Visiting Academics in History
On the 20th of May and 4th of June, our History students were able to engage with lectures delivered by two visiting academics from Macquarie University. This continues the partnership that was forged between the Loreto Normanhurst History Department and the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University in 2016.
The first lecture on May 20th was delivered by Dr Nicholas Baker who is a specialist in Renaissance History. Dr Baker is a graduate of Northwestern University and brings a wealth of academic experience which he has gathered through work at Northwestern, Melbourne University, Harvard and Princeton. Dr Baker spoke to our Year 9 Elective History and our Year 12 History Extension students about the role of Savonarola in Renaissance Florence. Savonarola is a much maligned figure in traditional Renaissance historiography because of his radical Catholic conservatism, specifically exhibited through his “Bonfire of the Vanities”, but Dr Baker challenged these notions and gave us a much more complex picture of the man. The girls were once again enthralled by Dr Baker’s engaging teaching style and asked an array of challenging conceptual questions at the end of the lecture leaving Dr Baker impressed.
On June 4th, we were fortunate to have Associate Professor Kate Fullagar speak to our Year 11 girls about decolonisation. Kate completed her PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley and has worked at the University of York, Duke University, Yale and Princeton. Our Year 11 Modern History students are currently studying a unit on decolonisation and engaging in a research essay on a country of their choosing that decolonised. Kate presented numerous examples of nations that struggled for independence, but went into depth with three examples, namely Ireland, India and Ghana. Kate’s explanation of this global phenomenon of decolonisation stimulated much higher-order thinking in the girls who were encouraged to view history and historical change from a global and international perspective.
The Loreto Normanhurst History department is very fortunate to collaborate with such professional and experienced academics who bring dynamism and new ideas to the faculty when they visit, allowing us to grow as historians and pedagogues. Both staff and students were enriched by the experience and our girls left both lectures motivated and inspired by their brief incursion into university life.
Mr Marco Scali
Head of History