We have a winner! Congratulations to Ph.D student,Timothy Calabria, (History, La Trobe University) who has won the Francis Forbes Society for Australian Legal History prize for 2018 for his paper presented at the ANZLHS Annual conference in Wollongong.
“The Bungalow and the Transformation of the ‘Half-Caste’ Category in Central Australia: Race and Law at the Limits of a Settler Colony, 1914-1937” by Timothy Calabria is moving in its discussion of the impacts of colonialism on Topsy Smith and her children, particularly Emily Geesing, but also ambitious in its goals. The strength of the paper lies in its use of critical race studies theory to place Australian law in the broader context of colonialism and its deliberate structuring of a racial hierarchy to suit Australian settler colonialism. The paper thus explores a lot of material and theoretical ground which was impressive and highly engaging. It combines some compelling local history and stories of the peoples involved in ‘the Bungalow’ project, and litigation on the meaning of ‘half-caste’, along with an awareness of theoretical perspectives on racialised versions of history and colonialist policies and perspectives. The paper is well written and the author seems to have read widely and wisely: a highly commendable piece of work.