Events & Opportunities

Upcoming Events

Black and white portrait of Thomas Robert Malthus, 1834

External seminar: Alison Bashford, “Works that Shaped the World: Malthus and the Modern World,”

30 Sept 2021, 5pm-6.30pm AEST

On Thursday, 30 September 2021, Professor Alison Bashford will be discussing the critical impact and legacy of Robert Thomas Malthus and his Essay on the Principle of Population. Her lecture forms part of the ‘Works that Shaped the World Series’ run by the Humanities Research Centre, ANU.

The lecture will be broadcast online from 5-6.30pm AEST. To register, please visit the Humanities Research Centre website.

[Image: Robert Thomas Malthus, Mezzotint by John Linnell ([London: Dominic Colnaghi & Co.], [1834]), held by the Wellcome Collection, public domain.]

Laureate Centre Seminar: Aprajita Sarcar (Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi), ‘The Family Within a Triangle: The creation, circulation and afterlife of a family planning campaign’

8 December, 6pm-7pm AEST (Online)

Register to attend this and other seminars here.

The paper explores the visual artefact that represented the national family planning programme in India: Hum Do Hamare Do (We are Two, will have Two Children). The campaign was created in 1967. It consisted of a couple with two children: a boy and a girl in an inverted triangle. The inverted red triangle, simultaneous to the campaign, became the symbol of the international family planning movement. Tracing its creation and circulation helps unearth the assumptions of developmental modernity that guided its ideation. The slogan and its visual partner travelled across and beyond India to signify the nearest family planning centre. Posters, signposts and travelling theatrical performances showcased the power of the symbol and its impact on the developing world. The paper will trace the history of this campaign and ask what factors enabled its creation. The mythical family within the inverted triangle attained a life beyond governmental advocacy to become a cultural marker of modernity in postcolonial India. In many ways, it became a visual representation of the Indian middle class.

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Poster image of a woman raising a child, with Chinese characters at the top. The text translates to: "Practicing birth control is beneficial for the protection of the health of mother and child"

Laureate Centre Seminar: Tina Johnson (Saint Vincent College, PA), “‘100 Years of China’s Population Strategies: From Sanger to the Three-Child Policy”

6 October, 11am-12pm AEST (Online)

2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Margaret Sanger’s first visit to China. Her visit prompted public discussions of birth control in the service of improving China’s population that continue to the present day. These conversations and subsequent policies expanded to include many aspects of reproductive health like screenings for sexually transmitted infections and cervical cancer. They also corresponded with conflicting policies through the 1960s, as (primarily) women’s calls for more control over reproduction clashed with paternalistic pronatalism. China’s restrictive population policies in the following decades have today given way to incentivizing birth to balance an aging population, with the “three-child policy” announced in May 2021. In all cases, the Chinese state’s focus on women’s fertility and their reproductive health is the fundamental method of implementing population policy.

Register to attend this and other seminars by clicking here.

Image translation: “Practicing birth control is beneficial for the protection of the health of mother and child.” Early 1960s, artist unknown. Stefan R. Landsberger collection.

Silhouette of four people standing in a highrise building, one person appears to be taking a selfie with their child. You can see a city below.

External seminar “The Politics of Population in East Asia,” Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives

26 November 5-6.30am AEST (3-4pm, 25 Nov in Victoria, Canada/6-7.30pm, 25 Nov in New York). (Online)

Click here for further details and registration (links to external website)

Throughout the twentieth century, East Asian countries witnessed the growth of population sciences and reproductive technologies, and increased state interference with the quantity and quality of population. Family planning programs in postwar Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, and One-child Policy in China (PRC) typify how the science-policy nexus problematized, regulated, and governed demographic phenomena—e.g., fertility, mortality, migration, marriage and nuptiality. This virtual roundtable discussion brings together scholars whose research interests cover the history of population discourses, population policies, governmentality, and reproductive sciences and technologies across East Asia. The goal of the discussion is to foster cross-border dialogue on a range of population discourses that have legitimized population control and interventions in reproductive bodies in the East Asian context.

Black and white picture of urban housing. The image features square and densly packed apartment blocks.

Laureate Centre Seminar: Andrew Moeller (Oxford University), “Be Fruitful and Multiply? Anglican justifications for fertility-manipulation schemes in interwar England”
3 November, 6pm-7pm AEST (Online)

In 1930, the Church of England became the first major Christian denomination in Europe or North America to formally condone the use of birth control. The Bishop of Winchester, Theodore Woods, led the reform campaign, and he did so for the expressed purpose of encouraging an increase in the birthrate amongst the English middle and upper classes.

Drawing upon Woods as a case study, this paper explores the moral logic offered by Anglican leaders on behalf of their widespread efforts to manipulate both the ‘quantity’ and ‘quality’ of the English population during the interwar period. As it will show, such efforts were often justified as a means of tangibly combating ‘erroneous’ conceptions of human purpose, or the matter of to what ends a person ought to direct their life. I conclude by examining how the moral framework utilized by Woods and other Anglican leaders might help explain the pervasiveness and enduring appeal of fertility-manipulation schemes amongst religious and nonreligious actors in England (and beyond) during the first half of the twentieth century.

Register to attend this and other seminars by clicking here.


Call: Laureate Centre Scholars in Residence 2022.

The Laureate Centre for History and Population at UNSW Sydney is inviting applications for our 2022 Laureate Scholars-in-Residence program, on the theme ‘Energies: How do we think about population and history in a climate-changed world?’

Click here for further details.

Applications close 11.59pm AEST, Monday 1 November 2021.

Past Events

Open Lecture, “The Intimate History of Evolution: The Huxleys, 1825-1975”
4 August 2021, 6.30pm (Online)

Click here for a video of this talk

On Wednesday, 4th August 2021, Professor Alison Bashford will be presenting an open lecture at the Royal Society of NSW. Her lecture, “The Intimate History of Evolution: The Huxleys, 1825-1975,” will be broadcast via zoom from 6.30pm AEST.

All are welcome. For details, including the zoom link, please visit the Royal Society of NSW website.

A grey spiral

HoPF Seminar: David Christian, “Should Historians Spend More Time Thinking about the Future”
27 July 2021, 3pm-4.30pm (Online)

Please join us on 27 July 2021, 3pm-4.30pm Aus EST, for the first seminar in a new series jointly hosted by the Laureate Centre for History and Population and New Earth Histories at UNSW: Historians on Planetary Futures.

David Christian, Visiting Professorial Fellow at UNSW, will be presenting his paper: “Should Historians Spend More Time Thinking About the Future?” The seminar will be broadcast via zoom. To register for a link, please click here.

Dan David Foundation logo. A cream-coloured square with the words 'Dan David Foundation'.

2021 Dan David Prize Award Ceremony
9 May 2021, 6pm BST (Online)

Professor Alison Bashford, Director of the Laureate Centre for History & Population, will be officially recognised for her wide-ranging work on public health, medicine, disease control, borders, and quarantine on Sunday the 9th of May. Professor Bashford will accept her award alongside Prof. Katherine Park, Prof. Keith Wailoo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Prof. Zelig Eshhar, Dr. Carl June, and Dr. Steven Rosenberg. The broadcast of the award ceremony will begin at 6pm BST (London), 1pm EST (New York), and 10am PST (Los Angeles). For those in Asia the ceremony will begin at 10.30pm IST (New Delhi), 1am CST (Beijing and Hong Kong), and 3am AEST (Sydney).

To register, please follow this link.

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