Our projects

Our projects

Forging Antiquity: Authenticity, forgery and fake papyri (ARC Discovery Project)

Malcolm Choat, Rachel Yuen-Collingridge, Rodney Ast

Forgery is an innately creative process, but forgery has also come to mean ‘fake’. The Forging Antiquities project aims to explore this dichotomy through a close examination of forged papyri.

This is done through the historical analysis of the development of forgery, authentication techniques, and public debates over forgeries from the 19th century to the present day. Fundamentally, the project will provide a tool for the future assessments of authenticity, illuminate the parallel development of the professional personae and skills of both forgers and authenticators, and will contribute to debate on who has the authority to pronounce on the past

The project is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery project grant from 2017–2019, and is a collaboration between Macquarie University and the University of Heidelberg.

Ancient Egyptian papyri: unlocking secrets to the history of writing (ARC Discovery Project)

Malcolm Choat, Damian Gore, Rachel Yuen-Collingridge, Rodney Ast

The Ancient Egyptian Papyri project aims to investigate the chemical composition of ancient Egyptian papyri and their inks in order to identify scribes, date texts, detect forgeries, match fragmentary texts, and illuminate environmental and technological change.

Conducted using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) and Raman spectroscopy, the project is underpinned by non-destructive and inexpensive scientific analysis. Material is taken from the Macquarie University Museum of Ancient Cultures, the University of Heidelberg papyrus collection, the Australian Institute for Archaeology in Melbourne, and the World Museum Liverpool.

The Ancient Egyptian Papyri project is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery project grant from 2019–2021, and is a collaboration between the Departments of Ancient History and Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University and the Institute for Papyrology at the University of Heidelberg.

“When I was Young”: The Educational and Emotional Outcomes of Intergenerational Reminiscing between Older Adults and Adolescents

Tanya Evans, Kim Wilson and Penny Van Bergen

One innovative way to bring Australian history to life is to draw on the experiences of older Australian adults who have lived experience of the past. To date, however, no research has considered how older adults and adolescents might remember together.

In this seeding project we pair 20 adolescents with 20 older adults. Across one school term, adolescents will interview older adults about their pasts. In pre- and post-interview assessments we will measure adolescent and older adults’ personal and vicarious memories, affiliation to Australian history, social belonging, and wellbeing. Outcomes include new theoretical knowledge about intergenerational memory scaffolding and pilot data to inform a subsequent memory intervention for adolescence.

The mind of the writer at work: authenticity in a trans-disciplinary approach to creative writing of literary texts, incorporating archival research as examples of distributed cognition

Marcelle Freiman

Since the mid-twentieth century, the question of individual authenticity in creative and literary writing has been deconstructed by pre- and post-World War II poststructuralist approaches to social and aesthetic dynamics of individual identity, cultural aesthetics and language.

This project argues though that it is possible to engage with authenticity as a ‘more and less’ presence in the creative writing process; that identifiable claims to embodied and cognitive authorship (if not the writer’s authority) may be discerned in processes of ‘making’ literary text. This is in terms of creative processes of writing and choices writers make in their writing, which may also participate in the dismantling of individuality, incorporating other writers’ comments on the work in communities of writing.

The project’s focus is on archival examples of writers’ drafts and corrections as material for cognitive study supported by theories of distributed cognition. The project output’s approaches incorporate frameworks of creative writing and literary studies with theories of embodied cognition to re-vision some of the key concepts and ways in which literary theory might approach the reading of texts.

Theatre of Real People

Ulrike Garde and Meg Mumford

Ulrike Garde's research project Theatre of Real People, undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Meg Mumford (UNSW) explores the current fascination with putting people on the theatre stage who present aspects of their own lives and who are not usually trained actors. The related co-authored monograph elucidates how Theatre of Real People can create and destabilise a sense of the authentic, and suggests how Authenticity-Effects can present new ways of perceiving diverse and unfamiliar people.

Belief in a “post-truth” era

Robert Ross

This MQRF-funded project aims to identify who believes in misinformation, why they believe it, and how these beliefs can be challenged. I hope to contribute to the development of a science of misinformation that can be used to reverse humanity’s trajectory towards an increasingly “post-truth” era.

The literary afterlife of Anne Boleyn

Stephanie Russo

Stephanie Russo’s current research is focused on exploring the ways in which Anne Boleyn has figured as a symbol for a whole range of ideas about sex, history, politics, gender, religion and power. She is writing The Literary Afterlife of Anne Boleyn for Palgrave Macmillan's Queenship and Power series (due to be completed in 2020). This project will span five hundred years of writing about the Tudors, from the work of Sir Thomas Wyatt, to contemporary literary, televisual and digital texts.

Conflict, Colonialism and Exoticism in 21st Century Women's Historical Fiction

Hsu-Ming Teo

Conflict, Colonialism and Exoticism in 21st Century Women's Historical Fiction, edited with Dr Paloma Fresno-Calleja (Univ of Balearic Islands), explores the representation of difficult or traumatic histories in 21st century women's historical fiction. Issues of historical accuracy and realism arise in chapters exploring topics such as: women's suffrage, the Great Irish Famine, the Spanish Civil War, the Greek Civil War, the Holocaust, American Indian history, colonialism in South Africa and South East Asia.

Educational Opportunities and Ethical Reform: A Proposed Regulatory Framework for the Internet Antiquities Market

Lauren Dundler

Illicit markets respond to social, legal, and technological changes. In the past two decades, the emergence of an Internet market for antiquities has presented new challenges and concerns for policing the trade of cultural artefacts and associated illicit trafficking.

Applying a responsive regulation framework, this project proposes a regulatory model in response to the Internet market, developed from criminological approaches to the antiquities trade and other illicit markets. The proposed model is a necessary component in the development of ethical cultural heritage practices for the 21st century, with intended practical application to the market on an international and domestic level.

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