Event details

Date: Friday 10 June

Research Seminar 
‘Religious Diaspora, Imperial Decline & Contemporary Queensland’
Time: 1.30-3pm
Venue: Steele Building 3, Room 206

Research Celebration
Time: 3-4pm
Venue: Forgan Smith Building corridor

End of semester drinks
Time: 4pm onwards
Venue: St Lucy's

RSVP: Please register by Monday 6 June

Register here

Research Seminar

‘Religious Diaspora, Imperial Decline & Contemporary Queensland’

Chair: A/Prof Neil Pembroke

The past century witnessed unprecedented diasporas of religious communities, often to colonial settler societies such as Australia or theUSA, which had displaced their own indigenous peoples. From the forced population exchange of over 2 million Christians and Muslims at the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, to the division of both Cyprus and the Indian subcontinent after British rule, many of these religious diasporas were directly caused by declining empires. Religious communities both old and new lost connections to their landscapes, places of worship and ancestors, often in violent and traumatic circumstances. Yet the new diasporas which formed from imperial decline remain living links to the premodern past, and sources of community, spirituality and identity in new nation states. This seminar probes this contemporary context to the practice of both ancient and modern history, studies in religion and philosophy in contemporary Brisbane, Queensland and Australia.       


Dr Amelia R. Brown (Classics and Ancient History)

From Gallipoli to Brisbane: Australian Legacies of the ‘Great Catastrophe’ for the Greek Christians of Asia Minor, 1922-2022

Abstract: Most Australians are familiar with Gallipoli, but unaware that a Greek Christian diaspora also occurred just after WWI, not just from that peninsula but from almost all of the Ottoman Empire, now modern Turkey. This presentation relates to my research on the Greek heritage of Asia Minor at the centenary of the Greek ‘Great Catastrophe.’ The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne was one of the first modern international agreements to mandate religious diasporas in order to avoid further violence. However, the decline of the Ottoman empire before the treaty, and the treaty itself, both caused humanitarian crises and led to unprecedented historical revisionism. This paper will consider two results of the 1922-1923 expulsion of Greek-speaking Christians from Asia Minor: the erasure of Greeks and Greek monuments from the ancient and medieval history of Anatolia, and the substantial element of the Greek diaspora in Australia who trace their ancestry to 20th century Asia Minor.     

A/Prof. Geoff Ginn (History)

Adventists in Exile: the Confraternity of the Kingdom of Christ, 1945-1965

Abstract: Current research for the Queensland Atlas of Religion is documenting the history and diversity of religious practice and community life in Queensland, both in the past and in contemporary terms. One story that deserves to be better known is that of the Confraternity of the Kingdom of Christ, a small English Adventist community commenced by the freemason and spiritualist J.S.M. Ward in London 1929, and now located in Caboolture, north of Brisbane. The Abbey Museum, its annual Medieval Festival, the Abbey Church and a thriving school are the most visible features of Ward’s community as it continues today. This paper builds on my 2012 biography of Ward and his museum. It considers the circumstances of their sudden departure from England in 1946, Ward’s eschatological sense of Britain’s imperial decline as his community re-established themselves in Cyprus, and their eventual relocation to Australia after his death.

Jonathan Edwards (PhD Candidate, Philosophy)

Empire, Persecution and Partiality:  What can Moral Philosophy say about the Ethics of Inter-Group Persecution?

Abstract: The tragic violence and displacement that so often occurs at the ends (and beginnings) of empires is a stark reminder of the capacity of humans for vicious behaviour. The ‘Great Catastrophe’ is just one example.  In trying to diagnose the causes of these horrors from an ethical perspective, a common villain is the pernicious role of partiality.

In an expansion of the core of my thesis research on the ethical justification for humanitarian work, I will challenge this negative casting for partiality.  I’ll suggest that a focus on common feeling with and for specific others represents an account of the moral point of view that is plausibly resilient to the lure of excessive tribalism.