsletter finds you well and rested after the break, although that seems a long time ago already. And with the events unfolding in Ukraine and the flooding in Queensland and New South Wales, it is not the start of the year anyone would have wished for. Nevertheless, we wish you all the best for 2022 and hope that this year some of you might even enjoy a view of Paris as spectacular as the above.
In some excellent news to help counterbalance current events, we are delighted to announce that former Editor of Explorations/The French Australian Review (and Honorary Life Member) Professor Ivan Barko, and current Editor of The French Australian Review Dr Jane Gilmour, have both been awarded the highly prestigious Ordre national du mérite by the French government. These awards are extremely well deserved by both Dr Gilmour and Professor Barko, and ISFAR is very proud to be associated with their success. We offer our sincere congratulations to both.
In this issue we continue our student and committee member profiles and are pleased to introduce you to PhD candidate Josephine Goldman from the University of Sydney and co-Chair of the ISFAR Research Committee, Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski. Liz’s profile is accompanied by a description of the role and functions of the Research Committee. Other items of interest include one of the main highlights on the French calendar in Australia – the Alliance Française French Film Festival (3 March – 6 April), a fascinating publication with new insights into Nicolas Baudin’s scientific voyagers by longstanding ISFAR members Jean Fornasiero and John West-Sooby, and an exhibition in Sydney on Art and Activism in the Nuclear Age which includes the legacy of French and British nuclear testing in the Pacific. In other exhibition news, the National Gallery of Victoria Winter Masterpiece has just been announced and will be of great interest to most readers (details below).
All members should by now have received an invitation to our AGM to be held via Zoom on Thursday 31 March from 17:30 to 19:00. Members are welcome to attend and/or to nominate for a committee position. If you have not received this information or would like to receive a proxy form if you are unable to attend, please contact us at ISFAR.
We look forward to seeing you at an ISFAR event and/or a Melbourne Salon in 2022.
As you will see, we are trialling a new format for the newsletter. We hope you like it.
Thanks to Robyn Stern and Graham Neilson for the coordination and layout of this newsletter and to all the contributors. As always, if you have any feedback or suggestions for future topics or items for inclusion, please contact us at ISFAR.
L’Ordre national du mérite recognition
As decreed by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, ISFAR members Professor Ivan Barko and Dr Jane Gilmour have been awarded the highly prestigious Ordre national du mérite, second only to la Légion d’honneur.
This award recognises how much both Professor Barko and Dr Gilmour have done for French studies, French relations, and French language and culture in general in Australia, as outlined below.
Emeritus Professor Ivan Barko was born in Budapest in 1930. Educated in Hungary and Belgium, he holds a first degree from the University of Brussels and a Doctorate from the University of Strasbourg. He settled in Australia in 1956 and taught French language and literature at Newcastle University College (1957–61) and at the University of Melbourne (1962–67). In 1967 he was appointed Professor of French at Monash University and from 1976 to 1990 he held the McCaughey Chair of French at the University of Sydney, where on his retirement he was appointed Emeritus Professor. In 1993 he returned to the University of Melbourne for eighteen months as a Visiting Professor and Foundation Head of the School of Languages. In the 1980s he was president of the Alliance Française of Sydney for a three-year term and also served on the Australian Research Grants Committee. A Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Commander in the Order of the Academic Palms (France), he published critical essays on Racine, Baudelaire and Maurras. After his retirement from the Sydney Chair, his research interests shifted to the history of French-Australian relations and he joined the editorial team of Explorations, later re-named The French-Australian Review. He was co-editor of the journal from 2008 to 2016, initially with Jana Verhoeven and subsequently with Elaine Lewis. He has also contributed several entries to the French-Australian Dictionary of Biography.
Named after Professor Barko to mark his long and distinguished service to ISFAR, the annual ISFAR Ivan Barko Award is awarded by the Committee on the recommendation of the editors of The French Australian Review to the author of the best article published during the preceding year.
Dr Jane Gilmour has been a member of the ISFAR Advisory Board and co-editor of The French Australian Review since 2014. She is a graduate of the Australian National University B.A. (Hons) and has a Doctorat de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne. Her professional life included over ten years at the Australia Council for the Arts, including Director of the Secretariat from 1981 to 1985 and CEO of Earthwatch Institute Australia from 1992 to 2005. She was the Director of the Creative Australia Program at the Commission for the Future from 1988 to 1990 and worked as a consultant for a number of organisations: The Australian Centre for Environmental Risk Assessment at the University of Melbourne, The Victorian College of the Arts and the Cranlana Foundation.
She has served on various Boards including as Director and Deputy Chair of the International Centre for Water Resources Management, Councillor and Deputy Chancellor of RMIT University, Director of Parks Victoria and Director of Orchestra Victoria. She was President of the Bastille Day French Festival in Melbourne for three years from 2017 to 2020, and has been a Trustee of the William Buckland Foundation since 2005 and Chair since 2019.
She is the author of Colette’s France: her lives, her loves, published by Hardie Grant, and Margaret Bailey: Pioneering Headmistress of Ascham School, published by Australian Scholarly. She has contributed articles to The French Australian Review and has also written a number of privately commissioned life stories.
Dr Gilmour was awarded an OAM for her contribution to environmental research and conservation in 2003.
For further information see L’Ordre national du mérite.
The French Australian Review
ISFAR is pleased to announce the recent publication of The French Australian Review, number 71. For editorial enquiries and ideas for submissions contact The French Australian Review.
Number 71 Australian Summer 2021–2022
Patricia Clarke Australian Connections with the Franco-Prussian War 1870 and the Commune of Paris 1871
William Land The Légion d’Honneur in Australia
DOCUMENTS, NOTES AND REVIEWS
Deirdre Gilfedder Australian Film Festivals in France: Interviews With the Founders of Three Festivals of Australian and New Zealand Cinema
Elaine Lewis Australian Art in Paris: Gallery ‘Arts d’Australie Stéphane Jacob’
Marie-Thérèse Jensen Becoming Australian. The Droulers Family in Australia
Peter McPhee French-Australian Encounters (7)
Edward Duyker Revealing Père Receveur: A Portrait Beneath our Noses
Editors The Annual Ivan Barko Award
Gemma King Book Review: Alexis Bergantz, French Connection: Australia’s Cosmopolitan Ambitions
Book Note Paul Wenz: A Coral Eden (Le Jardin des coraux) translated by Maurice Blackman, ETT Imprint
Elaine Lewis French-Australian Bibliographical Notes
Published by the Institute for the Study of French-Australian Relations with the support of the University of Melbourne French Trust Fund ISSN 2203-5362
Committee member profile: Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski
A Research Life in Six Acts
Late 1960s. BA in French and Philosophy, London. The winds of change had barely touched University College, where the non-compulsory 20th century literature course was taught on a Friday afternoon and it seemed daring to write an Honours thesis on André Malraux.
1970s. MA in Sociology, University of Leicester, where Norbert Elias, the last great synthesiser of the sweep of social history, imbued his few students with the horizons of the great 19th century sociologists. A turn towards sociology and the sociology of literature, but also a heightened awareness of the fragility of national consensus and the legacy of colonisation in the context of race riots in Leicester.
1984–1989. University of Sydney, doctorate on Suarès, Sartre and Malraux, inspired by Lucien Goldmann, Pierre Bourdieu and Lukacs, published as Antécédents littéraires de l’existentialisme.
1990s–2000s. Two years as Lecturer at ANU, then back to Sydney using the new theories of discursive nationalism to examine the imagined and constructed pasts of nations. 2004–2006 ARC Discovery Grant Communications and National Identity in Early Modern France, with Professors Margaret Sankey and Angus Martin.
2006. An Australian interlude … in France at Aix-Marseille University. Teaching in the Commonwealth Studies department, I took on the challenge of explaining how defeat at Gallipoli became a national rallying point and the Australian obsession with military commemorations. With my exchange partner, Matthew Graves, embarked on a long-term project (articles, edited journals, current book draft) exploring the imagined construction of Australia by speculative geographers in the 19th century.
With WWI centenary approaching, a renewed focus on the political uses of commemoration – what is included, what left out – under the heading ‘commemorative displacement’. Articles on remembrance of 20th century war in Australia, France and New Caledonia, including the role of Indigenous soldiers from these countries. In 2009, with Judith Keene, wrote the official report for the French Ministry of Defence on war commemoration in Australia (in La mémoire combattante, un regard international).
2013–2016. Chief Investigator on the ARC project Seeking Meaning, Seeking Justice in a Post-Cold War World, I published articles on the impact of Cold War ideology on decolonisation in French Cameroon and Madagascar, and, with Judith Keene, edited the research outcomes (Brill 2018). Current projects include research into France–Australia tensions over control of the South Pacific in the late 19th-early 20th century in the context of developing Australian national identity, and the writers who constructed the image of the French Pacific islands and their inhabitants.
Throughout my research life I have been interested in the zones of contact between dominant and dominated populations, within and between societies, and the ideologies and behaviours that arise in those situations. A child of the sixties – and a student at the Sorbonne in May ‘68 – I have been committed to putting research into practice, whether as a consultant for the 2014 ‘Black Diggers’ Sydney Festival production, as a member of the Kokoda Aboriginal Servicemen’s Campaign or on the organising committee of the ten-year international collaboration ‘Reconciliation in the Asia-Pacific Region’ whose latest project, the exhibition ‘Art and Activism in the Nuclear Age’, is mentioned in this newsletter.
Student member profile: Josephine Goldman
I am a doctoral candidate, entering my third year of the PhD at the University of Sydney. My PhD thesis has the working title “United by water: Art and gender across the Francophone Caribbean and Pacific regions”. It focuses on exploring the representations of water and its relation to gender and cultural identity in the 21st century literature and visual art (film and photography) works of six francophone Caribbean and Oceanian women: Déwé Gorodé, Titaua Peu, Marie-Hélène Villierme, Fabienne Kanor, Guy Gabon and Maryse Condé. I am particularly interested in the tension and overflow between individuality and collectivity, bounded and porous spaces, and word and image, tensions which come to the fore in the study of water imagery and watery experiences.
My research is concerned with the decolonisation of francophone studies, and prioritises the voices of Indigenous and formerly colonised artists and theorists, in order to challenge centre-periphery models which position Oceania and the Caribbean as far flung and small island spaces. My work focuses on women’s voices, exploring the Western philosophical and psychoanalytical association of water with the feminine from the perspective of non-Western women, and critically women who belong to and inhabit island spaces, surrounded by water and increasingly threatened by climate change-induced rising sea levels. Finally, following the traces left by water through the works of my corpus also leads my research into memory and trauma studies, as water, especially the Sea, often holds History – or histories —of traumatic collective memories including slavery, colonisation, nuclear experimentation and forced migrations.
I am also interested in racism and anti-racism in France, the relationships between Australia and Oceania particularly in relation to Indigenous art and philosophy, the relationship of water to queer identities, ecofeminism and ecocriticism, the decolonisation of French teaching curricula and the representation of water by women in popular media. I have taught French language and cultural courses at the University of Sydney since 2021. My work has been published in the Australian Journal of French Studies, Francosphères and Literature & Aesthetics.
The role and functions of ISFAR’s Research Committee
The Research Committee of ISFAR was founded in 2017 at the instigation of Colin Nettelbeck. It consists of five to eight members who have demonstrated research experience in the field of French-Australian relations. The status of ISFAR as a Deductible Gift Recipient, and therefore its ability for some donors to obtain tax offsets, stems from the ATO’s recognition of the contribution that ISFAR, through its Research Committee, makes to the advancement of knowledge in the field of French-Australian relations. The Research Committee has direct responsibility for the French-Australian Dictionary of Biography (FADB); this involves maintaining the list of potential entries, commissioning entries, and overseeing the review and editing process as for any peer-reviewed article. The General Editor of the FADB, Alexis Bergantz, welcomes offers to undertake the writing of entries.
The current co-chairs have in addition undertaken to organise a biennial symposium to fulfill the Committee’s mission of disseminating the research both of members and other specialists in the field of French-Australian relations, with articles stemming from the symposium to be published in the French Australian Review or elsewhere in discussion with the editors of FAR. The co-chairs also see it as their responsibility, under the direction of the President or the Ordinary Committee, to represent ISFAR’s research interests to public bodies. Thus in 2020 they wrote a submission to the Senate inquiry on ‘Improving Relations between the Republic of France and Australia’; and in 2021 joined the campaign to increase the funding of the Australian National Archives.
The Research Committee does not itself undertake research. It can offer support to the research projects of members that fall within the field of French-Australian relations, insofar as this may help with issues such as grant applications and the publicity that results from inclusion under the ISFAR banner. For example, at the end of 2020 the co-chairs and the President worked on the application for the STAFE funding grant for the Wine Project coordinated by Barbara Santich and have publicised the project in various forums. They also worked on the submission both in 2020 and 2021 of an application for a STAFE funding grant for the Walking Tour of French Sydney, coordinated by Alexis Bergantz.
The Research Committee is always open to approaches from members who believe that their project would benefit from inclusion under its aegis. The project must of course be directly focused on the nexus of French-Australian relations.
Current Research Committee members:
– Robert Aldrich
– Stephen Alomes
– Alexis Bergantz (co-chair)
– Kerry Mullan
– Elizabeth Rechniewski (co-chair)
– Margaret Sankey
– Barbara Santich
For more information contact the ISFAR Research Committee co-chairs.
France Australia Wine project
The ISFAR Wine Project announced in the August 2020 Newsletter now has its own page on our ISFAR website: France Australia Wine.
The aims of the project remain the research and writing of entries for the French-Australian Dictionary of Biography (highlighting the significance of French and Australian/British individuals who have played an important role in Australian wine, and a subsequent publication that will also demonstrate the continuing nature of French-Australian exchanges and collaborations. Researchers and contributors are most welcome to participate. Anyone interested can contact me.
Professor Emeritus Barbara Santich, The University of Adelaide.
Vale Beverley (Ormerod) Noakes
(Received from A./Prof. Bonnie Thomas, French Studies, University of Western Australia, 31 January 2022. Reproduced here with permission.)
It is with great sadness that I share with colleagues news of the recent death of Beverley (Ormerod) Noakes, a pioneering scholar in the field of French Caribbean literature. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1937, Beverley won a scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge, and completed her PhD at Cambridge and in France. She then took up a position at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica from 1962 to 1970. In 1968 Beverley introduced new courses to the French syllabus in both Caribbean and African literature, taking advantage of UWI’s changed status from a college of London University to an independent university – a fact she happily reported to Aimé Césaire during a research trip to Martinique in 1968. Beverley’s first postgraduate student at UWI was J. Michael Dash who went on to become one of the most influential critics in francophone postcolonial studies. In 1970 Beverley moved to Australia to work at the University of Western Australia where she taught in the French Department until her retirement in 2002, specialising in Renaissance and Francophone literature and winning awards for her teaching. At UWA Beverley continued her pioneering role by introducing new courses in Caribbean and African literature, which remain a vibrant part of the curriculum decades later and inspired generations of scholars.
In 1985 Beverley published one of the first critical studies of French Caribbean literature, An Introduction to the French Caribbean Novel (Heinemann, London), which showcases her beautiful writing style and ability to grasp the nuances of this important body of work. It is still widely cited today. Alongside numerous articles on different aspects of French Caribbean literature, Beverley was also the co-author of Négritude et Antillanité: Etude d’Une Tempête, d’Aimé Césaire with Anne Marie Nisbet (University of New South Wales Press, Kensington, 1982), Romancières africaines d’expression française with Jean-Marie Volet (L’Harmattan, Paris, 1994) and The Francophone Caribbean Today: Literature, Language, Culture with Gertrud Aub-Buscher (University of the West Indies Press, Barbados, 2003). In 2003 Edouard Glissant named his latest novel Ormerod after her while Beverley and her husband Tony Noakes featured in Maryse Condé’s 2015 memoir Mets et merveilles. Beverley was the President of the Australian Association of Caribbean Studies from 2005 to 2007 and in 2005 co-convened the biennial AACS conference in Perth with Bonnie Thomas. In 2005 Beverley was awarded the Chevalier des Palmes académiques.
I was one of the many students inspired by Beverley and had the privilege of meeting her in 1994 when I was an undergraduate student in one of her French Caribbean literature units. I loved her classes so much I took all the Caribbean units she offered throughout my degree, completed my PhD with her in French Caribbean literature and continue my research in this area today. Beverley changed my life in so many ways, both academically and personally. Beverley was an outstanding teacher and PhD supervisor, a pioneer in the field of French Caribbean literature and most of all, a wonderful person. She will be deeply missed.
– A./Prof. Bonnie Thomas
Readers will be interested to know about this volume of essays offering fresh perspectives on Baudin’s scientific voyagers, their work and its legacy. ‘Roaming Freely Throughout the Universe’: Nicolas Baudin’s Voyage to Australia and the Pursuit of Science by ISFAR members Jean Fornasiero and John West-Sooby is published by Wakefield Press (priced at AUD $39.95).
The book will be of particular relevance to those interested in:
– Indo-Pacific history and maritime exploration, with an obvious focus on the Baudin expedition
– the history of science, particularly in the context of the ideological and institutional upheavals of the Revolutionary period in France
– scientific voyaging and the figure of the scientific voyager
– Australian history and the history of French-Australian connections.
The Age of Exploration not only paved the way for European conquest and trade, it also widened the horizons of science. By the second half of the 18th century, the link between travel and science was so widely acknowledged that it had become routine practice to include naturalists in all major voyages of exploration. The need to study natural phenomena in situ might seem self-evident. Some, however, considered that the main purpose of fieldwork was to collect specimens for the dispassionate examination of specialists back home. Truly meaningful study, they argued, required the kinds of resources that were not available to those in the field. As the renowned French naturalist Georges Cuvier put it, ‘it is only in one’s study that one can roam freely throughout the universe’. In the context of this debate, Nicolas Baudin’s voyage of discovery to Australia (1800–1804), which included both specialist field collectors and aspiring young savants, proved pivotal. Drawing on a range of archival sources, the essays presented here offer fresh perspectives on Baudin’s scientific voyagers, their work and its legacy. What emerges is a deeper appreciation of the Baudin expedition’s contribution to the pursuit of science, and of those who pursued it.
Save the Date2022 Bastille Day French Festival Sat 16 – Sun 17 July 2022! I joined the committee in 2020 and served as Secretary before stepping up to the role of President, taking over from Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, our French Honorary Consul-General. These are very big shoes to fill, but I will do all I can, with the support of the wonderful team we have this year, to offer the best-ever Bastille Day Festival!
ISFAR members will know that Véronique is also Vice President of ISFAR, and A.R. Chisholm Professor of French at the University of Melbourne.
Sign up to the BDFF newsletter or follow updates on Facebook.
French film bonanza!
The 33rd edition of the French Film Festival in partnership with Palace Cinemas is coming soon to Melbourne! Expect to see charming period dramas, whimsical comedies, tantalising thrillers, and timeless classics. Starring French cinema legends like Sophie Marceau, Juliette Binoche, Jean Dujardin and Gerard Depardieu, it is surely an unmissable event.
Discover the films presented this year, check the timetables and book your tickets now.
Wed 2 Mar – Sun 3 Apr 2022
The Jewish International Film Festival 2022 returns to cinemas around Australia.
The Alliance Française has compiled a list of French films and programs on SBS Television.
Art and Activism in the Nuclear Age
Tin Sheds Gallery, The University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning
The University of Sydney, 148 City Road, Darlington, NSW 2006. The Wilkinson building GO4.
Thu 7 Apr – Sat 14 May 2022
Exhibition featuring rarely shown artworks on Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini Atoll, Maralinga, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
The exhibition and accompanying symposium and seminars will provide a unique opportunity for the public exchange of ideas and perspectives between activists, academics and artists committed to finding a way forward in the search for peace and nuclear disarmament. One of the major themes concerns the legacy of French and British nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Sat 7 May 2022, Public Symposium, Tin Sheds Gallery Theatre
Building on the momentum of grassroots campaigns in Australia, Japan and across the globe, the symposium invites participants to explore the political and cultural shifts that have accompanied the transition to a nuclear world since the 1940s, and the current achievement of the United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons that took effect on 22 January 2021. Join us in Discussion Panels led by Okamura Yukinori, curator at Maruki Gallery, Maralinga Tjarutja artists, ICAN founders, Allan Marett and Yuki Tanaka on modern Noh performance.
Saturday talks at Tin Sheds Gallery Theatre
Sat 23 Apr 2022 2:30pm – 4pm: Merylin Fairskye, “Long Life: the Slow Violence of Radiation”.
Sat 30 Apr 2022 2:30pm – 4pm: Roman Rosenbaum, “The Aesthetic, Art and Genre that is Manga”.
For enquiries contact Dr Yasuko Claremont
Links to recent articles and upcoming events of interest
Historian and ISFAR member Dr Edward Duyker was interviewed recently by SBS French (in English) about the forthcoming 250th anniversary of Marc-Joseph Marion Dufresne’s arrival in Tasmania on 7 March 1772, the first French expedition to Australia. In the interview Dr Duyker explains that Marion Dufresne was born in Saint Malo, the son of a wealthy shipowner and merchant. Marion Dufresne was a successful privateer and East India Company captain, and he helped to rescue Bonnie Prince Charlie after the battle of Culloden. He settled in Mauritius from where the expedition was mounted. This was the first expedition to reach Van Diemen’s Land since Abel Tasman and the first to encounter the Tasmanian Aborigines. Initial attempts at landing were without conflict but the third attempt to land ended in violence and was responsible for the first Tasmanian Indigenous deaths at the hands of Europeans. The expedition left Tasmania on 10 March 1772 and then sailed to New Zealand where Marion Dufresne was killed by Maoris.
Dr Duyker observes that the expedition’s journal accounts provide very valuable ethnographic and cultural information for historians and researchers. Of note also for those interested in Mauritian links to Australia, this expedition marked the arrival of the very first Mauritian-born individuals to set foot in Australia.
The interview also discusses the arrival three weeks later on 30 March 1772 off the coast of Western Australia of the expedition led by Louis François de Saint-Alouarn.
Dr Duyker will be the guest speaker at the forthcoming exhibition French Explorers – Voyages to Australia at La Perouse Museum in Sydney 31 March, which runs from April to October.
In an article published in The Guardian on Sat 25 Dec 2021, Peter Hannam explores the visits of the early French explorers to Australia and the legacy they left behind, including French place names and a near-complete map of Australia’s coast produced in 1811, three years before the British produced their own chart. The map is part of the collection of the State Library of Victoria and was shown recently to French Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thébault.
Readers following developments in the forthcoming French presidential election will find much of interest in the following series of articles published by The Conversation France.
French-Australian scholar, writer and literary critic Jean-François Vernay has recently published a new book Neurocognitive Interpretations of Australian Literature (Routledge). On Sat 26 Mar 2022 he will take part in an AFRAN-organised event at Garden Lounge Creative Space in Newtown, Sydney to celebrate the book launch.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has announced its 2022 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition ‘The Picasso Century’. This world-premiere exhibition – charting Picasso’s career and the artists he influenced and was influenced by – has been developed for the NGV by the Centre Pompidou and the Musée National Picasso-Paris, and features over 70 of his works alongside works by more than 50 of his contemporaries. It runs from Fri 10 Jun until Sun 9 Oct 2022.
Contact Us at ISFAR
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Join ISFAR or renew your ISFAR membership. Membership includes subscription to The French Australian Review journal.
Alliance Française de Melbourne www.afmelbourne.com.au
Association of French Teachers in Victoria (AFTV) www.aftv.vic.edu.au
Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) www.afran.org.au
Australian French Association for Science and Technology https://afas.org.au
Australian Historical Association www.theaha.org.au
Bastille Day French Festival Melbourne www.bastilledaymelbourne.com
Bleu Blanc Rouge (Consular newsletter) www.bbrvic.com/en
French Assist Melbourne www.frenchassistmelbourne.org.au
French Australian Chamber of Commerce www.facci.com.au
ISFAR provides resources to researchers in the field of French-Australian studies, with the support of the authors or contributors who give their approval to publish this material. Access all ISFAR resources www.isfar.org.au/resources