Project detail with description

A typed version of letters written by lay missionary Fan Lawes and her husband, George, as held in the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Kaleidoscopic archives: finding feminist histories in the
Pacific records of the Australian Joint Copying Project.

I examine how London Missionary Society records were created, preserved, curated, and disseminated from 1861 to 2020. I determine how materials that originated on the mission fields of Rarotonga and Papua evolved from paper documents of remote Oceania missions to Imperial records of the LMS in London before becoming microfilm artefacts of Australia’s post-war political interests in the Australian Joint Copying Project. Paying particular attention to the AJCP phase of the LMS records, this thesis weaves analysis of documents from the mission fields and the formation of archives with the writing of Pacific histories to explore issues of gender and identity. ‘Kaleidoscopic archives’ draws heavily on the ‘archival turn’ of the last decade. The archival histories by Arlette Farge and the anthropologist and historian Ann Laura Stoler have informed my research. Yet, I am more interested in the history of surrogate archives, such as the AJCP. I consider the choices made, from 1867 when the evangelical Christian, Jane Hercus Chalmers, wrote letters that detailed her mission life on Rarotonga to the moment in 2019 when I stepped into the State Library of Victoria, threaded the microfilm M612 onto the reader and scrolled to a copy of that letter.


National Library of Australia

Project Duration:

2 Months, forthcoming 2022

Item Origin:

Oceania and British Isles, 19th century, 20th century, 21st century