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Eras Journal Edition Eleven


We are proud to present the eleventh edition of Eras, the fully refereed online journal edited and produced by postgraduates from Monash University’s School of Historical Studies. It is forty years since Leonard Kleinrock at UCLA sent the first message over the internet to the Stanford Research Institute, and since then the internet has not only revolutionised our everyday life, but has significantly shaped how we conduct research as historians. Information has become increasingly accessible, with sources such as archival documents, census data, excavation reports and academic journals, progressively becoming available online. The use of online resources can not only save time but can also provide access to material that may otherwise be physically or financially prohibitive to source. The internet has facilitated the global exchange of information amongst historians, and has allowed journals such as Eras to disseminate research around the world in an efficient and timely manner.

As an international forum for current and recently completed postgraduates to present their research, this year’s edition of Eras contains a diverse range of articles that pertain to the history of Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. This edition also sees us expand into the disciplines of religion and art history.

Our first article, written by Thomas Barker, focuses on seventeenth-century Japan and challenges the assumption that Spanish and Portuguese interactions with the Japanese in this period can be reduced to a singular experience. Barker convincingly argues that each had distinctive rationales for associating with the Japanese, and that the motivations of Japanese officials also shaped the respective interactions.

Sharon Harrison's article on nurses' involvement in 'medicalised killing' in the context of the Nazi euthanasia campaign transports us to the twentieth century. Using psychological and sociological premises, she explores the physical and psychological boundaries used by nurses to distance themselves from, and to reconcile themselves with, their participation in the T–4 euthanasia campaign.

Following on from Harrison, David Robinson looks at more recent events in southern Africa in his article exploring the reasons behind Malawi’s support of the Mozambican resistance movement, Renamo, in the Mozambican Civil War. Robinson has thoroughly researched relations between Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa during the period and offers his assessment of why the Malawian involvement occurred.

In a departure from the usual, the article by Seth Schermerhorn incorporates the field of religious studies into this edition of Eras. Schermerhorn analyses discourses of religion and discusses whether they may constitute secularising discourses, before using the case study of American Indian efforts to protect the sacredness of the San Francisco Peaks to support his assertions.

Our final article by Sara Sumpter relates to art history and focuses on the thirteenth-century Japanese hand scroll depicting the life, death and spiritual existence of the ninth-century courtier Sugawara no Michizane. Sumpter identifies the Buddhist and Shinto representations of Michizane before theorising on the possible functions of hand scrolls in thirteenth-century Japanese society.

In addition to refereed articles, this edition of Eras presents numerous reviews of recent publications and exhibitions. We encourage the contribution of external postgraduate reviewers and hope to publish more reviews on exhibitions, films and television documentaries, in addition to book reviews, in the future.

The publication of Eras is very much a collaborative process. We must thank our fellow Editorial Committee members: Darren Dobson, Hannah Fulton, Bridget Harris, Emmeline Healey, Linden Lyons and Stephanie Rocke for their hard work throughout the year and particularly in the final weeks of editing. The contributions of Jenny Coates during the first six months of editing and Ben Suelzle are also appreciated. In addition, we are very grateful for the copyright and legal advice offered by Julie Burbidge and Glenda Beecher respectively, as well as the guidance provided by past Eras editors Meighen Katz, Lachlan Grant and Rachel Stevens. The IT support provided by Ian Coulter and Monash ITS was invaluable, and we are very much indebted to Diana Wong for her work in making Eras available online.

We would particularly like to thank the anonymous academics who gave up their time to act as referees, and whose valuable comments are very much appreciated. Without their continued support the publication of Eras would not be possible. We are also grateful to the numerous publishers who have provided us with review copies of books for this edition, and finally we would like to thank everyone who submitted their work for consideration.

We hope you enjoy Edition Eleven of Eras.

James Gill & Marianna Stylianou
Edition Eleven