Having run some 12 events, including a major international conference and a showcase event in 2018, and feeling at once somewhat burnt out and that we were not making enough time for research and writing, the Markers of Authenticity team pulled back a little in 2019, restricting ourselves to three seminars and an event showcasing our own research, all of which were generously sponsored by the newly inaugurated Macquarie University Centre for Ancient Cultural Heritage and the Environment. The slimmer program of events notwithstanding, we were nevertheless pleased with what we were able to put on, which focussed as always on putting representatives of different disciplines in dialogue around the themes of the research stream.
In our opening seminar for the year, we asked how collaborative memory works in practice, inviting family historian A/Prof. Tanya Evans to talk about her research on family historians’ work with memory, and educational psychologist A/Prof. Penny van Bergen to discuss her work how showing how reminiscing with mothers and others supports young children’s memory and emotional development. We were overjoyed that bringing these two researchers into dialogue resulted in a new collaborative research project between them, and look forward to hearing about the results of that work in the future.
In May we asked Renaissance historian Dr Nic Baker, and Dr John Selby, an expert on technology and internet fraud from the Macquarie Business School, to discuss the
Authenticity of Risk. From them we learned about financial speculation in sixteenth century Italy, through the lens of diverse attitudes to gambling, and the threats posed to authentic online interactions by cyber crime.
In August, we held our final seminar in the regular series, in which we were privileged to be able to host Dr Crystal Abidin from Curtin University, who spoke with A/Prof. Hsu-Ming Teo, Head of English at Macquarie, on Authentic Selves. In this fascinating seminar Dr Abidin talked us through her work on Asian online influencers, from ‘calibrated amateurism’ to ‘porous authenticity’, while A/Prof. Teo gave us a preview of forthcoming work on the ways in which the cultural authenticity of Asian families is constructed in romance novels. The 40-strong audience spoke to the pulling power of the speakers and the research on display, and Dr Abidin generously made time to talk to ECRs and students in the team.
For our final event of the year, the team working on the ARC funded project ‘Forging Antiquity’ held a afternoon seminar entitled ‘Deviant Expertise and Malicious Thievery’ to showcase their research in the project to date. Graduate students, project staff, and student interns talked an audience of c. 50 people though their findings on forgery, ethics, and provenance in papers and posters.
Along the way in 2019, the Forging Antiquity project hosted five student interns in the second half of the year, who worked on a diverse set of topics related to the ARC funded projects under the team’s aegis. They all did fantastic work, some of which we’ll showcase further in the future. We were very pleased that Evie Handby, who undertook an internship collecting information on the fake Hebrew and Syriac bibles which have been showing up in Turkey during the last decade, will start a Masters of Research thesis on this topic in 2020.
During the year, Markers of Authenticity was also renewed as a Faculty of Arts Research Stream at Macquarie University, and will soon have an internet presence on the Faculty’s research pages. We look forward to taking part in the program of events to mark the opening of Macquarie new Arts precinct in 2020, in what will be the fifth year of the seminar. Best wishes from us all for a happy new year, and see your in 2020!
The Markers of Authenticity team