The vision, purpose or kaupapa of the Judith Binney Fellowship and Awards is to support research and writing that will continue to expand our understanding of the history of these islands – in the same spirit of scholarly rigour, courage, imagination and respect that Judith Binney’s history writing demonstrated over so many years.
In granting the Fellowship (and any Writing Awards), the Selection Panel will have regard to applicants’ excellence and achievement in historical scholarship – and at the same time give priority to research and writing that breaks new ground, that has an imaginative grasp of historical complexities, or that may be in some sense ‘courageous’ in its purpose.
It is planned that the Fellowship (and any Awards) will be made at an appropriate level to support work that fulfils these purposes. The Fellowship will usually be for a year’s work, although a two-year option may be considered in some cases; a shorter time period may be considered for any Award. It is intended that book publication will be the outcome (and some support for publishing costs may be provided).
Judith Binney on History
The act of historical reconstruction allows different voices to speak: it reveals people in their own times and contexts, which are not our own and should not be seen to be like our own.
Received histories are the authoritative histories of a particular society. They are based in the constructions of the dominant society and its polity; in New Zealand they have emerged out of a relatively recent colonialist past and a scale of values that were once thought to be inclusive but which were in actuality blind to others’ experience.
History is often remarkably arrogant. It can too frequently dismiss whole groups of people as lost causes, or as merely irrelevant. Entire sections of society, usually the poor, the minorities, and the politically powerless are thereby obliterated from memory. Oral history, particularly as it has recently developed, aims to recover the aspirations and visions of those who otherwise have left little record in written public sources.
[I]mages, ancient or modern, are a necessary part of historical writing …. We found that photographs unlocked memory. They brought forth so much pain, grief and pleasure that our encounters … became a transforming experience …. The photographs conveyed a past that had not died in either individual or collective memory. They became the means by which a people’s history was recovered, together with their understanding of it.
Quotes, in order: 1. Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (1995); 2 & 4. Stories Without End: Essays 1975-2010 (2010); 3. Ngā Mōrehu: The Survivors (1986)