University Academic Joins History Assembly

Article excerpt

SINCE 1859 Italians have literally shaped the rich landscape of Queensland and are integral to the state's cultural, economic, political and linguistic heritage.

This historical contribution will be celebrated in a symposium on the history of Italians in the state, to be held in Brisbane tomorrow.

University of Southern Queensland (USQ) history lecturer Dr Catherine Dewhirst has joined with Griffith University Cassamarca senior lecturer in Italian Studies Dr Claire Kennedy and University of the Sunshine Coast Cassamarca lecturer in Italian studies Dr Francesco Ricatti, as well as Brisbane's Dante Alighieri Society, to instigate this inter-university and cultural association collaboration.

The symposium brings together lived experience, historical research and anthropological fieldwork.

"Italians are historically symbolic of Queensland's cultural 'otherness'," Dr Dewhirst said.

"They made the transoceanic journey largely to escape poverty and secure work.

"But, for well over a century, they experienced racist attacks and discrimination, especially in the sugarcane fields of the tropical north.

"Their loyalties were tested by internments during the Second World War."

Symposium topics include papers on Italians during the two world wars, the emotions of hope and fear through oral histories, trilingualism, Fascism, community building in Stanthorpe and New Farm, the impact of the Catholic Church, the meaning of an Italian heritage, Italian crime and historiography. …