Student Research Journal 2020

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Perspective Student Research JOURNAL EDITION 1, 2021

Contents From the Principal......................................................................................................................................Page 3 From the Editor...............................................................................................................................................Page 4 Introducing English.................................................................................................................................Page 5 Kudrat Benepal...............................................................................................................................Page 6 Annabelle Richens..................................................................................................................Page 15 Viveca Tang......................................................................................................................................Page 20 Stephanie Volos.........................................................................................................................Page 28 Introducing History.............................................................................................................................Page 38 Sabrina Nogueira....................................................................................................................Page 39 Annabelle Richens.................................................................................................................Page 46 Grace Wallman ..........................................................................................................................Page 53 Amelie Yee........................................................................................................................................Page 60 Introducing Science............................................................................................................................Page 67 Krystal Duan...................................................................................................................................Page 68 Danielle Koo....................................................................................................................................Page 76 Amy Shi...................................................................................................................................................Page 85 Phoenix Surridge.....................................................................................................................Page 98



DR KATE HADWEN “Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Hungarian biochemist credited for discovering vitamin C. Welcome to the inaugural edition of our Student Research Journal, Perspective.



Conducting a research project is an extensive commitment, especially when combined with managing all the different subjects, co-curricular activities and personal commitments of your final year of school. It is such a thrill to see the incredible quality of work our girls have produced and the diversity of their finished products, which include essays, research papers, film scripts, podcasts and fictional texts. Even more exciting is witnessing the growth of our girls as learners – their candid reflections about the research process from start to finish are as fascinating as the work they have produced.

Research is an incredibly important component of academic learning. It helps us to ask great questions, build knowledge and gain understanding and awareness of issues. It allows us to disprove falsehoods and support truths. Ultimately, research opens the doors to greater opportunities and discoveries, which is what learning is all about at Pymble. Perspective complements our existing – and ever-growing – suite of research initiatives at Pymble. These include Illuminate, our bi-annual publication of research by academic staff and invited contributors, as well as the development of our very own Pymble Institute as a dedicated space where inquiring minds from within our College and from external institutions and organisations can come together to collaborate on ideas and projects to make our world a better place.

Thank you to our outstanding Pymble teachers, mentors and parents whose invaluable input, support and encouragement guided our students to such fine research and impressive final products.

Perspective is particularly exciting as it is dedicated solely to the work of Pymble students. This issue showcases several of our Year 12 2020 girls who were inspired to undertake research to support their HSC studies and major works across a range of topics including: • How Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions affected the growth of COVID-19 cases in Australia, America and China. • The psychological effects of the cycle of poverty on a mother and daughter.


• The effect of incubation temperature on the gender of Loggerhead turtles. • Empiricism’s impact on humanity. • The portrayal of womanhood in the Indian culture.


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Finally, congratulations to Krystal, Danielle, Amy, Phoenix, Kudrat, Annabelle, Viveca, Stephanie, Sabrina, Grace and Amelie, whose work is showcased in this edition as a sample of Pymble scholarship. Girls, we are so proud of you. Thank you for sharing your learning and your perspectives – including the ups and downs of the research process – so generously with us all. You have ably demonstrated our Strategic Pillar of Academic Intelligence and we can’t wait to see how each of you will go on to make your world a better place.



DR SARAH LOCH Perspective is our new online journal to showcase the dynamic research of our Pymble students. The student researchers whose work and stories appear in this new journal have embraced the opportunity to share their perspectives with the world, demonstrating courage and commitment to being part of the complexity of life. We hope their work will inspire other young people to embrace the opportunity to research and explore how they see the world; and to make it a better place for all.

Within this first edition, we are proud to share the work of a group of our Stage 6 (Year 12) Extension students whose research in their English, History and Science courses challenges our thinking and opens our eyes to issues of the past, present and future. While this is only a sample of Pymble students’ research in these demanding courses, we hope readers (and especially prospective students of Extension courses) feel inspired and provoked by the depth of inquiry in the texts we have selected.

I extend my warmest congratulations to the student researchers whose journeys of inquiry and communication will offer new perspectives to the readers of this journal.

What is perspective? A word often used, perspective is our outlook, our frame of mind, the way we see, our approach and our attitude. It connects closely to our identity and sense of self, yet is something we aim to grow. Growth in perspective typically comes through new experiences, accepting challenges and being open to the ideas of others, however, to create impact and change, perspectives must be made public and shared. The pathway to finding one’s voice as a researcher and communicator is a lifelong endeavour so what better time to start than right now?




MRS MANDY REYNOLDS The sense of accomplishment that a student feels as she submits her work in Term 3 is both humbling and empowering.


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The HSC English Extension 2 course represents Over the course of the year, students are the pinnacle of a student’s journey through supported by teacher-mentors who provide the study of English literature. The power guidance and facilitate experimentation. of language is its focus. Undertaken as a Student learning is enhanced by participation student begins her Year 12 journey, the course in small groups rather than classes. Girls work culminates in a Major Work and Reflection independently but are encouraged to use their Statement and is completed alongside the peers for feedback and support. The teacherEnglish Extension 1 and Advanced courses. mentor assists students with all facets of the Extension 2 is a rigorous course which writing process while the student is responsible demands initiative, the development of an for researching, journaling and drafting. These independent work ethic, and three processes are undertaken the increased generation The Major Work must concurrently and the final of the critical and creative product may be far removed from communicate an thinking required for the original idea. idea that is conceptually academic success at a profound, insightful or The works presented in this tertiary level. thought provoking” publication have been selected (NSW English Syllabus). The course is underpinned to showcase hybridity of form by the investigation and and originality which typify how extensive research of an area of interest an Extension 2 Major Work can push the which culminates in the formation of a boundaries of language and contribute to an multi-layered concept. NESA requires that understanding of the complexity of human the “Major Work must communicate an idea experience. that is conceptually profound, insightful or The sense of accomplishment that a student thought provoking” (NSW English Syllabus). feels as she submits her work in Term 3 is Furthermore, students are required to present both humbling and empowering. The first their work in the form “chosen deliberately stems from the knowledge that the more to contribute to the authenticity, originality she researches and writes, and rewrites, the and overall conceptual purpose of the work” more there is that can be achieved, while the (NSW English Syllabus). The Major Work can latter teaches her that she is capable of seeing be presented in print, sound or visual media; a project through its many iterations to a specifically, students have the opportunity to rewarding and successful conclusion. We hope compose in forms such as short story, creative you enjoy the works in this publication. non-fiction, poetry, podcast, or film script. The Reflection Statement is composed at the end MRS MANDY REYNOLDS of the composition process and is a personal, HEAD OF LEARNING AREA - ENGLISH critical reflection on the process involved in completing the Major Work.



Kudrat Benepal 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? From a young age, I was always taught to cherish and appreciate my culture through completely immersing myself in India’s extravagant yet beautifully spiritual traditions, customs and values. It was inevitable that my culture would become a significant part of the work I completed at school as I constantly found myself drawing on my own personal experience to construct an authentic and unique perspective, whether that be the perspective of an Indian woman living in Australia or a girl expected to excel at her studies. However, as I came across novels and excerpts striving to portray the perspective of Indian women across the world, it became clear many of these accounts were often stereotypical or one-dimensional, failing to illuminate the often-complex emotions and pressures experienced by Indian women. It was this realisation that inspired the thesis for my Major Work as I sought to highlight that the Indian woman is more than a placid, docile figure but rather a symbol constructed by culture to uphold India’s nationalism and strength.

2. What was your planning progress? The planning process was extremely instrumental in provoking me to dive deeper into the experience of the Indian woman and metaphorically ‘unpick’ the ‘tapestry’ that is Indian female identity. Initially, I began with creating mind maps and engaging in conversations with relatives to deconstruct what it was that I wanted to convey about womanhood in Indian culture. Due to the fluidity and vast possibilities this process produced, it was challenging to reach a narrow conclusion that would prevent my Major Work from becoming open ended and ambiguous. This stage of limbo and continuously bouncing possible ideas off the wall came to an end when Mrs Reynolds suggested I read Arundhati Roy’s novel, The God of Small Things, for inspiration. As I read Roy’s work I annotated and scrawled across my notepad as new, focused ideas flooded into my head which finally resulted in constructing an inquiry question that would not only allow me to expose the complexities of Indian womanhood but would require the incorporation of Roy’s novel to assist in challenging pre-existing notions of culture and identity.

3. What challenges did you come across? The biggest challenge for me whilst creating the Major Work was ensuring that the composition remained cohesive and fluid, as my chosen genre of creative nonfiction required an authentic and genuine yet poignant and captivating tone. Whilst referring to historical and modern-day contexts, I had to ensure that I was conveying the accurate, realistic struggles faced by Indian women whilst producing an emotional image for


my audience that rejected traditional stereotypes and generalisations. This proved a difficult task as I found the critical sections of my work were at times not strongly resonating with the protagonist in the creative extracts.

4. How did you overcome them? Realising the Major Work had become somewhat disjointed and jarring to read, I decided to redraft and rewrite the second half of creative elements as they required a three-dimensional perspective, indicating Indian woman are aware of their status as bearers of national identity. In order to do this, I reflected the experiences of my grandmother and mother who believe there is an inextricable connection between upholding culture and retaining identity. Through endless chats into the early hours of the morning, sipping on our homemade chai tea, I rewrote the ending of the creative piece to reflect this often-dismissed voice of the Indian woman, ensuring my Major Work was captivating, unpredictable and reflective of this authentic experience.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? The advice I would give to future Pymble students is, if you are unsure about whether you want to take the English Extension 2 course, do it because it is probably the most rewarding journey I have ever embarked upon at school. Not only did I produce a piece of work that I am immensely proud of, I also created a more profound connection with my cultural roots and mother and grandmother, provoking me to become more appreciative for the culture I was born into. I would also say if you decide to do English Extension 2, make sure the thesis or idea you choose to run is one you are passionate about. With this passion, I promise the lengthy task of creating a Major Work is not as scary as it sounds because it is your own enthusiasm and interest that drives the planning, drafting and completion of this wonderful journey.

The Indian Woman: A Tapestry By Kudrat Benepal From a young age she will be adorned in tightly spun chiffon produced from the delicate touch of the charka1. On that day of marriage, she will stand before her husband and God wearing a polki2 and churiyan3. Covered from clavicle to ankle, she will become ‘Mother India.’4 The water of the Dal Lake5 splashes against my neck. I can feel it washing the blistering anxiety away as the little waves lap at my armpits. My lehenga6 floats up around me, wet and green, like the floating petals of a lotus flower. The fragrance of musky sandalwood lingers as my friends, Gurbani and Mannat, scrub my hair tenaciously to ensure it will glisten in the lights this evening. They scrub with more vigour than usual, taking extra care. Gurbani sighs, exasperated. “Ei! Shano! Are you deaf? Answer my question!” “Look at her, already dreaming about her husband, and she has not even seen him yet!” Mannat sneers. She grits her teeth with a shrewd purse of her lips, “How long will it be until you forget about your friends from this little Indian village?” I want to deny it, to say that I will always love them and remember our childhood together; visiting the mehlah7 where we indulged in too many sweets, raiding the neighbour’s mango tree on vibrant summer afternoons whilst the adults slept, sharing folk tales and braiding each other’s hair. Even still, we dream of embodying the charming Anushka Sharma, swept away by national cricket hero ‘King’ Virat Kohli. These innocent girlhood days appear in my mind like old sepia photographs, as fading images of a past slowly leaching away.

Papa showed it to me yesterday. I felt a rush of excitement leap up my arm like an electric shock. It died away, leaving only a beaten-metal coldness against my fingertips. On the globe, the ocean

I looked up at my father as he stood tall and proud, pools of water stinging across my eyes. It would be ungrateful to cry. Papa had worked tirelessly to find this match for me. Besides, was it not every woman’s destiny, as Mother was always telling me, to ‘leave the known for the unknown’? She had experienced it, as had her mother before her. A married woman belongs to her husband and her in-laws; she is the ultimate figure of custom and habit. I whispered my new name to myself. Mrs. Singh. The syllables hissed in my mouth uneasily, like a stiff satin that has never been worn. I prayed that Angad, my soon to-be-husband, would be respectful, gentle, abetting me in equal partnership rather than dominance. I turned back to Papa as my toes curled harshly into our wooden floor. “Meri Shano, little jewel,” he murmured, calling me by my pet name. Papa reached his hand as though he wanted to bless my face, but it fell to his side. “He is a good man and comes from a reputable family. He will be kind to you.” My mouth grew drier, like a parched, arid desert. My breathing turned rapid and shallow as I pinched tightly onto the fat of my skin. There was no other option; be chosen and accepted or bring shame and humiliation to my family’s untarnished reputation. Papa unlocked his birch almirah, the musky scent of ironed Indian fabrics with a touch of chai permeated the room. With two hands he delicately passed the heavy body of pink to me. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and surely the most expensive. The colour of transition, the hue of an incandescent sunrise, embroidered and embellished with charming clusters of tiny daisies made out of real gold zari8 thread. “Here, hold it,” he spoke gently.


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“Are you nervous?” Mannat whispers. As I turn to wrap the towel around myself, I feel her hungry eyes drink in the soft, light brown skin of my bare chest and shoulders. With a darker complexion, her chance of success with another family is slim. My voice responds quickly, “not really…,” as I rapidly turn away from her gaze. The hairs prickle up, standing tall on my skin as I realise only a few hours lie between this moment and the outcome of my destiny.

between the bottom of India and the jagged tips of Australia appeared barely wider than my palm. My stomach tightened. In reality, the ocean between was much longer than the short distance I could trace around a globe with the tip of my finger.



The lehenga was unexpectedly heavy in my hands, rigid and inflexible; so difficult to walk in. I stood holding its weight, and again felt I could weep. I knew that when I wore it, it would hang in perfect pleats cascading down to my feet and shimmer in the light of the evening lamps. It would dazzle Angad Singh and his family as they chose me to be his bride. ~ fabric noun Definition of fabric: 1 a: STRUCTURE

b: underlying structure: FRAMEWORK the fabric of society

malleable adjective Definition of malleable: 1 a: capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces or influences b: having a capacity for adaptive change Indian female identity resembles a tapestry. Post-colonial theory suggests there is a “social disequilibrium”9 present within Indian culture as female identity has become fabricated by a colonial image of ‘Mother India’. Indian women are socially prescribed as preservers or guardians of “culture”10, thereby the embodiment of the inner spirituality lying at the core of the ‘Mother India’ construct. This ‘rhetoric’ provokes a framework for Indian female identity creating collision between tradition and modernity, as women are expected to personify the customary culture, aligning with the country’s liberative agenda. However, with the achievement of Independence in 1947, this constructed identity continued as a potent symbol of India’s conservatism. Oppressed under the hegemony of historical

legacy, Indian women have become restricted by their original colonial identity where they continue to be a ‘muse’ for society to deliver a propagandistic message of unification and tradition. She is – ‘Mother India’ – the professed Goddess; their mother; compassionate yet powerful, guiding the country along a protracted path towards freedom. However, this symbolic figure is a fabrication constructed from Indian myth, the image of a self-sacrificing woman who has become culturally intrinsic, trapping contemporary Indian women in a confine of nationalistic ideology that defines them as patriarchal objects and property of society. Indian writer Arundhati Roy’s Post-colonial novel The God of Small Things (1997) disrupts the structure of the Indian diasporic narrative which oppresses the outsider; the ‘Untouchable’, the female and the traumatised, through centralising the plot in a setting where many females exist beneath this subjugation. Roy encapsulates an inscription of colonial and Postcolonial images endowed with India’s historically, politically and religiously gendered disputes, exploring the intersectional voice of the Indian female through a deconstructionist approach and revealing the inherent desire for individual agency. Indian womanhood has become a ‘fabric’ for society placing the female in a liminal space where her identity remains fixed and a performative product of the historical landscape. Roy’s novel illuminates the integral role of literature in elevating women captive within a nationalistic allegory of domesticity and unsettles the traditional narratology of identity for Indian women, depicting the reality of their inner life and interpersonal


relationships. The adoption of New Historicism has provided a frame for Roy to explore India’s cultural origins through connecting with the country’s history. She has reproduced a model of a patriarchal culture, in which “dissent is always already suppressed, subversion always previously contained, and opposition always strategically anticipated, controlled and defeated.”11 Whilst traditional expectations continue unabated for most Indian women, Roy suggests ingrained historical forces and politics of interpellation can complicate the social fabric for contemporary females under the caste system. Roy exploits the nationalistic construction of Indian women as they are entrapped within embedded, culturally encoded expectations and values revealing ties to Homi K. Bhabha’s “hybridity and ambivalence” in colonial authority.12 ~ “Now remember Shano, a bride must never smile,” my mother had sheepishly stroked my cheek as I stared at my bare feet, now an intricate web of henna. On the day of my marriage, I recall the smouldering incense sticks, now chilling ghosts in the air. The banging of the tolki drums rattled through the doors of the temple. There was my groom, mounted on the traditional white horse adorned with colourful sequins. The Baraat13 followed closely behind him singing and dancing, their raucousness representing the fiery heart and soul of the Indian community. It was real. My family crowded him with sincere prayers for their daughter, sister, cousin and niece; sickly sweets and boisterous cheers. I had been swamped and suffocated; completely delicate yet powerless. I dared not move in the slightest, the veil pinned

The floor of the Gurdwara14 was plush but the backs of my heels pressed harshly against my thighs as I sat perched gently upon my knees. On my right, Angad was the same. I wondered what he was thinking. Glancing sideways he had gulped deeply, trembling ever so slightly as we both looked up at the Gyani.15 My neck strained under the weight of my head as I bowed down. From this day, I knew my faith would be “to completely submit to my husband.”16

Just like I had once been told by my aunties, “Shano, one day your role will be to serve…so live your childhood with wonder and modesty because it is the only time you will have.” With the new day, came the knowledge that my

~ Literature illuminates the intricate textile of historical legacy within every culture and Roy’s novel explores the transgenerational ‘trauma’ Indian women experience. Through her assessment of women as victims of colonisation, Roy’s novel can be interpreted within a diasporic lens, where double standards originating from colonial ideologies plague female identity. Through her novel, Roy utilises intersectional narratives to create a “temporal hybridity”21 within her characters’ lives, providing a vivid masquerade of a lingering trauma. Roy allows readers to draw


parallels between the damaging effects of cultural expectations for women as they continue to carry the trauma of a ‘traditional’ Indian female experience, even in the 21st century. Through the oldest female character in the novel, Mammachi, Roy suggests the extent of colonisation in upholding traditional values and a ‘birth’ of an independent India. Mammachi defends her grandchildren’s uncle Chacko by describing his sexual transgression as a “Man’s Need,”22 where forgiveness is juxtaposed with the grotesque imagery of her daughter Ammu’s “defiled generations of breeding.”23 Roy challenges the totalising myths of India’s nationalist narrative, ‘Mother India’, that silences the voices of Indian women, leaving them to occupy the taciturnity associated with the shame and trauma accompanying their oppressive treatment. Commenting on the doublecolonisation whereby Indian women remain oppressed by patriarchy and colonial power, Roy exposes the dangers of nationalised identities, as they “reflect a submerged history while turning it into a contemporary, instantaneous shadow.”24 Ammu’s sarcastic remark, “thanks to our wonderful male chauvinistic society,”25 highlights her cognisance of Indian society’s gendered expectations whilst conveying Roy’s attempt to avoid participating “in the mythmaking.”26 However, unlike the male characters, Ammu becomes a “ragdoll,” deemed unworthy of achieving autonomy because she lacked “education, nor read the sorts of books, nor met the sorts of people, that might have influenced her to think the way she did.”27 Roy employs accumulative language to convey society’s belief that

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The mellow voices of the guests echoed through the temple as the laavan17 were religiously chanted and walked. Drirr-aa-i-aa bal raam jeeo ‘daily duties of married life’ – the words of the Guru Granth Sahib18 spiralled across the room. My head remained tilted towards the ground, staring hollowly at the carpeted floor as I followed gently behind Angad around the shrinelike structure of the parkarma, signifying his leadership and my commitment to submit within the marriage. I dared not to look up.

life had now become the caveats my family handed through the generations. The Singh family was my charge. Angad and I kissed for the first time last night – a strange, dutiful affair. We did not consummate the marriage. The situation felt too bizarre, too surreal to consider it. I tried to heed Gurbani’s advice; to swallow my yearning for a life and simply just make the marriage work; an eternal contract with no way out. Over the next few days, Angad’s parents expected me to follow all the orders of my mother-in-law: “you are newlywed Shano.” These included using a more respectful tone when speaking to elders and applying more extravagant make-up and jewellery when you dress in those impractical salwar kameez’s,19 having poise and elegance in all you do. In these moments, I recalled my own mother preparing me for my future mother-in-law’s taunts and remarks. She had whispered that I “should feel blessed that it was just a threat, not a slap,”20 her insistent tone reminding me of the days spent at school, scolded for my impudence. The icy chill of her voice making it clear to me that no preparation would ever be enough.


firmly to my hair might pull, so I sat, silent and still. The fabric obscured my powdered face and flushed cheeks, irritating the tip of my nose as its chiffon material brushed past, itching at my skin and nagging the folds of my torso with its tight pinch. My face was a mask of makeup; dark, thick, feathered brows and muted lips so as not to look obscene. My ear lobes dangled heavily with waterfalls of gold and my mother’s favourite heirloom, a ruby, emerald and sapphire necklace engulfed my neck with its many chains.

women are unable to transcend their domestic roles due to the traditional narratology of ‘Mother India’, where they have been placed in a liminal space of restrictive identity. Roy identifies Indian women as permanently positioned at this intersection, between the colonial history and a contemporary shadow. ~ identity noun Definition of identity: 1 a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual: INDIVIDUALITY b: the relation established by psychological identification 2 a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing: ONENESS Rejecting the restorative narratology for Indian women in the 21st century, Roy calls for the need to recognise individual complicity with an oppressive system through the journey of Ammu. The traditional Bride’s prayer voices “rebelling is not what good women do,”28 however Roy’s protagonist Ammu is the antithesis of a “good” Indian woman and does not “submit” to society and marriage instead transcending it with her own desires. By including references to the legal inequality between Ammu and her brother Chacko – who recognises his own power of inheritance by telling her “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is also mine,”29 Roy utilises repetition to convey the way social institutions hold an enduring sway over the economic lives of Indian women. Ammu’s rebellion confronts India’s sexual taboos and introduces “unmixable”30 characteristics of her promiscuity that contemporary caste laws

keep suppressed. Much like the mythical notion of ‘Mother India’, the dissenting voice of Ammu is evocative of powerful Hindu deities, like the goddess Kali, manifestation of godly vigour or shakti,31 who have been reappropriated by Hindu feminists to represent strength and power. Due to her maternal status, Ammu provides a portrait of conflict between social control and rebellion, and her children, described in a moment of rage as the “millstones around my neck”32 accentuates this tension. Hence, Ammu’s individuality can never become validated while nationalist narratives of female placidity remain at the forefront of a displaced nation. Ammu symbolises women who dare to do ‘the unthinkable’, to transgress the line upholding a system that posits men as the ‘gatekeepers’33 of gender within her outspoken affair with Velutha. As Ammu is left with ‘’no position anywhere at all,”34 no place to call home or protection, her ‘Otherness’ confirms the dangerous power she holds to disrupt purity as a construct for Indian women. Through this lens Roy’s work reveals how the colonial occupation of India provided a ‘space’ for nationalists to “subvert the master-discourse,”35 hence transforming female identity and the conventional barriers of their suppression into a medium for empowerment; a pillar of political agency and unity. ~ The obscure clouds swirl outside the plane. I clutch the armrest, squeezing it tight as the blood rushes to my fingers. The air hostess’ hair reminds me… somewhere down low in the belly of the winged beast, stacked in the dark with a hundred others, are my lehengas; thick Kanjeepuram silks in sapphire


blues and golden yellows, the thin hand-woven cottons of the Bengali countryside, green as a young banana plant, grey as the Dal Lake on a monsoon morning. My wedding Benarasi had been like a fire ablaze, with a vast palloo36 of gold embroidered pirouetting teardrops, fold upon fold, so fine they could be torn with even the most delicate hands. Into each pleat of the lehengas my mother has tucked a small sachet of sandalwood powder to protect them from the unknown insects of Australia, little silk sachets crafted from her old saris; I can almost smell their soothing fragrance, the comforting smell of her hands. The memory of my Doli37 is ingrained. My eyes fill with tears as I recollect throwing the three handfuls of rice38 over my shoulders before leaving my parents’ house forever. I can feel my shoulders tightening. To my left, I see Angad sleeping against the window; a complete stranger, now my husband. ~ Roy reveals the detriment of the stereotype of ‘Mother India’ within Pappachi and Mammachi’s relationship, creating a foundation to deconstruct and challenge traditional archetypes of the compliant Indian woman. Through Roy’s characterisation of Pappachi, Mammachi’s husband and Ammu’s father, readers witness an orthodox, jealous male whose dominance of his wife is evident in the pitiless beatings with a “brass vase”39 or an “ivory handled riding crop,”40 where the “vase” and “riding crop” symbolise male power within Indian culture. Although Mammachi suffers at the hands of her husband’s cruelty, she remains tied to a typical ‘Indian Nari’41 who does not exhibit any repulsion towards her husband

conveying what must be hoped for in a ‘Tomorrow’. ~ Sydney, Australia I stood silently in another beautiful wedding piece. Stringy green vines clung to the columns which guarded the entrance to Angad’s parents’ house. I held a gentle smile and absent eyes, simply moving through the motions. His family were waiting patiently at the door to welcome me, heads swarming around to get the first glance at Angad’s wife. Like a new home buyer, they were examining each and every inch of my body, stiffly clutching at my arms as I engaged in polite small talk – How has the weather been lately? – senseless, trivial information I did not care to know about, yet asked anyway. Knocking over the new pot of rice, the grains scattered across the patterned vinyl tiled veranda. There was something so liberative about seeing my mother-in-law’s delicate, porcelain china shattered across the floor. This tingling excitement was interrupted with cheers and applause from strangers, now patting me on the back to congratulate me on my arrival. I thanked them graciously for their welcome before beginning the excruciating process of cleaning up each granule. Another outward sign of a subservient woman. But what was I thanking them for? I had taken the ceremonial step into my new life, severing my connections to my past, now a fading, distant memory.

The perception of female identity has become a performative role where women are expected to uphold a legacy of ‘unity’ and the uncorrupted ‘Mother India’, as revealed by Roy. The novel conveys American philosopher


~ Western techno-pop floats in the background as I loiter between the local corner store’s shelves, stocked high

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Judith Butler’s theory of gender, wherein gender is a performative reprise of acts legitimised, transmitted and maintained through society’s gender binary, where Indian culture forces women to adopt the masquerade of a “sacrificing, selfabnegating, meek and quiet natured”45 female. Viewing the novel through Butler’s theory, Roy depicts gender as a necessary transitional “performance”46 where her female characters consciously accept and attempt to rebel through navigating their identities and deviating from the traditional. From abused wife, to mother, to a divorcee having an affair and rediscovering sexuality, Ammu’s “unsafe edge”47 and desire to transcend her maternal role permits Roy to metaphorically represent the female yearning for liberation as “a liquid ache spread under her skin”48 she noted, “there was something restless and untamed about her.”49 Ammu harbours within herself an “air of unpredictability” between “infinite tenderness” and her growing “reckless rage of a suicide bomber.”50 Through Ammu, Roy interrogates and subverts boundaries as she conforms to the traditional discourse, however, eventually dismantling this archetypal depiction to create a poignant argument against the assumption that all Indian women are destined to follow in their mother’s footsteps. Having located the crux of Indian female identity as a ‘performative’ role, Post-colonial nationalists are free to continue their oppression, demonstrating India’s strong cultural character to the Western material world.


and adapts herself “properly into the conventional scheme of things.”42 Roy’s symbolism illuminates the relationship between female identity and the context between which female autonomy is woven. Mammachi ‘performs’ her role as a submissive woman and is the victim of brutal abuse from her husband as she “cried until her contact lenses slid around in her eyes.”43 Roy alludes to Mammachi’s tears as they become a metaphorical representation of the haunting oppression faced by Indian women, ‘blinding’ her ability to lucidly escape Pappachi’s abuse due to the deeply embedded trauma within her psyche. Immobilised as maternal objects of worship, confined within the private sphere as caretakers, and denied agency or sexuality, Indian women are confined to suffering and silence. Hence, they have preserved “the core of nationalist [which was] to safeguard... Indian womanhood,”44 from any corrupting influences of Western colonial powers, highlighting their role in upholding the patriarchy and by consequence India’s nationalistic agenda. This exposes the existing paradox where Indian female identity is rooted in the myth of ‘Mother India’, to be revered yet treated without dignity and respect, expected to serve and absorb such treatment with silent acceptance. However, Roy ensures we are able to unravel the power of history through her representation of intersectional trauma; a remnant which exists not to haunt, but to remind us there is still time for new Indian female identities to be forged. Through utilising a poststructuralist narrative dislocation to rebel against the traditional discourse, Roy offers a new discourse, affirming the role of Indian female identity as a historical ‘muse’ and tangibly

with brightly coloured cans and elongated bottles. I remember the gentleness about my husband; how tender his hands are, and his lips, remarkably forgiving, like a woman’s. A minotaur in a labyrinth, I reminisce upon my newfound longing for Angad. He will be standing at the front door and when I reach him, he will lower his face to mine. We will kiss in front of anyone, not caring, like Australians. I recall the deep crevice between his eye as it stretches out slowly, a quaint grin diving across his mouth. Angad is no longer just an acceptably attractive twenty-fiveyear-old with broad shoulders, a sharp beard and a tie that makes his neck-fat crease. Whilst there was no immediate spark, he seems respectful, sensible and progressive. It is enough. In the evening, I stand in front of our bedroom mirror trying on the clothes Angad bought for me; smuggling them past his parents as they would not approve. We have stuffed a towel at the bottom of the door so no light or noise will carry through. I am wearing a pair of jeans now, admiring the curves of my hips and thighs, which have always been hidden under the flowing lines of my lehengas. I love the colour, the same rich purple as the Clematis flowers that I once plucked from my parents’ garden. I am breathless with suppressed laughter and my cheeks are hot with the excitement of conspiracy. But I realise this joy will be shut as soon as the door opens, for I must cover my head with the edge of my dupatta51 and serve tea, made by my own hands, for Angad’s mother’s party. Each time the doorbell rings, and strangers’ voices fill their house, sharp discomfort stabs my chest. My mother-in-law’ neatens my

tikka52 and hair, leading me to the kitchen only to ridicule my handmade sweets, gulab jamuns; her attention assessing me as suitable for her son. I allow my fragile limbs, like my emotions, to be pushed about as she pleased; just like a puppet, tugged by the strings of culture. As I perform my role as the subservient, dutiful wife, beneath my dupatta rages an ongoing burning desire, like a wildfire tearing across the countryside. ~ Through broadening the scope of language to reforge identity, the Indian woman can gain a newfound authenticity and purpose within a medium of social interchange and collective experience. In this vein, Roy further emphasises Indian women as they have become disillusioned by their colonial origins as well as the imposed traditional gendered expectations. As Rahel attempts to retreat from the collision between tradition and modernity, Roy constructs her inner tension through a manipulation of dialogue as language is the means of transcending present time and place. Roy writes that Rahel, “walked to the window and opened it. For a Breath of Fresh Air,”53 where the added capitalisation identifies the importance for Rahel to discover a sense of solace within her environment as she becomes consumed and permeated by the traditional expectations of Indian culture. Thus, Roy personifies the feelings of women when they become intrinsically decentred due to their traditional purpose and value to the patriarchy, hindering the ability to forge their own paths. It demonstrates Roy’s ability to make amorphous the distinction between language and context, to demonstrate how female identity and


context construct one another, through historical events and ideologies that continue over time. Moreover, Rahel notices the “lemondrink orangedrink man”61 drawing attention to the manipulation of English language for Indian society, a remnant of British colonialism. Through distorting language conventions, Roy reveals the suffering of the female experience as being the result of a lingering colonial, nationalistic agenda to display the strength of Indian culture. Roy’s symbolic language illuminates the relationship between the objectified Indian female identity and the context between which the female autonomy is woven, mirroring their rebirth under an autonomous, empowered identity. ~ “She’s just tired Shano,” “She’s had a long day Shano,” “Please just do it for me Shano.” Angad is like a tightly wound ball of twine, forced to accept the pressure of his parents and controlled by their untainted family name. Even in our bed, Angad and I kiss guiltily, listening for the giveaway creak of springs. It feels like this scene is taking place inside a hollow glass globe; small and confined, I do not dare touch its cold, rigid edges for I am scared of any scratch or crack. Then I am ashamed. The thoughts of my desires and passions for married life, have become a sin. When my mother came to visit, we sat drenched in silence. I could even hear the kookaburras as they mocked me outside the window. As our knife and fork scratched gallingly against the white porcelain plates from which we ate, my mother tightly gripped the metal cutlery and hesitantly broke the silence, “So, how is Australian life?” “Good…everything is fine,” I swiftly

Last night Angad reminded me again, “I am my parents’ life,” as we lay beside each other, lazy from making love. He was not boasting, merely stating a fact. This is our predicament; he is a modern man tied to the traditional views of his conservative parents. But I too am tied by the shackles of culture. I stand as an accepting woman bearing the wrath of my in-laws, ensuring the household runs ‘like clockwork’ as Australians would say. The words of Sir Muhammed Iqbal reverberate through my head “rebelling is not what good women do.”54 So many private moments between us, lost in the idea of the perfect marriage; Angad the breadwinner, the one in control, and me, the complacent, supportive wife, obliging his every move. I quietly leant over the breakfast bar to check if Angad’s mother’s plate was ready to be removed. No matter how much I resented her, I knew she too had been a daughter, forced into marriage and ridiculed by her mother-in-law in the past. Cyclic. Would I become like her one day too, taunting and controlling my new daughter-inlaw? Perhaps that is what I feared most; becoming cold hearted and consumed by my beautiful but unbearable culture.

I feel my mother’s hands cool on my sweat-drenched body through nights of fever, I hear Papa teaching me to read, his finger tracing the crisp black angles of the alphabet, magically transforming them into stories in my head; tree, flower, mango. I had always known I would have to leave behind my life, my family uprooted like a weathered oak tree during a wild storm. Angad is obliged to appease his parents as the first-born son. Desired, cherished and loved, his parents would have marvelled at his birth, the joy would have spread across the extended family like the incandescent rays of the sun, a gift from God himself. How I long to go back to those days in the sunlight, lying beneath mango trees, sketching muddy patterns over my skin in a child’s imitation of wedding mehendi.55 Ducking my head down into the Dal river, feminine hands in my hair and silt rising from the riverbank to cloud the water. I beat back my unreasonable desire and simply nod as a gesture of placid agreement, while staring blankly at the lavender hue lehenga hanging from the door of our dresser. Its sequinned pattern, so intricately woven; gold embellishments flowing down the skirt in a soft current of tear drops, reading the seam in an extravagant finale of explosive beads. Squinting my eyes, I notice a jewel dangling vulnerably from a fragile pull in the fabric, sending a ripple of vibrations across the floor as it quivers, and trembles. The jewel falls from the chiffon. A part of me resonates with the shards of glass now scattered across the floor. I am that jewel, without a question of rebellion. I respect my parents’ choice.


Angad is a kind man in a modern world living with expectations for his wife. But marriage is supposed to signify endless love, fidelity, “happiness and bliss,” not “worship, slavery or total submission.”56 As I look at my husband, I wonder if he feels the same. Does he think the stiff interactions between his mother, and I are acceptable? Hesitantly, he passes me the lehenga, each pleat folded correctly along its line. “Here” he murmurs, his voice heavy and eyes tired, as I take the fabric from him. Shano, enough… ~ The fabric of Indian female identity is timeworn. Roy restitches this fabric through the intersectional discourse of women across three different generations. Through subverting the nationalistic Indian psychology and search for liberation and harmony within the breadth of their nation, it is possible to demystify the construction of Indian womanhood where identity is equated to the strength and beauty of ‘Mother India’. Roy inspires an attempted reimagining of the Indian female identity in the future, highlighting the tension for contemporary women as they seek to transcend their oppression yet remain tied to patriarchal values. Nevertheless, the novel creates a possibility for women to surpass ambiguity to reweave a strong, durable and intricate fabric of the Indian woman. It is evident the traditional gendered expectations for Indian women are the result of historical experiences and through Roy’s novel, a distinctive discourse encourages hope to generations of Indian women to come.

Pymble Student Research

“They have always been there when I needed them. I can never abandon them,” Angad whispered in my ear, as he placed his used coffee cup in my hand. The same words, every time. It was unfair. I was forced to move away from my family, to a foreign country

with a foreign stranger, to bury my life. For this. My only comforts now are distant, fading memories.


replied as my eyes remained fixated on the bowl of wrinkly peas. We did not speak of home, nor did I ask. The conversation was strained and distant. I was careening through a void further and further away from who I used to be.

FOOTNOTES A domestic spinning wheel used in India for cotton. 2 A grand jewellery set worn by Indian women. 3 Anklet. 4 A Goddess of India prominent in the Indian Independence movement; she became a symbol of the caring and loving mother who is equally strong and powerful, guiding her people on the path to Independence. 5 Lake in Srinagar, India. 6 A full ankle-length skirt which is long, embroidered and pleated. 7 Punjabi folk festival. 8 A type of gold thread used decoratively on Indian clothing. 9 Homi K Bhabha, “The Location of Culture,” Comparative Poetics: Non-Western Traditions of Literary Theories 23, no. 1 (February 1996): stable/25112240: 227. 10 “Journey of the Women of Indian Diaspora: Carriers of culture, Preservers of identity,” Ministry of External Affairs India, last modified March 2015, https:// htm?25025/Journey+of+the+Women+ of+Indian+Diaspora++Carriers+of+ culture+Preservers+of+identity. 11 Narendra Tiwary, “New Historicism and Arundhati Roy’s Works,” Journal of Literature, Culture and Media Studies 1, no. 1, (June 2009): viewdoc/download?doi= &rep=rep1&type=pdf: 95. 12 Bhabha, “The Location of Culture,” 228. 13 It is customary for the groom to travel to the wedding venue on a mare, accompanied by his family members. 14 A place of assembly and worship for Sikhs. 15 An honorific Sikh title used by someone educated in the Sikh religion who often leads the congregation in prayers. 16 Shoaib Mansoor, “Dua-E-Reem,” YouTube video, 7:44, March 7, 2020, https://youtu. be/Pz9r_q3iIg4. 17 Laavan are the four prayers and rounds taken in a Sikh wedding to seal the marriage. 18 A lengthy religious text compiled and composed by the Sikh Gurus from 1469 to 1708. 19 A type of suit worn by Indian women with loose trousers and a long shirt. 20 Shoaib Mansoor, “Dua-E-Reem.” 21 Bhabha, “The Location of Culture,” 231. 22 Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (London: Harper Perennial, 2004), 168. 23 Roy, The God of Small Things, 258. 24 Timothy Brennan, Salman Rushdie and the Third World: Myths of the Nation (London: Macmillan, 1989), 8. 25 Roy, The God of Small Things, 57. 26 Gayatri Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak? (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988), 359. 27 Roy, The God of Small Things, 108. 28 Shoaib Mansoor, “Dua-E-Reem.” 1

Roy, The God of Small Things, 57. Roy, The God of Small Things, 44. 31 The female principle of divine energy, especially when personified as the supreme deity. 32 Roy, The God of Small Things, 84. 33 Kimberly Carter-Cram, “Identity Crises: Positions of Self in Simone de Beauvoir’s Memoirs,” Paroles Gelées, no. 15 (1997): 83. 34 Roy, The God of Small Things, 45. 35 Bhabha, “The Location of Culture,” 227. 36 The loose end of a sari. 37 Ritual of the bride bidding farewell to her family and leaving her maternal home. 38 A cultural tradition where rice is thrown to ensure material and spiritual prosperity for the bride as she departs her maternal home. 39 Roy, The God of Small Things, 47. 40 Roy,The God of Small Things, 51. 41 Woman. 42 Roy, The God of Small Things 122. 43 Roy, The God of Small Things, 50. 44 Partha Chatterjee, “Colonialism, Nationalism, and Colonialized Women: The Contest in India,” American Ethnologist 6, no. 4 (November 1989): https://www.jstor. org/stable/645113: 622. 45 Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory,” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (December 1988): stable/3207893, 519. 46 Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution,” 519. 47 Roy, The God of Small Things, 44. 48 Roy, The God of Small Things, 45. 49 Roy, The God of Small Things, 46. 50 Roy, The God of Small Things, 47. 51 A long scarf that a woman wears around her head or shoulders. 52 A piece of jewellery worn by Indian women on the forehead. 53 Roy, The God of Small Things, 299. 54 Shoaib Mansoor, “Dua-E-Reem.” 55 Henna. 56 Shoaib Mansoor, “Dua-E-Reem.” 29




Annabelle Richens 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? I was inspired by my long-held interest in the concept of storytelling, and particularly its ability to connect human beings across completely different cultures, generations and backgrounds. As an avid consumer of audiobooks, films and resident social media addict, I am especially interested in digital stories, and the impact of technology on our storytelling abilities and traditions.

2. What was your planning progress? The Term 4 Viva Voce task is a key part of the initial planning process – the feedback from all your teachers provides a great starting point for research. It becomes a matter of continuing down interesting research paths and ideas that you discover along the way. Moving into the drafting process, the episodic structure that I settled on for my podcast form allowed to me to break a larger draft into small sections, and dot point plan out everything I wanted to discuss in each section. Structure will be an important consideration no matter whether you chose fiction or critical forms, so working within beats, chapters or sections gives you a much better starting point than just sitting down to write thousands of words from a blank page. Creating a “major work calendar” of the whole year was also really helpful to construct a long-term, big-picture plan of the entire process, and adding in assessments and deadlines allowed me to work backwards and just focus on what I had to research, write or redraft on a weekly basis.

3. What challenges did you come across? The most challenging part of the English major work was definitely the constant drafting and revision process. While you know from the beginning that this is a big part of the major work, it can certainly become draining at times to be in the feedback loop of constructive criticism and adjustment for such an extended period of time. Often, it could feel like you were so close with one draft, only to have one piece of feedback completely deconstruct your ideas, or have a section which you thought was amazing, not quite work in the eyes of a marker or teacher.

4. How did you overcome them? The most important part of the feedback loops for me were planning out my next steps as soon as I read over my feedback, as so not to get too overwhelmed with all the annotations and new ideas coming from my teacher. By creating lists of “macro” and “micro” adjustments that I had to make straight after a lesson or meeting, while the discussion was fresh in my mind, I could then give myself a bit of space from the draft for a few days. This enabled me to then work from my “next steps” list which was easier to break down, and it gave me the space to get excited about the new sections to write. This allowed me to stay motivated to work on the same concept over a long period of time.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? The number one tip would definitely be to use your teachers! The mentor relationship that you form with all your teachers in the senior years is extra special in English Extension 2, as the small class sizes allow you to have so much one-on-one feedback and consultation time. The teachers are amazing and get to know your project so well – they become just as passionate about your topic and are the perfect person to motivate you when the process gets difficult. So definitely lean on all the EE2 teachers for advice, feedback, and of course, to hold you accountable to your deadlines!

Pymble Student Research



The Farmer, the Sailor, and the Blacksmith: What Makes Digital Stories Different By Annabelle Richens “So, stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds…” 1 “…that we’re living in an age of digital disruption...” 2 “…the interpersonal skills, the communication skills…are going to have a really great chance of withstanding automation when the robots come…” 3 If you’ve got a moment, I’d like to invite you close your eyes. Imagine that you’re eight years old, buried beneath the covers well past your bedtime. Your heart is pounding with the fear of being caught reading late into the night. You consume story with a burning passion, and once you’ve sparked the match and cracked open a new tale, you can’t resist blazing through the story that same night. Imagine whatever your favourite childhood tale was – maybe you were a Roald Dahl kid, wrapped up in whether Bruno would be foolish enough to accept the witches’ chocolate.4 For me it was C. S. Lewis’s “Narnia” – I just couldn’t wait to find out the fate of Caspian’s daring escape from Cair Paravel.5

towards more complex consumption. TRANSITION TRACK 6

Let’s fast forward a decade perhaps. You’re becoming more and more aware of how that same fiery passion that compelled you to devour Narnia past midnight can have far more significant consequences than the betrayal of Aslan. You now understand how stories and narratives hold the power to twist, conflate and misconstrue in order to serve global and political agendas, and how people will go to any lengths to defend them.

What is your stance on this literary debate? Whatever your position, I’d encourage you to keep an open mind as we consider each perspective. So where to begin? Perhaps, with Walter Benjamin, the German philosopher, whose 1936 essay, “The Storyteller”, maintained that “the immortal art of storytelling” was “falling victim to the forces of modernity.”7 He argued that the technology of the time, which was revolutionising a move towards novels over the oral narratives of the past, prioritised “information” over personal experience and relationships. We only have to look at today’s rapid and sensationalist news cycle to realise that we’re recycling the same debate. Does technology aid our storytelling capabilities, or, like Benjamin feared, do our narratives suffer in quality, in merit, if anyone can be a composer or critic?8 Benjamin grapples with these same questions, and so we’re actually going to borrow his analogy to help us deconstruct the dynamics of digital storytelling a little bit better.

Why am I asking you to imagine this? I want you to think about how story has changed since you were that eight-year-old child, consuming stories with a youthful excitement and naïve anticipation. An increasingly globalised and critical world has moved us from the steadfastness of the canon, with the Montgomerys and Austens, to a narrative landscape which is saturated in new voices and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. And as we look to the future of storytelling, a tension has arisen from this change, an emerging debate between the defenders of traditional, established narrative processes, and those excited for the cultural shift

He argues that there are two sorts of collaborators in a storytelling relationship; the farmer, and the sailor.9 Sailors are the travellers, going out to explore and experience the world, returning home to share tales of others’ heroic exploits. The farmers are the residents, exchanging tales of adventure and peril with ones of craftsmanship, wisdom, and counsel. Benjamin’s two stakeholders exemplify the very essence of storytelling, tales swapped over a campfire, shared with the next generation through parables and lived experiences. But, 21st century storytelling dynamics just don’t look this binary anymore. It’s no longer just the farmer and the sailor, the author and the reader –


There exists a new collaborator – let’s coin them ‘the blacksmith’ – someone who crafts and forges hunks of lifeless metal into beautiful and complex creations. The farmer will grow what he plants, the sailor will plot his expected course, but the blacksmith, he relies on technology and tools to shape and create his product. The blacksmith is the digital audience, and that’s you. What if you arrived at the shore and posed the challenge, “hang on, who decided that only farmers and sailors could tell stories? I have things to say too!”? What if you decided to helm the ship and shook the very foundations and definitions of storytelling itself? TRANSITION TRACK 10 You might be thinking, but okay, does technology actually allow us to disturb the foundations? What makes the Kindle and iPad different from the invention of the printing press, or the radio? Clay Shirky, in his TED talk, I think articulates it best when he says: “The phone gave us the one-to-one pattern. The Internet gives us the many-to-many pattern. The moment we’re living through… has seen the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.” 11 Digital storytelling redistributes the power to communicate information, so that your average blacksmith has the same reach and audience as the farmer or the sailor, the author with a fanbase, the literary critic with a newspaper column. Not only do we have the access, we have the experience and skills as well. You’ll forgive me for presuming that you have at least one social media account, or an email address, right? This is the voice of comedian Bo Burnham, who argues that we, the digital audience, are already practised, consciously or not, in constructing digital narratives: “Social media, it’s just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to… perform everything, to each other, for no other reason. It is performer and audience melded together. It’s self-conscious.” 12

TRANSITION TRACK 14 Digital narratives often give voice to stories of marginalised struggle that haven’t always had a place within the constraints of the linear print form.15 Poststructuralist narratology helps us deal with a world in which feminist, post-colonial and multi-media discourses all challenge the existing ingredients that storytellers typically work with - as though analysing a narrative recipe; in which character and voice can be manipulated to form different flavours in the final dish of an accomplished story. Michael Bamberg and Marie Ryan in “Narration in Various Media” argue that through stories so tied to personal identity, technology enables us to return to that person-toperson, intimate connection.16 The whisper of an authorial voice in one’s ear echoes that of voices around the campfires of the past, the familiarity with a composer mimics that of a community elder, bard or blacksmith, coming to bring his own ingredients to the table, telling a story unique to his experiences, outside of just the fields and waves. So, let’s take a moment, aided by the rhetoric of Bamberg and Barthes, Benjamin and Burnham. How do you feel about their arguments? Do you agree with Benjamin, who’s saying, let’s not change these dynamics, we like the famer and sailor and the stories they produce? Or maybe you’re aligned with Bamberg, who’s saying that stories can look different, and we should change our whole way of conceptualising and analysing them? Are you somewhere in between – like Barthes – ready to accept varying degrees of reader autonomy, but not quite prepared for them to assume a storytelling role? Or, is there room for an alternate possibility? Anne Mangen and Don Kuiken, who co-authored the paper “Lost in an iPad”, argue fiercely that true reader intimacy can never be achieved when a story


Pymble Student Research

If we accept that everyone can be a storyteller, how does that impact our established storytellers - our authors, our entertainers, our performers - and how we relate to them? I think that we demand more intimacy, more honesty, a deeper more connection with our storytellers. Think of the aptly titled social media “stories” of Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. Why do you think they are named so? They allow us to instantly share and consume personal stories, intimate details and moments of each other’s lives – a far more transparent relationship then consuming an author’s isolated work.

Let’s introduce Roland Barthes to the debate. In “The Death of the Author” Barthes argued that there was no one true interpretation of authorial intent, that the meaning of a text could be created by the individual reader, influenced by their own biases and perceptions of a story.13 This is important for our digital debate, because it insinuates that textual meaning is co-constructed. The implication being that the author doesn’t just say “blindly consume this narrative that I’ve constructed, enjoy.” Like a sailor beckoning us onto his ship, they instead invite you into their world, where you can have autonomy and take power over a story. And as an extension of Barthes theory, we now become blacksmiths, craftsmen ourselves, producing and constructing narratives just as legitimately as these authors.


it’s time to reinvent the analogy.

is consumed via an interface or screen.17 Is it the fear of losing genuine engagement to some empty consumption of flashy, short-form content via a screen that is at the core of digital storytelling naysayers? I like to imagine Mangen and Kuiken’s study going to war with ones like Emma Rodero’s paper, “See It on a Radio Story”, which found that a digital audio form – perhaps the antithesis of a traditional novel - is a more effective way of engaging an audience as they process information at a pace that stimulates the imagination, much like you now.18 So, depending on whose narrative you listen to, either form provides an arguably deeper connection between creator and consumer. Surely, digital storytelling then is not just about the medium? I think it’s more substantial, prompting us to examine how digital story has conceptually influenced all 21st century narratives, regardless of how they’re consumed. Let’s use our imaginations again. Close your eyes. This time we’re in Russia. It’s a cold morning in 1874, and you’ve taken yourself down to Red Square in the Heart of Moscow to secure your copy of the Russian Messenger, the most popular literary periodical of the time. Your mind is occupied with thoughts of the last instalment, when Karenin presented Anna with an ultimatum: keep seeing Vronsky, or he’ll take away her son -“Friends we shall never be, you know that yourself. Whether we shall be the happiest or the wretchedest of people – that’s in your hands.” - and you’re desperate to see where Tolstoy will take the story. Spoiler: she keeps up the affair.19 Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a rich, complex piece of genius, conjured entirely by the composer, quite

different to the collaboration and co-construction of meaning that Barthes argues for. You’re intensely engaged, aided by the tantalising episodic publishing process. It’s a story that isn’t democratised, that wasn’t open for revisions, or audience contribution. Tolstoy was a renowned, aristocratic, young genius, a highly-esteemed literary giant – the pinnacle of upholding a traditional authorial hierarchy and look at the resulting work. In this case, the non-interference of technology has produced outstanding and immortal results, so why not aim to continue this, and leave the typical publishing structures that created our canonical works untouched? Challenging these structures, however, are works like Behoruz Boochani’s book “No Friend but the Mountains”, which he wrote whilst interned on Manus Island via Whatsapp – a powerful narrative texted over five years to an interpreter on an iPhone.20 The use of a digital medium liberated and empowered Boochani’s voice, rather than undermining or diminishing it. Most importantly for us, his work raises questions that shake the foundations of our narrative hierarchy. Who is allowed to be an author? Must it be an esteemed, educated, authoritative voice like the Tolstoy’s of the world? Or, can it be told by anyone with something to say? What constitutes a story, and who legitimises it? Boochani’s tale of humanity and trauma is a scathing depiction of border policy that extends far beyond what Benjamin accounted for – it’s certainly not a tale of craft or wisdom, it’s a powerful commentary, it’s a tale worthy of a blacksmith. TRANSITION TRACK 21 Now, I can already anticipate your qualms – if anyone can become a published author, how is there


any control of quality or craft, right? To answer this question, I think we have to understand how contemporary authors construct and operate in ways that are inherently digital. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s turn to Ian McEwan’s “Atonement”, which Brian Finney describes as “a work of fiction primarily concerned with the making of fiction.”22 It’s certainly a text that wouldn’t exist, nor succeed, without the last twenty years of change and innovation within our literary landscape. “Atonement” exemplifies what Mangen and Rodero’s findings helped us to establish – that digital story goes beyond just texts in the digital format. The novel is inherently multi-layered and post-modern - even if it doesn’t touch a single waveform or line of code. The deeply ironic intertextuality that warns you not to trust Briony’s narration, the mystery of the first act, the ambiguity - you’re so wrapped up in Briony’s lie that you can’t see you’re being simultaneously manipulated by McEwan.23 And when you finally find out… the disappointment, the outrage! You’re so connected to that text, it’s like it’s you that has been betrayed, not Cecelia and Robbie, by the very author that confided in you, that you connected with. It’s certainly how I felt, blazing through “Atonement” in one sitting not unlike how I had frantically devoured “Narnia” a decade before, the same way one might sit for hours around a campfire listening transfixed to story and watching the embers fall away. If we can’t read without something to light the room; we can’t truly be warmed by those flames without a shared story to fill the silence. One that, thanks to digital platforms and narratological innovation, allows us to intimately connect to

Which brings us back to our hypothetical. How do we, as blacksmiths, take that leap into the world of the farmer and sailor? We deviate from the official structures that require us to plunge into the sea or walk towards the fields, we work with what we know, the roar of a fiery forge that enables us to sculpt inclusive and enthralling tales which anyone can construct, interpret and enjoy. If you still fear the complexity and saturation that comes from that, worry not. The farmers and the sailors, and the stories they tell, aren’t going anywhere. We’re simply loosening those strict definitions of who does what and how they do it in our storytelling world – allowing us to recognise and validate the potential of other voices, even if it’s not our own. That is the innovation, the change blazing through our story landscape –and I don’t think it’s ever burning out. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m all in.



Zak, Paul. The Future of Storytelling, (New York: FoST, 2013). 2 Fell, Ashley. Why storytelling is so powerful in the digital era, (Melbourne: TEDxUniMelb, 2017) 3 Fell, 2017. 4 Dahl, Roald. The Witches, (London: Jonathon Cape, 1983). 5 Lewis, C. S. Prince Caspian, (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1951). 6 Spacht, Joshua, What You Do Not Know, (Nashville: Levelo Music Group). 7 Benjamin, Walter. The Storyteller: Tales Out of Loneliness, (New York: Random House, 1969). 8 Self, Will. The Printed Word in Peril, (New York: Harper’s Magazine, 2018). 9 Benjamin, 1969. 10 Spacht, Joshua, Closing Credits, (Nashville: Levelo Music Group). 11 Shirky, Clay. How social media can make history, (Washington: TED@State, 2009). 12 Burnham, Bo. Make Happy, (New York: Netflix, 2016). 13 Barthes, Roland, The Death of the Author, (New York: Aspen, 1967). 14 Spacht, Joshua, Almost Awake, (Nashville: Levelo Music Group). 15 Prince, Gerald. Classical and/or Postclassical Narratology, (Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 2008). 16 Bamberg, Michael. Identity and Narration, (Hamburg: The Living Handbook of Narratology, 2012), Accessed online at: html (revised August 2013). 17 Mangen, Anne & Kuiken, Don. Lost in an iPad: Narrative engagement on paper and tablet, (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company: 2014). 18 Rodero, Emma. Stimulating the Imagination in a Radio Story, (Online: University of Barcelona, 2011). 19 Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina, (Moscow: The Russian Messenger, 1873-1877). 20 Davidson, Helen. Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island, and the book written one text at a time, (Sydney: The Guardian, 2018). 21 Spacht, Almost Awake. 22 Finney, Brian. Briony’s Stand Against Oblivion: The Making of Fiction in Ian McEwan’s Atonement, (Indiana: University of Indiana Press, 2004). 23 McEwan, Ian. Atonement, (London: Jonathon Cape, 2001).

Bamberg, Michael. Identity and Narration. Hamburg: The Living Handbook of Narratology, 2012. Accessed online at: html (revised August 2013). Barthes, Roland. The Death of the Author. New York: Aspen, 1967. Benjamin, Walter. The Storyteller: Tales Out of Loneliness. New York: Random House, 1969. Burnham, Bo. Make Happy. New York: Netflix, 2016. Dahl, Roald. The Witches. London: Jonathon Cape, 1983. Davidson, Helen. Behrouz Boochani, Manus Island, and the book written one text at a time. Sydney: The Guardian, 2018. Fell, Ashley. Why storytelling is so powerful in the digital era. Melbourne: TEDxUniMelb, 2017. Finney, Brian. Briony’s Stand Against Oblivion: The Making of Fiction in Ian McEwan’s Atonement. Indiana: University of Indiana Press, 2004. Lewis, C. S. Prince Caspian. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1951. Mangen, Anne & Kuiken, Don. Lost in an iPad: Narrative engagement on paper and tablet. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014. McEwan, Ian. Atonement. London: Jonathon Cape, 2001. Prince, Gerald. Classical and/or Postclassical Narratology. Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 2008. Rodero, Emma. Stimulating the Imagination in a Radio Story. Online: University of Barcelona, 2011. Self, Will. The Printed Word in Peril. New York: Harper’s Magazine, 2018. Shirky, Clay. How social media can make history. Washington: TED@State, 2009. Spacht, Joshua. Almost Awake. Nashville: Levelo Music Group, Unknown. Spacht, Joshua. Closing Credits. Nashville: Levelo Music Group, Unknown. Spacht, Joshua. What You Do Not Know. Nashville: Levelo Music Group, Unknown. Tolstoy, Leo. Anna Karenina. Moscow: The Russian Messenger, 1873-1877. Zak, Paul. The Future of Storytelling. New York: FoSTFuture of StoryTelling, 2013.


Pymble Student Research



and learn from each other in ways that would have been unthinkable when you or I were eight years old.

Viveca Tang 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? The inspiration for my Major Work emerged first from a keen desire to reconcile my own cultural identity, as a second-generation Chinese-Australian woman and, later, from an urge to give voice to this unique state of liminality through the short story form. Consuming content produced by other Asian-Australians, such as Nam Le, Alice Pung and Lulu Wang, only further encouraged me to actualise my idea through the writing process.

4. How did you overcome them?

2. What was your planning progress? Initially, I set out to create a timeline for the duration of my HSC year, plotting in key Extension 2 deadlines and ensuring that drafts were continually produced at regular intervals. I made sure to allot a specific interval of time each weekend, dedicated to working on my Major Work, in order to hold myself accountable. I was able to make use of resources in my local community, frequenting the NSW State Library and reviewing past works for inspiration, as well.

3. What challenges did you come across? Remaining consistent with my Major Work and ensuring that I was making time to nurture the project, in spite of all the ongoing demands of Year 12, was definitely a key challenge that I encountered throughout the process. When assessment deadlines loomed, it was often difficult to prioritise working on Extension 2, due to the especially self-driven nature of the course. At times, it was uncertain whether or not the new direction I had chosen for my short story was the correct one, and even, if there was a correct decision to be made. In spite of all these challenges, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of drafting, revising and editing my Major Work.


To combat the time-management difficulties I encountered during the Extension 2 course, I remained flexible with my schedule and tried to always make up for lost time after assessments had been handed in. During the school holidays, I made sure to consistently invest time into my Major Work each day, and remained motivated by consuming a myriad of different text types and literary forms – to catalyse my own writing breakthroughs. Communicating and collaborating with friends who were also taking the course was definitely a key strategy that I found to be most effective. Setting up times to work on drafts, peer-review and discuss our Major Works was both an enjoyable and productive way of remaining engaged throughout the process.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? To all the future Pymble students considering undertaking the English Extension 2 course, I would say that it has been without a doubt the most rewarding subject I have taken during my HSC. I have learnt invaluable research skills and honed my writing technique, both of which will bide me well in future, and have already done so during my English Advanced and English Extension 1 studies. It is a subject which holds a lasting impact on your final year of schooling, and one which leaves you with a body of work that reflects, wholeheartedly, your hard work, commitment and dedication to your chosen concept and form.

Hyphenalienated By Viveca Tang Good grief and bad grief Grief is many things. It is a slap in the face. A kick in the shins. A knife right through the heart. It is the glass of water half-empty. The rung below rock-bottom. Grief is choked out thank yous and snivelling hugs and messages left unopened. Grief taught me that uncertainty is everywhere, better than any Eliot poem ever could. That life is a fragile thing, a shaky edifice built from endings unfinished and questions unanswered and goodbyes never had. That burning incense is more cathartic than one might think. Grief comes in waves. It ebbs and flows like the tide. Waxes and wanes like the moon. Grief never leaves my side; it stays close by. Grief lights lanterns down my spine and walks its fingers along the flat of my back. There is grief tucked into the folds of my clothing, the strands of my hair, the very essence of my being. Grief holds me back. It holds me back from feeling anything, everything except for this cloying numbness which leaves me wide awake and writhing in the middle of the night. Maiden china

For I, too, have ropes around my neck. I have them to this day, pulling me this way and that, East and West, the nooses tightening, commanding, choose, choose. I buck, I snort, I whinny, I rear, I kick. Ropes, I do not choose between you. Lassoes, lariats, I choose neither of you, and both. Do you hear? I refuse to choose. Illiteracy The portmanteau that sits on my mantel is home to unfurling papers. It is old, yellow, a cowhide yellow. It is fraying at the corners. Hard, but soft where the rain has worn it down. Heavy – not in weight, but in memories; it is heavy with memories lived and lost. It is filled with sheets, inked with regret, the very sheets which stain my tongue blue and black each time I swallow my words, as though they are worth no more than a breath. It smells of loss. Of lost opportunities, lost memories, the little alcove by the side of the house which loses its novelty each time I brush past it. It is regret which leaves in its wake, only bile as bitter as the night. I cannot read the sheets inside the portmanteau. I have not an inkling of the characters which are inked into its sheets. Not because I do not want to, but because I cannot do so. I am not half as well-versed as I should be.


But I am getting there, these things take time, you know they do. The characters, once formless strokes, wayward lines strewn haphazardly together, are beginning to form images, a highlight reel of memories, now congealing in my mind. I’m reaching towards it, groping for it, sightlessly, and shrugging off the ropes which slip around my shoulders, tying me down to my past. Caucasian There are things we don’t talk about in my household. So, when I tell my mother that I’ve been sleeping with a white man twenty years my senior, it’s only fair that she chokes on her mouthful of plain white rice. I expected as much. It’s like I’ve lifted up the sheet of austerity which sits atop her features most days of the week, plucked it clean off her face with the draught of my words, balled it up and tossed it somewhere behind me in the kitchen. A crumpled paper bag replaces it: furrowed brows, flashing eyes and her mouth, her mouth is pressed into a perfect slit of fury. Silence, as loud as a sigh, hangs between us. It stills my chopsticks with its presence. She opens her mouth in what I can only see as an attempt to tell me off, but I bat her words away with a flick of my wrist and remind her, carefully, that fifty-six is not too much older than she is.

Pymble Student Research

What a shame it is, that I must bury who I am beneath layers upon layers of coats, some thick, some threadbare, others not quite large enough to house all my pain. I was not made for this; my name has yet to be ingrained in his brain. I refuse to do all this in vain.

To explain to the males with whom I have slept, that just because I am made in China, does not make my body their bed to lie in.



She wavers, eyes flickering over to my neck. I tug at the collar of my shirt self-consciously. Without missing a beat, she spits back, Fifty-six isn’t too far off your grandmother’s age either. Do you think Nai Nai would approve if she heard of this? Harsh, but not unexpected. That was my mother. Nai Nai is ninety-eight, Ma, I sigh back wearily. She takes my words and adds them to her arsenal, launching at me a stream of invective, Chinese, although interspersed with English where she can. She throws scraps of curses at me as though haphazardly, fragmentedly, they wielded more power. As though sticks and stones could break my bones and bring me back to my senses. As though I wasn’t her only daughter, the one she’d cherished up until the eve of my eighteenth, when I’d announced that I was moving to a one-bedroom flat on the other side of the Bridge and then, when she’d thrown a china bowl at my face. Afterwards, as it lay on the floor, the sting of shards lodged in my cheek was tempered only by the wry realisation that the “Made in China” sign on the bottom of the bowl had come apart as she’d thrown it, and that it then lay, splintered, on the floor where it fell. How cheap these things really are, I’d thought to myself. As if the fact that my being a journalist, a “glorified stickybeak”, as she knew it to be, didn’t bother her in the slightest. As if she wasn’t embarrassed by the bombardment of questions shot down the phone line each time we got a call from the menagerie of aunts and uncles back over on the mainland. As if she couldn’t tell that they were craning their necks and peering down the line each time they

called, angling for a glimpse at what exactly it was that I was doing with my life, for heaven’s sake! Even my grandmother sighs when she calls, her breath blowing a sharp hiss of static down the line. I haven’t heard from Nai Nai in a while, though. I wonder how she’s doing. I miss her. But of course, I know all of these things. I know all of these things, and so much more. I know that my mother tells me a warped story of my grandmother’s childhood each time, every time. I know she does it so she can grab me by the elbow and stop me from stumbling down the wayward path I’ve forged in the undergrowth with my actions. I know that all the streams of syllables she pushes towards me: shame…disgrace…dishonour to our family, ancestors…children…mixing of races, all in the end, lead to the same sea. Caucasian. He’s white, Danny is. And that will never stand for her. Yet, as it stands, I, as Brie Bai, will never be enough for her. She tells me that he doesn’t care about me and that he’s selfish and unkind and callous. She tells me that he’s just playing with me and that he’ll divorce me once he’s bored. I snort unattractively, making no attempt to mask it under my breath. It angers her more; I know it does and yet I do it all the same. Sadistically or masochistically, I’m not quite sure which. A part of me wants to see how thin her patience, that elusive thing, really is. I push her towards the edge because I want to show her the view. Because I want to make a tear in her mask, to see that thin papery material rip right down the middle of her face. Face is valuable, she tells me, and that’s why she works so hard to save


hers, and why couldn’t I just do as I was told just this once, for heaven’s sake? You Chinese, Bu Li ah.1 Did I no teach you better than this? she spits in my face. Putting aside my amusement at the rage-induced appearance of my mother’s pidgin, I roll my eyes and retort, I’m Aussie, Ma. Yeah, you Aussie, maybe. But we Chinese. And Chinese girl no marry white man. You no remember what happened to your Nai Nai, ah? You want you kids to have no Ba just like me, ah? It’s strange, isn’t it, how rage trails behind you for the better half of a conversation, chases your footsteps and gropes the shadows in your wake before suddenly it creeps up and taps you on the shoulder with one finger and materialises before you with its hand outstretched, this big, hot pool of rage, tugging you towards your doom. And this is why I say what I do, although I now regret it immeasurably. It is why I throw out that knife of a sentence and twist it into my mother’s rib cage, watching as the pain clouds her eyes. Ba was Chinese, I say. But he still left you all the same, Ma. Thoughtless. Tone-deaf. Not what I meant at all. What I meant to say then, is what I know now: that it doesn’t matter. That it doesn’t matter at all who he is or what he does for work or what shade of white his skin is or at what point between dirty and strawberry the colour of his hair falls or even the fact that his eyes are the same shade of grey as the sky in the sepia photograph on my mother’s nightstand. The one that has my father in it. The only one. None of that matters because in the

None of that matters because in the end, it all falls clean away and it’s just you and your thoughts. Your stupid, empty thoughts, which flit around your brain and hit the sides and coil back, as goldfish do, when they hit the sides of their bowls. Your thoughts are what get you in the end. They are the only ones who do get you because they will never leave you alone. Relative I realise now, as I’m mulling over the merits of a story, I’ve been told time and time again, that everything is relative. Not because Einstein said so, but I know so. At least, I do now. Yes, my mother’s declining English is relative to where she was born (Nanjing), how she was raised (poor), and at what age it was that she decided to make the move to Australia (eighteen). But that never stopped me from resenting her.

I realised that my privilege, relative to where I stood, had gone unchecked for the better half of my youth. Ownership My mother doesn’t know this but sometimes, when I dream, she appears before me, not as she is now, but as her younger, happier self, and she’s smiling. She’s mouthing the words to the beginning of the story: When your grandmother was a girl, she lived in a city, half-alive and thrashing… But it’s not my story though; I don’t own it. In the same way that I am not the owner of my flat, rather, I am but a mere tenant of the story, coming and going as I please.

pull my hair back from around my ears and chuckle as I hopped back down from the ledge, eyes glistening with mirth. She had been my favourite person for six whole years of my life. It all changed when we moved here. Ma never told us why we did it. Why we got up and left Nanjing one day, turning our backs on her and slamming the door in her face. Nai Nai’s calls, once daily, trickled out into a faint stream, before petering off into radio silence. They don’t talk anymore either. I think Ma tries to compensate for Nai Nai’s absence by telling me the story of her childhood, hoping that I’ll swallow it and take her word for it without questioning a thing. The story goes that as the seventeen-year-old daughter of Nanjing’s mayor in 1937, my grandmother was never quite where she was supposed to be. Whimsical, flighty, never quite all there.

I pull open the portmanteau with a heave, and finger the reams and reams of wasted breath, wincing at how the yellowing pages scratch the tips of my fingers. I wonder how exactly it was that my mother spent her twenties living out of a portmanteau. A portmanteau so small that all it now contained was the torn out, crumpled up, pages of my grandmother’s journal. My mother still reads that journal, day after day.

Back then, Nanjing was a wounded city. It was a city half-alive and a city thrashing at the noose. It was foaming at the mouth and chewing on its bit, but it refused to choose. It refused to choose defeat, because defeat was not a word that knew Nanjing at all.

Admittedly, I can see the resemblance I bear to my grandmother. When I was younger, she used to take me to the fields of Nanjing, on the outskirts of a fist-sized town so small we knew each other’s cousins by name. The memory of prepubescent afternoons spent peering into the well by the side of the house, leaning over to drink from the pail, cupping the water with both hands and bringing it to my lips. She’d

While Nanjing’s streets were torn apart from vein to vein, while its spine was split right down the middle, while its heart, still throbbing, was pulled out of its chest from its throat, all attempts to rouse the world were in vain. The world was dead asleep.


In 1937, Nanjing knew only rape, because the world rolled over and slept right through it, all while it was happening.

Afterwards, as Nanjing lay motionless, all that could be heard was the sound of a silence as loud as a lie. And when it was said quickly enough, softly enough, whispered

Pymble Student Research

I used to hate the way my mother said the word “table”, tah-boo, her mouth puckered around the ooh sound, as though a table was two completely separate words bridged together by a hyphen. That was the only way my mother knew things to be, as two composite things, synthesised, altogether unrelated, plucked from the air, from other people’s conversations, from fragments of sentences she’d hear on the news. Because that was how the Chinese language worked, and she knew only how to think in Chinese, she’d told

me as much. The reason why she spoke so slowly, I realise now, is because it took her twice as long to think in Chinese and then to translate her thoughts into English, as it did I, to think and speak, instantly, in English.


end, they leave you all the same. Fathers, brothers, boyfriends…boys whose minds you play like a flute. Blowing hot air onto their necks, lifting your lips when you run out of oxygen and when you need to find another supply of air from which to breathe.

just so, the lie sounded like the hissing of panthers, who roamed the city streets, snapping at ankles and leaving big red handprints splayed wide across bodies. It sounded like the slitsch, slitsch of water hitting the rim of porcelain bowls in the sink, where my mother stood most afternoons. I’d come home from school, and see her figure hunched/bowled up over the dishes, shoulders pressed tight against her ears, washing away the weight of her disappointment, watching as it swirled down the sink. At sixteen, you still think you can escape your mother. You aren’t listening to her speaking through your mouth, you don’t see her in the way you hold your body, in the way you sign your name. You don’t hear her whisper in your blood. Amorous After I left home, there was a period of time during which nothing clicked. It took half an hour at the bar on the end of my street and a dirty martini with a yellowing olive stuck down the bottom, for everything to click. In that world of magic of glory, I thought I’d found a way of building a bridge between here and there, between my two othernesses, because my double unbelonging. In him there seemed to exist the kind of fusion of worldviews, in which I desperately wanted to believe. He was a living, breathing, cliché of a man. Yet the second he walked into my peripheral, I knew I’d be going home with him. He caught my eye like he already knew me, sidled over like we’d been talking for years. Made Houdini look like child’s play, no really, he did. Wore his white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, played with his watch like he knew I would be watching, rubbed his

palms on his slacks before shaking my hand. And he did it all with a smirk, pressed snug into his face. A real fraud he was, but I still bought it all the same. Paid for his attention with a smile, lifted my eyes to meet his, slid my phone across the counter to his awaiting palm, watched, wordlessly, as he punched in the digits with one hand. He was the one who made age no more than a number, the one who confirmed that men really do age like wine. I loved the way he called me doll and ordered a drink for the pretty one without asking for my name. The way he treated me like I was precious, touched me lightly, like he was afraid I might break apart in his hands if he exhaled too quickly. The way he’d smell like home and the way my waist sewed tight into his. The way I’d blinked up at him through my lashes and blushed, already infatuated. The way he’d brushed his lips softly against my temple afterwards and leaned in to tell me that I was the first Asian girl he’d ever had, doll. Later, when he would roll over and prop himself up on the flat of his palm in the morning, pushing his hair away from his forehead, I would look on as it fell, soft, over his brows, gleaming and blonder than any cheap ale I used to drink before I met him and learnt how to drink whiskey neat. He would turn towards me, slide his hands into my hair and rub the strands between his thumb and index, marvelling at its silkiness, its elasticity, at its obsidian glow. I remember this clearly because he would look up, not at my eyes, but at an indiscriminate point between them, at my forehead, maybe, and say, I love the way your hair feels between my fingers, doll. It’s so silky. I love girls with silky hair. He would then lift his finger to touch my eyelids, just softly, stroking his knuckle against the line where my


lid converged with my browbone. He would pull my lids back towards my temples, elongating their curve and I would giggle in return, batting his hands away. I was younger, then. Happier, too. Happier for not having known any better. Gifted with a blissful ignorance, which I let sit on the top of my tongue, before swallowing it blindly. Old films We sit down to watch Blade Runner one evening and Danny asks me what those people are saying. I reply drily that I have not a single clue and he turns to stare at me incredulously. How can you not know? he chuckles, nonchalant as ever. I stare back, confounded. Well, I begin, wetting my lips with my tongue, they’re not speaking Mandarin. I can’t really understand it, but it sounds like a hybrid of Cantonese and Japanese to me. Oh yeah, he replies, scratching the back of his head mindlessly with the back of his fork, isn’t that what those people from Hong Kong speak? Cantonese? You know I was there a few years back for a work trip. Lovely people, Hong Kongers. A shame the weather is so hot. I could have really seen myself doing a stint over there. Although the food is so strange. I walked past a butcher’s and I saw a whole roast duck just hanging upside down in the store window. Slit neck and everything. Can you believe how those people treat animals? I could never eat anything as cute as a duck. Or a dog. It’s no wonder they have all kinds of viruses coming out of that place! When you eat dogs and bats and pangolins, you’re building a living breeding ground for all kinds of disgusting things, don’t you agree, doll?

Sure, I choke out, laughing nervously. They were my people too, I wanted to say. Those people are my people, I should’ve said. You’re talking about me, I could’ve said. But I didn’t. I sat there, dumbly, numbly, I’m not quite sure which, hearing everything and nothing all at once, sucking in inhales and choking out exhales as Danny kept going on and on and on about how horrific it all was and can you believe the way they treat their animals and why couldn’t people just be more humane, for fuck’s sake. He said it all while ripping out fleshy chunks of his T-bone with his molars, sucking the bone right into his throat and pulling it out with a pop. He dropped it on the plate with a clang and licked his fingers clean, one at a time, then wiped the palm of his hand on his slacks. I turned away, letting my stomach come to a stand-still before turning back to meet his gaze. He leaned in for a kiss, and my head spun with the meatiness of his breath. When he pulled away, he must’ve heard the audible gulp I let out, as he asked, Everything okay, doll?

The wrong name. I realised that to him, too, I was expendable. Someone he could pick up and toss aside at a breath’s notice. I realised that this Danny wasn’t too much different from the guy I’d chosen before him, whose hair was strawberry instead of dirty blonde and whose eyes were cerulean, not grey. I knew too, that there’d be a Danny after him, and a Danny after him and a Danny after that one too. I knew that they’d keep coming, because I’d make sure of it. That’s what I did. It was like cupping water with both hands. Futile, but I still did it. That’s how we human beings are: partial beings, in all senses of the term. We perceive things, not whole but as hollowed-out remnants. As rinds, husks, shards of dirty mirrors which come apart in our hands. Ruptured, broken, split right down the middle. We are not gods, but wounded creatures, cracked lenses, capable only of fractured perceptions. Partial to whim, but not to conscience, to that which occurs when we feed caution to the wind, when we run outside to face in full what exactly it is that we have said, or done, or created. Glow Yellow, my favourite colour, does. Because lust is yellow, and not red, like the movies want you to think.

It was only later, when he was showering one time, and asked if I could please pass him a towel, Britney, that I realised it would always be like this. Britney.

Because sunflowers are yellow, and there were sunflowers on the dress I wore the night I first met him. Because sunflowers look best, most ironically, in the shade.

He waves me on with a nod and turns back to the screen.


Scared, but not afraid My mother keeps telling me that I have to hear the next part of the story. She pays no heed to how mind-numbingly boring I find it all to be. The next time I turn up at her doorstep to sit through another one of those excruciating dinners she insists on making routine, I arrive with a bottle of gao liang – the only type of liquor she’ll drink, and a too-bright smile pasted tackily on my face. I am prepared to make reparations for my earlier misstep. She picks up where she left off, as though we’d always kept our relationship on terms no less than civil. When your grandmother set out that day, she didn’t set out looking for trouble, she begins, lifting her index finger to her temple as though coaxing the memories out of their hiding spots which were littered around her memory, but trouble had a funny way of making a home out of your grandmother. Frail, waif-like though she was, Xiao Hong2 was headstrong with a sharp tongue. Like a viper, she tacks on at the end, as an afterthought. She was entrusted the task of visiting her grandmother, that November day, and so she did as she was told, taking with her a basket of three peaches, a jar of those pickled cucumbers her grandmother loved so much and a bowl of congee – thin, watery, cooked just so. Crossing the bridge towards her grandmother’s district, on the outskirts of Nanjing, was a journey she’d made half dozen times before. She wasn’t fearless but she feared no man, and so she set out to make the journey.

Pymble Student Research

Seeing the world as it is

Because Danny glowed a bright, burning yellow. Like the sun. Not when it first punctures the sky at dawn, but in the middle of the day when it hangs, heavy, fat, overhead. It was the glow that first drew me to him, in that bar halfladen with darkness.

Yeah, yeah, just a bit tired is all. I might just wash up first. You keep watching. I’ve seen this one before. It’s an old film.

Because he flashed me a feverish yellow smile the night I left him but all I saw was red.


I swallow hard, chills dancing down my spine at the way he turns to face on that last one. Fear grips me by the throat and pushes my words forcefully down my throat.

Wizened Gingko trees lined the bridge on either side, forming an arch with their arms outstretched over her head. She looked up and could see mottled sunlight flushing down before her eyes. They reached out to her, and smiled, palms waving in the breeze. All was well. She’d traversed just shy of a third of the bridge when the wind picked up, shaking her peaches and making it harder for her to keep grasp of the wooden handle, balancing the weight of her heels with the uneven seesawing of the peaches. Today might be a tough one. She might have to take the shortcut. The shortcut was ill-advised, but as you know, your grandmother never paid heed to caution. She threw reason to the wind and tumbled headfirst into trouble, embracing it, like it was an old friend. Taking the shortcut meant braving the undergrowth, but taking the shortcut meant she’d get to Nai Nai in time for dinner. Never mind the panthers who roamed the forest, they’d take one look at her and leap away, she was sure of it, she really was. They say fortune favours the brave, but what your grandmother did was not brave. It was all folly, as she soon found out. Taking the shortcut meant a brush with danger, no matter how well-intentioned her actions may have been. Two roads diverged at the end of the wood, and she, she took the one less travelled by, and that made all the difference. As she stepped off the edge and towards the undergrowth, one of the three peaches in her basket tumbled headfirst over the rim of the basket and make a break for the base of the nearest tree.

Gathering the hem of her qi pao and stooping to reclaim her prized possession, her knuckles brushed, distinctly, the flesh of one who is neither human nor animal. She lifted her gaze to meet his and bowed her head respectfully, letting her braids brush the tops of her shoulders. She received no sign of reassurance. Anxiety slid into her bones, heavy. Her breath, coming in out in short, sharp bursts, was the only sound she dared make as she stood chest to chest with that beast of a man. Overgrown hair, brushing down past his shoulders, eyes black and flashing, and his nostrils, his nostrils were flared wide open, almost comically. His teeth, bared, make a clicking noise as he ground them together and his hands, still splayed over the offending peach. She let go with a burst and sprang back, gripping the handle of her basket so tight she was sure it would split right into two. He brought the fruit tight up against his chest, and smiled, just a flash of teeth really, bit into it with a crunch and darted his tongue out to catch the droplets which escaped his jaws. Fear broke into her heart and she bolted through the undergrowth. It was then tha– I cut my mother off with a violent heave, ignoring her raised eyebrows and promptly making for the sink. It was disgust, or an uncontrollable visceral feeling of the like, which had me gagging right over the drain, heedless of the bowls and plates and chopsticks now huddling in the corner of the sink. Insanity Afterwards, I accept the tissue proffered by my mother. I swipe numbly at the corners of


my mouth and swallow hard when I pull it away. I expected to see yellow, bile, globules of saliva maybe, but all I saw was red. We have a word for this in Chinese. Tu xue. A feeling of rage so strong, so insanely consuming that it compels one to cough up blood. November Is guilt. November is the cruellest month. Mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. I was born in November. November weighs heavy against my side, like the rain which falls incessantly, on the day of my twenty-ninth birthday. My mother explains it away on account of how bu li, or unfortunate it is, that I am twentynine years of age and still an unmarried woman. I feign disinterest when those words leave her mouth, fiddling with the sink stopper as rainwater descends on the gutters outside. No, I never did get to hear the end of my grandmother’s story, although I’ll admit I think I know how it goes already. The only reason why my mother keeps telling me that story is so that I’ll stop sleeping around, I know it is. And that’s why I refuse to listen to it. I refuse to listen to a story that isn’t mine, which doesn’t apply to me, and which bears no relation to who I am or what I stand for. That’s the story of my mother’s mother. But that isn’t this story. This is my story. And I am my mother’s daughter. Never, Do I forget to crack my knuckles in the presence of my mother,

So, when my mother tells me that my grandmother has died, I pause mid-crack, thumb pressed on the pressure-point, waiting to execute the command. Come again, I say to her, not knowing why she would make such a preposterous joke when we weren’t even on joking terms, really, at all. Your grandmother died four months ago, Brie. I never told you the end of the story because I wanted you to hear it from her. But she died before we had a chance to go see her again. I stand there, still as the sky, heart frozen clean in my throat. I can hear the wind rushing in my ears and look down, watching as I peck the tile with the side of my toe, leaving a dirty red mark on the edge of it. The groceries that I’d just set down – all the bok choy and watercress and jackfruit, lie on the floor, strewn across the white tiles in a perfect halo of disorder, like some mutated graveyard where groceries go to die.

It’s empty, my mind. Yet filled to the brim. As though everything that I knew to be true, all the tenets of certainty to which I’d

As if all semblance of clarity was sailing away from me, scattered amongst a million tiny boats with billowing white sails. Even absence is heavy, if it weighs on your conscience for long enough. My mother had not lifted her eyes from where they rested on her sleeve, scrutinising it as though sleeves were the most groundbreaking discovery she’d ever made. A hapless Why? leaves my mouth and punches through the silence clotting in the air above us. She stared at me blankly and said, You had to hear the end of the story. You had to know. Did you even go to her funeral? I whisper. Did you? I stare at her helplessly as she gives no reply, picking at a loose thread that had come undone. She never did know how to piece together all my questions. She never did offer me an appropriate reply. I guess she never really knew who I was. I guess I didn’t either.

That there are unbreakable codes, unsolvable mysteries, and that the mystery of who exactly it is that I am trying to mimic when I throw on a beige overcoat some mornings, is one such mystery. For I am no god; I am a wounded creature. A cracked lens, capable only of fractured perceptions. I am partial to whim, not conscience. I shrug off that thing around my neck to watch as it falls to the ground. I wait for the anxiety to slide out from my bones, to slip off my skin. I am coming unstuck from the idea of identity, of a ball of childhood memories and lived experiences and formative years, that I can hold in the palm of one hand. I am coming unstuck from that idea, from the idea of an identity, because we are all humans, and none of us are gods. We build meaning, that shaky edifice, out of scraps, dogmas, childhood injuries, newspaper articles, chance remarks, old films, small victories won after battles chosen, people hated, people loved; perhaps, it is because our sense of who we are is constructed from such inadequate materials that we defend it so fiercely even to the death.

Now, I realise, what I should have known then. That actions, those wily things, are nearly near performed with the same intentions as those with which they are received. That my mother had good intentions, and that those were what I refused to receive. That sometimes the pieces of the puzzle don’t quite congeal together. That sometimes there are gaps, there are typos, misspelt words, forgotten apostrophes, proper nouns left uncapitalised.



Brie’s Chinese name.


Chinese for “Little Red”.

Pymble Student Research

Nothing registers. I can hear roaring, coming from somewhere, far off in the distance. Can feel my stomach soar and swoop as seagulls do, on the breeze, and my mind, my mind was churning, like ice-cream or bile, I’m not too sure which. As though someone had just picked up my thoughts and started tossing them around in the palm of one hand.

clung for time immemorial, had all just been knocked clean off their feet in one sweep.


because I know it drives her insane. It also relieves some of the pressure stuck under my fingernails; it feels as though my fingers, pulled tight with the weight of the words they carve out, are breathing, alive, too.

Stephanie Volos 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? I knew from the moment I chose this subject that I wanted to write a screenplay. I have seen lots of films and enjoy reading screenplays in my free time so I had a general idea about what type of stories work well when translated into film and what I, as an audience member, enjoy seeing on screen. In the initial stages of my writing process, I wasn’t really inspired by any tangible thing, I sort of had a burst of inspiration which I structured a screenplay around. However, when the research process became more involved in my creative process, I was more invested in reaping inspiration from my environment and issues which were close to my heart, such as poverty and the adverse effects it can have on individuals and families. I work with children and have always been fascinated by their interpretation of the world and what influences it, hence the centering of the mother-daughter relationship in my screenplay. One thing I really enjoyed was writing to music and I had a whole playlist dedicated to the times when I was writing my script. If I was writing a certain scene, for example a montage, I would play the one song which I thought reflected this scene tonally and play it on repeat. I would try to picture the scene in my head and, with the music playing under it, I would deduce whether the emotion I wanted the audience to feel was being evoked.

2. What was your planning progress? As unprofessional as it sounds, the planning process for me was very spontaneous and was formulated from bursts of inspiration I’d experience at different moments. If I got one solid idea, I’d write it down or storyboard it and connect it to the rest of my film. I had these moments on the metro, at 1am, in the shower, everywhere except my Extension 2 class it seems. I swore by skeleton plans in my planning process. I would write down key plot points and important moments in my film and then add additional scenes in between which would lead to that key point. This helped me in maintaining cohesion but I found it also helped with pacing and being critical about moments to include or omit. If it was a bone which “stuck out” in the skeleton, I cut it.

3. What challenges did you come across? Researching and finding the right theory for my film was definitely the hardest part. Most of my script, particularly the early drafts, had practically no research because I would write whatever came to my head. I found out pretty quickly that for Extension 2 it isn’t enough to just write a story with no theoretical support. This frustrated me, “why can’t I just write a story I’m passionate about, why do I need to have narrative/psychological theory, whatever happened to creative freedom?” I had a final script pretty early, but I didn’t have any theoretical


support so I had to start again, which is no one’s fault, but my own. I had tried so many different psychological/narrative theories from Freud and Lacan to Postmodernism and Satire, none of them worked. I only discovered Oneric Film theory and Maladaptive Daydreaming very late in the process, maybe around the end of Term 2. Having to rewrite my whole script was inconvenient to say the least, but for me, the writing process was actually what I enjoyed the most so I didn’t mind. I also had a renewed drive with my new theories so I churned out a new screenplay pretty quickly.

4. How did you overcome them? In terms of overcoming these challenges, it was just about being patient and adaptable. I knew in my gut what would work with my film. It was about finding the right thing. I also recommend listening to your teacher. They know what they’re doing. My mentor, Ms Carr was amazing and had a lot of faith in me even though I seemed like a lost cause at times. She was very proactive and was constantly sending me new ideas and recommendations which guided me in the right direction but also kept me on top of my Extension 2 because she knew I was a last minute, night before person.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? Remember why you chose this subject/topic. It is a very demanding and specific course. Your ideas are going to be rejected and knocked back more than once and it can be disheartening. Know your strengths and chose something you’re passionate about (for me it was film, hence why I chose a screenplay). This will give you a reason to continue even when you feel like giving up. Be patient with yourself. When you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, give yourself a break. There’s no point in burning yourself out so you feel disheartened and uncreative and there’s no point in creating something you’re not happy about. One thing you’ll always hear is that Major Works are a marathon, not a sprint, and as someone who did four Major Works (I do not recommend this by the way) I definitely found this to be pertinent advice.

Fleas Can’t Grow Wings By Stephanie Volos Black.

From Flea’s P.O.V. we watch Kylie casually walk towards a stranger’s caravan, she fiddles a safety pin into the keyhole and unlocks the door. She comes back out with cans of food in her hand, and walks inconspicuously away from the caravan.

FLEA (V.O.) I choosed my mum as my superhero. My mum is my superhero because she showed me how to tie my shoes. FADE IN:



FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) My Mum always said to brush my hair because one time I forgot and mum ripped off all my hair!

Kylie, (early 20s), healthy and glowing with happiness, is kneeling beside Flea,(6), demonstrating a double knot. FLEA (V.O.) (CONT’D) She painted my nails green, which’s my favourite colour.

We witness Flea screaming in the bath as Kylie is trying to force a comb through her matted hair. 4 EXT. CARAVAN PARK. DAY.

From Kylie’s P.O.V. we see a grinning Flea holding her green fingernails next to her face.

FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) And she always used to play the bestest games! My favourite was goodies and baddies where we would hide from the bad man trying to get us.

Kylie leans up and kisses Flea on the head, tucking her hair behind her ears. FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) She teached me how to play cards, which’s very fun.

We spot Kylie and Flea creeping around a caravan, sneaking away from the landlord knocking on their door. Flea is barely holding in suppressed giggles.

Poker chips and cards strewn all around a table. Flea is fixated on Kylie.

FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) She teached me these things because I am very grown up. And when she is one hundred years old I can get her food and paint her nails because she showed me how to do it.

FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) When I was little, she also showed me how to speak to grown ups. A group of men walk into frame and join the two at their table. Kylie deals them their cards, giving the men an eyeful of cleavage as she leans across the table.



This script contains language that some may find offensive


FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) But my mum is a superhero because she always rescues me when I need help.

2 INT. CARAVAN PARK. ANOTHER DAY. FLEA (V.O.)(CONT’D) And my mum showed me how to get food for when I am really, really hungry and she is not there.

I’m still waiting for her to come, I miss her and I wished she teached me how to drive a car so I could drive away and find her so we can play.


Pymble Student Research

We are following a black, sleek car, looking inside at Flea leaning her head against the window, mournful; she clearly has something on her mind. A school passes briefly in the background, showered in golden, afternoon light.

CLOSE UP Flea looking mischievously over her cards, twiddling her eyebrows. She slams her cards down on the table revealing a royal flush. The men groan and complain in indignation, Flea grins proudly as she drags the chips towards her.


7 INT. MOVING CAR. MORNING. FLASHBACK. ‘ Brown Sugar ‘ - The Rolling Stones

FLEAS CAN’T GROW WINGS 6 INT. PRESENT DAY. CARAVAN KITCHEN. FADE BACK IN to see a woman slumped in a metal chair, her head in her hands. We can hear a muted trumpet playing a slow requiem in the background, this is Kylie’s Theme.

Kylie and Flea/Sky are sitting in a luxurious, leather seated, convertible, cruising along the main road. With the top down, the two sing loudly to the music, receiving questioning looks from passing commuters. They stop at a red light, next to a mother and a little girl spinning signs for a discounted massage.

OFFICER (O.S.) Miss Lawler, did you hear me?

SKY Why are they doing that, Mum?

CLOSE UP Kylie, gaunt with deep-purple bags under her eyes. Her bleached hair hangs limply on her head, already exposing her natural brown roots.

KYLIE It’s their job.



SKY I wanna have a go.

OFFICER What did I say then?

KYLIE Well, when you grow up I’m sure you can.

KYLIE Um... something about uh-

SKY When I grow up I’m going to be a horserider and a poster dancer.

Kylie puts her head in her hands, exasperated.

KYLIE A sign-spinner.

OFFICER Miss Lawler/ It’s troublingthat you are not taking this seriously.

SKY What?

KYLIE (under her breath) /What did she say, you dumb bitch?

KYLIE (correcting her) They’re sign-spinning Sky, not poster dancing.

KYLIE What? I am taking this seriously!


OFFICER Well ignoring everything I say /definitely isn’t helping your case. KYLIE / I‘m not ignoring everything you say! I can’t help it!

Oh. Beat. Where are we going? KYLIE We’re buying you a birthday present. SKY (gasping) Really?! I want a-

OFFICER (unconvinced) Right well...

A phone call sounds through the car, abruptly interrupting Sky. Kylie turns down the music.

She sighs heavily. Kylie re-adjusts herself so she is sitting at attention.

SKY (CONT’D) Hey! I liked that song

OFFICER (CONT’D) How would you describe your relationship with Sky?

KYLIE Shhh, it’s work. Sky grumbles, turning her body so she faces the window, she stares at the mother and daughter sign spinning.


LITTLE GIRL (whispering) Me too. KYLIE Yeah? It’s a super pretty colour.


Kylie gently pries the dress from the LITTLE GIRL, the cheap lace grazes coarsely against her fingers.

Kylie is sitting on a colourful futon in a small boutique watching Flea try on a range of summer dresses, each dress becoming more ostentatious with the addition of sequins and patterns.

She takes the dress to the counter, taking out her wallet.

Flea turns on the spot, watching the frills of her dress billow around her. She takes a moment to admire herself in the mirror before going back inside the cubicle.

MOTHER Oh /please, I can’t payKYLIE /No don’t be silly, it’s just a dress.

We hear the soft tones of Kylie’s Theme seeping through.

She hands her credit card over to the cashier.


As the light turns green a sports car speeds past, honking at the spinners. The mother raises her middle finger at the car as it speeds off, Sky watches the two disappear in the rearview mirror as they drive away.

Kylie hands the bagged dress to the little girl. She takes it gladly.

MOTHER (O.S.) (scolding) I said no!

MOTHER What do we say?

Kylie whips around at the sound of the familiar voice.

LITTLE GIRL Thank you.

We see a young MOTHER, (20s) with tattered jeans and a large tattoo on her bicep, gripping the wrist of a LITTLE GIRL, (6). They are the same pair that were spinning signs in the previous scene. The girl is throwing a tantrum.

KYLIE You’re welcome beautiful. What’s your name? LITTLE GIRL

MOTHER (CONT’D) Stop your fuckin’ crying, you’re embarrassing me. When I say no I mean no!

KylSKY (O.S.) Ta-da! We CUT TO a CLOSE UP of Kylie, she inhales sharply, Flea’s voice disturbing her reverie, Kylie’s Theme is abruptly cut off.

The Little Girl sobs harder, whining at her mother’s unfairness. LITTLE GIRL BUT I WANT IT!!!

We WHIP to Flea who is standing proudly in a deep green dress, the sequence twinkling under the artificial light.

MOTHER Stop it! We can’t afford it, stop acting like a baby!

KYLIE (distantly) Yeah it’s gorgeous sweetie. I think we should get that one.

Kylie gets up and tentatively walks towards the two. She kneels in front of the Little Girl and smiles softly. The Mother quickly straightens when she sees Kylie approaching.

FLEA (triumphantly) Yessss. As Flea bounds back into the dressing cubicle, Kylie turns back around to look at the spot where the mother and daughter stood, they’re no longer there.

The Little Girl’s crying subsides as she curls against her mother’s legs, shying away from Kylie. KYLIE (CONT’D) It’s green. You know, green is . favourite colour.

The sound of a key being turned in a lock is heard off-screen as we CUT TO:


Pymble Student Research

KYLIE Hey, that’s a really pretty dress.


She closes the fridge door and blinks hard.

Kylie opening the heavy door of a grandiose home. Large shopping bags are slung over her arms as she and Flea enter their home.

KYLIE (CONT’D) I must not have bought anything yesterday... I’ll go back to the shops now. Hang tight, I won’t be long.

From Kylie’s P.O.V. we see the decadence of a very opulent home, adorned with columns, a crystal chandelier, and a marble staircase.

Kylie strides out of the kitchen, collecting her phone along the way.

Kylie’s ringtone echoes through the house. We watch Flea runoff as Kylie places her bags in the doorway to answer the phone. KYLIE Hello, Kylie Lawler. (Unheard Response) Speaking?

KYLIE (CONT’D) (on the phone) Hey, sorry I just had to check up on my daughter. She laughs tightly. KYLIE (CONT’D) Of course, you know how these things go.

Kylie continues listening to the caller, standing stationary in the doorway.

We FOLLOW Kylie out towards the door, the heels of her shoes clacking on marble floors, Kylie’s Theme begins to seep into the scene.

FLEA (O.S.) (yelling from kitchen) Mum! We don’t have any food!

She opens the door.

Kylie walks towards the kitchen, still on the phone.


She makes eye-contact with Flea, pointing aggressively at her phone, indicating that she is on a call.

A rundown caravan park with weeds sprouting haphazardly between the cracks of paved pathways.

FLEA (CONT’D) (petulantly) I’m sta-a-rving and we have no food.

Kylie is struck stupid, her face frozen in horror as the camera spins slowly around her, revealing a never-ending labyrinth of motorhomes.

Kylie sighs frustratedly.

SOCIAL WORKER (O.S.) So Sky, what was your house like?

KYLIE (sweetly) Sorry, can you just hold one second?

FLEA (O.S.) was nice. I got to play with all my toys and sometimes duckies would visit and I got to feed them some bread!

Kylie places the phone on the benchtop and marches towards the fridge. KYLIE (CONT’D) You know not to interrupt me whilst I’m on the phone. She nudges Flea away from the fridge.

As we hear Flea’s voice-over, Kylie’s Theme is building to a crescendo as Kylie sprints back towards their house only to open the door to see: 11 INT. FAMILY CARAVAN. CONTINUOUS.

KYLIE (CONT’D) I literally went grocery shopping yesterday, surely-

Flea slouched on a torn, fabric couch a tray of toys resting on her lap, another woman is sitting on the couch with her.

Kylie is stopped short as we see the bare fridge, the only products in there are two bottles of sauces and a head of lettuce.

The interior is ill-maintained and outdated. Clothing and rubbish are littered all around the tiny space. Kylie’s Theme becomes more prominent as we build to a crescendo, as the piece reaches its climax we jarringly:

KYLIE (CONT’D) (Under her breath) What the fuck?




We FADE BACK IN to find Flea sitting on the same couch. She’s fiddling nervously with the same tray of toys on her lap, not meeting the eye of the SOCIAL WORKER (30s) sitting patiently next to her, a serene look on her face.

A WIDE SHOT of rush hour. We hear speeding traffic, as it passes quickly down the main road. The sound of the occasional horn beeping impatiently mingled with road rage can be heard faintly.

SOCIAL WORKER It looks like you’re having fun with those toys. Have you given them any names yet?

CLOSE UP of a young woman, Kylie, chewing gum loudly, her mouth movements similar to that of a cow chewing grass. A cigarette is tucked behind her ear. She is makeup-free with large bags under her eyes; she is gaunt and worn down, almost unrecognisable from the previous scene.

Flea shakes her head. SOCIAL WORKER (CONT’D) Do you have lots of friends that you can play toys with?

FLEA (O.S.) (whining) Are we done yet?

FLEA (whispering) Just Mum.



The camera drops down to the young girl, sitting on the cracked pavement, hunched over, looking miserable. It’s Flea.

SOCIAL WORKER And did you have a lot of fun with your mum?

KYLIE We only just started.

Flea nods her head, the Social Worker waits patiently prompting a verbal response.

FLEA (still Whining) But I’m boredddd.

FLEA Sometimes I say if she wants to play but then she pretends to be asleep.

WIDE SHOT of the two of them on the curb of a main road.

SOCIAL WORKER How do you know she was pretending to sleep?

Kylie is spinning a sign which receives no reception as cars speed past.

Flea demonstrates physically by making her limbs limp as she slouches on the couch dazed as if lost in some fantasy.

There’s an awkward pause. FLEA (CONT’D) (finally) This is a shit birthday.

The Social Worker nods in response, scribbling on a note pad.

Flea sprawls on her back in exasperation as a car drives past honking its horn and cat-calling. Kylie flips him off routinely. A sleek black car playing obnoxious music pulls up at the traffic light next to them.

FLEA (warmer) Today’s my birthday, I’m six! SOCIAL WORKER Wow, you’re so grown up!

KYLIE If you’re going to sit here and bitch all day then live with dad.

Flea smiles happily in response. SOCIAL WORKER (CONT’D) Did your mum do anything special for your birthday?

Flea doesn’t move.

The sound of a car horn can be heard in the background, the sound builds as we

A screeching rock song sounds from Kylie’s pocket. She answers the phone call as Flea commentates on the movement around her.



Pymble Student Research

KYLIE (CONT’D) Look...when I’m finished work, we’ll go home and celebrate, okay? I promise.





Tonight is good. Yeah, around seven... No, it’s I mean yes it is yeah good to go... Yeah I got what you asked for...It was-CAN YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!

KYLIE How much was it? FLEA Free.

FLEA (to herself, sing-song) Red light...Green light....Yellow light. Why aren’t there other colour lights mum?... Mum why isn’t there a blue light, MUM!

KYLIE Did the man see? FLEA No. KYLIE

Flea stops talking. Grumbling, she gets up and walks away.


KYLIE (CONT’D) No not you... Just tell me when you’re coming so I can get ready- HEY where are you going?! Kylie cuts off the mysterious caller again.

A passing car WIPES the screen as we TRANSITION: 15 EXT. SHOPPING CENTRE. AFTERNOON. ‘Sedona‘ - Handmouth

FLEA I’m going to get some food!!

Flea is sitting on the edge of the path outside a row of shops, she is slurping on a fluorescent, rainbow slushie.

KYLIE We just ate breakfast!

Content, she rocks her head side to side in time to her own imaginary tune.


Kylie walks out of the rundown store behind her, shoving a small pile of bills -her payment for the day- in her bag.

Kylie, given up on shouting across the road continues on with her conversation as we FOLLOW Flea.

KYLIE (with relief) Ah, thank God that’s over right Flea?

‘Bobbi‘s Second World‘ - The Orielles

Flea just looks up at Kylie, and responds with a loud slurp.

She waits at the pedestrian crossing, waiting for the green light to allow her to cross. She impatiently presses the button, thinking that pressing it more will make the light change more quickly.

KYLIE (CONT’D) (laughs) Sounds good, let’s go!

FLEA (CONT’D) (screams excitedly) GREEN MAN!!


14 INT. PETROL STATION. LATER. Flea sprints across the road into a petrol station. She walks to the back of the store, snatching a lollipop and a bag of lollies, stuffing them into her pocket. Inconspicuously, she meanders around a little longer, then walks back out the door innocently, the cashier doesn’t look up from behind the counter.

The music continues as Flea and Kylie are playing around in a dollar shop. Flea picks up basically everything she sees, and asks Kylie if she can have it. After some time she finds a cheap beaded bracelet, it’s beads are bright purple and there’s a fake, chunky jewel in the middle. FLEA Mum, can I have this, it’s rainbow? Beat.

She walks back to Kylie sucking on the stolen lollipop.

KYLIE Alright... Can you get me one too? We can match.

KYLIE Where’s that from?


19 INT. FAMILY CARAVAN. AFTERNOON. Kylie lounges on her battered couch, she is sitting completely still, gazing absently into the distance.

Yay!!! They meander down the aisles. They try on strange hats from the costume section and we observe as they pose mockingly in front of the security cameras.

Flea is in the kitchen, rummaging loudly in the cabinets. A radio is playing in the background, the grainy audio playing an ad for a charity. ADVERTISEMENT VOICE OVER Donate now, and you could save a life.

17 EXT. MAIN ROAD. AFTERNOON. The two walk out of the shop still wearing their hats, laughing.

FLEA (O.S.) (yelling from kitchen) Mum! We don’t have any food!

FLEA What’s next?

Kylie does not move, still dazed.

Kylie raises two plastic grocery bags in her hands, they’re filled with cans of spray paint.

FLEA (CONT’D) (petulantly) Muuum. I’m staaarving and we have no foooood.

KYLIE We celebrate. We follow the two as Kylie takes Flea’s hand and runs.

Flea waits for Kylie to respond, she doesn’t. FLEA (CONT’D) (impatiently) Ugh. Mum, are you deaf?-

18 EXT. MONTAGE. ABANDONED TUNNEL. AFTERNOON. ‘Keen For Kick Ons?‘ by The Psychadelic Porn Crumpets

Flea stomps into the room to find Kylie dazed on the couch.

We watch as they spray paint the walls of an abandoned tunnel with rainbow coloured incomprehensible words and scribbles.

FLEA (CONT’D) (exasperated) Mum stop faking you’re asleep so you don’t get food.

We see Kylie drawing a penis on the wall, she points this out to Flea, and the two laugh hysterically.

She stands in front of Kylie, waving her arms frantically.


FLEA (CONT’D) (shouting)

Sprinklers are spinning on a lush, green, field. Flea and Kylie sprint through them, soaking their clothes. Puddles of water form on the ground, Flea jumps around in them, splashing Kylie. Kylie squeals and shoves a laughing Flea.

MUM! Kylie still doesn’t pay attention. Flea blows a raspberry and points the middle finger at Kylie in response and goes off in search of her own food.

EXT. MAIN ROAD. STILL LATER Kylie, carrying Flea on her shoulders whilst they’re singing/yelling songs at the top of their lungs down the main road oblivious of the speeding cars. Kylie has her cigarette lit and Flea imitates her with her lollipop stick.


FLEA (Excited)

‘The Traveler #2 ( He Stomps Rhythms Down o Hell)‘ - David Yazbek 20 EXT. CARAVAN PARK. LATER.


she tests the handle and the door swings open. She wanders in search of food just like Kylie had shown her earlier, only the caravan isn’t empty.

Flea is jumping over the cracks in the winding pavement. Kylie is striding determinedly towards their caravan, eager to get inside. A police car is seen in between the gaps of the caravans, doing its frequent laps of the park.

An old, gruff man, NIGEL (60s), spins around startled when he hears Flea enter the caravan.


Pymble Student Research

Flea storms outside and marches over to the nearest caravan,

NIGEL What are you doin’ in ‘ere?!

SOCIAL WORKER She said that to you?

Flea gasps in fear and sprints back out the way she came, she crashes into an older woman, Nigel’s wife, FAYE (60s), walking up the stairs of their caravan with a bag of groceries.

FLEA No. She says it to her friends.

The groceries scatter on the ground, Flea spots a can of food on the ground and grabs it as she runs back towards her caravan. We hear Nigel yelling at her in the background.

SOCIAL WORKER (trying to get back on track) Do you like being called Flea? FLEA Yep... is mum in trouble? SOCIAL WORKER No Sky, she just needs some help.

21 INT. FAMILY CARAVAN. CONTINUOUS. Flea sprints inside and slams the door shut, panting heavily.


KYLIE (O.S.) Jesus Christ, Flea! What the hell are you doing? You’re loud enough to wake the whole fuckin’ place. Kylie is staring at Flea, her arms crossed sternly. FLEA (shouting) I got food! Flea shoves the can in Kylie’s face to emphasize her point. KYLIE I told you I would get food!

As the interview continues we watch Kylie usher the police officer to the kitchen table inside. SOCIAL WORKER (O.S.) You said your mum has these dreams. Does she have them all the time? FLEA (O.S.) Umm...Lots at home and sometimes when we’re outside. SOCIAL WORKER (O.S.) What do you do if you want something, do you wake her up? We watch Kylie argue animatedly with the police officer, he tries to placate her.

FLEA No, you didn’t you were pretending to be asleep again/! KYLIE

FLEA (O.S.) She gets angry if I get her up, she pretends she can’t hear me. The police officer picks up his radio and speaks into it. Kylie puts her head in her hands in defeat.

/Oh fuck off. A heavy knock rattles their door. Kylie exhales heavily, and strides to the door, she swings it open to find a POLICE OFFICER at her door. SOCIAL WORKER (O.S.) Flea? That’s a funny name. Why does your mum call you that? 22 INT. FAMILY BEDROOM. INTERVIEW.

He goes to the door and brings in the same SOCIAL WORKER we saw talking to Flea. The Police Officer talks to her and she nods her head in confirmation. 24 INT. CARAVAN BEDROOM. BACK TO FLEA. SOCIAL WORKER Do you get scared when that happens? Flea takes a moment to think.

CUT TO Flea now facing the Social Worker, the box of toys resting beside her.

FLEA Um... sometimes. I don’t like it. When she doesn’t wake up I get scared.

FLEA (imitating Kylie) Once you get ‘em you can’t get rid of them, so you learn to live with ‘em.

SOCIAL WORKER (resigned) Okay, Sky, thank you.

The Social Worker blinks in shock.

The Social Worker gets up to leave.


28 INT. CAR. AFTERNOON. MOVING. “Little Person“ - John Brion We’re outside a car, looking inside at Flea who is leaning her head against the window, mournful. A school passes in the background. It’s the same scene we saw at the beginning of the film.

The Social Worker takes her time to respond. SOCIAL WORKER It’s nothing to be worried about Sky, we’re going to help her.

The narration from the beginning of the film starts again.

25 INT. CARAVAN KITCHEN. BACK TO KYLIE. SOCIAL WORKER Kylie, I’m sorry to be back so soon but it’s getting to a point where this is becoming seriously detrimental to Sky. Not only that, but your landlord has approached me multiple times about your inability to pay your bills.

FLEA (V.O.) My mum doesn’t need fancy clothes because she looks pretty in everything. She doesn’t wear a cape because they look stupid. 29 INT. FOSTER HOUSE. DAY. We watch Flea being taken into a large townhouse, a jovial couple greets her and the Social Worker at the door.

KYLIE I told you before, I’m not abusing my kid. Trust me I know what abusing your kid is like.

FLEA (V.O.) My mum is very brave and strong and she always knows how to get rid of all the bad stuff.

SOCIAL WORKER (frankly) Miss Lawler, neglect is a form of abuse. Kylie doesn’t respond, she ducks her head to hide the tears rushing down her face.


FLEA (blurting) Is there something wrong with mum?

CROSS DISSOLVE 30 INT. SCHOOL. DAY. We FADE IN to reveal a show and tell presentation, Flea is giving her speech to a small class. It is the same narration from the beginning, the Superhero speech.

KYLIE (hopelessly) I don’t know what to do. I’ve been having them since I was a kid. I can’t help it... when I start dreaming I’m finally happy...

FLEA And that’s why I choosed my Mum as my superhero. I love her very much.

Her voice trails off. SOCIAL WORKER Do you think it’s maybe time you found help for these dreams?

And... I miss her, I’m seven years old now and I want her to come back. So she can save me again.



From the window of the caravan, we watch Flea slide into a sleek, black car.


27 INT. FAMILY CARAVAN. DAY. The Social Worker continues talking in the background as we watch Kylie standing hopelessly in the middle of her caravan, she DISSOLVES into the Mother we saw earlier in the film at the boutique.


Pymble Student Research

SOCIAL WORKER (O.S.) (CONT’D) Whilst you’re receiving the help you need we’ll look after Sky. It’s really important that you sort this out as it is in Sky’s best interest that your separation is not permanent.



MR DAVID McKINLAY “The History Extension course is about the nature of History, and how and why historical interpretations are developed from different perspectives and approaches over time.” (NSW Syllabus – History Extension Stage 6 Syllabus, NESA 2017)

The course requires students to examine the way history is constructed, and the role of producers of History in that construction, by reviewing the types of history that have been produced over time and the contexts in which they were developed.

We have found, over years of experience, that this Project and the course is the greatest preparation for tertiary studies, as the students become experts in the demands of university-style independent learning, research and the communication of ideas. Students use higher order thinking skills to become critical and reflective learners, fostering in them flexibility and the ability to consider different perspectives as they reflect on methodologies. Many a student has come back visit the staff where they reflect on the important skills learnt and recognise how this has smoothed their transition to further education. These projects demonstrate the work of students who have engaged with complex historiographical ideas and methodologies and they have communicated their findings in a sophisticated, nuanced approach.

The History Project forms the major part of the assessment in History Extension. In the Project, students apply the knowledge, concepts and skills from the class work, dealing with the construction of History, to conduct their own historical investigation. Students must develop and refine their own question as they implement the historical process. They research and communicate their own interpretation of a historical debate and make judgements about why there is no one agreed historical narrative. The students this year researched a wide range of interesting historical debates, from the impact of the Second World War on the women of Berlin, to Hawaiian nationalism, empiricism’s impact on humanity and the role of the Chinese Communist Party in the recording of the history of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. These projects demonstrate the work of students who have engaged with complex historiographical ideas and methodologies and they have communicated their findings in a sophisticated, nuanced approach. They worked closely with a History teacher, who acted as a mentor, to produce a coherent and sustained argument about the nature and construction of history in their debate.

We hope you enjoy reading and being challenged by the historical investigations of four of the History Extension graduates for 2020. MR DAVID McKINLAY ACTING HEAD OF LEARNING AREA: HISTORY



Sabrina Nogueira 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? Studying Big History in Year 10 made me interested in looking at history on a larger scale. Hence, instead of choosing a narrow topic, I decided to choose one where I could incorporate various schools of history. I also love both Ancient and Modern History and couldn’t decide on a certain time period to focus on, so instead, was inspired to research history in a broader sense.

2. What was your planning progress? I began brainstorming possible topics and decided to research World History. However, I was then led to Orientalism in relation to modern day China, and before the end of Term 4, I drafted an inquiry question to guide my research throughout the summer holidays. To research, I primarily used online databases, and the school and State Library. Whilst reading an article or book, I wrote down the relevant information and the page number, so it was easy to find if I needed it again. However, my planning progress became all over the place! When I got back to school, I realised that my research spanned across a couple of possible topics. Hence, I had a meeting with my teacher to make a final decision of my topic based on what I found the most interesting. With the help of my teacher, I drafted a new inquiry question and decided that I wanted to focus on the limitations of traditional history. I was then able to form my own judgement from what I had researched and write a practice introduction and plan, in the middle of Term 1. In my plan, I chose key historians and schools of history, and linked them to how I would answer my inquiry question. I found it very useful to submit work for feedback! Towards the end of Term 1, I began to draft body paragraphs and then altered my argument based on what was most relevant. Although, I kept researching specific areas and adding historians up until the due date! My topic was still quite broad and the feedback from the Term 2 proposal helped me to narrow down my research and paragraphs. However, with the help of my teacher, I managed to further narrow down the scope of my inquiry question a couple of weeks before the project was due!

3. What challenges did you come across?

Planning out my judgement and the structure of my essay in Term 1 was really helpful as it allowed me to realise what information was not relevant to my argument, and what gaps I needed to fill in. This allowed me to work better with my teacher and discuss what needed to be changed. My teacher was also a big help with narrowing down my topic and inquiry question, as I was very lost in the research and thought that I had done too little, when at times, I had done too much broad research! Writing practice introductions and body paragraphs, as well as focusing on my argument rather than the content, was particularly helpful in realising how much information was necessary to include for each school of history. I ended up changing my inquiry question again a couple of weeks before the project was due. Even though this stressed me out, my teacher helped me realise that this was better as my research and argument were more directed towards this question.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? I think it is really important to spend time choosing a topic that you are interested in because this will make you want to do the research and constantly refine your argument. I found that allocating at least one hour a week, in the beginning, to spend on the project was helpful in ensuring that I was on track! I would also advise to start planning and writing early. Even if you are not completely sure where you are heading, it helps to set out what you have so far. Then, you can work best with your teacher to clarify if you need to change anything. 2500 words is really not that much, so start broadly with your research but then be sure to narrow it down. This will allow you to develop your own voice in your essay and be able to show depth, whilst sticking to the word limit.


Pymble Student Research

I found it difficult to narrow down my topic and select the most relevant historians for my work. This resulted in my research being very broad and me completely changing topics from World History, to Orientalism in relation to modern day China, and finally to traditional History. I definitely underestimated the amount of information that I could fit into the 2500 word limit! I also found it challenging to narrow down my inquiry question and make sure that it aligned to the research I had done.

4. How did you overcome them?

History Assess the limitations of empiricism’s content in representing the full scope of the human experience By Sabrina Nogueira Empiricism has come to be seen as confined to a Eurocentric, political and male grand narrative. In order to adequately represent the full scope of humanity, one must investigate “social, cultural, political, and other dimensions of [the] human historical experience.”1 Writing about the Prussian monarchy, empiricist Leopold von Ranke, exemplified the empirical limitations of an elitist, political and Eurocentric narrative. However, 1960s public questioning of traditional beliefs, drew attention to the experiences of sociocultural minorities who were previously left with little voice. Hence, Edward Said’s 1978 Orientalism, criticised this Eurocentric grand narrative by refuting the purpose of Western scholarship as being confined to patronising the East. This became a fundamental bedrock for twenty-first century post-colonial historians, such as Sebastian Conrad (2016), who acknowledges that the human experience needs to be placed in a global rather than nationalistic context.2 Furthermore, producers of history have been driven to fill the inherent gaps of empiricism. By challenging empiricism’s political confinements, mid-nineteenth century Marxism fills in the gaps of economics and class struggle. This was built upon by the earlytwentieth century Annales school, who focused on the experiences of the lower class. Similarly, David

Christian’s 1989 macro-approach, ‘Big History,’ strives to fill gaps by placing humans in the larger context of the universe. The scope of humanity has also been enhanced by micro-histories such as sexuality, gender and ethnicities, as exemplified by late-twentieth century historians Jill Matthews and Vincent Harding. The fluctuation of historical purposes since the nineteenth century, have highlighted the inadequacy of empiricism’s grand narrative to convey the full magnitude of the human experience. It is clear that the scope of empiricism is fundamentally limited in terms of its political, elitist, male and Eurocentric interpretation of the human experience. The original empiricist, Leopold von Ranke, was a conservative Prussian historian who was invited by the Prussian monarchy to the University of Berlin in 1824.3 His monarchy funded research and use of elite written archival sources was driven by his purpose to construct a glorified political narrative, as exemplified by his 1847 Preussische Geschichte.4 This “one-dimensional” representation has been criticised by late-twentieth century historian Felix Gilbert, who argues that it maintained the “continuity of European history,”5 and hence their imperialistic stance. Ranke’s work was a mere institutional grand narrative which socially and culturally confined humanity to


an elitist, white, male, political and European history. Furthermore, Ranke’s narrow representation has been broadened by contemporary empiricist, Richard Evans. His many works on the German Reich focus on both social and political history, however his representation of the human experience is still Eurocentric. Evans’ interest in constructing a European, elitist history was sparked by his further education between 1970-1972 in Hamburg and Berlin, which saw him founding the ‘German History Society’ in 1979 and becoming a Research Fellow at the ‘Free University of Berlin’ between 19811989.’6 However, UCLA Professor Peter Baldwin, challenges Evans’ “one-dimensional” representation, arguing, “Does Evans really think that the world needs another general book on the decline of the Weimar Republic?”7, reinforcing the lack of breadth of its content to enhance the complexity of the human experience. The dominance of Western historians has paved the way for empiricism’s white grand narrative to be constantly reinforced.8 Therefore, historians such as Ranke’s and Evans’ empirical history give a misguided understanding of humanity. Empiricism has overlooked the “dimensions” of nationalities, geographical regions, lower classes, genders and sexualities, causing voices to lay dormant in their histories and to instead be

The 1960s was significant in enhancing the scope of history due to public questioning, challenging traditional attitudes and beliefs. Academic E.H. Carr challenged the authority of historians by arguing that they had to be understood by audiences, removing them from their academic pedestal.9 Furthermore, the growing disillusionment with the US government’s quagmire in the Vietnam War, as exemplified by Anti-war movements, intensified doubts that traditional structures were able to provide security and assurance. This set a precedent for broader public questioning of social class, gender, sexuality and ethnicities, allowing for groups such as African Americans to push for a shared purpose and identity.10 Therefore, ideological questioning served to demystify cultural stigmas and enhance the social “dimensions” which were given little room in the empirical grand narrative.


interconnectedness and causation, Orientalism has paved the way for a richer vision of the cultural “dimensions” of the modern world to be understood. The empirical representation of a politically structured grand narrative, warranted the construction of a history which fills in the social and economic gaps of the human experience. Marxism’s analysis of economics and class systems, added complexity to understanding humanity. Marxism originated from Karl Marx’s and Freidrich Engels’ 1848 Communist Manifesto, which, written against the backdrop of Industrial Revolution, saw history as a class struggle and aimed to establish the proletariat as the dominant class.18 Historian Eric Hobsbawm, was a Jewish school boy during the Nazi regime’s rise to power, influencing him to support communism in 1932, and afterwards in moving to Britain, to join the ‘British Communist Party.’19 In adopting Marxist ideologies, Hobsbawm’s The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848, constructed a history which wove “bourgeois and proletarian agency” into economic transformation.20 Hence, in discussing the social and economic influence of the British Industrial and French Revolution on the modern world, he broadens the depth of empiricism’s political interpretation. This is evident is his characterisation of the revolutions as points of “greatest transformation in human history,”21 and focusing, specifically, on their impact on the Prussian, Livonian and German working class.22 Therefore, Hobsbawm’s Marxist interpretation expanded the breadth of content of the human experience, by social and economic “dimensions.” Despite Marxism filling in one gap of empiricism, the Annales school continued to broaden the scope

Pymble Student Research

Empiricism’s “one-dimensional” Eurocentric history has provoked historians to seek to fill in the cultural gaps of ‘others’ experiences. The World Wars, Great Depression, Atomic Bomb and Holocaust marked a key turning point in history, due to increasing interconnectedness between nations undermining nationalist narratives, and exemplifying in many eyes the failure of the modernists’ world. This established the context for the acknowledgment of divergent collective experiences, challenging the conclusion of ‘Whig History’ that Western society had hit the ‘peak’ of civilisation. One ideological transformation is exemplified by Edward Said’s 1978 Orientalism, which seeks “coexistence”11 between the West and East without hostility, a notion

simply neglected by empiricists. In response to decolonisation movements like the Vietnam War, Said alludes to the patronising role of American imperialism in legitimising their involvement in the East. Growing up in British colonies Jerusalem and Cairo, in the 1940-50s, with Arab heritage, Said states that he had “no identity at all.”12 Subsequently, influencing him to challenge the empiricist Western disfigurement of history. This is conveyed in his argument that the limited cultural “dimensions” of humanity were shaped by the hegemonic notion of “European identity as a superior one in comparison with all the non-European peoples and cultures.”13 Hence, Said reinforces how empiricism set precedent for individuals to be “trained to view”14 ‘others’ with cultural prejudice, misrepresenting the ethnic diversity of humanity. Said’s theory has served as a bedrock for postcolonial historians, alike Sebastian Conrad, to acknowledge the confinements which Eurocentracism has placed on history. According to social historian Raymond Grew, within an increasingly globalised world, history must deal with the West’s dominance.15 Hence, Conrad, also a global historian, criticises the influence of WWII in lengthening the imperialistic agenda of “nation building,”16 emphasising Eurocentric history’s narrow scope in its perpetuation of propagandistic ideologies of Western superiority. This is further demonstrated through phrases such as “revolution,” “nation,” “society,” and “progress” having transformed European experiences on the assumption of their universality.17 Hence, Said’s theory has resulted in a contemporary acknowledgment of empiricism’s nationalistic and Eurocentric misrepresentation of humanity. Through an outlook of


overridden by an elitist, political, male and Eurocentric narrative.

of humanity through focusing on the limited voices of lower classes. The Annales school originated in France in the 1920s and aimed to expand beyond a largely political and military based history, constructing a narrative which encompassed lower classes;23 those missed by traditional history. The fusion of cultural, social and economic factors was necessary to broaden content, causing Annalists to take into consideration the environment and other disciplines instead of placing events in isolation,24 alike empiricists. Mentored by Annalist Lucien Fabvre, Fernand Braudel was influenced to implement a long durée,25 broadening the social “dimensions” of the human experience. This is exemplified in Braudel’s 1949 The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II, which utilised a geographical framework to focus on the language and experiences of villagers.2 Historian Trever-Roper characterises Ranke’s History of the Spanish and the Ottoman Empires as “narrowly political,” in contrast to Braudel having “studied the same subject in far greater depth: first geographically, then economically and socially, finally politically and strategically.”26 Therefore, it is clear that Braudel’s content of lower class individuals was significantly valuable in expanding the scope of empiricism’s “one-dimensional” elitist narrative. Empiricism’s “one-dimensional” interpretation, structured around humans, has left little room for the consideration of the wider forces which influence the human experience. Internationalism in the 1990s saw the introduction of a global historical approach, led by David Christian’s ‘Big History.’ Christian is a Russian historian, influencing him to analyse overarching trends.27

Interest in World History and World Environmental History in the 1980s,28 caused Christian to construct a narrative which acknowledges humans within the universe, taking into consideration the pasts studied by professions such as biologists, geologists, anthropologists and cosmologists.29 This expanded beyond empiricism’s political narrative, and influenced individuals such as geographer Jared Diamond, in his 1997 Guns, Germs, and Steel, to recognise the importance of environmental factors in explaining Western dominance.30 Due to scientific advancements in the 1950s, such as radiometric carbon dating, the specialisation of disciplines intensified, meaning that the surge of scientific ideas offered a mere “pin-hole” view of the world.31 Therefore, in having a multidisciplinary approach, Christian’s content is able to explain the importance of the wider universe, which was excluded from empiricism’s “onedimensional” human, political history. In contrast to empiricism, ‘Big History’ is centered away from human agency,32 and acknowledges the biosphere, humanity and universe all as a grand evolving story.33 Surface political events, such as the French Revolution “may get no more than a passing mention,”34 reinforcing how Christian’s cohesive narrative is able to surpass the political confinements of empiricism. With historians, such as Ranke and Evans, being more comfortable with a political approach,35 it is evident that the underpinning of Christian’s interdisciplinary methodology is crucial as it enables the consideration of the human experience in its full context. Furthermore, the value of ‘Big History’ is supported by world historian William McNeill’s claim of it offering insight into


“peoples who left no written records and had therefore been excluded from documentbased “scientific” history in the nineteenth century.”36 Thus, ‘Big History’s’ cohesive interpretation is significantly valuable in widening the scope of empiricism’s human reliant narrative. The limited depth of empiricism’s male dominated representation has resulted in the formation of micro-histories, which fill the gaps of minorities such as gender and sexuality. Despite there still being rigid class divisions, the periods of Post-War and the Cold War significantly contributed to the diminishment of social barriers.37 This brought gender and sexuality to the forefront of thinking, where 1960s Gay Liberation movements influenced producers of history alike philosopher Michel Foucault, who argues that “sexual attitudes and behaviour must be examined within the larger framework of social and economic history.” 38 Furthermore, 1960s ideological proliferation regarding women, due their role as a wife, mother and industrial worker during the World Wars, underpinned the importance of discussion about gender roles.39 The 1960-80s ‘Women’s Liberation Movement’ furthered this discussion due to promulgating women’s legal and social rights at the centre of thinking, with the development of language which sought to challenge the dominance of men in women’s lives.40 Feminist history strives to rewrite women into previous “onedimensional” male narratives, as exemplified by the Australian National University historian Jill Matthews, who specialises in culture, gender and sexuality.41 Matthews’ involvement in the 1970 Moratorium demonstration and 1971 Gay Liberation Movement, 42 influenced her to draw attention

Empiricism’s content is significantly limited as it leaves little room for the full complexity of the social, cultural, economic and geographical “dimensions” of the human experience. Ranke’s and Evans’ simplification of an elitist, Eurocentric, political and male narrative reinforces the restricted view of the human condition. Said’s Orientalism exemplifies empiricism’s Westernised focus, whereas the Marxist and Annales school, demonstrate its social and economic omissions. Furthermore, Christian’s aim to create a cohesive narrative, centered away from human agency, indicates the limitations of not placing humanity in a wider global context. Moreover, feminist and African-American minority histories signify the limitations of empiricism in bypassing the complexity of divergent cultural


experiences. Thus, the variety of contemporary historical content reinforces the fundamental limitations of empiricism’s representation, due to overriding the social, cultural, economic and geographical “dimensions” of the human experience.

Pymble Student Research

Similarly, the rise of AfricanAmerican history accentuates the restrictions of empiricism’s grand narrative in representing the full cultural “dimensions” of the human experience. The 1960s American Civil Rights Movement’s demands for equality resulted in African-American historians to strive to correct the omissions and distortions of the past,45 which had been generated by the overpowering Eurocentric narratives, of empiricism. This is exemplified by late-twentieth century AfricanAmerican historian, Vincent Harding, who aimed to capture the ongoing social struggles of African-Americans in society. Harding’s African-American ethnicity, involvement in Southern social and political freedom campaigns, such as the 19611962 ‘Albany Movement,’ and role as an advisor to civil rights activist Martin Luther King,46 influenced him to specifically

focus on the marginalised ethnic voices in American society. Hence, he adopted a revisionist approach in striving to fill in the gaps perpetuated by the “one-dimensional” experience of the Eurocentric imperialistic notion of colonisation. Harding’s exploration of African-American Resistance in his 1970 The Other American Revolution, enhances the complexity of the human experience in representing an ethnicity who had little exploration in previous narratives. Furthermore, Harding aimed to make people face the “alternative revolutionary tradition and its implications,”47 reinforcing the significance of micro-histories in providing insight into the individual human experience and how that differs from the narrative perpetuated by empiricism. Therefore, microhistories have played a vital role in filling in the socio-cultural “dimensions,” which empiricism has largely bypassed.


to empiricism’s limited content in only truly grasping the male scope of the human experience. Matthews argues that no singular conceptual framework can “fit the complexities of the human experience of all women,” however feminist history strives to challenge the limited scope of histories which have “belittled and oppressed women” and instead allow for female “autonomy and space for self-definition.”43 Furthermore, empiricist’s use of primary sources, such as newspapers and paintings, has led to an ideological representation of women that has been perpetuated through the values of men,44 therefore not truly representing the female experience. Thus, feminist history undermines the authority of empirical narratives, highlighting the limitations of representing a “one-dimensional” male human experience.

FOOTNOTES Jeff Glasco. 2016. ‘History 362 The History of Ireland OCE Fall Term’. 1-9. syllabi/2016fa/hist362.pdf. 1. 2 Sebastian Conrad. 2016. ‘What Is Global History?’. Princeton University Press. 4-5. 3 Andreas Boldt. 2017. ‘Perception, Depiction and Description of European History: Leopold von Ranke and His Development and Understanding of Modern Historical Writing’. National University of Ireland, Maynooth. 1-17. stable/43306086. 11. 4 Leopold von Ranke, and Andreas Willy. 1999. Preussische Geschichte. Essen: E. Vollmer Verlag. 5 Felix Gilbert. 1986. Leopold von Ranke and the American Philosophical Society’. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 130 (3): 362–66. 365. 6 Richard Evans. 2020. ‘Richard J. Evans. CV’. 7 Peter Baldwin. 2011. ‘Response to Evans’. Contemporary European History 20 (3): 377–80. 377. 8 Ibid. 9 David Cannadine. 2002. ‘What is History Now?’. Palgrave Macmillan. 4 10 Stanley Kurtz. 2003. Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic. no. 520. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press. 29-55. https:// uploads/documents/0817939628_29.pdf. 11 ChallengingMedia. 2006. Edward Said: On Orientalism. YouTube video. https://www. 12 Between Worlds Edward Said Makes Sense of His Life’. 1998. London Review of Books. 7 May 1998. 13 Edward Said. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books. 7. 14 ChallengingMedia, Edward Said: On Orientalism. 15 Raymond Grew. 2006. ‘Expanding Worlds of World History’. The Journal of Modern History 78 (4): 878–98. https://doi. org/10.1086/511205 882. 16 Conrad. ‘What is Global History?’. 32. 17 Ibid. 4. 18 Egbert Munzer. 1948. ‘The Communist Manifesto’. Bulletin Des Relations Industrielles 3 (7): 103–6. 103. 19 Theodore Koditschek. 2013. ‘How to Change History’. Edited by Eric Hobsbawm. History and Theory 52 (3): 433–50. 434 20 Ibid. 442. 21 Eric Hobsbawm. 1996. The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848. United States: Vintage Books. 1. 22 Ibid. 156. 23 Michael Harsgor. 1978. ‘Total History: The Annales School’. Journal of Contemporary History 13 (1): 1–13. 2. 1

BIBLIOGRAPHY H. R. Trevor-Roper. 1972. ‘Fernand Braudel, the Annales, and the Mediterranean’. The Journal of Modern History 44 (4): 468–79. 469. 25 George James. 1985. ‘Fernand Braudel Dead at 83; French Historian and Author’. The New York Times, 29 November 1985. 26 Trevor-Roper. ‘Fernand Braudel, the Annales, and the Mediterranean’. 475. 27 David Christian. ‘What Is Big History?’ Journal of Big History 1 (1): 4–19. 4. 28 ‘David Christian’. 2020. Macquarie University. en/persons/david-christian. 29 Christian, ‘What is Big History?’, 5. 30 Grew. ‘Expanding Worlds of World History’. 885. 31 Christian. ‘What is Big History?’. 12-14. 32 Eric J. Chaisson. ‘Big History’s Risk and Challenge’. 86–95. https://www. Expositions_BH.pdf. 86. 33 Christian. ‘What is Big History?’. 14-18. 34 David Christian. 2005. Maps of Time. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. 8. 35 Grew. ‘Expanding Worlds of World History’. 889. 36 Christian. Maps of Time. xvi. 37 Birmingham Feminist History Group. 2005. ‘Feminism as Femininity in the NineteenFifties?’ Feminist Review, no. 80: 6–23. 7. 38 Harry Cocks, Matt Houlbrook. 2006. ‘The Modern History of Sexuality’. Palgrave Macmillan, 1–6. https://reviews.history. 39 Birmingham. ‘Feminism as Femininity in the Nineteen-Fifties?’. 8-9. 40 Ibid. 21. 41 ‘Emeritus Professor Jill Julius Matthews’. 2020. Australian National University. The Australian National University. researchers/matthews-jjj. 42 ‘Matthews, Jill Julius - Woman The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia’. 2020. The University of Melbourne. The University of Melbourne. 43 Jill Matthews. 1986. ‘Feminist History’. Labour History, no. 50: 147–53. https://doi. org/10.2307/27508788. 148. 44 Ibid. 45 Robert L Harris. 1982. Coming of Age: The Transformation of Afro-American Historiography’. The Journal of Negro History 67 (2): 107–21. https://doi. org/10.2307/2717569. 107. 46 Stanford University. 2020. ‘Harding, Vincent Gordon’. The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. encyclopedia/harding-vincent-gordon. 47 Vincent Harding. 1980. The Other American Revolution. Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California. 16. 24


Baldwin, Peter. 2011. ‘Response to Evans’. Contemporary European History 20 (3): 377–80. ‘Between Worlds Edward Said Makes Sense of His Life’. 1998. London Review of Books. 7 May 1998. Biddick, Kathleen. 2013. ‘How New Things Come into the World of Feminist History’. Edited by Joan Wallach Scott. Journal of Social History 46 (4): 1060–65. Birmingham Feminist History Group. 2005. ‘Feminism as Femininity in the NineteenFifties?’ Feminist Review, no. 80: 6–23. Boldt, Andreas. 2017. ‘Perception, Depiction and Description of European History: Leopold von Ranke and His Development and Understanding of Modern Historical Writing’. National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 1-17. Braudel, Fernand. 1995. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II: Volume I. University of California Press. Cannadine, David. 2002. What Is History Now? Palgrave Macmillan. Chaisson, Eric J. ‘Big History’s Risk and Challenge’, 86–95. reprints/Expositions_BH.pdf ChallengingMedia. 2006. Edward Said: On Orientalism. YouTube video. https:// Chalmers, Graeme. 2005. ‘Visual Culture Education in the 1960s’. Art Education 58 (6): 6–11. Christian, David. 2005. Maps of Time. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California: University of California Press. Christian, David. 2010. ‘The Return of Universal History’. History and Theory 49 (4): 6–27. Christian, David. 2017. ‘What Is Big History?’ Journal of Big History 1 (1): 4–19. https://doi. org/10.22339/jbh.v1i1.2241. Conrad, Sebastian. 2016. What Is Global History? Princeton University Press. ‘David Christian’. 2020. Macquarie University. david-christian. Eberle, Janet C. 2013. ‘Civilization: The West and the Rest1’. The Army Lawyer; Charlottesville, July, 47–50. https://search. abstract/908B6368E497410CPQ/1. ‘Emeritus Professor Jill Julius Matthews’. 2020. Australian National University. The Australian National University. matthews-jjj. Evans, Richard. 2020. ‘Richard J. Evans. CV’. Ferguson, Niall. 2012. Civilization: The West and the Rest. Penguin Books. Foster, Roy. 2013. ‘Eric Hobsbawm’. Past & Present, no. 218: 3–15.


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Munzer, Egbert. 1948. ‘The Communist Manifesto’. Bulletin Des Relations Industrielles 3 (7): 103–6. Parker, Mattie Erma E., Judith M. Bennett, G. R. Elton, Natalie Zemon Davis, and Joan W. Scott. 1986. ‘A Feminist History’. The American Scholar 55 (2): 285–87. Powell, James M. 1988. ‘The Confusing and Ambiguous Legacy of Leopold von Ranke’ Syracuse Scholar 9 (1): 1-6. Purdue, A. W. 2005. ‘The History of the North-East in the Modern Period: Themes, Concerns, and Debates Since the 1960s.’ Northern History 42 (1): 107–17. http://search.ebscohost. com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh& AN=17144300&site= ehost-live. Ranke, Leopold von, and Willy Andreas. 1999. Preussische Geschichte. Essen: E. Vollmer Verlag. Richardson, Sarah S. 2010. ‘Feminist Philosophy of Science: History, Contributions, and Challenges’. Synthese 177 (3): 337–62. Sachsenmaier, Dominic. 2005. ‘Global History, Global Debates’. Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, March. Said, Edward. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books. Short, T. L. 2015. ‘Empiricism Expanded’. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 51 (1): 1–33. trancharpeirsoc.51.1.1. Snyder, Joseph M. 2016. Edited by Sebastian Conrad. The History Teacher 49 (4): 610–11. Stanford University. 2020. ‘Harding, Vincent Gordon’. The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. https:// harding- vincent-gordon. Trevor-Roper, H. R. 1972. ‘Fernand Braudel, the Annales, and the Mediterranean’. The Journal of Modern History 44 (4): 468–79. Wesseling, H. L. 1978. ‘The Annales School and the Writing of Contemporary History’. Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 1 (3/4): 185–94. White, Derrick Edward. 2004. ‘“New Conepts for the New Man:” The Institute of the Black World and the Incomplete Victory of the Second Reconstruction’. The Ohio State University.!etd. send_file?accession=osu1086113869 &disposition=inline. Willoughby, Urmi Engineer. 2017. ‘Sebastian Conrad. What Is Global History?’ The American Historical Review 122 (4): 1180–81.


Gilbert, Felix. 1986. ‘Leopold von Ranke and the American Philosophical Society’ Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 130 (3): 362–66. stable/986835. Glasco, Jeff. 2016. ‘History 362 The History of Ireland OCE Fall Term’, 1-9. https:// hist362.pdf. Grew, Raymond. 2006. ‘Expanding Worlds of World History’. The Journal of Modern History 78 (4): 878–98. https://doi. org/10.1086/511205. Harding, Vincent. 1980. The Other American Revolution. Center for Afro-American Studies, University of California. Harris, Robert L. 1982. ‘Coming of Age: The Transformation of Afro-American Historiography’. The Journal of Negro History 67 (2): 107–21. https://doi. org/10.2307/2717569. Harsgor, Michael. 1978. ‘Total History: The Annales School’. Journal of Contemporary History 13 (1): 1–13. Hijiya, James A. 2003. ‘The Conservative 1960s’. Journal of American Studies 37 (2): 201–27. Hobsbawm, Eric. 1996. The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848. United States: Vintage Books. Iggers, Georg. 2004. ‘Historiography from a Global Perspective’. Edited by Jürgen Osterhammel. History and Theory 43 (1): 146–54. James, George. 1985. ‘Fernand Braudel Dead at 83; French Historian and Author’. The New York Times, 29 November 1985. arts/fernand-braudel-dead-at-83-frenchhistorian-and-author.html. Koditschek, Theodore. 2013. ‘How to Change History’. Edited by Eric Hobsbawm. History and Theory 52 (3): 433–50. Kurtz, Stanley. 2003. Never a Matter of Indifference: Sustaining Virtue in a Free Republic. no. 520. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press. 29-55 uploads/documents/0817939628_29.pdf. Martin, Raymond. 1989. The Past Within Us. Princeton University Press. Matthews, Jill. 1986. ‘Feminist History’. Labour History, no. 50: 147–53. ‘Matthews, Jill Julius - Woman - The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth- Century Australia’. 2020. The University of Melbourne. The University of Melbourne. http://www.womenaustralia. info/leaders/biogs/WLE0511b.htm. McNeill, William H. 1986. ‘Organizing Concepts for World History’. Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 10 (2): 211–29. Morantz, Regina Markell. 1974. ‘The Perils of Feminist History’. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 4 (4): 649–60.

Annabelle Richens 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? I had initially selected a completely different topic which, after doing some brief contextual research, turned out to be a lot less interesting than I thought. I realised a lot of my peers had focused on areas of personal intrigue or interest – so I knew when I found a topic about women’s issues that had an opportunity to examine a feminist historical perspective, it would keep me inspired and thus motivated to work on my project. I was also intrigued by the fact that I had studied World War 2 multiple times in Stage 4 and 5 History and yet had never learned about this aspect of the aftermath. I felt it was an important aspect of history that deserved to be examined.

2. What was your planning progress? The History Extension project is based in different perspectives on a historical issue, or historical “producers” with diverse interpretations, so I began by researching as many different interpretations of my event as I could. From there, it was a process of selecting which producers of history were the most important – often those who marked a distinct change in interpretation, represented a larger group of similar perspectives or were influenced by a significant contextual event. This allowed me to plan the paragraphs for my final essay around each producer and start the writing process with a basic structure in mind.

3. What challenges did you come across? The most difficult part by far was reducing the masses of research into just one essay! I was really interested in my topic, so I spent a lot of time researching, reading and gathering information, and it was really tempting to try and squeeze everything in. I would often go back through my notes and lament days of research that never made it into the final essay – so, discerning what to include and what to leave out was definitely a challenge for me.


4. How did you overcome them? The writing process involved constant revision in order to reduce the final project down to the word limit. I was reluctant to cut whole paragraphs or “producers” from my essay (which probably would have been a more effective method!) so instead would go over and over my essay attempting to be more concise, cutting out irrelevant information and combining similar points. By cutting smaller and smaller amounts of words each time – as well as passing my draft to fresh eyes who could spot unnecessary sentences – I was able to reduce my word count without sacrificing too much of my argument or research!

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? For the History project in particular, I think the summer holidays is a key period that you should utilise for research. Take advantage of the free time and devote a few days in a row, or even a week, to gathering as much information about your topic as you can. The number one place to start is definitely the State Library in Macquarie Street. Signing up is free and they have almost every book, film or article you would need! You’ll be so glad to have that bulk of knowledge once you get back to term. It will help you to draw upon different sources in answer to your teachers’ prompts and you’ll only have to research in smaller chunks which is much easier to fit in around other subjects!

To what extent have social attitudes influenced the changing representations of the sexual violence committed against German women in 1945? By Annabelle Richens The mass rapes committed by Soviet Red Army troops against German women in 1945 has prompted a fluctuating historical and ethical debate, due to changing social attitudes towards sexual assault and Russia and Germany’s military forces. This essay will assess the four prominent historical depictions of the rapes, and thus how each representation and its reception has been influenced by their context. Firstly, Marta Hiller’s first-hand account was rejected due to social criticism of German nationalist perspectives in the aftermath of World War Two (WWII). Following this, Helke Sander’s film interpretation, and its argument that these crimes have been surrounded by decades of global and historical silence, will be considered. The essay will then move to study Susan Brownmiller’s feminist perspective, prompted by similar instances of sexual war crimes in the Bosnian genocides of the 1990s Yugoslavia wars. Finally, the work of historian Antony Beevor, aided by renewed access to Soviet archives in the late 20th century, Gorbachev’s Glasnost policy, and the fall of the Soviet Union, will be assessed. However, influenced by Putin’s support of Russian nationalism through censorship and restriction of press freedom, Russian contemporary backlash to Beevor’s work will also be examined.

The original account of the Berlin rapes was released as an anonymous diary, Eine Frau in Berlin,4 in 1954, and provides the most infamous descriptions of the sexual assaults.5 The Guardian foreign correspondent Luke Harding argues that the public rejection of Marta Hiller’s memoir was a result of Germany’s decision to “deal with the horrors of its immediate past through collective silence.”6 The global animosity towards the Nazi regime and by extent, the German population, led to the economic failure of the Hiller’s account after its initial 1954 English publication.7 The anonymous nature of the account also led many to question its legitimacy, an objection still raised by 21st century reviewers, with Christoph Gottesmann “regard[ing] this work as one of fiction rather than fact” and criticizing the book as propaganda to damage the Red Army’s image.8 However, Hiller’s death in 2001 marked a distinct positive change in both the social attitudes towards the narrative of rape, and the context of the book’s publication. Harding credits the conclusion of the Cold War and German reunification in directing global focus back to narratives with “the theme of German suffering” during WWII, thus leading to the book’s republication in 2003 and “critical acclaim”.9 This reception, as well as the memoir’s successful foray into popular history with its film adaptation, A Woman in Berlin in 2008,10 demonstrates that social attitudes have, to a significant extent, impacted the changing representations of sexual violence in 1945. Historical silence surrounding the Berlin rapes was in part due to the repression of Soviet records and history under Stalin’s totalitarian regime.11 Thus, Helke Sander’s 1992 film BeFreier und BeFreite12 brought renewed cultural attention to the debate,


Pymble Student Research

German and Soviet fighting on the Eastern Front during WWII led to over 20 million Soviet civilian deaths through extreme famine, air-raids, and mass rapehomicide. This undoubtably fostered the Red Army’s intense resentment towards the German population.1 During the final months of WWII in 1945, Soviet forces surrounded and occupied Berlin. In this time, Soviet servicemen committed mass rapes of German women, against an estimated 100 000 women in Berlin and up to two million total victims, amidst the prolific looting and pillaging.2 These figures are highly contested, given the lack of government systems and formal records maintained in the devastation following the Fall of

Berlin, as well as the Soviet government’s attempts to suppress and dispute military evidence throughout the 20th century.3



given its frank and controversial discussion of the rapes.13 During her German upbringing in 1945, Sander witnessed Soviet kidnappings of German women and heard survivor testimony, which, coupled with transforming social attitudes towards women throughout Sander’s adult life, led to a deliberately feminist interpretation.14 In her article Remembering/ Forgetting, Sander credits the changing social discourses during “the beginning of the new women’s movement” in the 1970s with prompting a “hesitant” discussion of sexual violence.15 She additionally emphasises the obstructions to her methodology and research during the late 1970s, caused by the initial “impossibility” of accessing materials from Soviet military archives which were only opened in 1991.16 Sander’s methodology instead is characterised by the use of German childbirth and abortion records to estimate the scale of the assaults, as well as firsthand interviews to depict the lived experience of the crimes.17 Social attention towards sexual war crimes in the following decade, such as “today in Kuwait or Yugoslavia,”18 19 have continued the historical analysis of Sander’s perspective. Whilst Sander’s presentation of the rapes undoubtably serves a larger social narrative of female suffering, her contribution to a renewed “public forum” on sexual assault to combat previous “social stigmatisation” cannot be underestimated.20 Historian Susan Brownmiller, in Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, was influenced by similar instances of genocidal rape in the Yugoslav wars of the late 20th century. Similarly to Sander, Brownmiller’s perspective emphasises the role of rape as part of a wider “process of intimidation that affects all women.”21 Brownmiller’s involvement in the increasingly popular women’s liberation movements during the late 1960s,22 23 as well as her outspoken advocacy for reproductive rights during 1972,24 contributed to the interpretation of Berlin’s mass rapes “within the symbolic contexts and functions of the gender system.”25 26 Brownmiller’s perspective is utilised by historical accounts; including Beevor’s work,27 her introductory contribution to Yuki Tanaka’s Japan’s Comfort Women,28 and Norman Naimark’s reliance on her “pioneering study of rape” in his representation of the crimes,29 enabling knowledge of the rapes to reach a larger audience, and consequently influencing the social perspective towards sexual assault. Brownmiller’s systemic study of the Berlin rapes was inarguably triggered by the global social outrage towards “gender specific atrocities committed in Bosnia”30 during the Balkan wars during the 1990s, resulting from increasingly progressive feminist ideology and globalised news cycles.31 The conflict saw the utilisation of mass rape


to terrorise Bosnian ethnic groups, which, along with Brownmiller’s work, prompted the recognition of systemic rape in international judiciary and marked a distinct change in social attitudes toward sexual assault.32 This consequently prompted a conjunctive revisiting of the Berlin rapes, showcasing how changing social attitudes have significantly impacted their representation within a wider cultural discussion. Feminist historical approaches have nonetheless been criticised due to the presentation of war time rape “exclusively as a sexist crime…isolated from the racial-political context in which it takes place.”33 When commenting on Sander’s project for the MIT Press’, War and Rape (1995), David Levin condemns Sander’s use of the documentary medium as a manipulation of historical accuracy in favour of sensationalised emotional narratives.34 Atina Grossman, in her article A Question of Silence, condemns feminist “agendas” such as Brownmiller’s as “a lust for portraying women as the victims.”35 She instead argues that the Berlin sexual assaults must be examined in their social and military contexts, particularly the global attitudes towards German victimisation after WWII.36 Grossman criticises Brownmiller and Sander’s notion of female shame, proposing that the mass rapes were openly discussed as an inevitable consequence of war, and that silence was perpetuated at a historical level to avoid portraying a narrative of German nationalism through national suffering.37 Thus, discourse around the Berlin mass rapes is significantly affected by social attitudes towards not only sexual assault, but towards feminism, and its interaction with traditional historical representations. The 21st century re-emergence of this social and historical debate was prompted by Antony Beevor’s 2002 work Berlin: The Downfall. The social devastation caused by the Berlin Wall Crisis was witnessed by Beevor during his German military service from 1966-1970, and led to his condemning portrayal of the Red Army, who were responsible for the initial destruction of the city.38 His account was enabled by the renewed public access to Stalin’s historical archives after Gorbachev’s Glasnost policy and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.39 Beevor’s extensive archival source work in Russia and Germany was aided by his established BBC contacts from the filming of his research by historical series Timewatch, providing him with “invaluable” testimony.40 41 This methodology combines empiricist, academic research and the Annales philosophy of utilising non-academic connections to enhance historical knowledge. Beevor’s work emphasises the severity and scale of the sexual assaults, as well as the inability of Soviet military leadership to take action

movements of the 1970s, which also contributed to the feminist interpretation of Helke Sander’s 1991 documentary. These works, as well as the opening of Soviet archives in 1991, contributed to the consideration of the rapes in a military context in Beevor’s Berlin: The Downfall. Consequently, it can be concluded that changing societal attitudes have to a significant extent influenced the perception of war time rape and are deeply important in understanding representations of history.

Russian reception to Beevor’s interpretation was highly critical, as a result of the resurgence of nationalist sentiments triggered by Putin’s government. Sergey Turchenko’s 2011 piece for Russian newspaper Svpressa, Erotic Myths of WWII, collates public and historical opinion on Beevor’s work, attempting to portray him as a “alternative historian” who produces “obvious lies and insinuations” to damage the reputation of those who ended fascism in Europe.45 The article cites select accounts from Soviet military commanders that prove the widespread and thus excusable nature of wartime rape, and the atrocities experienced by Russian civilians at the hands of the militarised German population.46 Particularly, former Soviet Navy officer Igor Petrov criticises the methodology undertaken by Sander and Beevor, arguing that their figures drawn from statistical approximation create “unlimited scope for manipulation.”47 Historian Elena Senyavskaya also perpetuates this interpretation, evident in her 2018 interview for The Sangha Kommune. She appeals to Stalinist sympathies, arguing Beevor’s interpretation comprises of “anti-Soviet rhetoric…sympathetic to the political right wing,” and dismissing Sander’s work as a “disinformation campaign.”48 Beevor’s works were subsequently banned in Russian schools for their “disgraceful” portrayal of the Red Army,49 an action which he criticised as an attempt to impose “their own version of truth” on the historical record and manipulate social attitudes towards this issue.50


Lt S.B. Eremenko, On the Issue of Losses of the Warring Parties on the Soviet-German Front During the Great Patriotic War, (Moscow: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, 2017). 2 Helke Sander, BeFreier und BeFreite, (Germany: Bremer Institut, 1992). 3 Matthew P. Gallagher, The Soviet History of World War II: Myths, Memories and Realities, (New York: Prager, 1963) 177-178. 4 “A Woman in Berlin” 5 Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin (New York: Picador USA, 2006) 63-64. 6 Luke Harding, Row over naming of rape author, (Berlin: The Guardian, 2003). 7 Janet Halley, Rape in Berlin: Reconsidering the Criminalisation of Rape in the International Law of Armed Conflict, (Melbourne: Melbourne Journal of International Law, 2008). 8 Christoph Gottesmann Vienna, Opinion: A Woman in Berlin, (New York: New York Times, 2005) 6. 9 Harding, Row of naming of rape author. 10 Sander, BeFreier und BeFreite. 11 Gallagher, The Soviet History of World War II, 177-178. 12 “Liberators Take Liberties” 13 Sander, BeFreier und BeFreite. 14 Helke Sander, translated by Stuart Liebman, Remembering/\ Forgetting, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995) 15. 15 Ibid. 16 Ibid, 17. 17 Ibid, 19. 18 Sander, BeFreier und BeFreite, pre-credit text. 19 Helke Sander, translated by Stuart Liebman, A Response to My Critics, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995) 85. 20 Wiltrud Rosenzweig, translated by Stuart Liebman, Some Very Personal Thoughts about the Accusations of Revisionism Made Against Helke Sander’s Film, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995) 80. 21 Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975) 702. 22 Rachel Cooke, US feminist Susan Brownmiller on why her groundbreaking book on rape is still relevant, (New York: The Observer, 2018). 23 Donna Allen and Martha Leslie Allen, 45th Anniversary Associate Reflections, (Washington: Women’s Institute For Freedom of the Press, 2017). Accessed online at: associates/ 24 Barbaralee Diamonstein, We Have Had Abortions, (New York: New York Magazine, 1972) 34-35. 25 Sally Moore, ’Rape is Not a Crime of Lust, but Power’ argues Susan Brownmiller, (New York: People Magazine, 1975). 26 Ruth Seifert, The Second Front: The Logic of Sexual Violence in Wars, (Amsterdam: Elsevier, Women’s Studies International, 1996) 35-43. 27 Antony Beevor, They raped every German female from eight to eighty, (London: The Guardian, 2002).


Pymble Student Research

Representations of the Berlin mass rapes have been significantly influenced by changing social attitudes towards German and Russian nationalism and sexual assault as a military and social crime, with each historical interpretation a direct product of its context. This was seen through global outrage towards the Bosnian sexual war crimes during the 1990s, which led to the renewed examination of war time rape by feminist scholars such as Susan Brownmiller. Her work was influenced by the second-wave feminist



against what he presents as a widely reported and acknowledged atrocity.42 This argument supports Hiller’s testimony and Sander’s claims, evidenced by his written introduction for the memoir’s 2003 republication,43 and his quoting of Sander’s research on the rapes.44 Beevor’s volume thus synthesises the field of traditionally published military history with the contested, subjective work of Sander’s documentary and Hiller’s account. His representation of the rapes in mainstream British history was therefore impacted by the late 20th century political upheaval in Soviet Russia and increasingly forthright social attitudes towards historical transparency, as well as social criticism of the Red Army’s destruction of Berlin.

Yuki Tanaka, Japan’s Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the US Occupation, (New York: Routledge, 2002) foreword. 29 Norman Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949, (Cambridge: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 1995) 107. 30 Ruth Seifert, War and Rape: Analytical Approaches, (Geneva: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, 1993) 1-12. 31 Pascale R. Bos, Feminists Interpreting the Politics of Wartime Rape: Berlin 1945, Yugoslavia, 1992-1993, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006) 996. 32 Denic Dzidic, ’20 000 Women Sexually Assaulted’ During Bosnian War, (Sarajvo: Balkan Insight, 2015). 33 Ibid, 997. 34 David Levin, Taking Liberties with Liberties Taken: On the Politics of Helke Sander’s BeFreier und Befreite, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 74. 35 Atina Grossmann, A Question of the Silence: The Rape of German Women by Occupation, (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995), 46. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid, 45. 38 Unknown, Antony Beevor, (Chicago: Pritzker Military Museum & Library, 2014). Accessed online at: http://www. 39 Robert Spaulding, Can Glasnost Rewrite History?, (Cambridge: Harvard International Review, 1988), 40. 40 Evening Standard, Antony Beevor, exclusive interview, (London: Penguin Books, 2002). Accessed online at: https://www.standard. 41 Tilman Remme, Timewatch: The Battle for Berlin, (London: BBC News, 2002). 42 Antony Beevor, Berlin: The Downfall 1945, (New York: Viking Press, 2002) 54, 64, 88-89. 43 Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin, xiv-xix. 44 Beevor, They raped every German female from eight to eighty, 2002. 45 Sergey Turchenko, Sex Liberation: Erotic Myths of WWII, (Moscow: Svpressa, 2011). Accessed online at: article/8271/ 46 Ibid. 47 Igor Petrov, The Question of Two Million, (San Franciso: Live Journal, 2008). 48 Adrian Chan-Wyles, Professor Elena Senyavskaya Dispels the Myth of Mass Red Army Rapes in Germany, (WordPress: The Sangha Komme, 2018). Accessed online at: https://thesanghakommune. org/2018/02/07/professor-elenasenyavskaya-dispels-the-myth-of-massred-army-rapes-in-germany-1945/ 49 Zachary Spiro, Russia bans book on Nazi defeat by British historians, (London: The Times, 2015). 50 Antony Beevor, By banning my book, Russia is deluding itself about its past, (London: The Guardian, 2015). 28

BIBLIOGRAPHY Aleksievich, Svetlana. 2017. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II, Translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. First edition. New York: Random House. Allen, Donna and Allen, Martha Leslie. 2017. ‘45th Anniversary Associate Reflections’. Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press. Washington. Accessed 15 June 2020. http:// Anonymous, 2006. A Woman In Berlin. Third edition. New York: Picador. ‘Antony Beevor: Exclusive Interview’. 2002. Evening Standard. 8 May 2002. Accessed 15 June 2020. http://www.standard. Applebaum, Anne. 2012. Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56. London: Allen Lane, Penguin Books. Applebaum, Anne. 2016. ‘I Was a Victim of a Russian Smear Campaign. I Understand the Power of Fake News.’ Washington Post, 20 December 2016, sec. Opinions. Armstrong, John A. 1963. ‘Review: Matthew P. Gallagher, The Soviet History of World War II: Myths, Memories, and Realities. New York and London’ Slavic Review 22 (4): 762–63. Ash, Lucy. 2015. ‘The Rape of Berlin’. BBC News, 1 May 2015, sec. Magazine. ‘Atina Grossmann, Professor’. n.d. The Cooper Union. Accessed 15 June 2020. atina-grossmann. Beck, Birgit. 2004. ‘Sexual Violence and Its Prosecution by Courts Martial of the Wehrmacht’. In A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937–1945, edited by Bernd Greiner, Roger Chickering, and Stig Förster, 317–32. Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Beevor, Antony, 2002. Berlin: The Downfall 1945. First edition. New York: Viking Press, Penguin Books. Beevor, Antony. 2002. ‘“They Raped Every German Female from Eight to 80”’. The Guardian, 1 May 2002, sec. Books. Beevor, Antony. 2005. ‘“A Woman in Berlin”’. The New York Times, 25 September 2005, sec. Opinion. Beevor, Antony. 2015. ‘By Banning My Book, Russia Is Deluding Itself about Its Past | Antony Beevor’. The Guardian, 5 August 2015, sec. Opinion. Beyer, Susanne. 2010. ‘Harrowing Memoir: German Woman Writes Ground-Breaking Account of WW2 Rape’. Der Spiegel, 26 February 2010, sec. International. Bos, Pascale R. 2006. ‘Feminists Interpreting the Politics of Wartime Rape: Berlin, 1945; Yugoslavia, 1992–1993’. Signs 31 (4): 995–1025. Bransten, Jeremy. 2002. ‘New Book Details Dark Side Of Red Army’s Liberation Of Germany’. RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 8 May 2002, sec. Russia. Burke, James Wakefield. 1951. The Big Rape. 1st ed. Frankfurt: Friedrich Rudl.


Champion, Evette. 2013. ‘Artist Arrested for Sculpting a Memorial Depicting the Rape of Women by Red Army Soldiers’. War History Online (blog). 20 October 2013. Accessed 10 January 2020. https://www. Chan-Wyles, Adrian. 2018. ‘Professor Elena Senyavskaya Dispels the Myth of Mass Red Army Rapes in Germany (1945)’. The Sangha Kommune (blog). 7 February 2018. Accessed 18 December 2019. https:// professor-elena-senyavskaya-dispelsthe-myth-of-mass-red-army-rapes-ingermany-1945/. Chiasson, Cassidy L. 2015. ‘Silenced Voices: Sexual Violence During and After World War II’, USM Honours Thesis. Summer (8). 340. University of Southern Mississippi: Aquila Digital Community. Cichowlas, Ola. 2017. ‘How Russian Kids Are Taught World War II’. The Moscow Times, 8 May 2017, sec. Arts and Life. Cohen, Sasha. 2015. ‘How a Book Changed the Way We Talk About Rape’. Time Magazine. 7 October 2015, sec. Feminism, History. Cooke, Rachel. 2018. ‘US Feminist Susan Brownmiller on Why Her Groundbreaking Book on Rape Is Still Relevant’. The Observer, 18 February 2018, sec. World news. Conatz, Juan. 2013. ‘The Left and Rape: Why We Should All Be Ashamed of the Left’s Role in Covering up the Rape of 2 Million Women.’ Libcom.Org. 3 November 2013. Accessed 18 December 2019: http://libcom. org/library/left-rape-why-we-should-allbe-ashamed-left’s-role-covering-rape-2million-women. Dack, Mikkel. 2008. ‘Crimes Committed by Soviet Soldiers Against German Civilians, 1944-1945: A Historiographical Analysis’. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, edited by Monique Greenwood Santos and Stephen J. Randall. 10: 2-33. Alberta: University of Calgary. David, Filipov. 2017. ‘For Russians, Stalin Is the “Most Outstanding” Figure in World History, Followed by Putin’. Washington Post, 26 June 2017, sec. WorldViews. Deller, Rose. 2017 ‘Book Review: Crimes Unspoken: The Rape of German Women at the End of the Second World War by Miriam Gebhardt’. LSE Review of Books (blog). 9 May 2017. Accessed 28 January 2020. lsereviewofbooks/2017/05/09/book-reviewcrimes-unspoken-the-rape-of-germanwomen-at-the-end-of-the-second-worldwar-by-miriam-gebhardt/. Diamonstein, Barbaralee. 1972. ‘We Have Had Abortions’. New York Magazine. Spring. New York. 34-35. Djilas, Milovan. 1962. Conversations with Stalin, Translated by Michael B. Petrovich. First edition. A Harvest Book. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World.


Muhlen-Schulte, Minna. 2017. ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung: Struggle to Come to Terms with the Past’, La Trobe Journal. no. 99: 16. Naimark, Norman M. 1995. The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-194. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Naimark, Norman M. 1991. ‘About “The Russians” and About Us: The Question of Rape and Soviet-German Relations in the Soviet-German Relations in the Soviet Zone of Occupation.’ National Council for Soviet And East European Research, Boston University. 113. Ninua, Tinatin. 2016. ‘Breaking down Iron Doors: Why Opening up Soviet Archives Matters’. Open Government Partnership. 21 March 2016. Accessed 21 March 2020. stories/breaking-down-iron-doors-whyopening-up-soviet-archives-matters/. Ovchinnikov, Alexey. 2016. ‘Goebbels Composed the Myth of “Raped Germany”’. KomCom, 24 August 2016, sec. News. Overy, Richard. 1997. Russia’s War: Blood upon the Snow, New York: TV Books. Distributed by Penguin Putnam. Overy, Richard. 2004. The Dictators: Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, London: Allen Lane. Petrov, Igor. 2012. ‘Igor Petrov - on the Question of “Two Million”’. Svpressa. 22 February 2012. Accessed 18 December 2019. https://web.archive. org/web/20120222020629/http://labas. Pritzker Literature Award. 2014. ‘Antony Beevor: 2014 Pritzker Literature Award Winner’. Chicago: Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Accessed 15 June 2020. http:// Remme, Tilman. 2002. ‘The Battle for Berlin’. Timewatch. London: BBC News. Roberts, Andrew. 2008. ‘Stalin’s Army of Rapists: The Brutal War Crime That Russia and Germany Tried to Ignore’. Daily Mail Online. Accessed 23 November 2019. article-1080493/Stalins-army-rapists-Thebrutal-war-crime-Russia-Germany-triedignore.html. Roberts, Mary Louise. 2013. What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rosenzweig, Wiltrud, and Stuart Liebman. 1995. ‘Some Very Personal Thoughts about the Accusations of Revisionism Made against Helke Sander’s Film “Liberators Take Liberties”’. The MIT Press 72 (October): 79–80. Rzheshevsky, Oleg. 1984. World War II: Myths and the Realities. First edition. Moscow: Progress Publishers. Sander, Helke. 1992. BeFreier Und BeFreite. Documentary. Bremer Institut Film & Fernsehen. Sander, Helke, and Stuart Liebman. 1995. ‘A Response to My Critics’. The MIT Press 72 (October): 81–88.

Pymble Student Research

Halley, Janet. 2008. ‘“Rape in Berlin: Reconsidering the Criminalisation of Rape in the International Law of Armed Conflict” Melbourne Journal of International Law, 78: 9(1), 3. Harding, Luke. 2003. ‘Row over Naming of Rape Author’. The Guardian. 5 October 2003, sec. World news. Haus Der Geschichte. n.d. ‘Our History. Germany since 1945’. Accessed 10 January 2020. Heineman, Elizabeth. 1996. ‘The Hour of the Woman: Memories of Germany’s “Crisis Years” and West German National Identity’. The American Historical Review 101 (2): 354–95. Heinemenn, Christoph. 2015. ‘Naming German Victims; Miriam Gerbhardt in conversation with Christoph Heinemenn.” Deutschlandfunk. 27 February 2015, sec. Europe. Herbermann, Nanda. 2000. The Blessed Abyss: Inmate #6582 in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for Women. Michigan: Wayne State University Press. Johnson, Sheila K. 1993. ‘Helke Sander’s “BeFreier Und Befreite: Krieg, Vergewaltigung, Kinder” and Postmodernism’. Pacific Coast Philology 28 (1): 81–93. Jonge, Alex de. 1977. ‘Prussian Nights Alexander Solzhenitsyn Trans. Robert Conquest (Book Review)’. The Spectator, 10 August 1977, 239th edition. ProQuest. Kanon, Joseph. 2005. ‘“A Woman in Berlin”: My City of Ruins’. The New York Times, 14 August 2005, sec. Books. Karasin, Grigory. 2002. ‘Lies and Insinuations’. The Telegraph 25 January 2002, sec. Letters. Koch, Gertrud. 1995. Translated by Stuart Liebman. ‘Blood, Sperm, and Tears’. The MIT Press 72 (October): 27-41. Levin, David J. 1995. ‘Taking Liberties with Liberties Taken: On the Politics of Helke Sander’s “BeFreier Und Befreite”’. The MIT Press 72 (October): 65–77. Lilly, Robert J. 2007. Taken by Force: Rape and American GIs in Europe during World War II / J. Robert Lilly. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Majstorović, Vojin. 2016. ‘The Red Army in Yugoslavia, 1944–1945’. Slavic Review 75 (2): 396–421. Mawdsley, Evan. 2009. World War II: A New History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Michelson, Annette. 1995. ‘‘[Introduction]’ The MIT Press 72 (October): 3-3. Moltke, Johannes von. 2001. Review of Review of The Miracle Years: A Cultural History of West Germany, 1949-1968, by Hanna Schissler. German Politics & Society 19 (3 (60)): 113–16. Moore, Sally. 1975. ‘“Rape Is a Crime Not of Lust, but Power,” argues Susan Brownmiller’. People Magazine. Accessed 15 June 2020.


Dubina, Vera. 2011. ‘The Painful Question of the Second World War’s History: Remembreing Sexual Violence in Russia and Germany.’ Vestnik RGGU. Moscow: Russian State University for the Humanities. Accessed 30 May 2020. https://www. QUESTION_OF_THE_SECOND_WORLD_ WAR_S_HISTORY_REMEMBERING_SEXUAL_ VIOLENCE_IN_RUSSIA_AND_GERMANY. Dzidic, Denic. 2015. ‘“20,000 Women Sexually Assaulted” During Bosnian War’. Balkan Insight. 29 September 2015. Sarajevo: Balkan Transitional Justice. Eremenko, S. B. 2017. ‘On the Issue of Losses of the Warring Parties on the SovietGerman Front During the Great Patriotic War’, Ministry of Defence, Moscow: Russian Federation. Evans, Richard J. 2008. The Third Reich At War. First edition. London: Penguin Books. Evans, Richard J. 1976. The Feminist Movement in Germany, 1894-1933, Sage Studies in 20th Century History. London: Sage Publications. Figes, Orlando. 2007. ‘Vlad the Great’, in Russia’s fragile future. London: New Statesman December. France, 24. 2009. ‘Raped by the Red Army: Two Million German Women Speak out’. The Independent, 15 April 2009, sec. World News, Europe. Gallagher, Matthew P. 1963. The Soviet History of World War II: Myths, Memories, and Realities. Praeger Publications in Russian History and World Communism; No.121. New York: Praeger. Garraio, Júlia. 2013. ‘Hordes of Rapists: The Instrumentalization of Sexual Violence in German Cold War Anti-Communist Discourses’. RCCS Annual Review. A Selection from the Portuguese Journal Revista Crítica de Ciências Sociais, no. 5 (October). Gebhardt, Miriam. 2016. Crimes Unspoken: The Rape of German Women at the End of the Second World War. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Goedde, Petra. 2003. ‘Reviewed Work: GIs and Frauleins: The German-American Encounter in 1950s West Germany Maria Hohn’. The American Historical Review 108 (4): 1234–35. Gottesmann, Christoph. 2005. ‘“A Woman in Berlin”’. The New York Times, 11 September 2005, sec. Opinion. Grossmann, Atina. 1995. ‘A Question of Silence: The Rape of German Women by Occupation Soldiers’. The MIT Press 72 (October): 43–63. Grossmann, Atina. 2002. Victims, Villains and Survivors: Gendered Perceptions and Self-Perceptions of Jewish Displaced Persons in Occupied Post-war Germany. Austin: University of Texas Press. 298. Grossman, Atina, 2007. Jews, Germans and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Hall, Alan. 2008. ‘German Women Break Their Silence on Horrors of Red Army Rapes - Telegraph’. The Telegraph, 24 October 2008, sec. World News, Europe, Germany.

Sander, Helke and Stuart Liebman. 1995. ‘Remembering/Forgetting’ The MIT Press 72 (October): 15–26. Santner, Eric, with Stuart Libeman, Stuart, Andreas Huyssen, Silvia Kolbowski. 1995. ‘Further Thoughts on Helke Sander’s Project’. The MIT Press 72 (October): 89-113. Schrijvers, Peter. 2002. The GI War against Japan: American Soldiers in Asia and the Pacific during World War II. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan. Seifert, Ruth. 1996. ‘The Second Front: The Logic of Sexual Violence in Wars’. Women’s Studies International Forum, Links Across Differences: Gender, Ethnicity, and Nationalism, 19 (1): 35–43. Seifert, Ruth. 1993. ‘War and Rape: Analytical Approaches’, Geneva, Switzerland: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. 12. Sharlach, Lisa. 2013. The political psychology of war rape: studies from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Abingdon: Taylor & Francis. Spiro, Zachary. 2015. ‘Russia Bans Books on Nazi Defeat by British Historians’, The Time, 6 August 2015, sec. Comment. Summers, Chris. 2002. ‘Red Army Rapists Exposed’, BBC News, 29 April 2002, sec. Europe. Svobooda, Terese. 2009. ‘U.S. Courts-Martial in Occupation Japan: Rape, Race, and Censorship’. The Asia-Pacific Journal 7 (21). Tanaka, Toshiyuki. 2002. Japan’s Comfort Women: Sexual Slavery and Prostitution during World War II and the U.S. Occupation. Asia’s Transformations. New York: Routledge. Teo, Hsu-Ming. 2006. ‘The Continuum of Sexual Violence in Occupied Germany, 1945-49’. Women’s History Review 5:2 (December): 191–218. Thomas, Krishna Ignalaga. 2006. ‘Politics of History and Memory: The Russian Rape of Germany in Berlin, 1945’. Historia, Women in Modern Europe. 9. Tolstoy, Nikolai. 1981. Stalin’s Secret War. London: JCape. Turchenko, Sergey. 2012. ‘Sex Liberation: Erotic Myths of WWII’. Svpressa, 25 February 2012. Accessed 18 December 2019. web/ 20120225234422/ article/8271/. Turner, Trevor. 2010. ‘Dr Ruth Seifert’. The Psychiatrist 34 (2): 74–75. Online: Cambridge University Press. Accessed 10 January 2020. core/journals/the-psychiatrist/article/ dr-ruth-seifert/ Walker, Shaun. 2015. ‘Putin Voices Grievances as Huge Parade Marks 70th Anniversary of Victory’. The Observer, 9 May 2015, sec. World News. Walker, Shaun. 2015. ‘Russian Region Bans British Historians’ Books from Schools’. The Guardian, 5 August 2015, sec. World news. Walters, Guy. 2015. ‘Did Allied Troops Rape 285,000 German Women?’ Daily Mail Australia. 25 March 2015, sec. News. Westervelt, Eric. 2009. ‘Silence Broken on Red Army Rapes In Germany’. NPR, 17 July 2009, sec. All Things Considered.

Wiegrefe, Klaus. 2015. ‘Book Claims US Soldiers Raped 190,000 German Women Post-WWII’. Der Speigel, 3 February 2015, sec. International. Wiegrefe, Klaus. 2015. ‘Postwar Rape: Were Americans As Bad as the Soviets?’ Der Spiegel, 2 March 2015, sec. International. Yardley, Jonathon. 2002. ‘A Cold-Eyed, Utterly Unsentimental Record of Wartime Violence against German Women.’ The Washington Post, 19 May 2002. Accessed 17 December 2019. https://www. books/2002/05/19/a-cold-eyed-utterlyunsentimental-record-of-wartime-violenceagainst-german-women/82ad588c-8bd74ff3-841f-42c7275ebb71/


1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? My inspiration to focus on the historiography of Tiananmen Square arose from the increasing salience of China and the Chinese Communist Party in the global news cycle and the global political sphere including current events such as the Hong Kong riots, China’s territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the disruption of global trade following China’s implementation of greater trade protection measures against the US, Australia and other nations. I was inspired by these events because they ultimately highlight how critical the CCP’s actions and control over China (which Tiananmen contested) are to the wider world and the study of history.

2. What was your planning progress? My planning process involved initially creating a detailed timeline of “personal deadlines” for completing certain parts of my project - such as when I wanted my research and first draft completed by, and deciding when I would be working on my project each week around other HSC coursework to ensure I would be meeting these deadlines. This mostly involved making sure I was doing research and reading for my project every week - as having a broad and quality range of sources is a critical part of writing a good History Extension essay - and allocating time to writing drafts and practice paragraphs.

3. What challenges did you come across? The greatest challenge that I faced completing my project was learning how to write my essay in the style demanded by the History Extension course. I initially had a lot of difficulty adapting to the footnoting and referencing systems used in the essay which I was previously unfamiliar with and was unsure how to structure a 2500 word essay and its paragraphs seeing it was longer than essays for the HSC Modern History course I was accustomed to writing. This also involved learning to write in a way focusing mainly on historiography (reflecting the syllabus), rather than concrete historical events.

4. How did you overcome them?


Grace Wallman

I overcame my concerns about formatting and writing my essay using several resources at Pymble. This included speaking extensively to the Pymble librarians about essay footnoting and referencing - I also found the library’s online resources on these subjects very useful. Regarding general essay structure, I read a range of exemplar essays from previous years at Pymble and spoke to my teacher about paragraph and essay structure, as well as receiving feedback in my drafts. I additionally applied for a State Library NSW library card to access the library’s exemplar essays and resources on essay structure and referencing for the project.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? I would recommend that future Pymble History Extension students choose an essay topic they are interested in enough to research extensively and is substantial enough for the historiographical study the subject demands. Furthermore, I would advise students to be consistent and proactive in their research and recording, including drafting early so they have a lot of time to refine their writing and can avoid unnecessary stress close to deadlines. Lastly, I would advise students to get as much feedback as they can from their teachers (also friends and parents) and incorporate this into their editing process to improve their essays.

Pymble Student Research


History Question: To what extent has the Chinese Communist Party’s denialism shaped historical narratives of the Tiananmen Square massacre? By Grace Wallman The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has to an overwhelming extent shaped the historical narratives of the Tiananmen Square massacre as CPP denialism has heavily politicised the history of Tiananmen and obstructed historiographical construction to prevent political dissent. This has resulted in the polarisation of historical narratives, wherein the formation of revisionist histories asserting that Tiananmen did occur directly oppose the CCP’s denial of the events of Tiananmen, and thereby oppose the CCP itself, shaping the aims and purpose of historical construction. Furthermore, the CCP’s denialism has influenced the methodologies used by producers of Tiananmen’s history, including both Chinese and Western historians. The CCP’s suppression of historical sources available on Tiananmen has resulted in it being very difficult for historians to produce histories subverting the CCP’s denialist narrative, which is particularly true of political histories due to CCP political sources being almost completely inaccessible. Additionally, due to the CCP’s politicisation of the historical narrative of Tiananmen as being anti-CCP, most of the limited historical sources on Tiananmen which have been published contain underlying anti-CCP perspectives as they are inherently subverting CCP denialism. Moreover, CCP denialism has impacted how Tiananmen’s histories have been constructed and recorded, as the greater amount of multimedia sources available through the internet within China has influenced historians to utilise digital mediums in their historical constructions. Ultimately, the CCP’s denialism has shaped all aspects of Tiananmen’s history, forming a highly politicised dichotomy between the CCP’s silence and historical narratives of Tiananmen. The construction of Tiananmen’s histories has to an overwhelming extent been influenced by the CCP’s purpose of denying Tiananmen in order to repress


political dissent. German academic historian Regina Edelbauer asserts that the approach of Chinese historiography as a “party-politically approved interpretation of the past” wherein a “social contract of silence” in regards to histories of Tiananmen, allows the CCP’s hegemonic narrative of denialism to stand unchallenged.1 According to Edelbauer, the CCP actively ignores Tiananmen as a part of China’s history as “collective remembrance” which arises from public commemorations of Tiananmen occurring in countries such as Hong Kong “pose a threat” to the CCP’s existing power structures due to the possibility of anti-CCP dissent.2 This demonstrates the high degree to which the CCP’s aim to prevent anti-state dissent has politicised the history of Tiananmen. Tiananmen’s enforced silence can thereby be seen as a form of State-enforced historical denialism, a process by which the distortion of the historical record is utilised by the state in order to erase histories which conflict with what American historian Huaiyin Li has called “Nationalist Historiography”, in which historical narratives serve the nationalist political goals of the state.3 According to American academic historian Karman Lucero, this has resulted in there being “no official history” of the events of the massacre, which is “incomplete, highly controversial and politicised” due to it being perceived as inherently anti-CCP.4 As a result, the production of history on Tiananmen has become politicised as an anti-CCP act, making the formation of academic histories on Tiananmen near-impossible in mainland China due to CCP-enforced silence that occurred in the form of prosecution of academics involved in Tiananmen, including historian Wang Dan who was exiled from China in 1998.5 The CCP’s denialism of history has furthermore undermined the collective memory of the Chinese population’s recollection of Tiananmen, particularly that of China’s youth who are increasingly unaware of Tiananmen’s significance according

Denialist history enacted by the CCP has had a major influence over the availability of sources on the events of the massacre within China and internationally, limiting the methodological ability of historians to construct revisionist histories subverting CCP denialist narratives. The CCP has taken a farreaching and extensive range of measures to prevent the production and dissemination of sources within mainland China. These have included the censorship of history lessons and academic history in Chinese schools and universities and the sealing of archives at the Chinese Maritime Customs Service and Shanghai International Settlement according to historian Robert Bickers.7 Additionally, eyewitness accounts from central figures in the protest were silenced through the prosecution of its leaders, including Feng Cong and Zhang Boni.8 Major censorship of Chinese mass media during and after Tiananmen have prevented many major sources on Tiananmen from being widely accessible, such as Deng Xiaoping’s 1989 speech to the Politburo justifying his intention to crack down on protestors.9 Consequently, the formation of Tiananmen’s history, particularly political histories dependent on documents from closed archives, has been significantly limited by CCP denialism both inside and outside mainland China. While the suppression of source material has been central to the CCP’s attempt to silence historical narratives questioning its hegemonic narrative of denial, it has also resulted in many of the limited sources available for study on Tiananmen being subversive and anti-CCP. For example, according to American academic historian M.E. Sarotte, the limited amount of verifiable Chinese sources acquired by Western academic historians at Harvard University “shed more light on the bottom-up protest than on the topdown reaction”.10 Thereby, sources such as those described by Sarotte are more likely to reflect the anti-CCP opinions of protestors than the CCP itself. Additionally, Lucero describes that within the Chinese mainland, revisionist historians are highly reliant on a “People’s Archive” of digital sources that are often privately disseminated over social media and focus on the collective memory of protestors rather than the CCP’s political activity due to the inaccessibility of archival sources, once again primarily reflecting the perspectives of anti-CCP protestors.11 Resultantly,

The CCP’s denialism surrounding Tiananmen has placed significant limitations on the methodologies of Chinese historians due to their inability to publish official academic history and a resulting lack of official secondary sources, which has increased the anti-CCP sentiment present in Chinese revisionist histories of Tiananmen. According to Lucero, “within mainland China, no secondary sources exist” due to the lack of academic history that is permissible to be published within China, exemplified by major publications such as the China Quarterly Journal being banned from publishing secondary sources, such as articles, regarding Tiananmen in China.12 Resultantly, Chinese historians attempting to produce revisionist histories against CCP denialism often are dependent on primary sources accessible from protestors, such as the June 4th Museum in Hong Kong which utilises sources including protest footage and clothing worn by protestors to subvert the CCP’s narrative that Tiananmen did not occur.13 Because few sources from a CCP perspective are available to Chinese historians, revisionist histories of Tiananmen often reflect the agenda of anti-CCP protestors from which the majority of sourcesare available. Furthermore, these sources are largely unreliable due to the subjective nature of sources such as clothing, footage and personal accounts. Additionally, as the act of producing histories about Tiananmen has become inherently politicised as anti-CCP, Chinese historical producers are often antiCCP groups invested in the production of Tiananmen’s histories as an act of pro-democracy activism, such as the June 4th Museum which was founded by the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democratic Movements in China.14 Ultimately, this demonstrates that the CCP’s denialism of Tiananmen’s histories has limited the methodology of Chinese historical producers, preventing the formation of balanced academic history and resulting in revisionist Chinese histories depending on unreliable primary sources which present an antiCCP perspective. It would be a mistake to assume that the influence of Deng’s historical denialism and suppression of the Tiananmen Square massacre is confined to China and its administrative regions, as source limitations as well as the politicisation of Tiananmen’s histories have to a great extent impacted Western historians. The Tiananmen Papers by Perry Link, Orville Schell


Pymble Student Research

the methodologies of historians in the face of CCP denialism have been limited in their capacity to create political history due to a particular lack of political sources and are predisposed to reflect the perspectives of anti-CCP protestors as this remains the origin of most available sources regarding Tiananmen Square.


to American journalist Louisa Lim, demonstrating how a lack of public history has led to an erasure of collective memory.6 Ultimately, the CCP’s aim to control historical narratives for its political goals has resulted in the CCP’s denialist narrative of Tiananmen becoming the overwhelmingly dominant history of Tiananmen within China.

and Andrew Nathan attempts to address the lack of political history on Tiananmen as disseminated from official Chinese sources by utilising leaked CCP documents, such as speeches, intelligence and discussions, from the ostensibly Chinese compiler Zhang Liang (a pseudonym).15 Historians such as M.E. Sarotte have criticized Papers as “an unknown number of removes away from actual CCP sources and therefore anecdotal,” due to the fact the leaker is anonymous and the sources within the book are unverified.16 However, the book presents the only extensive political history of Tiananmen from the CCP’s perspective that is publicly available according to Lucero, who asserts that while it is an “incomplete history”, Papers is valuable in that it provides access to political documents which have been “removed from the public domain in China”.17 Papers therefore demonstrates the role of Western historians who are permitted to publish academic histories of Tiananmen in creating revisionist histories subverting CCP denialism, as academic history on Tiananmen in mainland China is severely suppressed.18 Additionally, the willingness of academic historians such as Schell to utilise unverified sources in order to assemble political histories demonstrates the great extent to which official historical sources from the CCP’s perspective are inaccessible to Western historians and insufficient in creating reliable histories of Tiananmen, resulting in historians using any political sources they are able to access.19 Ultimately, the CCP’s denialism of Tiananmen and the resulting restriction of official sources demonstrates the great extent to which CCP denialism has limited the ability of Western historians to construct verifiable political histories of Tiananmen. The CCP’s efforts to deny the history of Tiananmen and the restriction this has placed on historical sources has furthermore limited the methodologies of Western Academic historians, particularly those attempting to form political histories. The ability of Western historians to publish secondary sources regarding Tiananmen, and freedom of press and internet which allows for secondary sources to be more easily accessed in the West, allows for a greater variety of historical sources regarding Tiananmen to be available to Western historians according to Lucero, while “primary sources regarding Tiananmen are comparatively limited” outside of China.20 American academic historian M.E. Sarotte’s paper China’s Fear of Contagion: Tiananmen Square and The Power of European Example contends with the role of Western academic historians in forming revisionist histories of Tiananmen Square. Sarotte posits that it is “imperative that scholars abroad seek answers to (...) what motivated the PRC to turn the


People’s Liberation Army (PLC) onto the people in 1989”.21 Revisionist history, in this case, aims to bring new perspectives to the writing of history and reinterpret events in different ways, which is often achieved by historians outside the country in which an event occurs.22 According to Sarotte, this is because Western historians are uniquely able to access political documents of other countries regarding Tiananmen that are inaccessible in China, such as those of the United States and the Soviet Union, which may provide some substitute for the lack of CCP political sources.23 However, the empiricallybased notions of Western academic history, such as objectivity and unbiased sources, further limit the extent to which Western academic history can effectively form histories of Tiananmen with limited source material as empirical standards are in many cases impossible to meet.24 This is particularly true within political history, wherein sources such as The Tiananmen Papers which seek to construct political histories of Tiananmen are criticised by Sarotte and other academic historians as difficult to empirically verify.25 The empirical standards of Western Academic historians are often relatively incompatible with the few available sources on Tiananmen Square that are verifiable, and thereby Western academic historians in many cases create revisionist history focusing on protestors rather than political history. Examples of this are American journalist Louisa Lim’s “The People’s Republic of Amnesia” and American academic historian Jeffery Wasserstrom’s “Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China” which extensively utilise protestor photographs, personal accounts and interviews as opposed to political documents.26 Therefore, the CCP’s historical denialism has largely prevented the formation of revisionist political histories by Western historians as the unreliable nature of the few sources available contradicts academic historians’ empirical standards, despite a relatively higher source availability and less state suppression in the West. The CCP’s suppression of sources in accordance with its denialist history has significantly influenced how historians constructing revisionist histories subverting CCP denialism have chosen to construct and record these histories, resulting in historical narratives on Tiananmen often taking the form of digital histories. Within mainland China, CCP filtering of the internet aims to prevent the formation of digital histories on Tiananmen, as phrases related to Tiananmen such as “June 4th” are used to filter out information undermining the CCP’s denialist hegemony.27 Nonetheless, subversive Chinese histories of Tiananmen have increasingly utilised

Edelbauer, Regina. 2013. “Presence and Future of the Past: China Between Remembering and Forgetting.” Processing the Past. pp. 95-99 2 Ibid. pp. 99 3 Li, Huaiyin. 2013. Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. pp. 33-41 4 Lucero, Karman. “1989 Tiananmen Square: A Proto-History”. Bachelor’s thesis, Columbia University, 2011. download/pdf/161437677.pdf. pp. 5-6 5 He, Rowena. 2014. Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 42-45 6 Lim, Louisa. 2014. The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 89 7 Whitehead, Kate. 2017. China’s History Problem: How it’s Censoring the Past and Denying Academics Access to Archives. ording. 8 1995. The Gate of Heavenly Peace. Documentary. Directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon. 9 Fisher, Max. 2014. This 1989 Speech is One of the Most Important in China’s History - and Only Eight People Have Heard.; He, Zhou. 1996. Mass Media and Tiananmen Square. Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers. pp. 28-30 10 Sarotte, M.E. 2012. “China’s Fear of Contagion: Tiananmen Square and the Power of the European Example.” International Security. 37 (2). 11 Lucero. “1989 Tiananmen Square: A Proto-History” pp. 29-43 12 Lucero. “1989 Tiannamen Square: A Proto-History” pp. 10; Sharma, Yojana. 2019. Tiananmen Square A Topic Which Still Can’t Be Studied. php?story=20190524075558647. 13 June 4th Museum Editors. 2014. Accessed March 16, 2020. 14 Chung, Kimmy. 2018. June 4 Museum to Open in Hong Kong in April in Time for 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Crackdown. june-4-museum-open-hong-kong-april-time-30th-a nniversary 15 Schell, Orville, Liang Zhang, Andrew J. Nathan, and Perry Link. 2001. The Tiananmen Papers. New York: PublicAffairs. pp. 2-8 16 Sarotte. “China’s Fear of Contagion”. pp. 157-158 17 Lucero. “1989 Tiannamen Square: A Proto-History.” pp. 18-20 18 Schwarcz, Vera. 1989. “Memory, Commemoration and the Plight of China’s Intellectuals”. The Wilson Quarterly. 13 (4). pp. 120-122 19 Whitehead. China’s History Problem. 20 Lucero. “1989 Tiannamen Square: A Proto-History.” pp. 5 21 Sarotte. “China’s Fear of Contagion”. pp. 157 22 Brittenham, Rebecca. 2001. “What Should a Revisionist History Look Like?”. JAC. 21 (4). https://www-jstor-org.pymblelc.idm.oclc. org/stable/pdf/20866450.pdf. pp. 860 23 Sarotte. “China’s Fear of Contagion”. pp. 159 24 Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors. 2020. Empiricism. 25 Sarotte. “China’s Fear of Contagion”. pp. 157-158 26 Wasserstrom, Jeffery N. 1992. Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China: Second Edition. London: Routledge. pp. 2-4; Lim, Louisa. 2015. Louisa Lim: ‘I Wanted to Discover How Chinese People Became Complicit in an Act of Mass Amnesia’. https://www. evisited-china. 27 Mulligan, Deirdra K and Griffin, Daniel S. 2018. If Google Goes to China, Will it Tell the Truth about Tiananmen Square?. google-china-search-tiananmen-square-massacre. 28 Tiananmen Mothers Editors. 2019. 29 Ibid. 30 Amnesty International Editors. 2008. Tiananmen Mothers: China’s Choice, Your Voice. Documents/52000/asa170162008eng.pdf. 1


Pymble Student Research

The struggle of historians to construct historical narratives of Tiananmen Square thereby exposes the great extent to which CCP denialism has placed limitations on the historical narratives of Tiananmen due to their politicisation of history and suppression of sources. Chinese historians have to a large extent democratised history within the confines of suppressive historical denialism, drawing upon collective memory and mediums such as digital and archival history in an attempt to produce histories of Tiananmen which the CCP have rejected. Additionally, the suppression of political sources of Tiananmen by the CCP, such as political documents and archives, has resulted in it being very difficult for Western historians to form political histories of Tiananmen, and these political histories being incomplete, or focusing on the subjective, biased experiences of protestors. Overall, the effect of Tiananmen Square being denied by the CCP is that it has polarised history into two distinct historical narratives, wherein the formation of revisionist histories asserting that Tiananmen did occur directly opposes the CCP’s denial of the events of Tiananmen and thereby the CCP itself.



digital history despite CCP regulation, including historical producers such as, administered by democratic activist group Tiananmen Mothers.28 Digital mediums are often utilised by Chinese producers as the internet allows some degree of democratisation of history which is inaccessible in a nation wherein Tiananmen’s narrative is almost entirely controlled by the state, allowing individual memory to become part of historical discourse and facilitating a formation of public history. This is demonstrated by the fact that tiananmenmothers. org utilises primarily individual testimony, such as founder Ding Zilin’s account of her son’s murder by PLA forces during the massacre.29 This has allowed individual experiences that are normally suppressed from CCP historical narratives to become a part of Tiananmen’s history and allows information that was previously obfuscated by the state to be collated, such as the names of Tiananmen victims.30 In many cases, such as Tiananmen Mother, these digital histories pose a direct challenge to CCP oppression by evidencing CCP brutality through individual testimony. Therefore, historical producers have constructed digital histories because producing histories through digital mediums allows a greater extent of historical democratisation, challenging the CCP’s monopoly on historical narratives and thereby rebuilding a history of Tiananmen Square that challenges CCP denialism.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Amnesty International Editors. 2008. Tiananmen Mothers: China’s Choice, Your Voice. Accessed March 25, 2020. Documents/52000/asa170162008eng.pdf. Berry, Chris. 1995. “Seeking Truth from Fiction: Feature Films as Historiography in Deng’s China”. Film History. 7 (1): 87-99. Bickers, Robert. 2017. Out of China: How the Chinese Ended the Era of Western Domination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Blanc, Sebastien. 2019. 30 Years on, Chinese Dissident Wang Dan Reflects on the Tiananmen Massacre. Accessed March 10, 2020 men-massacre/. Brittenham, Rebecca. 2001. “What Should a Revisionist History Look Like?”. JAC. 21 (4). stable/pdf/20866450.pdf. Brook, Timothy. 1992. Quelling the People. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press. Center for Strategic & International Studies. “Re-examining the History of Tiananmen Square”. YouTube video, 1:08:52. 2019. https:// Chung, Kimmy. 2018. June 4 Museum to Open in Hong Kong in April in Time for 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Crackdown. Accessed March 26, 2020. article/2177334/june-4-museum-open-h ong-kong-april-time30th-anniversary. Cormier, Michel. 2013. The Legacy of Tiananmen Square. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Crossley, Pamela Kyle. 2019. Xi’s China Is Steamrolling Its Own History. Accessed January 27, 2020. https://foreignpolicy. com/2019/01/29/xis-china-is-steamrolling-its-own-history/. Cunningham, Philip J. 2009. Tiananmen Moon: Inside the Chinese Student Uprising of 1989. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Dirlik, Arif. 1996. “Reversals, Ironies, Hegemonies: Notes on the Contemporary Historiography of Modern China”. Modern China. 22 (3). Edelbauer, Regina. 2013. “Presence and Future of the Past: China Between Remembering and Forgetting”. Processing the Past. Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors. 2020. Deng Xiaoping. Accessed January 30, 2020. Deng-Xiaoping. Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors. 2020. Empiricism. Accessed May 2, 2020. Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors. 2020. Tiananmen Square Incident. Accessed January 30, 2020. Tiananmen-Square-incident. Fisher, Max. 2014. This 1989 Speech is One of the Most Important in China’s History - and Only Eight People Have Heard it. Accessed March 12, 2020. n-chinas-history-and. 1995. The Gate of Heavenly Peace. Documentary. Directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon. He, Rowena Xiaoqing. 2019. China Continues to Deny Tiananmen, We Won’t Let the World Forget. Accessed March 2, 2020. https:// He, Zhou. 1996. Mass Media and Tiananmen Square. Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers. He, Rowena. 2014. Tiananmen Exiles: Voices of the Struggle for Democracy. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hutzler, Charles, and Wong, Chun Han. 2019. China’s Effort to Erase the June 4 Protests From History. Accessed February 10, 2020. 559315300. Johnson, Ian. 2016. China’s Memory Manipulators. Accessed January 19, 2020. June 4th Museum Editors. 2014. Accessed March 16, 2020.


Li, Huaiyin. 2013. Reinventing Modern China: Imagination and Authenticity in Chinese Historical Writing. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Lim, Louisa, and Maria, Ilaria. 2019. China Wants us to Forget the Horrors of Tiananmen as it Rewrites its History. Accessed January 5, 2020. china-wants-us-to-forget-the- horrors-of-tiananmen-as-itrewrites-its-history. Lim, Louisa. 2015. Louisa Lim: ‘I Wanted to Discover How Chinese People Became Complicit in an Act of Mass Amnesia’. Accessed May 6, 2020. jul/21/louisa-lim-the-peoples-repub lic-of-amnesia-tiananmenrevisited-china. Lim, Louisa. 2014. The People’s Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lin, Nan. 1992. The Struggle for Tiananmen: Anatomy of the 1989 Mass Movement. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. Lucero, Karman. “1989 Tiananmen Square: A Proto-History”. Bachelor’s thesis, Columbia University, 2011. download/pdf/161437677.pdf. Ma, Yan. 2000. “Chapter Six: Chinese Online Presence: Tiananmen Square and Beyond”. Counterpoints. 59. Mitter, Rana. 2000. “Behind the Scenes at the Museum: Nationalism, History and Memory in the Beijing War of Resistance Museum, 19871997”. The China Quarterly. 161. Mu, Yi and Thomson, Mark V. 1989. Crisis at Tiananmen: Reform and Reality in Modern China. San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals. Mulligan, Deirdra K and Griffin, Daniel S. 2018. If Google Goes to China, Will it Tell the Truth about Tiananmen Square?. Accessed January 27, 2020. commentisfree/2018/aug/21/google-china-search-tiananme n-square-massacre. Renhua, Wu, interview by China Change. 2016. The Historian of the Tiananmen Movement and the June Fourth Massacre - An Interview With Wu Renhua (Part One of Two). https://chinachange. org/2016/06/03/the-historian-of-the-tiananmen-movement-andthe-ju ne-fourth-massacre-an-interview-with-wu-renhua-part-oneof-two/. Richelson, Jeffery T and Evans, Michael L. 1999. Tiananmen Square, 1989: The Declassified History. Accessed February 12, 2020. Saiget, Robert J. 2009. China Faces Dark Memory of Tiananmen. Accessed February 2, 2020. html. Sarotte, M.E. 2012. “China’s Fear of Contagion: Tiananmen Square and the Power of the European Example.” International Security. 37 (2). Sausmikat, Nora. 2003. “Generations, Legitimacy and Political Ideas in China: The End of Polarization or the End of Ideology?”. Asian Survey. 43 (2): 352-384. Schell, Orville, Liang Zhang, Andrew J. Nathan, and Perry Link. 2001. The Tiananmen Papers. New York: Public Affairs. Schwarcz, Vera. 1989. “Memory, Commemoration and the Plight of China’s Intellectuals”. The Wilson Quarterly. 13 (4): 120-129. Sharma, Yojana. 2019. Tiananmen Square A Topic Which Still Can’t Be Studied. Accessed June 1, 2020. https://www.universityworldnews. com/post.php?story=20190524075558647. Tiananmen Mothers Editors. 2019. Accessed March 15, 2020. Wasserstrom, Jeffery N. 1992. Popular Protest and Political Culture in Modern China: Second Edition. London: Routledge. Weiwei, Ai. 2019. The West is Complicit in the 30 Year Cover up of Tiananmen. Accessed January 28, 2020. https://www.theguardian. com/commentisfree/2019/jun/04/china-tiananmen-square-beijin g. Whitehead, Kate. 2017. China’s History Problem: How it’s Censoring the Past and Denying Academics Access to Archives. Accessed January 16, 2020. article/2091436/why-you-cant-believe-word-xi-jinp ing-saysabout-history-according.


Xi, Nihil sine. 2016. China is Struggling to Keep Control Over its Version of the Past. Accessed March 10, 2020. s-version-of-the-past. Xupeng, Zhang. 2013. “Historical Writing in the People’s Republic of China since 1978”. Revue Tiers Monde. 216 (4). https://www.cairn. info/revue-tiers-monde-2013-4-page-89.htm#.

Pymble Student Research


Amelie Yee 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? My History Extension Major Work is an investigation into the conflicting historiographical perspectives on American imperialism in Hawaii. I was inspired to undertake this topic as I am fascinated by the relationship between colonial perspectives and postcolonial discourses, as they interact and continue to resonate in the modern day.

2. What was your planning progress?

4. How did you overcome them?

I began my planning process with a series of mind maps and brainstorms, as well as some wide reading around my topic to see which areas I would like to focus on. I worked alongside my teacher mentor, Mrs Pryor, to plan out rough deadlines for each component of my Major Work to keep me on track and ensure that I could effectively balance my History Extension workload with my other subjects and my English Extension 2 Major Work. I also had regular meetings with Mrs Pryor to evolve my focus question and to share my progress in research and writing. I made sure to keep track of each major development in my Major Work with frequent entries in my process log.

To find more sources from imperialist perspectives, I thought laterally to problem solve and searched in specific journals and databases, including military journals like the International Journal of Naval History. Here, I found colonial perspectives justifying imperialism for military, strategic and economic reasons. I also looked in archives such as those belonging to the United States Office of the Historian to find digitised records of imperial-era military and political correspondences.

3. What challenges did you come across? Finding a broad range historical sources written from imperialist perspectives justifying imperialism proved more difficult than I had initially anticipated, particularly due to the age of these sources and finding them in digitised databases.


5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? My advice to future Pymble students would be to embrace the process of composition and not be afraid of it. Although undertaking a Major Work may seem like a daunting task at the beginning, it is a really rewarding process of research and writing. Know that the process is iterative and don’t be afraid of change – your project will evolve with the discovery of new sources and perspectives, and that is a good thing!

Critically examine the changing historical perspectives on American imperialism in Hawai’i By Amelie Yee (2001) and Noenoe Silva (2004). The Nation of Hawai’i activist group and the US Office of the Historian have also reframed the hegemonic narrative of Hawaiian imperial history. Further, despite dominant narratives, anomalous perspectives have arisen due to personal contexts, including feminist journalist Miriam Michelson (1897), who amplified Native Hawaiian voices in the 1890s, and military historian Max Boot (2003), who justifies imperialism in the modern-day. Changing historical perspectives have been enabled by a postcolonial environment, in which subordinated communities reclaim their historical narratives, as well as a global society that increasingly values diverse perspectives. This is further aided by the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, which seeks Hawaiian independence from the US.3 The reconstruction of historical narratives has increased visibility of marginalised Native Hawaiian perspectives, fostering a move towards reconciliation.

Kingdom, and the islands’ attractive strategic location in the Pacific, Hawai’i drew the attention of many influential Americans such as US Naval Officer and former American Historical Association President Alfred Thayer Mahan. Born in New York in 1840, Mahan served almost 40 years in the US Navy and was a proponent of sea power; with his work highlighting military and ideological justifications for imperialism between the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and annexation.5 In a letter to the New York Times on January 30th, 1893, Mahan urged the American acquisition of Hawai’i due to its “geographical and military importance” in the Pacific, given the American pursuit of trade and diplomacy in China and Japan.6 Further, disregarding Native Hawaiian society and culture, he proposed the islands as a “future outpost of European civilisation”.7 Thus, Mahan’s perspective is characterised by strategic considerations as well as Manifest Destiny, and echoes the White Man’s Burden.

In the 1890s, imperialism in Hawai’i was justified by powerful Americans under strategic military and geopolitical ambitions, as well as the ideologies of Manifest Destiny and the ‘White Man’s Burden’ to spread civilisation.4 With the increasing influence of white plantation businessmen in Hawai’i, the overthrow of the Hawaiian

Further imperialist perspectives can be seen in the communications of the white businessmen of the Hawaiian League and Committee of Safety following annexation, clearly influenced by ideological, economic and military interests. Sanford Dole, born to American Christian missionaries in Hawai’i in 1844, was a Committee of


Pymble Student Research

In light of changing societal and personal contexts, historical perspectives are dynamic and evolving, incorporating new evidence and opinions, as potently seen in the changing interpretations of American imperialism in Hawai’i. The overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and installation of the Provisional Government on January 17th, 1893, and subsequent annexation of the islands by the United States on August 12th, 1898, was the culmination of years of economic, political and strategic manoeuvres by white American capitalist groups, the Hawaiian League and Committee of Safety.1 It was an act of imperialism, part of the American pursuit of ‘Manifest Destiny’; the belief that the US was fated for geographical and ideological expansion.2 Initially seen as necessary to ensure American prosperity and security, imperialism was justified under military, ideological, geopolitical and economic motivators by producers of history such as Alfred Thayer Mahan (1893), Sanford Dole (1893) and Reverend Sereno Edwards Bishop (1897). Over time, historians rooted in Native Hawaiian culture and language have emerged, rejecting dominant discourses through new perspectives condemning imperialism, including HaunaniKay Trask (1999), David Keanu Sai



Safety member who became Provisional Government President.8 He silenced the Native Hawaiian government, speaking on behalf of Hawai’i from a white American perspective, motivated by religious ideology. In an 1893 correspondence to the US Government, Dole justified imperialism in Hawai’i under religious enlightenment, believing in “building…Christian civilisation”, reflecting the White Man’s Burden.9 Many Committee members also had economic interests in Hawaiian sugar plantations. Thus, Dole further justified imperialism under the guise of mutual economic benefit for Hawai’i and the US, with “profitable reciprocal commercial interests” available through Hawaiian plantations, as well as Hawai’i’s strategic “geographical position” in the Pacific from a military standpoint, which, like Mahan, fails to account for Native Hawaiian perspectives.10 Justifications for imperialism are also seen in the works of Reverend Sereno Edwards Bishop, born in Hawai’i in 1827 to American missionaries.11 A friend of the Committee of Safety President Lorrin Thurston, Bishop believed in white superiority over Native Hawaiians and was staunchly pro-annexation. Active during the 1890s, Bishop opposed “royalists” who wished to restore the monarchy and continually discredited Native Hawaiians, strongly arguing racial, economic and religious reasons for Hawai’i’s rule by the white elite.12 Reporting for the Washington newspaper, The Evening News, Bishop deceptively wrote under the pseudonym “Kamehameha”, the name of former Hawaiian kings, documenting Hawaiian events for an American audience, such as the 1894 Waine’e Church fire.13 In 1897, Bishop wrote that

“royalist members burned the church, and the people were too divided and weak to rebuild it”.14 However, Bishop’s account does not corroborate with the nine Hawaiian-language newspapers from this time, including Ka Makaainana, which cited nearby rubbish incineration as the probable cause.15 Therefore, Bishop likely manipulated the story to further his characterisation of incapable Native Hawaiians needing white governance. Due to Bishop’s immense influence, many subsequent histories have unquestioningly drawn from his accounts, including the Maui Historical Society’s public history pamphlet Lahaina Historical Guide (1964), and books like Exploring Historic Lahaina (2001) by Summer Kupau, raising concerns about the distortion of history by dominant imperial voices.16 The largely imperialist perspectives in the US during the 1890s were met with some opposition, such as American journalist Miriam Michelson, born in California in 1870.17 One of the first female journalists in San Francisco, Michelson was a feminist interested in marginalised voices, whose work was rediscovered and digitised at the New York Public Library in 2019.18 Michelson travelled to Hawai’i, conducted interviews and reported on Native Hawaiian resistance to annexation, which was largely ignored in the dominant discourses of English-language imperial history. Led by publisher William Randolph Hearst, mainstream American media saw the 1898 Spanish-American War as an opportunity to sell newspapers, and thus advocated for war.19 Such propaganda swayed the American public to favour war and annexation due to


Hawai’i’s potential as a strategic base; however, Michelson’s writing aimed to persuade readers otherwise. She strived to illuminate the resistance movement and draw empathy for Native Hawaiians from the American public, and as noted by Boston College scholar HarrisonKahan in 2019, Michelson made a “concerted effort to include the perspective of native Hawaiian women”.20 In The San Francisco Call in 1897, Michelson advocates for the resistance group, the Women’s Hawaiian Patriotic League, noting that “To the natives, loss of nationality is hateful, abhorrent.”21 Michelson was particularly notable as she subverted the prevailing gender and cultural attitudes of her time to highlight Native Hawaiian perspectives on annexation. Due to new evidence and changing societal values in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, interpretations of imperialism in Hawai’i have evolved significantly. These new interpretations have facilitated increasing visibility for Native Hawaiian perspectives in the construction of academic, popular and public imperial history, which is important in acknowledging and respecting the historical plight of Native Hawaiians and moving towards reconciliation. Following American statehood in 1959, Hawai’i’s demographics changed, with Asian plantation workers and Native Hawaiians being elected to government offices.22 The 1960s and 1970s heralded the Hawaiian Renaissance, sparking greater appreciation of Native Hawaiian culture and language, and the establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 1978 to promote culture within the state.23 Globally, this period marked the “winding up” of many traditional imperial systems, and according

Native Hawaiian academic, David Keanu Sai, born in 1964 in Hawai’i, also draws upon international law to characterise American imperialism as unjustified and illegal. With a PhD in political science, Sai specialises in Hawaiian Constitutionalism and International Relations.33 He characterises the destruction and “Americanisation” of Hawai’i’s culture and political systems as “genocide” from a humanitarian law perspective, comparable to Trask.34 He recontextualises imperialism in Hawai’i as “occupation” rather than “colonisation”, a term he deems part of the American historical narrative.35 Thus, he does not characterise himself as a sovereignty activist like Trask, as this implies Hawai’i was ceded; however, he cites his purpose is to “end… the occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom”.36 Sai speaks to academic and public audiences through the Hawaiian Kingdom Blog, with articles about history and Native Hawaiian recognition.37 He believes that prior to “occupation”, Hawai’i was an “independent” nation, thus, by imposing American laws in Hawai’i, the US violated the 1849 Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with the Hawaiian Kingdom, thereby contravening the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.38


Revisionist historians such as Noenoe Silva, born in 1954 in Hawai’i, lead the recovery of Hawaiian-language literature and political history in a postcolonial environment.39 Silva draws upon her Native Hawaiian heritage and academic background as a University of Hawai’i professor in her cultural and languagebased study of imperialism in Hawai’i.40 Her work is influenced by the ongoing fight to preserve Hawaiian language and culture, as although Native Hawaiian perspectives on imperialism existed, they had been suppressed. In 1896, the Hawaiian language was banned in the public education system, and was not reinstated until 1978 when Hawaiian state law promoted “the study of Hawaiian culture, history and language”.41 In her book Aloha Betrayed (2004), Silva translates 19th and 20th century Hawaiian-language written records, including newspapers, songs and letters, to highlight their importance to Hawaiian political and social organisation.42 She was also instrumental in rediscovering the Kū’ē Petitions, originally presented to the US Government in 1897 in an attempt to terminate annexation.43 This is important evidence of Native Hawaiian resistance to imperialism often ignored in English-language constructions of history. This discovery helped bring marginalised Native Hawaiian voices into the academic and public consciousness, illuminating a struggle for autonomy that largely remained out of historical discussion. Whilst bringing attention to cultural issues, Silva does not draw upon international law like Trask or Sai, instead contributing greatly to understanding of imperialism in Hawai’i through rediscovering valuable evidence within the

Pymble Student Research

A voice illuminating Native Hawaiian perspectives on American imperialism is Hawaiian nationalist historian HaunaniKay Trask. Born in California in 1949 into a politically active family, Trask is of Native Hawaiian descent and grew up in Hawai’i.27 Trask is a University of Hawai’i Professor Emeritus with a PhD in political science and is central to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement.28 Likening commercial tourism in Hawai’i to “cultural prostitution”, she strongly opposes any American influence.29 Trask’s extensive work utilises her political science background, approaching imperial history through the lens of international and human rights law. She illuminates “undeniable violations” of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through imperialism, including Native Hawaiians’ loss of the right to self-determination.30 In From a Native Daughter (1999), Trask

acknowledges the Apology Resolution, however, criticises Congress for failing to take further action, as “not an acre of stolen Hawaiian land has been returned”.31 Trask also scrutinises imperialism through popular history, producing the documentary Act of War (1993), which depicts scenes celebrating Hawaiian culture, juxtaposed with sovereignty protesters conflicting with police, to emotionally appeal to audiences.32


to British historian D.K. Fieldhouse, the study of imperialism suffered as a result.24 Growing nationalism in former colonies and the rise of postcolonial perspectives meant that by the 1990s, imperialism returned as a major academic concern, from new “post-imperial standpoints”.25 The 1993 Apology Resolution, signed by President Bill Clinton, expressed regret on behalf of the US for their role in overthrowing the Hawaiian Kingdom, committing the US government to reconciliation.26 This both legitimised and fuelled Hawaiian cultural, nationalist and sovereignty movements. However, there is still dispute over Native Hawaiians’ desired outcomes for their relationship with the US. Some advocate for formal recognition of Native Hawaiians like Native Americans; however, others advocate for sovereignty.

societal context of increasing cultural awareness. Interestingly, despite its clear cultural detriment, some modern-day individuals continue to justify imperialism. Former Republican foreign policy advisor and American military historian Max Boot, born in 1969 and raised in California, makes “the case for American Empire” in a 2003 article for the conservative Washington Examiner.44 Influenced by American nation- building during the Iraq War, which was often labelled as imperialist, Boot notes that despite apparent isolationist policies, the US is an “empire”, and is merely hesitant to label themselves using “the “I” word – imperialism”.45 He characterises imperialism in Hawai’i as a “success” in advocating for the full exercising of power in Iraq, even if it is termed “imperialism”.46 Unlike historians such as Trask, Sai and Silva, Boot takes little time to acknowledge imperialism’s vast cultural damage. Instead, he states that “US imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century”, citing its ability to defeat communism and Nazism, and spread “liberal institutions”, a sentiment reminiscent of Manifest Destiny.47 Historical perspectives on imperialism in Hawai’i are not only shaped by new evidence and the reconstruction of historical narratives, but also through activist organisations. A number of cultural activist groups against imperialism emerged in the late 20th century as a result of the Hawaiian Renaissance and sovereignty movement, with their influence extending into popular history. These include the Nation of Hawai’i, a gated sovereign community led by Pu`uhonua Dennis Keiki “Bumpy” Kanahele,

featured in Ka Laina Ma Ke One, a 2017 Hawaii Five-O episode.48 Although constituting popular entertainment, the episode deals with historical issues; it provides a platform for discussion, spotlighting a real activist group, Native Hawaiian culture and the sovereignty movement for an international audience. It appeals to the audience emotionally and concludes with a song titled “This is our Home”, potently illuminating the “fight to be free”.49 The episode also employs sovereignty symbols such as the inverted Hawaiian flag, representing Hawai’i in distress. Under Barack Obama’s Administration (2009–2017), approaches to imperialism in Hawai’i evolved once more. Born in Hawai’i in 1961, Obama’s racial diversity and Democratic ideology of egalitarianism helped usher in a more considerate approach to Hawai’i. 50 Although not Native Hawaiian himself, he characterises American imperialism as “the ugly conquest of the Native Hawaiians”.51 In 2014, the US Office of the Historian removed their “Annexation of Hawai’i” page from the website section titled “Milestones”, for “accuracy and clarity”.52 Although this does not explicitly acknowledge wrongdoing, the alteration to government- produced public history acknowledges, to some extent, the impact of imperialism on Native Hawaiians. It attempts to reframe historical narratives in line with current societal values and acknowledge the historical plight of Native Hawaiians. Historical perspectives on American imperialism in Hawai’i have evolved from military, ideological, geopolitical and economic justifications, as espoused by 19th century producers of history such as


Mahan, Dole and Bishop, to incorporate new evidence and reflect changing societal contexts. This has given rise to Native Hawaiian voices opposing imperialism, including the late 20th and early 21st century historians Trask, Silva and Sai. The postcolonial environment ripe for sharing cultural perspectives is supported by an increasingly global society and the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. The reframing of historical narratives to amplify marginalised voices has increased the traction of Native Hawaiian perspectives and set in motion a process of reconciliation. FOOTNOTES Nisei Veterans Legacy, “Hawaiian Monarchy Overthrown; Territory of Hawaii,” Nisei Veterans Legacy, 2017, 2 David Heidler, and Jeanne Heidler, “Manifest Destiny,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2015, https://www.britannica. com/event/Manifest-Destiny. 3 Haunani-Kay Trask, “The Struggle for Hawaiian Sovereignty - Introduction,” Cultural Survival, 2000, https://www. introduction. 4 David Healey, “On the Limits of Racist Appeals,” Diplomatic History 30, no. 2 (2006): 297-300. 5 Brian Duignan, Yamini Chauhan, Aakanksha Gaur, Gloria Lotha, and Shiveta Singh.”Alfred Thayer Mahan,” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2019, https:// 6 Alfred Thayer Mahan, Letter of January 30th, 1893 to The New York Times ed. The New York Times (1893). 7 Mahan, Letter of January 30th, 1893 to The New York Times. 8 Swati Chopra, Gloria Lotha, and Emily Rodriguez “Sanford Ballard Dole,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2020, Sanford-Ballard-Dole. 9 Sanford Dole, Letter of December 23, 1893 Refusing United States Demand to Restore Ex-Queen Lili’uokalani to the Throne (1893). 10 Dole, Letter of December 23, 1893 Refusing United States Demand to Restore Ex-Queen Lili’uokalani to the Throne. 11 California Digital Library. “Sereno Edwards Bishop Papers: Finding Aid,” California Digital Library, 2018, https://oac.cdlib. org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf8489n9dq/. 1

Trask, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii, 32. 32 Joan Lander Puhipau, Haunani-Kay Trask, “Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation “ (1993). 33 David Keanu Sai, “Dr. David “Keanu” Sai,” 2012, 34 David Keanu Sai, “Genocide through Denationalization,” interview by Lynette Cruz, 2016, watch?v=fi1akXOxNHg&t=223s. 35 Sai, interview. 36 David Keanu Sai, “The Hawaiian Kingdom,” 2020, https://www. 37 Sai, “The Hawaiian Kingdom.” 38 Larsen v Hawaiian Kingdom, (Permanent Court of Arbitration 2001). 39 Noenoe Silva, “Professor Noenoe Silva,” University of Hawai’i, 2016, http://www. html. 40 Silva, “Professor Noenoe Silva.” 41 Hawaii State Department of Education, “History of Hawaiian Education.” 42 Noenoe Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism (London: Duke University Press, 2004), 123. 43 Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism, 149. 44 Max Boot, “Max Boot,” 2018, 45 Max Boot, “Imperialism!,” The Washington Examiner, 2003, weekly- standard/imperialism. 46 Boot, “Imperialism!.” 47 Boot, “Imperialism!.” 48 Peter Weller, “Ka Laina Ma Ke One,” in Hawaii Five-O (2017). 49 Weller, “Ka Laina Ma Ke One.” 50 Troy Andarade, “Legacy in Paradise: Analyzing the Obama Administration’s Efforts of Reconciliation with Native Hawaiians,” Michigan Journal of Race and Law 22 (2017): 291. 51 Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004), 23. 52 David Keanu Sai, “U.S. Department of State’s Website: Article on Hawaiian Annexation Removed,” 2014, 31

Abernathy, Scott. American Government: Stories of a Nation. Washington DC: CQ Press, 2018. Adomeit, Ambjörn L. “Alfred and Theodore Go to Hawai’i: The Value of Hawa’i in the Maritime Strategic Thought of Alfred Thayer Mahan.” International Journal of Naval History 13, no. 1 (2016). alfred-and-theodore-go-to-hawaii-the-valueof-hawaii-in-the-maritime-strategic-thoughtof-alfred-thayer-mahan/. Andarade, Troy. “Legacy in Paradise: Analyzing the Obama Administration’s Efforts of Reconciliation with Native Hawaiians.” Michigan Journal of Race and Law 22 (2017): 273- 326. Beers, Axel. “Hawai’i: The Fake State – Dr. David Keanu Sai Talks to the Maui County Council About the Ongoing American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” 2019, hawaii-the-fake-state-dr-david-keanu-saitalks-to-the- maui-county-council-aboutthe-ongoing-american-occupation-of-thehawaiian-kingdom/. Boot, Max. “Imperialism!” The Washington Examiner, 2003, https://www. imperialism. Boot, Max. “Max Boot.” 2018, http://maxboot. net/. Brown, Taylor Kate. “Aloha to the Us: Is Hawai’i an Occupied Nation?” BBC, 2015, https://www. California Digital Library. “Sereno Edwards Bishop Papers: Finding Aid.” California Digital Library, 2018, ark:/13030/tf8489n9dq/. Chopra, Swati, Gloria Lotha, and Emily Rodriguez. “Sanford Ballard Dole.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2020, https://www. Dole, Sanford. Letter of December 23, 1893 Refusing United States Demand to Restore ExQueen Lili’uokalani to the Throne. 1893. D’Souza, Dinesh. “How Obama Thinks.” Forbes, 2010, forbes/2010/0927/politics-socialismcapitalism-private-enterprises- obamabusiness-problem.html#7514adb82217. Duignan, Brian, Yamini Chauhan, Aakanksha Gaur, Gloria Lotha, and Shiveta Singh. “Alfred Thayer Mahan.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2019, Alfred-Thayer-Mahan. Federal Government of the United States of America. Apology Resolution, 1993. Fieldhouse, D. K. “‘Imperialism’: An Historiographical Revision.” The Economic History Review 14, no. 2 (1961): 187-209. Fieldhouse, D. K. “New Approaches to the History of Imperialism.” The Historical Journal 44, no. 2 (2001): 587-92. Hancock, Stephen. “On the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, 1893.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth Century History, 2015, https://www.branchcollective. org/?ps_articles=stephen-hancock-on-theoverthrow-of-the- hawaiian-monarchy-1893.

Pymble Student Research




Ronald Clayton Williams Jr, “Hearing Voices: Long Ignored IndigenousLanguage Testimony Challenges the Current Historiography of Hawai’i Nei” (Master of Arts in Pacific Island Studies University of Hawai’i, 2008), https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii. edu/bitstream/10125/20822/M.A.CB5. H3_3510_r.pdf: 46-47. 13 Williams Jr, “Hearing Voices: Long Ignored Indigenous-Language Testimony Challenges the Current Historiography of Hawai’i Nei,” 55. 14 Williams Jr, “Hearing Voices: Long Ignored Indigenous-Language Testimony Challenges the Current Historiography of Hawai’i Nei,” 46-47. 15 Williams Jr, “Hearing Voices: Long Ignored Indigenous-Language Testimony Challenges the Current Historiography of Hawai’i Nei,” 59-61. 16 Williams Jr, “Hearing Voices: Long Ignored Indigenous-Language Testimony Challenges the Current Historiography of Hawai’i Nei,” 42-45. 17 Pamela Metz, “Miriam Michelson,” Jewish Women’s Archive, 2009, encyclopedia/article/michelson-miriam. 18 Tal Nadan, “Frontier Feminist Miriam Michelson: An Interview with Lori Harrison-Kahan,” New York Public Library, 2019, blog/2019/09/12/feminist-miriammichelson-interview-harrison-kahan. 19 Scott Abernathy, American Government: Stories of a Nation (Washington DC: CQ Press, 2018), 215. 20 Tal Nadan, “Frontier Feminist Miriam Michelson: An Interview with Lori Harrison-Kahan.” 21 Miriam Michelson, “Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat,” San Francisco Call (San Francisco) 1897. 22 Trask, “The Struggle for Hawaiian Sovereignty - Introduction.” 23 Hawaii State Department of Education, “History of Hawaiian Education,” 2015, TeachingAndLearning/StudentLearning/ HawaiianEducation/Pages/History-ofthe-Hawaiian-Education-program.aspx. 24 D. K. Fieldhouse, “New Approaches to the History of Imperialism,” The Historical Journal 44, no. 2 (2001): 587. 25 Fieldhouse, “New Approaches to the History of Imperialism,” 587. 26 Federal Government of the United States of America, Apology Resolution, (1993). 27 Poetry Foundation, “Haunani-Kay Trask,” Poetry Foundation, 2020, https://www. 28 University of Hawai’i, “Haunani-Kay Trask receives national recognition for scholarship for the public good,” University of Hawai’i, 2019, https://www. hawaii. edu/news/2019/11/12/trask-awardeddavis-prize/. 29 Trask, “The Struggle for Hawaiian Sovereignty - Introduction.” 30 Haunani-Kay Trask, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999), 28. 12

Hawaii State Department of Education. “History of Hawaiian Education.” 2015, TeachingAndLearning/StudentLearning/ HawaiianEduca tion/Pages/History-ofthe-Hawaiian-Education-program.aspx. Healey, David. “On the Limits of Racist Appeals.” Diplomatic History 30, no. 2 (2006): 297-300. Heidler, David, and Jeanne Heidler. “Manifest Destiny.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2015, https://www.britannica. com/event/Manifest-Destiny. Larsen v Hawaiian Kingdom, Award, ICGJ 378 (PCA 2001), 5th February 2001, Permanent Court of Arbitration [PCA]. Lichenstein, Maia. “The Paradox of Hawaiian National Identity and Resistance to United States Annexation.” Penn History Review 16, no. 1 (2008): 38-54. Mahan, Alfred Thayer. Letter of January 30th, 1893 to the New York Times Edited by The New York Times. 1893. Mahan, Alfred Thayer. The Interest of America in Sea Power - Present and Future. 1897. Matz, Pamela. “Miriam Michelson.” Jewish Women’s Archive, 2009, article/michelson-miriam. Michelson, Miriam. “Strangling Hands Upon a Nation’s Throat.” San Francisco Call (San Francisco), 1897. Miller-Davenport, Sarah. Gateway State: Hawai’i and the Cultural Transformation of American Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019. Morgan, Howard Wayne. William Mckinley and His America. Kent: Kent University Press, 2003. Morotta, Gary. “The Academic Mind and the Rise of U.S. Imperialism: Historians and Economists as Publicists for Ideas of Colonial Expansion.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc. 42, no. 2 (1983): 217-34. Nadan, Tal. “Frontier Feminist Miriam Michelson: An Interview with Lori Harrison-Kahan.” New York Public Library, 2019, blog/2019/09/12/feminist-miriammichelson-interview-harrison-kahan. Nisei Veterans Legacy. “Hawaiian Monarchy Overthrown; Territory of Hawaii.” Nisei Veterans Legacy, 2017, Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004. Osborne, Thomas J. “The Main Reason for Hawaiian Annexation in July, 1898.” Oregon Historical Quarterly 71, no. 2 (1970): 161-78. stable/20613162. Osborne, Thomas J. “Trade or War? America’s Annexation of Hawaii Reconsidered.” Pacific Historical Review 50, no. 3 (1981): 285-307. Poetry Foundation. “Haunani-Kay Trask.” Poetry Foundation, 2020, https://www.

Puhipau, Joan Lander, Haunani-Kay Trask. “Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation “, 1993. Sai, David Keanu. “Dr. David “Keanu” Sai.” 2012, Sai, David Keanu. “U.S. Department of State’s Website: Article on Hawaiian Annexation Removed.” 2014, https:// Sai, David Keanu. “Royal Commission of Inquiry Calls Upon the State of Hawai‘i to Comply with International Law and to Work with the Council of Regency.” 2014, the-hawaiian-sovereignty-movementoperating-on-a-false-premise/. Sai, David Keanu. “Genocide through Denationalization.” By Lynette Cruz. 2016. watch?v=fi1akXOxNHg&t=223s. Sai, David Keanu. “The Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government.” National Education Association, 2018, hawaiiankingdom-government/. Sai, David Keanu. “The Hawaiian Kingdom.” 2020, https://www. Said, Edward. Orientalism. Pantheon Books, 1978. Scott Stone, Waimea Williams, Mazeppa Costa. Yesterday in Hawai’i. Honolulu: Island Heritage Publishing, 2014. Silva, Noenoe. Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism. London: Duke University Press, 2004. Silva, Noenoe. “Professor Noenoe Silva.” University of Hawai’i, 2016, faculty/silva.html. Steven Kettell, Alex Sutton. “New Imperialism: Toward a Holisitc Approach.” International Studies Review 15, no. 2 (2013): 243-58. Taylor, Derek. “Historiography on the Colonization and Annexation of the Hawaiian Islands.” California State University, 2015. https://www. Hawaii_Annexation_Historiography. Trask, Haunani-Kay, and Millani Trask. “The Aloha Industry: For Hawaiian Women, Tourism Is Not a Neutral Industry.” 1992, https://www. Trask, Haunani-Kay. From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999. Trask, Haunani-Kay. “The Struggle for Hawaiian Sovereignty - Introduction.” Cultural Survival, 2000, https://www.


Trask, Haunani-Kay. “Conflicting Visions of Hawaiian Sovereignty.” 2000, https:// cultural-survival-quarterly/conflictingvisions- hawaiian-sovereignty. United States Office of the Historian. “United States Maritime Expansion across the Pacific During the 19th Century.” Milestones: 1830–1860, US Government, 2016, milestones/1830-1860/pacific-expansion. United States Office of the Historian. “Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations.” 2016, https://history.state. gov/milestones. University of Hawai’i. “Haunani-Kay Trask Receives National Recognition for Scholarship for the Public Good.” University of Hawai’i, 2019, https://www. Weller, Peter. “Ka Laina Ma Ke One.” In Hawaii Five-O, 2017. Williams Jr, Ronald Clayton. “Hearing Voices: Long Ignored IndigenousLanguage Testimony Challenges the Current Historiography of Hawai’i Nei.” Master of Arts in Pacific Island Studies, University of Hawai’i, 2008. https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii. edu/bitstream/10125/20822/M.A.CB5. H3_3510_r.pdf.


DR KRISTIE SPENCE Science Extension is a new 1 Unit HSC course which Pymble is very pleased to offer.

Girls select this subject for many reasons. The main reasons being that it is an opportunity to pursue a passion area in Science in a way that contributes to the HSC mark and also get a headstart in building the skills usually only developed at University. Past students have already returned to us citing the benefits of the statistics and data analysis skills covered in this course, as well as the added confidence they have in research that they developed in Science Extension.



As students work on their projects, teachers act as guides and advisors, helping the students develop key skills, such as analytical skills, as well as being critical friends. Some students have worked with mentors at University, and the extent of involvement varies depending on the project and the time the mentor has to offer. This year Dr Orsola DeMarco from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Macquarie University provided a data set on star clusters and mentored one of our students in her exploration and analysis of this data set.

Students can choose to undertake any project in this course, as long as it is based on scientific thinking and sufficient progress The role of Data Science as a subject became can be made to allow the development of more and more evident as the 2020 Science the scientific research Extension cohort There are many datasets available explored their projects. skills which are being publicly which allow research assessed. Some As teachers of this to be conducted well beyond what is students choose to do subject, my colleagues possible within the school laboratory. experimental projects, in the Pymble Science This year, COVID data and data from often with the help of Department are excited the Hubble and Kepler Telescopes were University mentors, or to be empowering the central to student projects. they may undertake young women with the

opportunity to learn the skills required to critically analyse data and effectively visualise data to better understand it. Sharing the philosophy and thinking behind scientific inquiry, and the impact of culture, economics and politics on this methodology, provides students of Science Extension with a deeper understanding and better awareness of the role Science plays in society today. DR KRISTIE SPENCE HEAD OF LEARNING AREA – SCIENCE


Pymble Student Research

projects using datasets available publicly or through partnerships beyond the College. There are many datasets available publicly which allow research to be conducted well beyond what is possible within the school laboratory. This year, COVID data and data from the Hubble and Kepler Telescopes were central to student projects.

Krystal Duan 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? The sense of taste has always fascinated me. I watched videos about miracle berries which can make sour food taste sweet and sweet food taste bland. I also wondered if it was possible to change the flavour and taste of foods that I dislike, yet need to eat. That lead me to ask the question, can the taste of food be altered, and perhaps, make the tasting experience more enjoyable? I once encountered the fact that most of your taste is dependent on the sense of smell, so I decided to test whether taste could also be dependent on the other senses. I thought that, excluding smell, the next possible sense that could influence taste would be sight.

2. What was your planning progress? I researched as much as I could about taste, sight, and colours online and by going to the State Library and reading many books. I drew inspiration from the experiments that had already been performed, and were documented both in the online journals and the books such as the Bordeaux Wine Experiment and Heston Blumenthal’s experiment. I wrote down everything that was relevant and, on the side, I added new ideas for experiments that I could do including the colour of M&Ms, Skittles and their taste. I asked my peers many questions about the topics, and I asked for their feedback and continued to do so until I formulated my experiment.

3. What challenges did you come across? My original plan was to only conduct a couple of experiments that would be thoroughly planned and more formal. I had also conducted a pilot experiment with a few peers, gaining feedback and making the experiment as reliable, valid and accurate as possible. However, as I was developing my plan, COVID-19 had become a large issue and shut down the school, and made it unsafe to conduct any of my experiments as they could make transmission easier. Additionally, I contacted a researcher at Macquarie University who had written a research paper on a topic relating colour and taste. I requested access to her dataset to analyse. However, due to ethical reasons, she was not allowed to share it with me.


4. How did you overcome them? During the quarantine period, I developed new ideas by utilising surveys to collect data relevant to my research question. I had created many draft Google Forms and asked my peers to complete them for me and give me any feedback. I also contacted Ms. Supreet Saluja, a researcher at Macquarie University, who helped me formulate ideas and gave me feedback on my survey. When all students came back to school, I discussed with my teacher and Dr Loch, and sent one of the surveys out to all the students. The survey was successful, but I still constantly thought about the experiment that I originally wanted to perform. I posed the idea to my Science Extension teacher, Mr Le Bescont, and Dr Loch, and I was given the allclear, given that I implement COVID-safe practices such as using gloves, wearing a mask and washing and sanitising everyone’s hands thoroughly. Eventually, I was allowed to use a small group of students and could execute a safe, but not as elaborate, experiment.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? If something doesn’t go your way, don’t panic. Hopefully, there won’t be another pandemic or major event, but if I could work around the pandemic and still complete my Science Extension research paper, then you can do anything too. There will always be a way around it and hopefully it’ll turn out even better than you expected. Also, don’t leave everything to the last minute, although I know it’s very hard to do.

The Influence of Colours and Tones on the Perception of Taste By Krystal Duan Acknowledgements

Literature Review

I would like to thank Mr Le Bescont (Science Extension teacher), Dr Spence (Science Extension teacher, Head of Science) and Dr Loch (Director of Research and Development) for helping me in the planning and execution of my experiment and supporting me through the report process. I would also like to thank Ms Supreet Saluja (Macquarie University) and my peers for supporting me, and the Pymble Ladies’ College Secondary School Students who participated in my experiments.

Taste and sight are two of the five main senses and, although they seem completely unrelated, can rely on each other. There are five basic tastes: bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami (savoury). Not to be mistaken for flavour, taste is what remains without the sense of smell. Humans see colour because of an object’s ability to reflect light. The colour of food, lighting, plates and utensils have been found to change one’s appetite, and enhance or reduce the flavour or taste of the food. The link between taste and colour can satisfy customers by enhancing the dining experience, “feeding diners’ minds, not just mouths” (Spence, 2017), hence, encouraging economic gain for restaurants and food companies.


Taste buds are a combination of cells (basal and columnar cells, and 10-50 taste receptor cells) that can respond to all five basic tastes and are found in papillae. Papillae can come in several types: fungiform, foliate and circumvallate papillae. These can be found at the front, the side towards the back and on the back of the tongue, elsewhere in the mouth, the throat, palate, tonsils, gut, and epiglottis, but not the middle of the tongue. Different chemicals activate various types of taste receptors, which elicit taste sensations. Receptors for sweet, sour and bitter are proteins which are found on the surface of cells, and are coded by genes. The receptors detect certain cells triggering a sequence of events that sends chemical messages to the brain. The receptor for salt, the epithelial sodium channel, allows sodium ions into particular cells in the body. The receptors for sour tastes possibly have a similar mechanism (Australian Academy of Science, 2018; Shepherd, 2016). All objects either absorb light waves or reflect it. Colour is the result of the reflected light waves, which bounce to human’s eyes. Light waves consist of photons, which are particles that hit two main types of receptors located at the back of the retina in the shape of rods or cones, which are chains of more than 300 amino acids (Pantone, 2020). These receptors then transport the information to the brain


Pymble Student Research

Taste is one of the five senses that creates chemical reactions, sending signals to the brain. Colour is the result of the brain processing the reflection of different wavelengths of light. Since they are both linked to the brain, are they dependent on each other, and how does the colour of food and drinks shape one’s expectation of taste? In an experiment, participants were given matcha green tea and English Breakfast tea, which was dyed with green and brown food dye respectively to create darker tones. The participants were asked to fill out a form about their predictions and thoughts of bitterness before and after they tasted the tea. The darker teas with more food dye had been perceived as the most bitter. However, there was no distinction between the least bitter and the intermediate tea, suggesting that darker colours have a stronger taste due to pre-existing expectations. A survey was also created to investigate whether there is a correlation between the taste and colour of foods. The participants were provided with named tastes and questions asking them to select which colours they associate with each taste, and justifying why they chose those colours. Common colours selected and common justifications, suggesting that tastes are associated with colours, hence creating expectations and influencing the perception of taste.



via the optic nerve by converting the photons into nerve impulses. Cone-shaped cells can be sensitive to either the long, medium or short light waves, and work together with connecting nerve cells to provide the brain with enough information to name and interpret colours. The long wavelengths correspond to the perception of red, the medium to green and the short to blue (Shepherd, 2016). Taste may be dependent on sight as approximately 1% of the cortex is involved directly in the perception of taste compared to more than 50% when processing what we see. Furthermore, olfactory cues are processed 10 times slower than visual cues, possibly due to evolutionary fitness (Spence, 2017). Various experiments have been conducted to demonstrate the effect of the colour of food on taste perception. The Bordeaux Wine experiment was conducted in 2001 by Frederic Brochet, a PhD candidate at the University of Bordeaux II in France. This experiment was conducted with 54 oenology (wine science) students, 27 female and 27 male. Brochet initially gave the students a glass of red wine and a glass of white wine, asking them to describe the flavour. The white wine was described as “floral”, “honey”, “peach” and “lemon”, and the red was described as “raspberry”, “cherry”, “cedar” and “chicory” (Pomeroy, 2014). The students were invited back for a second wine tasting session. This time he gave them two glasses of white wine, but one had tasteless, red food colouring and was labelled as red wine. The taste of the untainted white wine was described similarly to the white wine in the first experiment. However, the taste of the dyed wine was described similarly to the taste of the red wine in the first

experiment. Regarding the results, Brochet wrote, “The wine’s colour appears to provide significant sensory information, which misleads the subjects’ ability to judge flavour” (Brochet, 2001). This experiment reveals how sight can create expectations, which can lead to the fabrication of the taste of food and drinks.

colour has been changed. They also demonstrate how colour is associated with certain tastes, and hence, if it does not satisfy expectations, would create an unpleasant experience. As a result, people will describe food and drinks as having different tastes, simply due to the colour.

Wheatley conducted an experiment where customers were dining in dim lighting and were served steak, chips and peas. Despite the odd lighting, the customers still enjoyed the meal, until approximately halfway when the lights became brighter. The customers found that the steak had been dyed blue, the chips green, and the peas red, causing some to become physically ill. This shows that colour influences the experience of eating, especially if the colour is unnatural (Spence, 2015). Hence, the colour of food is able to create feelings of disgust, and unpleasant tastes.

Scientific Research Question

Heston Blumenthal had created a pinkish-red crab flavoured ice cream, which had been approved by the head chefs. However, when given to customers without informing them what the dish was, many disliked the ice cream. This was due to the expectation that the ice cream would be sweet, as pinkish-red was associated with a sweet fruity taste rather than a savoury crab taste, demonstrating the role expectation of colours has in relation to taste (Spence, 2017). Additionally, Professor Charles Spence had found that drinks taste sweeter if a pinkish-red colour is added (Spence, 2017). These experiments support the idea that colour does influence the way food and drinks taste. People can be led to believe that two drinks are completely different despite being chemically identical, simply because the


How do the colour of food and drinks shape one’s expectation of taste?

Hypothesis The taste of food and drinks can be manipulated by altering the colour of food and drinks based on the brain’s expectation of the taste.

Methodology First Experiment Sixteen girls from Pymble Ladies’ College were asked to participate in the experiment. 2.4L of 80°C water was obtained and poured into six 400mL containers. Three of each tea bag was separated into each container for five minutes. The tea bags were then discarded. Two drops of green food dye were added to one cup of matcha green tea (Cup 2G) and then five to another (Cup 3G). One drop of red food dye and one drop of green food dye was added to one cup of English Breakfast (Cup 2B) and two of each into another cup of English Breakfast (Cup 3B). Each cup was stirred from Cup 1 to Cup 3 until the colour was evenly distributed. The contents of each cup was then distributed evenly among sixteen 30mL cups with approximately 20mL each, and then left until they became room temperature. They were placed on a bench from Cups 1B-3B then Cups 1G-3G (see Figure 1). The participants filled out a form about their initial thoughts towards the tea in front

ch cup was stirred from Cup 1 to Cup 3 until the colour was evenly distributed. The contents

ch, and then left until they became room temperature. They were placed on a bench from of them and judged which one they thought was the and the taste. The responses that were categorised ps 1B-3B then Cups 1G-3G (see Figure 1). The participants filled out a form their association were unsure why they most bitter, intermediate and least bitter for both the intoabout automatic tial thoughts towards theteas tea in front them and judged which one they thought wasa the matcha green and theofEnglish Breakfasts. Once selected colour, but “it felt right”. The responses they filled out the form, they were asked to taste the that linked colour-based valence judgement to food st bitter, intermediate and least bitter for both the matcha green teas and the English tea from Cup 1G-3G. Once they tasted the tea, they described that they related their feelings towards a eakfasts. Once they filled out the form, they were asked to taste the tea from Cup 1G-3G. were asked to fill out the next section of the form taste and the same feelings towards a specific food/ ce theyidentifying tasted the tea, they they were asked to fill outthe the most next section identifying which believed was bitter,of the form drink, and chose the colour of that food/drink. From ich theyintermediate believed was the bitter, intermediate bitter, allfrequencies, tasted the andmost least bitter, or if theyand all least tasted theor if they the graphs for each taste were created. same. The tasting and judgement process was then A chi-square test was then performed, as the data is me. The tasting and judgement process was then repeated with Cups 1B-3B. repeated with Cups 1B-3B. categorical, to determine whether the null hypothesis can be rejected, and whether the taste is dependent or not dependent on colour by comparing the observed values to the expected values. The expected values were 10, so the chi-square values were calculated by using the formula χ2 = (O-E)2/E, where O is the observed value of how many people chose each colour per taste, and E was the expected value of how many people would choose each colour per taste. The mode of the total reasons will be determined to find the most common reason participants chose their colour/s.


each cup was then distributed evenly among sixteen 30mL cups with approximately 20mL

Results First Experiment

The participants primarily justified their selection by associating the drinks with other more familiar food or drinks that were similar in colour (FIGURE 2). The gure 1 -FIGURE Formation and colourand of Cups and Cupsand 1G-3G. 1 - Formation colour1B-3B of Cups 1B-3B Cups 1G-3G. answers were then categorised into six categories: associated with colour, associated with food/drink/ Second Experiment taste/substance, associated with feelings, colour and cond Experiment A survey was sent out to Year 7-12 students of taste, feeling whether and colour or taste and feeling. survey was sent out to Year 7-12 students of Pymble Ladies' College to investigate Pymble Ladies’ College to investigate whether there cup was selected to be the most re is a isrelationship between taste andtaste colours. participants the third, namesdarkest of a relationship between and The colours. The were givenThe bitter by most participants before and after tasting. participants the names ofand tastes tes (bitter, salty, sour,were sweetgiven and umami/savoury), were(bitter, asked to select one or more of Quite frequently, participants believed that there salty, sour, for sweet umami/savoury), and were ven given colours eachand taste. They were then asked to justify why they selected a was no difference between Cups 1 and 2, and there asked to select one or more of eleven given colours our/colours. was a miniscule difference between the number of for each taste. They were then asked to justify why participants who selected Cup 1, and Cup 2. Thus, they selected a colour/colours. there is no significant difference between the taste of the lightest two drinks (Figures 3-6). Data Analysis 6


Pymble Student Research

The students were given two days to complete the survey; then the data was compiled. The frequency of each colour for each taste was counted and placed into a table, one table per taste. A content analysis was then performed to classify each reason for the five different tastes into four categories; association with food or drink, colour-based valence judgement, automatic association, and linking colour-based valence judgement to food. The responses that were categorised into “food or drinks” contained the word “food”, specific food or drinks, or a product relating to food or drinks (e.g. packaging). The responses that were categorised into “colour-based valence judgement” included feelings towards the colour

Cup 1, and Cup 2. Thus, there is no significant difference between the taste of the lightest two drinks (Figures 3-6). difference. difference.

Figure 2 - Reason for answers. mainly chose themainly colours chose due to the association FIGURE 2 - Reason for Participants answers. Participants the

colours to with the that association with a food or drink with that taste. with a food due or drink taste.

Figure 5 - Participants’ final judgement of bitterness: Matcha tea. Participants believed FIGURE 5 - Participants’ final judgement of bitterness: Matcha tea.that the

Participants that the darkest was the most bitter, but Figure 5cup - Participants’ final judgement of was bitterness: Matcha tea. Participants believed the darkest was believed the most bitter, but there an cup insignificant difference between the that lightest there was an insignificant difference between the lightest two teas.

darkest two teas.cup was the most bitter, but there was an insignificant difference between the lightest two teas.

Figure 6 - Participants’ final judgement of bitterness: Brown tea. Participants believed that the Figure 3 - Participants’ initial judgement of bitterness: of Matcha tea. Participants believed 6cup - Participants’ final judgement ofwas bitterness: Brown tea. Participants believed FIGURE 3 - Participants’ initial judgement bitterness: Matcha tea. that Figure FIGURE 6was - Participants’ final judgement of bitterness: Brown tea. darkest the most bitter, but there little difference between the lightest twothat teas.the

Participants believed the darkest be the bitter, Participants thatbutthe darkest cup was the mostthebitter, Figure 3 - Participants’ judgement of bitterness: Matcha tea. Participants believed the darkest cup would beinitial thethat most bitter, but nonecup of thewould tea seemed to bemost the least bitter. that darkest cup was believed the most bitter, there was little difference between lightestbut two teas. but none of the tea seemed to be the least bitter.

the darkest cup would be the most bitter, but none of the tea seemed to be the least bitter.

there was little difference between the lightest two teas.

Second Experiment

Second Experiment There were common colours chosen for each of the provided tastes. The most common colour

Second Experiment

There were common chosen for each of(Figure the provided tastes. selected for bitter wascolours green followed by yellow 7). White wasThe the most most common colour

Thereforwere common colours chosen for each the sweet, selected bitter was green yellow 7). White was the(Figure mostof common salty (Figure 8),followed whereas by yellow was(Figure most common for sour 9). For colour


provided most colour selected for saltytastes. (Figure 8),The whereas yellowcommon was most common for sourselected (Figure 9). For sweet,

10 for bitter was green followed by yellow (Figure 7). 10 White was the most common colour selected for salty (Figure 8), whereas yellow was most common for sour (Figure 9). For sweet, the most common colour was pink (Figure 10), and for umami/savoury, the most common colour was brown (Figure 11). The most common justification for these choices was the link of Figure 4 - Participants’ initial judgement of bitterness: Brown tea. Participants believed that the a taste to food is associated with that taste. Thecommon most common colourthat was pink (Figure 10), and for umami/savoury, the most FIGURE 4tea - Participants’ initial judgement of bitterness: Brown tea. Figure 4 - Participants’ initial ofbut bitterness: Brown tea.would Participants believed that colour the darkest would be the judgement most bitter, the lightest teas have no significant colour of the food is then selected (Figures was brown (Figure 11). The most common justification for these 12-14). choices was the link Participants believed that the darkest tea would be the most bitter,

the darkest tea would be the most bitter, but the lightest teas would have no significant of a taste to food that is associated with that taste. The colour of the food is then selected but the lightest teas would have no significant difference. (Figures 12-14).

9 9

Figure 7 - Colours associated with bitter. Most people associated bitter with green followed by

FIGURE 7 - Colours associated with bitter. Most people associated yellow. bitter with green followed by yellow.


Figure 8 - Colours associated with salty. Most participants associated salty with white.

yellow. Figure 7 - Colours associated with bitter. Most people associated bitter with green followed by yellow.

Figure 8 - Colours associated with salty. Most associated salty with white. FIGURE 8 - Colours associated withparticipants salty. Most participants

associated salty with white.

Figure 13 - Expected values of participants who chose each colour per taste.

Figure 8 - Colours associated with salty. Most participants associated salty with white.

FIGURE 13 - Expected values of participants who chose each colour per taste. Figure 13 - Expected values of participants who chose each colour per taste.

Figure 9 - Colours associated with sour. Most participants associated sour with yellow, followed by green. Figure 9 - Colours associated with sour. Most participants associated sour with yellow,

FIGURE 9 - Colours associated with sour. Most participants

followed by green. associated sour with yellow, followed by green. 11



Figure 7 - Colours associated with bitter. Most people associated bitter with green followed by

Figure 14 - Observed values of students who chose each colour per taste. There are some significantly larger sections for each taste. Figure 14 - Observed values of students who chose each colour per taste. There are some significantly sections for each taste. Discussion FIGURE 14 larger - Observed values of students who chose each colour per taste. There are some significantly larger sections for each taste.

Discussion The first experiment revealed that the darker drinks seemed more bitter. Since there was little difference between the lighter two, these expectations have only been shown to be true for

The first experiment revealed that the darker drinks seemed more bitter. Since there was little Discussion significantly darker tones. For both the matcha and brown tea, a significantly larger number of

Figure 10 - Colours associated with sweet. Most participants associated sweet with pink.

FIGURE 10 - Colours associated with sweet. Most participants associated sweet with pink.

Figure 10 - Colours associated with sweet. Most participants associated sweet with pink.

Figure 10 - Colours associated with sweet. Most participants associated sweet with pink.

Figure 11 - Colours associated with umami/savoury. Most participants associated umami/savoury with brown. Figure 11 - Colours associated with umami/savoury. Most participants associated

FIGURE 11 - with Colours umami/savoury brown.associated with umami/savoury. Most participants associated umami/savoury with brown.

Figure 11 - Colours associated with umami/savoury. Most participants associated umami/savoury with brown.

Figure 12 - Reasons why colours were associated with taste. The most commonly associated the taste with other food/drinks that are the colour they chose.

the taste with other food/drinks that are the colour they chose.

*Link their feelings towards one colour and the same towards taste (e.g.associated liking the Figure 12 - Reasons why colours were associated withfeelings taste. The most acommonly colour green and sweetness, or disliking brown, the colour of faeces, and bitter). FIGURE 12 Reasons why colours were associated with taste. The the taste with other food/drinks that are the colour they chose.

most commonly associated the taste with other food/drinks that are the colour they chose.

*Link their feelings towards one colour and the same feelings towards a taste (e.g. liking the colour green and sweetness, or disliking brown, 12the colour of faeces, and bitter).

*Link their feelings towards one colour and the same feelings towards a taste (e.g. liking the colour green and sweetness, or disliking brown, the colour of faeces, and bitter). 12


The second experiment demonstrated that each taste is associated with specific colours, creating expectations. Some of the results are reflected in Wan, Woods, et al.’s experiment (Figure 15) and Saluja and Stevenson’s experiment (Figure 16). For example, the most common colour associated with sweet in all three experiments was pink. Similarly, the most common colours for sour were yellow and green. The similarities of the results show there are more dominant and common colours that people associate with the tastes. Both Experiment 1 and Saluja and Stevenson’s experiment highlighted that these results arose due the association of a common food to its


Pymble Student Research

*Link their feelings towards one colour and the same feelings towards a taste (e.g. liking the Figure 12 - Reasons why colours were associated taste. The most colour green and sweetness, or disliking brown, thewith colour of faeces, andcommonly bitter). associated

difference between the lighter two, these expectations have only been shown to be true for participants Cup 3, the cup with the darkest tone, as the tea that tasted the most bitter. The firstselected experiment revealed that the darker drinks significantly darker tones. For both the matcha and brown tea, a significantly larger number of It is similar tomore an experiment by Roth, H.A.,there et al., who discovered “as the colour of the seemed bitter. Since was little that difference participants selected Cup 3, the cup with the darkest tone, as the tea that tasted the most bitter. drink became more the drink moreexpectations sweet” (Chudler, 2006). Similarly, between the intense lighter two,became these have onlyin an It is similar to an experiment by Roth, H.A., et al., who discovered that “as the colour of the experiment conducted by Philipsen D.H., the “Colour did affect the flavour intensity. Subjects been shown bethetrue significantly darker tones. drink became more to intense drinkfor became more sweet” (Chudler, 2006). Similarly, in an reported that drinks with more red colour tasted stronger” (Chudler, 2006). These three results For bothconducted the matcha and a significantly experiment by Philipsen D.H.,brown the “Colourtea, did affect the flavour intensity. Subjects show that as the colour of drinks becomes darker, the associated taste is perceived as stronger larger number ofmore participants Cup2006). 3, the reported that drinks with red colour tasted selected stronger” (Chudler, Thesecup three results and more intense than lighter drinks. show that as the colour of tone, drinks becomes darker, associated taste isthe perceived as stronger with the darkest as the teathethat tasted most 13 and more intense than lighter drinks. bitter. It is similar to an experiment by Roth, H.A., et al., who discovered that “as the 13 colour of the drink became more intense the drink became more sweet” (Chudler, 2006). Similarly, in an experiment conducted by Philipsen D.H., the “Colour did affect the flavour intensity. Subjects reported that drinks with more red colour tasted stronger” (Chudler, 2006). These three results show that as the colour of drinks becomes darker, the associated taste is perceived as stronger and more intense than lighter drinks.

common colour associated with sweet in all experiments waswith pink.the Similarly, the most more dominant and common colours thatthree people associate tastes. Both Experiment 1 common colours for sour were yellow and green. The similarities of the results show there are and Saluja and Stevenson’s experiment highlighted that these results arose due the association more dominant and common colours that people associate with the tastes. Both Experiment 1

of a common food to its taste and the colour of that food. It has also been discovered that and Saluja and Stevenson’s experiment highlighted that these results arose due the association

“Colour saturation andoftastant concentration were strongly related” (Saluja & Stevenson, 2018). taste and the colour that food. It has also been discovered that “Colour saturation and tastant concentration of a common food to its taste and the colour of that food. It has also been discovered that were strongly related” (Saluja & Stevenson, 2018). “Colour saturation and tastant concentration were strongly related” (Saluja & Stevenson, 2018).

Figure 15 The taste-colour correspondences, Wan, Wan, Woods,Woods, et al. (2014) from Figure 15---The The taste-colour correspondences, et al.[Reprinted (2014) [Reprinted FIGURE 15 taste-colour correspondences, Wan, Woods, et al. (2014) [Reprinted from Spence, Wan, et from al. (2015)]. Spence, Wan, Spence, Wan,]. (2015)].

Figure 16 - The association between taste and colour, Saluja and Stevenson (2018).

Figure 16 - The association between taste and colour, Saluja and Stevenson (2018). FIGURE 16 - The association between taste and colour, Saluja and Stevenson (2018).

Together, these two experiments show that each taste is associated with colours, which creates

Together, these twocan experiments show that eachespecially taste is associated expectations, which influence perceived taste, the darker with tones.colours, These which creates expectations,

Together, two experiments show especially that each taste is associated colours, which creates which canthese influence perceived taste, the darker tones.with These expectations had risen from previous expectations had risen from previous experiences of consuming foods and drinks of certain

experiences ofwhich consuming foods andperceived drinks of certain tastes. Hence, the participants associate the taste with a expectations, can associate influence taste, especially tastes. Hence, the participants the taste with a common, well-knownthe food.darker tones. These common, well-known food.

expectations had risen from previous experiences of consuming foods and drinks of certain Evaluation ofthe Methodology tastes. Hence, participants associate the taste with a common, well-known food.

The methodology of the first experiment was valid as a conclusion could be drawn from the experiment, and 14 the controlled variables were kept the same such as the temperature of the water, the concentration of the tea and the amount of tea. However, it was unreliable as there weren’t enough participants and the results were not quite consistent. The experiment was accurate as it reflected previous results; the darker drinks seemed more 14 concentrated, leading to a perception of stronger tasting drinks. The methodology for the second experiment was valid as a conclusion could be drawn, and the controlled variables were kept the same such as the questions and answers, and the colour scheme of the form. As p<0.01, the null hypothesis was rejected, so the experiment was valid. Additionally, the chi-square values for all of the tastes (bitter: chi-square = 116.2, salty: chi-square = 207.2, sour: chi-square = 286.8, sweet: chi-square = 305.2, umami/savoury: 158.6) were significantly larger than the critical value (18.307), so the null hypothesis was rejected, and there is a significant difference between the observed and expected value. Hence, the hypothesis is supported. It was reliable as there were 71 participants and the results were consistent as shown by the significantly dominant peaks in Figures 7-11. The methodology was accurate as some results were similar to prior findings, and they showed that people correspond tastes to colours. Limitations The methodologies were limited as there was not a wide range of participants that represents the broader society. Both experiments were performed on students aged approximately 12-18 at an Australian private school who were most likely from a wealthy socioeconomic background, so there was a small variety of experiences with tastes. Older participants could have more experience with tastes and hence have a different perception,


Future Directions A future approach to the research could be exploring how the colour of packaging and the surrounding environment influences the tasting experience or perception. This would be useful in the food industry as companies can utilise the results and implement strategies to increase their profit, and to analyse whether the colour of food/drinks is solely the reason for changing perceptions. Another future approach would be to test different age groups or geographical locations to judge whether these factors could affect the outcome.

Conclusion Humans subconsciously associate taste with a certain colour, mainly based on experience with other food/drinks, which creates expectations. This is further emphasised as the darker the tones, the stronger the perceived taste of the food or drink. These were supported through the first experiment, where most participants selected the darkest drink as the most bitter. However, the lighter two drinks had no distinct difference in the intensity of taste. This demonstrates that darker tones of food and drinks are seen as more intense compared to the lighter ones, due to the association with food and drinks that the participants had consumed previously. The second experiment demonstrated that each taste was associated with one or two colours. Participants mainly chose these colours by associating it with a food or drink that they had encountered and selected its main colour. Participants associate bitter with the colours green and yellow, salty with white, sour with yellow, pink with sweet, and umami/savoury with brown. This is additionally explored through various similar experiments that had been conducted by food scientists, university researchers and chefs. Heston and Blumenthal both explored the role of expectations in the perceived taste of foods, demonstrating that the brain expects a certain taste due to its colour. Brochet’s experiment demonstrated that for some drinks, such as wine, changing the colour of the drink can deceive the brain into believing that the person is drinking, for example, white wine when they are actually drinking red wine. Saluja and Stevenson and Wan, Woods, et al. conducted experiments about whether taste corresponds with colour and vice versa. The majority of the results revealed that each taste is associated with one or two colours.

Australian Academy of Science. (2018). How Do Our Tastebuds Work?. Retrieved from people-medicine/how-do-our-tastebudswork Brean, J. (2017). It’s not just about your tongue. New studies on taste find that sight, hearing, smell and touch intertwine. Retrieved from life/the-psychology-of-taste Chudler. (2006). Does the Color of Foods and Drinks Affect the Taste? Retrieved from coltaste.html Pantone (2020). How Do We See Colour?. Retrieved from color-intelligence/articles/technical/howdo-we-see-color Pomeroy, R. (2014). The Legendary Study That Embarrassed Wine Experts Across the Globe. Retrieved from https://www. most_infamous_study_on_wine_tasting. html Saluja, S., & Stevenson, R. (2018). CrossModal Associations Between Real Tastes and Colors. Chemical Senses 43(7), 475480. bjy033 Spence, C. (2015). On the Psychological Impact of Food Colour. Flavour 4, 21. Shepherd, G. M. (2016). Neurenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine. New York: Columbia University Press. Spence, C. (2017). Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating. New York City: Viking Press. Spence, C. (2019). On the Relationship(s) Between Color and Taste/Flavor. Experimental Psychology 66(2), 99-111. a000439

Pymble Student Research




altering the results. Additionally, different socioeconomic backgrounds could affect the results as they may be exposed to different foods, and hence, the results may be different.

Danielle Koo 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? Taking Science Extension was an opportunity to encounter something I was fascinated with in greater depth. My inspiration came from wanting to explore aspects of the vastness of space. Celestial bodies and the nature of space, along with the fact that it is largely unknown, had piqued my interest since I was young, and my teacher, Dr Spence, had helped me to recognise this, leading to the exploration of the recently discovered phenomena: exoplanets.

4. How did you overcome them?

2. What was your planning progress? Once exposed to the data I would be using in my research, I first endeavoured to fully understand my data and filter that which I definitely didn’t need, further defining my objective in research and the experiment. Additionally, I had extensive help from my teacher, and through discussion, I explored various opportunities for my experiment. I considered the disadvantages or faults in each idea relating to physics principles and related aspects such as reliability and newer theories. Further, after defining my objective, I sought to fully understand what exactly I was researching in my experiment to target the information I specifically needed.

3. What challenges did you come across? Admittedly, I was continually confused about what exactly I was supposed to be researching, and what exactly my experiment was, as there were multiple variables involved in this topic and I couldn’t quite grasp the proper relationship between the parts. Also, I found the ways I approached sorting and analysing my data was repetitive and easy to make mistakes in, so I recognised that I needed to plan and figure out an efficient system in which I would solve this.

To consolidate my knowledge of my own report subject, I attempted to explain the concept to my peers, which assisted me in recognising which areas of my experiment I myself did not understand the reason or relation for. Discussion with my teacher also aided with this problem. With data analysis, I took time in experimenting which order of calculations would be most efficient, and also kept track of the mistakes I could have easily made which would have confused the data.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? Don’t leave things to the last minute – being fuelled by solely stress and caffeine in the early hours of the morning the day of submission with 80% of the paper unfinished is an experience that should be avoided at all costs. Also, choose an experiment which explores a topic which truly interests you and makes you feel cool researching it. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn more about what you enjoy in more depth, but it might motivate you to pursue your interest further and find enjoyment out of working on the task. Finally, the Science Extension project is flexible. Don’t stress about not finding the perfect experiment the first attempt. There are so many opportunities you can explore for your research, and definitely use your teacher’s input in deciding.


Observation of the correlation between exoplanet experimental mass and mass predicted by Kepler’s 3rd Law with increasing quality of data By Danielle Koo Acknowledgements I would like to thank my teacher, Dr. Spence, my family and my friends for their help with my project.

Abstract The experiment investigates how the quality of exoplanet data, determined by the precision in technology used, impacts the relationship between the experimental mass and the predicted mass, calculated with Kepler’s 3rd Law. Data was analysed in time segments for each of the detection methods, transit photometry [2004 – 2008, 2019 – 2020] and radial velocity [1989 – 2000, 2008, 2019 – 2020]. The assumption was made that technology advances over time in order to observe the relationship between improvement in technology and the relationship between experimental and predicted mass. The correlation coefficient between the masses noticeably improved as the data became more recent in both detection techniques. This indicates that high quality data results in a better alignment of predicted and experimental mass with results expressed by Kepler’s 3rd Law.

Literature Review

Exoplanet detection using Doppler spectroscopy Doppler spectroscopy lies on the principles of Doppler shift, where wavelength of waves shortens or lengthens given dependant on the speed and distance of the wave source relative to the observer (Arfken et al. 1984). The shortening of wavelength (blue shift) is due to the wave source moving closer to the observer, where the lengthening of wavelength (red shift) is due to the wave source moving away from the observer, and the degree to which the original wave is redshifted or blue shifted is indicative of the speed of the wave source relative to the observer. With regard to stars, as light is an electromagnetic wave, the changing colour of emitted light is also an observable result of Doppler shift. Where surrounding planets orbit stars due to gravitational force between mass of the star and planet, stars similarly experience a gravitational force due to the orbiting planet, which results in the slight elliptical motion of the star as it rotates with the planet’s orbit about the planet-star barycentre (Wright, 2017). The detection of exoplanets via Doppler spectroscopy relies on the translational velocity of the host star, as with the planet’s orbit, the star similarly moves towards and away from the Earth and results in light emitted from the star to be blue shifted and redshifted respectively. Starlight is imprinted with absorption lines from a highly sensitive spectrograph given it passes through the stellar atmosphere, allowing for rest wavelengths and Doppler shifted wavelengths can be calculated by atomic physics, followed by the usage of the Doppler equation in order to calculate radial speed of the


Pymble Student Research

The detection of exoplanets poses as a globally recognised feat, concerning investigation into unknowns of space and seeking potential forms of extra-terrestrial life as well as exploration of potential habitable planets outside the Solar System. The 20th century milieu has borne rapid progressions and discoveries in the astronomy field following developments in technology and knowledge of extrasolar systems, and has been met with the evidence of the first exoplanet in 1917, and eventually, the first exoplanet to be discovered; the 51 Pegasi b in 1995 (Lemonick, 2013), which has been succeeded

by more than 3000 confirmed discoveries since. Exoplanet discovery methods, Doppler spectroscopy (also known as the radial velocity method, the “wobble” method) and transit photometry (transit) are two of the most common techniques used for detecting exoplanets (Deeg et al. 2018).



star relative to position of observation (Wright, 2017). analysis of the absorption spectra as starlight passes A more precise method to obtaining radial velocity through the mass’ atmosphere by deconstruction involves measurement of change in redshift between of chemical composition (Deeg, 2018). Size of the two epochs. The presence of an exoplanet is indicated orbiting planet can be observed by accounting etween two epochs. The presence an fit exoplanet is indicated by a sinusoidal line of best fit which is blocked, where a by a sinusoidal line ofof best as the wavelength for the amount of light, of light reflected by the body is plotted overtime, larger surface area would coincide with a deeper s the wavelength of light reflected by the body is plotted overtime, indicated by Figure 1. indicated by Figure 1. light curve. Radius of the orbit can be determined by analysing duration of the period, given by the time which lapses between each light curve (Mccloat, 2017). Transit light curves are obtained using charged couple device (CCD) photometry based upon three different processes: aperture photometry, differential photometry, and point spread function (PSF) between two epochs. The presence of an exoplanet is indicated by a sinusoidal line of best fit photometry. Following, a data processor, the Image as the wavelength of light reflected by the body is plotted overtime, indicated by Figure 1. Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) software is used to process frames captured by camera (Afansev, 2020).

Transit photometry heavily relies on CCD technology and imaging analysis software. CCD devices were developed in the late 1970s, providing observational astronomers with high-quantum efficiency detectors FIGURE 1: 51 Pegasi b velocities phased with Keplerian fit. Variation which were suitable for precision photometry is sinusoidal with a period of 4.230 ± 0.001 days (Marcy, 1995). of larger star samples (Heasley, 1999). Continual Exoplanet detection using transit photometry advancement in CCD technology highly regards Exoplanet detection photometry The transit photometry method reliesusing on thetransit reduction of a star’s light as a planet in orbit increasing high-quantum efficiency and low read The transit photometry method relies on the in order to enhance significance and readability bstructs the light viewedoffrom Earth. reduces thenoise overall brightness by reduction a star’s lightThe as aresulting planet in eclipse orbit obstructs Exoplanet detection using transit photometry of results, which have been accompanied by growth the lightfor viewed fromperiod Earth. of Thetime resulting eclipse the presence of an exoplanet measurable amount a certain and indicates The transitreduces photometry relies on the reduction of a star’s light as a planetinindevice orbit size as they have been incorporated into themethod overall brightness by a measurable arrays larger field range to be observed at a roundobstructs a distant star.viewed Hence, aEarth. graph theand light from the over time woulda have the light Theplotting resulting eclipse reduces the overall brightness byallowing amount for afrom certain period of time indicates thestar telescope (Lesser, 2015). The technical development presence of aancertain distantthe star. a measurable amount for period ofaround timeline andapresenting indicates presence of an exoplanet eriodic dips (light curves) inexoplanet a horizontal anHence, otherwise constant luminosity in telescopes typically include the translation of basic a graph light from star over time around a distant star.plotting Hence, athe graph plotting thethe light from the star over time would have technological objectives into high level performance Fong, 2008). would have periodic dips (light curves) in a horizontal periodic dips (light curves) in a horizontal line presenting an otherwise constant luminosity metrics, primarily consisted of field of view, sensitivity, line presenting an otherwise constant luminosity (Fong, 2008). and resolution (Feinburg, 2012). IRAF software (Fong, 2008). concerns the reduction and analysis of scientific data and is used in transit photometry in analysing and correcting optical astronomy data. IRAF was first released in 1984 and has since been continuously developed until the present day (Tody, 1968). Improvement in the software from 2014 to 2015, for example, focused on the system’s performance on modern hardware, and scripting capabilities (NOAO, 2013), which would enhance the software’s usability in addition to development in overall performance in analysis. ELODIE vs. SOPHIE spectrograph

The ELODIE echelle spectrograph was in operation from June 1993 to August 2006 and was responsible for the discovery of the first exoplanet with the OHP 1.93m Telescope (Baranne et al. 1996). The SOPHIE Figure 2: Light curve of star HAT-P-32b (dark blue) and three comparison stars (Afanasev, 2020) FIGURE 2: Light curve of star HAT-P-32b (dark blue) and three spectrograph surpassed the ELODIE spectrograph comparison stars (Afanasev, 2020) with higher efficiency, spectral resolution, and 5 is further supported by The existence of an exoplanet stability. These advancements participate in for the of light obstructed and gure 2: Light curveaccounting of star HAT-P-32b (darkamount blue) and three comparison stars (Afanasev, 2020) increasing the accuracy and efficiency of results by the period for which the eclipse occurs, in addition to



Determining exoplanet mass The mass of an exoplanet is determined by both RV and transit detection methods. The size and chemical composition of an exoplanet can be deduced by transit photometry by observing patterns in the light curve of the exoplanet’s host star and analysing the elemental components which participate in its absorption spectra respectively (Mccloat, 2017). The amplitude of the sinusoidal curve mapping variation in RV is also proportional to the projected planetary mass. Additionally, by means of astronomic analysis of coronagraphic images of the host star, the stellar distance between observed exoplanet and its star can be measured (Brown, 2015). Stellar distance aids in the determination of deriving precise planetary radius, which can be used to enable mass measurements alongside high precision radial velocity techniques (Seager, 2007).

mathematical model:

R3/T2 = G/4π2 x Mstar Kepler’s Law provides a connection between planetary motion and gravity due to mass, and through Newton’s law, the mass can be predicted.

Scientific Research Question Does the quality of exoplanet orbital data impact how well the experimental mass aligns with the mass predicted by Kepler’s Third Law?

Hypothesis Due to progressive advancements in technology used to determine exoplanet characteristics, the mass obtained by experimental results will be more aligned with the mass predicted by Kepler’s Third Law in comparison to data sourced from the past.

Methodology Data Source The dataset used for the experimental procedure was found from the NASA Exoplanet Archive (NEA), titled “Composite Planet Data” (NEA, N/A) and contained a compiled set of figures about the characteristics of exoplanets drawn from multiple sources such as semi major and minor axis, temperature, mass, in addition to related characteristics of the star that they orbited. Data cleansing

where ratio of the cube of mean orbital radius (or semi-major axis), and the square of the period of orbit are equal for all objects which orbit one star. Newton’s law of gravitational motion can be extended between a mass in orbit around another mass, and thus Kepler’s law. With orbital radius (R), period (T), mass of star (Mstar), the mass of the planet can be obtained by the

The twenty most recent exoplanet data discovered by the transit method were selected within 2020, in addition to twenty exoplanets discovered between 2004 and 2008. This was repeated for the exoplanets discovered by the radial velocity method, with the most recent data ranging from 2019 – 2020, and the oldest data ranging from 1995 – 1999. Another

Kepler’s 3rd Law of planetary motion refers to the equation:


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R13/T12 = R23/T22

In order to rid of potential sources of unreliability prevalent on the dataset, data was ordered by decreasing number of controversial flags, and exoplanets with controversial flags were deleted. Following, data which did not contain variables of Kepler’s Third Law and the context of the data origins were also removed to enable easier manipulation of needed variables. Variables maintained were: Planet name, discovery method, discovery year, orbital period (T), semi major axis (R), stellar mass (Mstar), and all of their related uncertainties. Data was organised by descending order of discovery year, and within each year bracket, the discovery method was ordered alphabetically in order to easier select data by different discovery methods based on year.

Origins and explanation of the 3rd law


increasing precision of spectral readings, and limiting error caused by spectral drift due to atmospheric temperature and pressure change (Bouvier et al. 2007). The SOPHIE spectrograph was consistently improved upon from 2006 to the present day. Limitations addressed in the SOPHIE spectrograph regarded increase of radial velocity (RV) precision from 5 – 7 ms-1 by further minimising spectral drift due to CCD Charge Transfer Inefficiency (CTI) due to shifting charge from one pixel to another during readout (Rhodes et al. 2009), where a software correction was applied to minimise spectral drift. Additionally, in 2011 and 2012, octagonal-section fibres replaced standard fibres, allowing improvement in RV precision to 2 ms-1. Further, a calibration unit was implemented in 2014, and in 2015 the Cassegrain Fibre Adapter was upgraded. In 2016, the Fabry-Pérot etalon, a drift measurement device was installed, in addition to the most recent version of the HARPS data-reduction software (Bouchy, 2015). The advancements of the SOPHIE spectrograph targeted refining precision and minimising spectral drift through increase of stability.

sample of twenty planets were selected from year 2008, the approximate middle between oldest and newest exoplanet data discovered by the radial velocity method. The samples were listed first by discovery method, then newest to oldest discovered samples.


Prediction of mass

R3/T2 = G/4π2 x Mstar This variation of Kepler’s Third Law was used to validate the experimental mass of the star, with R3/T2 being the dependant variable, Mstar being the independent variable and G/4π2 being a constant expected to be the gradient of the trendline for expected results. Hence, the values orbital radius of the exoplanet, orbital period of the exoplanet, and stellar mass of the star which the exoplanet orbits were essential.

Figure 3: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2019 - 2020, discovered by radial velocityFIGURE method 3: Relationship between predicted data and experimental

data sourced from 2019 - 2020, discovered by radial velocity method

Figure 3: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2019 - 2020, discovered by radial velocity method

For each sample, orbital period, orbital radius (interpreted by the semi-major axis) and stellar mass was converted into SI units to be appropriate for utilising and representing features of Kepler’s Third Law. R3/T2 and experimental Mstar were calculated and plotted accordingly along the y and x axes respectively for each of the five groups of data, and a linear trendline for each was established. Uncertainties

Figure 4: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2008, discovered by radial velocity method

Figure 4: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2008, discovered by radial velocity method FIGURE 4: Relationship between predicted data and experimental

Uncertainty for values R, T, and experimental Mstar in each set of data were converted into percentage uncertainties. Following, percentage uncertainty for R and T were multiplied by three and two respectively in order to obtain uncertainty for R3 and T2. Percentage uncertainties for R3 and T2 were added in order to determine uncertainty for R3/T2, which was applied to corresponding experimental data alongside Mstar uncertainty.

data sourced from 2008, discovered by radial velocity method

10 10

Data analysis

The predicted mass was calculated for Kepler’s 3rd Figure 5: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 1989 - 2000, discovered by radial FIGURE 5: Relationship between predicted data and experimental Law, and a trendline demonstrating the relationship velocity method data sourced from 1989 - 2000, discovered by radial velocity method between R3/T2 and predicted mass was plotted onto Figure 5: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 1989 - 2000, discovered by radial velocity method the graphs which displayed the relationship between R3/T2 and experimental Mstar for each set of data. The correlation between experimental and the predicted mass by Kepler’s 3rd Law was quantitatively acquired in each set of data by obtaining the correlation coefficient (R2) between the experimental exoplanet data and the trendline describing predicted results, determined by Kepler’s 3rd Law. For each detection method, a graph was constructed which demonstrated the change in the correlation coefficient between predicted and experimental mass over the periods of time which data Figure 6: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2020, discovered by transit photometry method Figure 6: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2020, discovered by transit photometry was sourced and analysed. method FIGURE 6: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2020, discovered by transit photometry method


Uncertainties Uncertainties

Figure 9: Graphed result of R2 value between predicted mass and experimental mass over data sourced from 2004 – 2008, of exoplanets discovered by the transit method.

Uncertainties Table 2: Tabulated uncertainty of range, period, and experimental mass for years 2004 – 2008 and 2020 of the transit

discovery method with corresponding correlation coefficient betweenperiod, predicted and experimental mass. TABLE 2: Tabulated uncertainty ofvalue range, and experimental mass for years 2004 – 2008 and 2020 of the transit discovery method with corresponding correlation coefficient value between predicted and experimental mass. Table 2: Tabulated uncertainty of range, period, and experimental mass for years 2004 – 2008 and 2020 of the transit discovery method with corresponding correlation coefficient value between predicted and experimental mass.

Figure 7:FIGURE Relationship 7: between predicted data and experimentalpredicted data sourced from 2004 2008, by transit Relationship between data anddiscovered experimental photometry method

data sourced from 2004 2008, discovered by transit photometry

Table 3: Tabulated uncertainty of range, period, and experimental mass for years 1989 – 2000, 2008, 2020 of the radial velocity discovery method with corresponding correlation coefficient value between predicted and experimental mass.

method R2 linear fit of RV and Transit method

Date of data collection R2 linear fit (4sf) – 2020 0.9998 RV2019 and Transit method 2008 0.9253 1989 – 2000 0.7945 2020Date of data 0.9200 R2 linear fit 2004 – 2008 0.4453

Method of exoplanet detection Radial velocity 2

R linear fit of


of exoplanet detection

Table 3: Tabulated uncertainty of range, period, and experimental mass for years 1989 – 2000, 2008, 2020 of the radial


TABLE 3: Tabulated uncertainty range, andand experimental velocity discovery method with corresponding correlationof coefficient valueperiod, between predicted experimental mass. mass for years 1989 – 2000, 2008, 2020 of the radial velocity discovery method with corresponding correlation coefficient value between predicted and experimental mass.


Table 1: Correlation coefficient (R2) value between experimental mass and predicted mass for years 2019 – 2020, 2008, and Radial velocity 2019 – 2020 0.9998 1989 – 2000 for radial velocity detection method, and years 2020 and 2004 – 2008 for transit detection method.



R2 linearTransit fit of RV and Transit method2020


Figure 7: Relationship between predicted data and experimental data sourced from 2004 2008, discovered by transit photometry method 1989 – 2000 0.7945


Date of data collection R2 linear fit (4sf) 2019 2004 – 2020 – 2008 0.9998 0.4453 2008 0.9253 1989 – 2000 0.7945 TABLE 1: Correlation2020 coefficient (R2) value between experimental Transit 0.9200 – 2008 0.4453 2008, and 1989 mass and predicted 2004 mass for years 2019 – 2020, Method of exoplanet detection Radial velocity

1. The quality of data is reliant on the increase in precision of technology13used to obtain data

– 2000 for radial velocity detection method, and years 2020 and


Figure 8: Graphed result of R2 value between predicted mass2and experimental mass over data sourced from 1989 – 2000, FIGURE 8: Graphed result of R value between predicted mass and 2008, and 2019 – 2020, of exoplanets discovered by the radial velocity method.

experimental mass over data sourced from 1989 – 2000, 2008, and 2019 – 2020, of exoplanets discovered by the radial velocity method. 12

2. Accuracy of results correlates to better alignment with Kepler’s 3rd Law

experimental mass over data sourced from 2004 – 2008, of exoplanets discovered by the transit method.


Table 2: Tabulated uncertainty of range, period, and experimental mass for years 2004 – 2008 and 2020 of the transit discovery method with corresponding correlation coefficient value between predicted and experimental mass.

3. Kepler’s 3rd Law accurately predicts the mass of an exoplanet

The hypothesis states mass obtained with experimental results will be more aligned with the predicted mass with data measured recently as compared to older data based on the assumption that technology has advanced since the first exoplanet was discovered. This assumption was found to be validated in this study. The trend of increasing correlation between experimental and predicted mass as increasingly new data was obtained was evident in both the transit photometry and radial velocity method, which can be demonstrated in Figures 8 and 9, based off the notion that strong correlation coefficient (R2) is closer to one, where weak correlation is closer to zero. The technologies essential to measuring radial velocity (RV) consist primarily of a high-resolution spectrograph allowing high precision, in order to optimise accuracy of wavelength measurement and hence the ability to accurately measure small Doppler shift. Challenges to measuring Doppler shift of a star to obtain knowledge of an orbiting planet consists of factors related to drifts in spectrograph precision, detector (CCD) based effects, and spectrum contamination (Fischer et al. 2016). The accuracy of spectrographic measurements is also limited by external factors consisting of the internal motions


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Figure 9: Graphed result of R2 value between predicted mass and experimental mass over data sourced from 2004 – 2008, FIGURE Graphed result of R2 value between predicted mass and of exoplanets discovered9: by the transit method.


Assumptions in this experimented consisted of:

Table 1: Correlation coefficient (R2) value between experimental mass and predicted mass for years 2019 – 2020, 2008, and 2004 – 2008 for transit detection method. 1989 – 2000 for radial velocity detection method, and years 2020 and 2004 – 2008 for transit detection method.

Figure 8: Graphed result of R2 value between predicted mass and experimental mass over data sourced from 1989 – 2000, 2008, and 2019 – 2020, of exoplanets discovered by the radial velocity method.


Figure 9: Graphed result of R2 value between predicted mass and experimental mass over data sourced from 2004 – 2008, of exoplanets discovered by the transit method.

of the emitting material, and redshifts from General Relativity, which contributes to uncertainty in RV measurements (Chubak et al. 2012). Advancement in spectrograph precision over time is related to the instrumental refinement, in the improvement and eventual replacement of the ELODIE spectrograph with the SOPHIE spectrograph in 2006 (Ilovaisky et al. 2008). Table 1 demonstrates the relationship between data and the predicted values to have an R2 value of 0.79 in the earliest recorded data, from 1989 – 2000. Following ELODIE’s replacement in 2006, the relationship of data produced from 2008 displayed an increased correlation to the predicted value determined by Kepler’s 3rd Law, with an R2 value of 0.93, which can be numerically be seen in Table 1, in addition to Figures 4 and 5, where the trendline of predicted and experimental results are increasingly similar in gradient. Increase in R2 value is observed to pair with the development in technology. The improvements which optimised spectrograph precision in SOPHIE 2006 onwards targeted overall efficiency, spectral resolution, and Doppler accuracy (Bouvier et al. 2007), which limited the loss of spectral information and heightens the precision of measurements, thus providing an enhanced ability for accurate determination of exoplanet mass by ability to measure RV. Further, with the continual development of the SOPHIE spectrograph, the most recently discovered exoplanets, seen in Figure 3 have an increased R value, with data aligning strongly with the predicted trendline. The R2 value has also increased to 0.99 as shown in Table 1, demonstrating a stronger correlation with the predicted value. Hence, with observation of the increasing similarity between experimental and predicted masses as time progresses following continual improvement of technology used in detection methods, the quality of data impacts the relationship between experimental and expected values of the mass in alignment with Kepler’s 3rd Law. Major technologies which partake in the transit photometry method of exoplanet detection consist of CCD technology and imaging analysis software, with the most commonly used system being IRAF. The sources of uncertainty in the transit photometry method consists of changing atmospheric pressure in the process of observation, in addition to the possibility of a multiplanetary system which would impact period and determination of size, as the possibility of multiple planets obstructing starlight may falsely indicate the features of one planet (Fong, 2008).


The development in imaging analysis software in addition to the general improvement of telescope quality can be seen to coincide with the increasing correlation with the predicted mass of exoplanets discovered by transit, similar to the trend seen in the radial velocity method. Observed in Figure 7, there is high uncertainty as well as low correlation to the trendline of the predicted value, with a R2 value of 0.4453, shown in Table 1. Following 2008, major improvements to IRAF software concerned the integration into modern hardware, and enabling improvement of scripting abilities (NOAO, 2013), which enhanced usability and quality of the system. Significant increase in correlation followed in 2020, which can be observed from Figure 6, as well as Table 1 with a numerical R2 value of 0.92. The significant increase in the experimental data’s correlation with the predicted value following development in technology thus implies that the increase of the quality of data increases the alignment of experimental mass with the predicted mass. The decision to select extremities in the periods from which exoplanet data was taken has assisted in drastically highlighting the increase in accuracy of the determination of exoplanet mass alongside the continual development of technology in both radial velocity and transit methods. In addition to this, also selecting a time frame between extremities to analyse the data of after a significant change in technology further emphasises its impact on the quality of data, given by increased correlation to the predicted value. Table 3 displays the individual uncertainties of the components used in Kepler’s 3rd Law, and it can be observed that uncertainty increases from 1989 to 2000 for range and period, however, decreases for experimental mass. A similar pattern applies to uncertainties of range and period in the transit method, shown in Table 2, which excludes the pattern from being due to causes of uncertainty in one particular detection method. The cause in the radial velocity method may be due to the significance of the replacement of the ELODIE spectrograph, as while technological improvements have been made, there could be an increase in uncertainty due to unfamiliarity of use, or limitations imposed by new material of individual components to the spectrograph. Due to the influence on both methods of detection, the similarity of trends in uncertainty also implies a source of uncertainty external to individual instruments. As this study does not take into account General Relativity, the reason could potentially be the influence of General Relativity.

1. The “mean distance” refers to the average of the semi-major and semi-minor axes 2. The relationship is dependent on a small eccentricity The assumption that Kepler’s 3rd Law accurately predicts the mass of exoplanets therefore limits scientific analysis in determining whether improvement of data quality impacts the accuracy to which the mass of an exoplanet is determined. The requirements for which Kepler’s 3rd Law can be applied is debateable in terms of value R, and whether the equation can be used to calculate the mass of exoplanets with larger eccentricity. Hence, the grey area in the requirements for Kepler’s 3rd Law limits the extent to which the equation can be used to predict the accurate mass of an exoplanet.

Conclusion The study utilised the analysis of exoplanet data sourced from discovery methods, radial velocity and transit photometry, including data from a range of different time stamps in order to relate the improvement in quality of data overtime with the increased alignment of the experimental mass with a predicated mass given by Kepler’s 3rd Law. Primary research findings included the similar trends in correlation concerning the experimental and predicated mass in both methods, where the R2 value increased as the exoplanet data was sourced more recently. This was supported by continual development in astronomical technologies consisting of the replacement of the ELODIE spectrograph with the SOHPIE spectrograph, and the development in the space telescope field as well as in CCD imaging devices. Further, the uncertainties in range, period and experimental mass follow a similar trend in both detection methods. This implies a wholistic impact on readings, which indicates an external source of uncertainty which could imply the influence of General Relativity. This accentuates the suggestion to expand on this study, taking into account General Relativity. Overall, the hypothesis, which states that progressive advancement in technology has warranted for the increased alignment of experimental and predicted mass, has been validated by the results.


Kepler’s 3rd Law states R3 ∝ T2. A primary limitation in the study is the assumption that Kepler’s 3rd Law accurately predicts the mass of an exoplanet. The only requirement for R being that the “mean between two diameters must be little less than the longer diameter” (Kepler, cited by Vijaya, 2019) makes unclear the intended average of distances which the value R inhibits, and is therefore determined “hard to understand” (Stephenson, 1994). Two interpretations proposed by Vijaya (2019) of the requirement were:

Although the results aligned with the hypothesis, the decision to label the value R as the semi-major axis, where the apparent definition of R is a mean of the orbital radius may have had impact on the results. This is also in consideration of the notion that exoplanet orbits vary in eccentricity, and the semi-major axis may have a significantly larger ratio to the semi-minor axis. The inclusion of the impacts of General Relativity on masses and their behaviour with light is a useful consideration with further experimentation related to this study. The increasing significance of relativity in the modern world is important to apply to exploration in space, as it is critical in areas where it is known that laws applicable to Earth may not apply. Within this, consideration of the impact of General Relativity enables in taking into account a more extensive range of uncertainty to be understood, overall maximising the potential for a more refined understanding of space.

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REFERENCES “1999ASPC..189...56H Page 56.” Accessed September 7, 2020. http://articles.adsabs. 6H/0000056.000.html. Afanasev, Dennis. “Detection of Exoplanets Using the Transit Method.” ArXiv:1803.05565 [Physics], April 19, 2018. Allan, Eric C., Eric C. Allan, J. Ward Moody, and Eric C. Allan. Observing the Variability of Agn: Aperture Photometry Vs. Psf Fitting, 2007. Arfken, George B., David F. Griffing, Donald C. Kelly, and Joseph Priest. “Chapter 17 WAVE KINEMATICS.” In International Edition University Physics, edited by George B. Arfken, David F. Griffing, Donald C. Kelly, and Joseph Priest, 326–42. Academic Press, 1984. Baranne, A., D. Queloz, M. Mayor, G. Adrianzyk, G. Knispel, D. Kohler, D. Lacroix, J.-P. Meunier, G. Rimbaud, and A. Vin. “ELODIE: A Spectrograph for Accurate Radial Velocity Measurements.” Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series 119, no. 2 (October 1996): 373–90. https://doi. org/10.1051/aas:1996251. Bouchy, F. “ELODIE & SOPHIE Spectrographs: 20 Years of Continuous Improvements in Radial Velocities,” 2015, 7. Chubak, C., G. Marcy, D. A. Fischer, A. W. Howard, H. Isaacson, J. A. Johnson, and J. T. Wright. “Precise Radial Velocities of 2046 Nearby FGKM Stars and 131 Standards.” ArXiv:1207.6212 [Astro-Ph], July 31, 2012.

Lesser, Michael. “A Summary of ChargeCoupled Devices for Astronomy.” Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 127, no. 957 (November 2015): 1097–1104. https://doi. org/10.1086/684054. Mccloat, Sean Peter. “Transit Photometry of Recently Discovered Hot Jupiters,” n.d., 100. Plavchan, Peter, Dave Latham, Scott Gaudi, Justin Crepp, Xavier Dumusque, Gabor Furesz, Andrew Vanderburg, et al. “Radial Velocity Prospects Current and Future: A White Paper Report Prepared by the Study Analysis Group 8 for the Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG).” ArXiv:1503.01770 [Astro-Ph], March 9, 2015. abs/1503.01770. Tody, Doug. “The Iraf Data Reduction and Analysis System.” In Instrumentation in Astronomy VI, 0627:733–48. International Society for Optics and Photonics, 1986. Vijaya, Gopi Krishna. “Original Form of Kepler’s Third Law and Its Misapplication in Propositions XXXII-XXXVII in Newton’s Principia (Book I).” Heliyon 5, no. 2 (February 1, 2019): e01274. https://doi. org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01274. Wright, Jason T. “Radial Velocities as an Exoplanet Discovery Method.” ArXiv:1707.07983 [Astro-Ph], 2018, 619–31.

“Composite Planet Data.” Accessed September 7, 2020. https:// TblView/nph-tblView?app=ExoTbls&config =compositepars. Deeg, Hans J., and Roi Alonso. “Transit Photometry as an Exoplanet Discovery Method.” ArXiv:1803.07867 [Astro-Ph], 2018, 633–57. Fong, Wen-fai. “Extrasolar Planet Transit Photometry at Wallace Astrophysical Observatory,” n.d., 60. Glaser, Joseph P. “On the Detection of Exoplanets via Radial Velocity Doppler Spectroscopy” 1 (2015): 13. Ilovaisky, S, Philippe Prugniel, C Soubiran, Mina Koleva, and H Le Coroller. “The ELODIE-SOPHIE Archive in the Virtual Observatory,” n.d., 4. ———. “The ELODIE-SOPHIE Archive in the Virtual Observatory,” n.d., 4. J. N. Heasley. “Point-Spread Function Fitting Photometry,” n.d., 56. Lemonick, Michael D. “The Dawn of Distant Skies.” Scientific American 309, no. 1 (2013): 40–47.


1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? In 2020, the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 resulted in the emergence of a vast amount of rapidly renewed information. Everyone, including me, was submerged in an explosion of real and fake news, and the government’s response and actions taken roused many arguments, uncertainties, and mistrust among the citizens. In some countries, including Australia, even violent protests were occurring. I was quite puzzled by how different countries were responding to the situation in different ways and how the citizens were responding. Thus, I was inspired to view the situation more critically and objectively, through a scientific analysis of data and reach a more valid and reliable conclusion, rather than judging simply dependent on the news and rumours.

2. What was your planning progress? In my scientific project, I followed a very meticulous plan and came up with milestones, including studying the literature and coming up with the question. In particular, I scheduled the data collection to be a consistent and continual process. As I started my project at the beginning of 2020, when COVID just occurred, I planned a periodic collection of new data every week to keep my results updated. This lasted until the end of the research at the end of August. The data analysis was scheduled for the following weeks. Throughout the project, I carefully noted my processes in my scientific portfolio. This not only allowed my work to be understood by other researchers, if needed, but it also allowed me to be organised on my progress and summarise and reflect upon milestones.

3. What challenges did you come across?

I overcame the first challenge through dedicating my time to a lot of research. Furthermore, in March 2020, World Health Organisation (WHO) released an article named “A coordinated global research roadmap: 2019 Novel Corona Virus.” This road map helped me greatly on identifying the questions out there waiting to be answered. It classified the research around COVID into a few main groups, and listed many questions suggested for future research. I found the area of “epidemiology” and the question on “preventive strategies” the most interesting and achievable, considering the data that are publicly available. The second challenge was overcome by converting the qualitative data into quantitative data by using indices. Furthermore, I learnt that assessing the availability, accuracy and usefulness of publicly data is a very important step even before one determines a research question. Ensuring the quality of a study is a scientist’s responsibility. Finally, the last challenge is quite hard to overcome, and it is a common issue in many scientific studies. However, this should not impede a researcher from investigating questions that involve uncertainties and confounding factors. Better methods that minimise uncertainties should be explored.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? Firstly, I would really recommend choosing an extension subject like Science Extension if you are ready to be committed. Even if you do not wish to pursue Science as a career, if you are interested in Science, this course will definitely challenge, and even revolutionalise your way of thinking, way of learning, and how you view the world. The skills and knowledge you will acquire will apply to a range of careers and areas of study. Secondly, I would advise you to choose a topic/research question/area of study that you are really passionate about. This not only allows you to be fully committed throughout the year, but also allows you to finish with the depth of knowledge you had never imagined before. I was personally very inspired by the Science Extension course.


Pymble Student Research

There are three major challenges I encountered: firstly, in the early stage of the pandemic, there was a huge amount of new data and related articles renewing every day, every hour, every minute… as well as great uncertainties in how the pandemic will evolve. I found it challenging to determine a specific area of research or research question, as I was unsure which areas and questions were yet to be investigated. Secondly, finding useful and appropriate publicly available data on nonpharmaceutical preventive interventions (NPI) was very difficult, especially as these are usually considered to be qualitative. The lack of appropriate and accurate data will affect the quality of my results. Finally, due to the real-life nature of my study, it is difficult to assess the effect of one NPI alone, as countries have implemented multiple NPIs simultaneously with varying degrees of success. Therefore, it is difficult to establish any causal relationships between a specific measure and the change in growth rate, as any reductions in growth rate identified may have been related to other concurrent non-pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, overall, my results may be uninformative.

4. How did you overcome them?


Amy Shi

Science Impact of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions on the spread of Novel 2019 Coronavirus By Amy Shi

Acknowledgements I would like to express my gratitude to my Science Extension teacher Dr Kristie Spence, for her valuable guidance and support throughout the research and reporting process.

216 countries (WHO, 2020). The virus’ main route of human to human transmission is through respiratory droplets. The mean incubation period is estimated to be 5.2 days, with an upper limit of 11-15 days (Wang & Zhang, 2020). Transmission

Abstract Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China late 2019, different countries have put in place a range of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Understanding how these NPIs affect the growth rate of the novel virus is crucial for future decision making on control strategies, as they are causing severe disruptions to the global economy. This study evaluates the effect of NPIs in the rate of growth of COVID 19 in China, the United States and Australia from 22nd January to 31st August 2020 by comparing the expected values to the observed values before and after implementation of preventive actions. It finds that most school closures affected a change in growth rate < 0.005, despite the initial implementation across all three countries with a growth rate change of > 0.12. Travel restrictions affect a noticeable change in growth rate in Australia and United States, > 0.1, while China experiences a minimal change of < 0.005. It is concluded that school closures have a minimal effect on the change in growth rate except for its initial implementation in an early stage of the epidemic. International travel restrictions are found to delay the increase in growth rate when implemented in an early stage due to the contained case exportations internationally. However, its impact is minimal after the rise of community transmission.

Literature Review In early January 2020, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified as the infectious agent causing an outbreak of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China. In the following months, COVID 19 has rapidly spread across the globe. As of the 31st of August 2020, there have been 25.1 million confirmed cases and over 844,000 deaths confirmed worldwide, established in


Maier and Brockmann (2020) expected an exponential growth of confirmed COVID-19 cases for an uncontrolled outbreak, by studying the transmission in Wuhan, China in early January. In Epidemiological studies, the transmissibility of an infectious disease can be analysed through the basic reproduction number (R0) and the growth rate. Kucharski et al. (2020) estimated that R0 varied with median values ranging from 1.6 to 2.6 between 1st and 23rd January, 2020, before the introduction of travel restrictions in a province level within China. This indicates that each patient has been spreading infection to an average of 1.6 to 2.6 people, and as R > 1, the epidemic will grow (Gog et al., 2020). Non-pharmaceutical interventions With no vaccine to prevent the disease and limited medical interventions available to treat it, most countries responded with various forms of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) (Gössling et al., 2020), among them are closure of schools and international travel restrictions. School closures may decrease the rate of growth of the disease due to the restricted mobility and interaction between children and learners (Aquino et al., 2020). However, there are also adverse effects, including a decrease in available health care workers, as working parents are forced from work to childcare; risk of transmission from children to vulnerable grandparents; loss of education; and harm to children’s mental and physical wellbeing (Viner et al., 2020). Therefore, evaluating the effectiveness of school closures on the growth rate is critical to reduce its negative impacts on the society (Auger et al., 2020).

As these public health interventions have disruptive effects on the society and need to be carried out in a long duration of time (Ferguson et al., 2020), there is increasing need to evaluate their effectiveness, the results of which could be instrumental to national and international agencies and decision makers for public health response planning. Furthermore, with limited precedent and a paucity of evidence of the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions, policies varied markedly country to country in scope and timing (Auger et al., 2020). Due to the novelty of the virus and the rapidness of its evolution, currently, most research is limited to the evaluation of initial responses, short term impacts, usually within a 30-day interval and predictions from simulation models (Read et al., 2020). Data on the effectiveness of single measures are extremely scarce, and it is predicted that it is extremely unlikely that they would be effective if implemented alone (Aquino et al., 2020). Therefore, there is a strong need for studies that compare the NPIs implemented across a range of countries with varying economic, public health and geographic dimensions, and over a long period of time (Aquino et al., 2020). This will allow a more substantial understanding on the effects of NPIs. Currently, no official data are available on the effectiveness of school closures during the COVID 19 pandemic. However, Seale et al. (2020) have documented that children may be less susceptible to COVID infections. Therefore, Ferguson et al. (2020) predicted school closures to be insufficient to mitigate the epidemic in isolation, as children are not key drivers of transmission. In fact, this method may pose more harm than good (Esposito & Principi, 2020).

As yet, no studies have been conducted to evaluate how COVID 19 spread would be affected if schools remain open while other policies are enacted. Overall, it can be reasonably deduced that school closures will have limited effect in the growth rate of COVID-19 cases (Ferguson et al., 2020). Most studies that evaluate the effect of travel restrictions are limited to the early stage (Chinazzi et al., 2020). Wells et al., (2020) evaluate the effect of the travel ban from Wuhan and mainland China to other countries, and conclude that border control measures cannot be expected to fully arrest the global expansion of COVID-19, although they may decrease the rate of case exportations if enacted during the early stages of the epidemic. This is demonstrated in that the Hubei Lockdowns reduced the rate of disease exportation by 81% by 15 February, 2020 (Wells et al., 2020). Aquino et al. (2020) showed that the closure of airports in China led to a delay in the occurrence of new cases outside of Wuhan, both in the rest of China and internationally. Adekunle et al. (2020) showed that the travel ban on individuals arriving from China successfully delayed the onset of widespread transmission in Australia by four weeks. However, it is predicted that it will be eventually be overwhelmed by local transmissions. Chinazzi et al. (2020) indicated that sustained 90% travel restrictions to and from Mainland China only modestly affect the epidemic trajectory unless combined with a 50% or higher reduction of transmission in the community. This supports the prediction that travel restrictions will only slow the spread, but eventually be overcome if community transmission is not strictly maintained (Chinazzi et al., 2020). Therefore, it is reasonable to hypothesise that travel restrictions enacted will only delay the rate of growth of COVID 19 when implemented in the early stages.

Scientific Research Question How have Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) including international travel restrictions and school closures affect the growth rate of COVID 19 cases in Australia, United States and China?

Hypothesis An association between NPIs and the rate of growth would occur. School closures would affect a minimal decrease in the growth rate of COVID-19 cases. International travel restrictions will delay the spread of COVID-19 when implemented in early stages. However, restrictions implemented at a later stage have


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In the early stages of the epidemic, evidence for the effectiveness of school closures comes almost entirely from influenza outbreaks and previous corona virus outbreak such as SARS (Viner et al., 2020). Esposito and Principi (2020) suggest that school closures had been effective in reducing influenza incidence rates during seasonal and pandemic influenza outbreaks. However, great uncertainty lies in that COVID-19 pandemic has different transmission dynamics to influenza, in which children play an important role in transmission. Data from SARS outbreak in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore suggest that school

transmission played no substantial role in the outbreak (Viner et al., 2020).


Large scale travel restrictions have been imposed by national governments globally since February 2020. The study (Aquino et al., 2020) concluded that people’s mobility was the principal factor in the spread of COVID. Therefore, it is beneficial to evaluate how the restrictions to international mobility have affected the growth rate of COVID 19 cases.

minimal effect on decreased growth rate if community transmissions are not reduced or contained.

Methodology This methodology assessed the effect of NonPharmaceutical Interventions including School Closures and International Travel Restrictions on the growth rate of COVID-19 in China, Australia and the United States. Two secondary data sets were used. The John Hopkins University database provided real time daily data on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries for all affected countries (CSSEGISandData, 2020/2020). For the purpose of this study, the time series data of cumulative number of cases of COVID 19 from 22nd January, 2020 to 31st August, 2020 for the three countries were extracted and examined. Days were then identified with numbers ranging from 1 to 222, with 1 corresponding to 22nd January 2020, and so on. Ethics were considered; anonymity and privacy of the infected individuals were maintained, asserting the principle of confidentiality.

August 2020 were extracted and examined. The level of government response was demonstrated quantitatively by indices 0 to 4. School Closures

International Travel Restrictions


No measures

No measures





Required (only at some levels)

Quarantine from high-risk regions


Required (all levels)

Ban on high-risk regions


Total border closure

TABLE 1 Index for different levels of NPIs used by Policy tracker database.

The data was plotted on the same graph as the scatter plot, as a line graph on the secondary axis. This provided clear visualisation on when a change in the level of preventive measure occurred. The effect of each stage of NPIs on the growth rate was assessed by comparing the change in growth rate between expected and observed values. For each change in the level of measure, data were divided into three time intervals, each with a period of 5 days. The expected value accounted for the growth rate 5 days before the implementation, representing the expected rate of growth in the absence of the specific measure being examined. Observed values were collected from the 5 days immediately after implementation, and the 5 days following that. 5 days was chosen as the delay after preventive action based on the assumption suggested by WHO that the incubation period of COVID-19 is 5.2 days.

Growth rate in epidemiology captures how quickly the number of infections are changing, and is modelled using an exponential curve, N(t)=constant x e�t. N(t) represented the number of cumulative cases, t represented time measured in days, and � represented the growth rate of the disease per day. By logging both sides, the new function [N(t)] = �t was formed. This function illustrated a linear relationship where N(t) on the y axis was plotted against t on the x axis. The gradient � represented the growth rate. To obtain this linear graph, daily cumulative number of cases disease perlogged day. By logging both sides, new [N(t)] =time lt wasasformed.The Thisgrowth function rate of the three successive time intervals were and plotted onthe the y function axis against around preventive action was found by the least illustrated a linear relationship where N(t) on the y axis was plotted against t on the x axis.aThe a scatter plot. gradient l represented the growth rate. To obtain this linear graph, daily cumulative number of square regression line of each independent interval, cases were logged and plotted on the y axis against time as a scatter plot. where the gradient represents the growth rate. The growth rate was then recorded in a table for B A each NPI and country. Bar graphs were created for each change in the level of preventive measure to visualise the change in growth rate between the three successive time intervals. This change was quantified by two parameters: 1. The difference in growth rate between the expected values and observed values 5 daysisafter implementation. 2. The gradient of the least Figure 1 (A) The exponential function N(t) is converted into (B) the linear function Ln [N(t)] in which the gradient the growth rate. 1 (A) The exponential function N(t) is converted into (B) the square regression line, which gave an indication to FIGURE linear function Ln [N(t)] in which the gradient is the growth rate. the of the growth rate over time intervals. Secondly, the COVID 19 policy tracker database provided real time daily data on 17 behaviour indicators of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic from 160 countries (OxCGRT CovidThis change in growth rate was compared between Secondly, the COVID 19 policy tracker database Policy-Tracker, 2020). For this study, data for school closures and international travel different countries for the same NPI, and any patterns provided real time daily data on 17 indicators of restrictions in China, Australia and United States from 22nd January to 31st August 2020 were and trends are identified. government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic extracted and examined. The level of government response was demonstrated quantitatively by from indices 0 to160 4. countries (OxCGRT Covid-Policy-Tracker,

2020). this study, data fortracker school closures Table 1 Index forFor different levels of NPIs used by Policy database.

and international travel restrictions in China, Australia School Closures International Travel Restrictions 0 and No United measuresStates from 22nd No January measures to 31st 1 2 3 4

Recommended Screening Required (only at some levels) Quarantine from high-risk regions 88 Required (all levels) Ban on high-risk regions Total border closure


Results Results

Figure 2 Growth rate of COVID-19 cases in comparison to NPIs implemented between 22nd January, 2020 and 31st August, 2020. The scatter plot representing Ln (cumulative number of cases) FIGURE 2 Growth rate of COVID-19 cases comparison tocolours NPIsand implemented between 22nd January, 2020 and are grouped into different time intervals of approximately 5 days,in represented by different legends. It is further grouped into two large distinct time intervals that31st have August, relatively 2020. The scatter plotThe representing Ln (cumulative ofthecases) are grouped intotime different time intervals ofthe approximately 5 days, represented the quality of fit. Levels of preventive consistent growth rate. gradient of their least square regression number lines indicates general growth rate within that period. R2 addresses measures are graphed on the secondary axis as lineIt graphs. by different colours and legends. is further grouped into two large distinct time intervals that have relatively consistent growth rate.

The gradient of their least square regression lines indicates the general growth rate within that time period. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. Levels of preventive measures are graphed on the secondary axis as line graphs. 8



Measures Taken

Date implemented

Expected Value

Observed value (Rate of growth immediately after implementation)

Observed value (rate of growth after 5 days)

Required (only at some levels)













Required (at all levels)

TABLE 2 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of school closures in China. Measures Taken

Date implemented

Expected Value (rate of growth)

Observed value (Rate of growth immediately after implementation)

Observed value (rate of growth after 5 days)


Quarantine from high risk regions






Ban on High Risk regions





TABLE 3 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of International travel restrictions in China.

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from high risk regions E Ban on High Risk regions













Difference: -0.1211

Difference: 0.00013

Difference: 0.00002


Figure 3 Growth rate impacted by school closures in China. (a) Amplifications of Figure 2, show the growth rate of expected

FIGURE 3 Growth rate impacted by school closures in China. (a)R2Amplifications of Figure 2, (b) show addresses the quality of the fit. Bar the growth rate of expected value and value and observed values from the gradient of least square regression line. observed values the gradient of least square regression line. values. R2 addresses theregression quality of the fit. (b) Bar graphs that show the change in graphs that show from the change in growth rate from expected values to observed Least square lines give growth rateoffrom expected to observed square regression linesvalue giveand indications the qualityvalues. of the fit.Least The difference between expected observed of the general trend. R2 addresses the indications the general trend.values R2 addresses quality of the fit. The difference between expected value and observed value after 5 days is displayed. value after 5 days is displayed.





Difference: – 0.0003 Difference: - 0.0054


FIGURE Growth impacted by international travel in restrictions in China. (a) Amplifications Figure 2, shows the growth rate of Figure 44Growth raterate impacted by international travel restrictions China. (a) Amplifications of Figure 2, shows theofgrowth expected value and values thegradient gradient of least square regression line. R2 the quality of the fit. (b) Bar graphs that theaddresses quality of the rate of expected valueobserved and observed valuesfrom from the of least square regression line. R2 addresses show the in growth from expected values to observed values.values. Least Least square regression fit. (b) Barchange graphs that show the rate change in growth rate from expected values to observed square regressionlines give indications of the general trend. R2 addresses of theR2fit. The difference between expected and observed addresses the quality of the fit. The difference value between expected value value and after 5 days is displayed. lines give indications ofthe thequality general trend. observed value after 5 days is displayed.

Figure 2, 3 and 4 showed that China implemented complete school closures nationally on 27th February 2020. Figure 2, 3closure and 4 showed thatgrowth China implemented complete school closures This initial affected rate decrease of 0.1211, and thenationally gradientonof27th the least square regression line February 2020. This initial closure affected growth rate decrease of 0.1211, and the gradient of the ofleast the square bar graph is 0.0606. Later, partial reopening of schools lasted for approximately 13 days until the nation regression line of the bar graph is 0.0606. Later, partial reopening of schools lasted for returns to complete closures. These two actions closures. affectedThese verytwo minimal increase in the growth rate, being approximately 13 days until the nation returns to complete actions affected very minimal increase in least the growth rate,regression being <0.00015 and its least square regression < 0.00007.quarantine from high risk <0.00015 and its square gradient < 0.00007. Chinagradient implemented China implemented quarantine fromand highban risk on regions 25 February, 2020, ban on2020, high risk regions on 25 February, 2020, highonrisk regions on 26and March, both affected minimal decrease on 26 March, 2020, both affected minimal decrease of in growth rate < 0.0055 decrease and ofregions in growth rate < 0.0055 decrease and a least square regression gradient < 0.0003. a least square regression gradient < 0.0003.


Perspective FIGURE 5 Growth rate of COVID-19 cases in comparison to NPIs implemented between 22nd January, 2020 and 31st August, 2020. The

Figure 5 Growth rate of COVID-19 cases in comparison to NPIs implemented between 22nd January, 2020 and 31st August, 2020. The scatter plot representing Ln (cumulative number of cases) scatter representing Ln (cumulative number of by cases) grouped into time of approximately 5 days, represented by are groupedplot into different time intervals of approximately 5 days, represented differentare colours and legends. It isdifferent further grouped into intervals three large, distinct time intervals that have relatively the quality of the fit.consistent Levels of preventive consistent growth rate. Theand gradient of their least square regression lines indicates generallarge, growth distinct rate within that time period. R2 addresses different colours legends. It is further grouped intothe three time intervals that have relatively growth rate. The measures are graphed on least the secondary axis regression as line graphs. lines indicates the general growth rate within that time period. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. gradient of their square

Levels of preventive measures are graphed on the secondary axis as line graphs.



Measures Taken

Date implemented

Expected Value

Observed value (Rate of growth immediately after implementation)

Observed value (rate of growth after 5 days)

Required (at all levels)





TABLE 4 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of school closures in United States.



Measures Taken

Date implemented

Expected Value

Observed value (Rate of growth immediately after implementation)

Observed value (rate of growth after 5 days)

Quarantine from High Risk regions





Ban on High Risk regions





TABLE 5 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of International travel restrictions in United States.

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from High Risk regions C Ban on High Risk regions












(a) (a)

Difference: 0.1507 Difference: -0.1843


Difference: 0.2745


FIGURE 6 Growth rate impacted by school closures in United States. (a) Amplifications of Figure 5, shows the growth rate of expected value and observed values from the gradient of least square regression line. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. (b) Bar graphs that show the change in growth rate from expected values to observed values. Least square regression lines give indications of the general trend. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. The difference between expected value and observed value after 5 days is displayed.


FIGURE 7 Growth rate impacted by international travel restrictions in United States. (a) Amplifications of Figure 5, shows the growth rate of expected value and observed values from the gradient of least square regression line. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. (b) Bar graphs that show the change in growth rate from expected values to observed values. Least square regression lines give indications of the general trend. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. The difference between expected value and observed value after 5 days is displayed.

Figure 5, 6 and 7 showed that the United States implemented complete school closures nationally on 5th March, 2020. This affected a 0.1507 decrease in growth rate with a gradient of least square regression line of – 0.0754. It implemented quarantine from high risk regions on 2nd February 2020, this affected a noticeable 0.1843 decrease in growth rate with a gradient of least square regression line of – 0.0922. It then implemented ban on high risk areas on 2nd March, 2020, and affected a noticeable increase of 0.2745 growth rate, with a gradient of least square regression line of 0.1373.

Figure 8 Growth rate of COVID-19 cases in comparison to NPIs implemented between 22nd January, 2020 and 31st August, 2020. The scatter plot representing Ln (cumulative number of cases) are grouped into different time intervals of approximately 5 days, represented by different colours and legends. It is further grouped into four large distinct time intervals that have relatively consistent growth rate. The gradient of their least square regression lines indicates the general growth rate within that time period. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. Levels of preventive measures are graphed on the secondary axis as line graphs.



Table 6 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of school closures in Australia.

Measures Taken C B E G A D F

Date Expected Impleme Value implemented

Measures ntation Taken Day No C No measures 140 measures 88 140 B 88 Required (at 162 E Required 162 (at all levels) 195 G all levels) 195 63 A 63 Required Required154 (only at D 154 (only at some levels) 174 F some levels) 174

Expecte d Value


0.0007 0.008 0.008 0.0084 0.0296 0.0296 0.2322 0.2322 0.0029 0.0029 0.0238 0.0238 0.0084

Observed value

Observed value

Observed value immediately (rate of Observed value (Rate of growth (rate of growth growth immediately after (rate of growth after implementation) after 5 days) implementation) after 5 days) 0.0019

0.0019 0.002 0.0193 0.0202 0.1439 0.0084 0.0281

0.002 0.0193 0.0202 0.1439 0.0084 0.0281

0.0029 0.0022 0.0238 0.0128 0.0472 0.0193 0.0296

0.0029 0.0022 0.0238 0.0128 0.0472 0.0193 0.0296

Table 7 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of International travel restrictions in Australia.

TABLE 6 Expected and observed growth rate impacted by different levels of school closures in Australia.



Measures Expected entatio Value (rate Measures Date Taken implemented n Day of Value growth) Taken


Observed value (rate of Observed value growth immediately after (Rate of growth immediately implementation)

Observed value Observed value (rate of growth (rate of growth after 5 days)

BanHigh on High Risk Risk regions 11



H Ban on


after implementation)


FIGURE 8 Growth rate of COVID-19 cases in comparison to NPIs implemented between 22nd January, 2020 and 31st August, 2020. The scatter plot representing Ln (cumulative number of cases) are grouped into different time intervals of approximately 5 days, represented by different colours and legends. It is further grouped into four large distinct time intervals that have relatively consistent growth rate. The gradient of their least square regression lines indicates the general growth rate within that time period. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. Levels of preventive measures are graphed on the secondary axis as line graphs.

after 5 days)

regions 11 0.1714 0.0312 0 I Total border I Total closure 59 0.1739 0.1898 0.0472 border closure and observed 59 growth rate 0.1739 0.1898 0.0472 in Australia. TABLE 7 Expected impacted by different levels of International travel restrictions A




Difference: -0.0058

Difference: 0.0022

Difference: -0.185



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FIGURE 9 Growth rate impacted by school closures in Australia. (a) Amplifications of Figure 8, show the growth rate of expected value and observed values from the gradient of least square regression line. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. (b) Bar graphs that show the change in growth rate from expected values to observed values. Least square regression lines give indications of the general trend. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. The difference between expected value 15 and observed value after 5 days is displayed.





Difference: 0.0058 Difference: 0.0164

Difference: 0.0154







Difference: -0.0174 Difference: -0.1267 Difference: -0.0162



Figure 9 Growth rate impacted by school closures in Australia. (a) Amplifications of Figure 8, show the growth rate of

FIGURE 10expected Growthvalue rateand impacted international travel in Australia. Amplifications 8, show the growth rate of 2 addresses the qualityofofFigure the fit. (b) observedby values from the gradient of restrictions least square regression line. R(a) expected value and observed values from the gradient of least square regression line. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. (b) Bar graphs that show the change in growth rate from expected values to observed values. Least square regression lines give indications of the general trend. R2 addresses the quality of the fit. The difference between expected value and observed value after 5 days is displayed.


Figure 8, 9 and 10 showed that Australia implemented seven changes in the level of school closures from 22nd January, 2020 to 31st August, 2020. Among the seven changes, the initial preventive action of school closures to some levels affected a noticeable change of 0.185 decrease in growth rate, with a least square regression gradient of -0.0925. All changes made later have minimal impact on the change in growth rate < 0.017, and the least square regression gradient < 0.009. Australia implemented the international travel restriction of ban on high risk regions on 1st February, 2020. This had a noticeable effect on the growth rate, with a 0.0174 decrease, and a least square regression line of 0.0857. It later implemented total border closure on 20th March, 2020. This affected a noticeable decrease in the growth rate of 0.1267, with a 0.0634 least square regression gradient.


Discussion School closures Overall, between 22nd January and 31st August 2020, School closures in China, United States and Australia were temporarily associated with a minimal decrease in COVID 19 growth rate. Results from all three countries suggested that the initial implementation had noticeable effect on the growth rate, with a decrease of 0.1211, 0.1507 and 0.185 respectively (Figure 3A, 6A, 9A). The relatively marginal impact of later interventions can be justified by the reasonable assumptions that household and community contacts would rise as a consequence of closed schools (Viner et al., 2020; Seale et al., 2020) further suggested that the transmissibility of COVID-19 between children remain low, causing the effect of school closures on the spread of the disease to be minimal. By comparing the change in growth rate and timing of implementation between the three countries, results showed that Australia, which implemented school closures at a later stage than the two other countries, was the first to experience a significant decrease in growth rate after its initial implementation (Figure 8). This result is inconsistent with the study (Auger et al., 2020), which found that school closures in states that enacted this intervention early had greater relative decrease in incidence and mortality. In this scenario, this decrease in the growth rate may be caused by Australia’s implementation of total border closures four days before the implementation of school closure (Figure 8).

Another justification for this inconsistency is the uncertainty of the virus’ incubation period. In this study, the time intervals were divided into 5-day periods based on the assumption that the incubation period for COVID-19 is 5.2 days (WHO, 2020). However, there is an uncertainty within this number as it can be extended to more than 12 days or shortened to less than 2 days for some individuals. This may be caused by factors such as individuals’ differing immunity, pre-existing conditions, and age. Therefore, China and United States may be experiencing a delayed effect from school closures that will be showcased beyond the 5-day intervals examined. This limitation impeded accurate effect of school closures to be assessed. International travel restrictions Results showed that International travel restrictions had a minimal impact on the change in growth rate of COVID 19 cases in China, compared to those in the United States and Australia. In China, quarantine from high risk regions and ban on high risk regions only decreased the growth rate by 0.0054 and 0.0003 respectively (Figure 3D, E). This marginal effect can be justified by the fact that China is the initial site of outbreak of the virus. Wells et al. (2020) showed that regional and border closures implemented within China in the early stages of the epidemic have effectively decreased the case exportations to other countries. However, this study only examines China’s implementation of international travel restrictions after the emergence of the global spread. When China implemented quarantine from high risk regions, it had already effectively contained community transmissions within the nation by flattening the growth rate to approximately 0.0006 (Figure 2). This growth rate had been maintained until 31st August, 2020, the concluding date of this study. Therefore, the rate change that occurred within China was minimal due to its successful containment of community transmission and low national growth rate. The United States and Australia implemented international travel restrictions during similar times in terms of the relative growth rate of COVID-19 cases nationally. In Australia, both travel restrictions implemented affect a decrease in the growth rate (Figure 10H I). However, similar to the United states, the decreased growth rate affected by the initial response is only temporary. Both nations experienced rebound with a high growth rate from day 39 to 69 (Figures 5, 8). It is significant to note that the United


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This inconsistency reveals the limitation of the data collected. Due to the real-life nature of the data used in this study, it is difficult to assess the effect of one NPI alone, as countries have implemented multiple NPIs simultaneously with varying degrees of success. Therefore, it is difficult to establish any causal relationships between a specific measure and the change in growth rate, as any reductions in growth rate identified may have been related to other concurrent

non-pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, the observational studies may be uninformative.


It is significant to note that evident in Figure 5 and 8, Australia and the United States had very similar growing patterns in the first 70 days since 22nd January, 2020. Both countries experienced a high growth rate within the first 15 days, until the rate decreased and approached 0. After that, from days 39 to 69, both countries experienced an extensive, high growth rate before the rate begin to decrease again. During this period of time, both countries implemented one school closure action and two international travel restrictions actions.

States’ implementation of travel ban from high risk regions did not decrease the growth rate, but increased it by 0.1372. This result is consistent with the study (Wells et al., 2020), in which the result suggested that travel restrictions and border closures are likely to slow the rate of exportation from mainland China to other countries, but are insufficient to contain the global spread of COVID-19. It can be justified by Chinazzi et al. (2020), in which the result showed that sustained 90% travel restrictions to and from Mainland China only modestly affect the epidemic trajectory unless combined with a 50% or higher reduction of community transmission. In this scenario, both Australia and the United States were unsuccessful in containing community transmissions. The limitation of this result lies in that the analyses are conducted at a national level, thus, the data obtained did not account for geographical, social and economic differences between states and regions within the country. However, the benefit of this study is that as there are three different systems to compare, similar trends identified increase the accuracy of the results obtained. The real-time data set used in this study is a rapid representation of the population as it is extensive and cover a broad range of countries. This enables the results to be assessed and compared between different countries and circumstances. The extensive time period ensures the earlier as well as later preventative measures taken place to be compared and evaluated. However, the completeness and accuracy of the Johns Hopkins University database with respect to COVID-19 incidence and mortality has not been established. This data source aggregates publicly available data

and accuracy may vary country to country. Thus, inconsistencies in reporting are unavoidable limitations of all COVID-19 population-based studies. The Policy tracker database is collected daily from the 1st of January and was continually updated. This extensive dataset covering a broad range of countries, time and types of preventative measures allow a single standardised and quantified data on NPIs to be compared between different countries. However, the generalisation poses limitation to the accuracy of the results, as specifications and complications of the preventative measures taken by each country may be disregarded. In this scenario, the definition of “Ban on high risk regions” remain broad, as different countries may have different definitions on the range of “high risk regions” it was banning. Additionally, Figures 3, 6, and 9 show that R value of the regression lines of the time intervals are mostly greater than 0.95, representing a good fit. Therefore, this minimal uncertainty allows accurate growth rates to be determined. However, the uncertainties in the regression lines of the bar charts are great, with a few R values as low as 0.016. This weak R value is an indication of the weak correlation between dependent and independent variables, i.e. the minimal effect the preventive implementation had on the change in growth rate. Overall, the R values of regression lines in these bar graphs assist in the visualisation and comparison between different measures and countries, and should be assessed only as indicators.


Future directions Considering the current stage of the global pandemic, studies should focus on investigating the effect of loosening certain restrictions for countries to recover from economic and social losses. State and regional level studies should also be encouraged to account for geographical, economic and social nuances. Studies could also investigate the socio-economic effect of NPIs to assist decision making in a later stage of the pandemic and prepare for the second wave.

Conclusion To identify the impact of NPIs including school closures and international travel restrictions on the growth rate of COVID-19, this study compared the difference between expected and observed growth rates between three different countries: China, Australia and the United States. By comparing the change in growth rate between the countries, it has been concluded that overall, school closures and international travel restrictions will affect a change in growth rates. International travel restrictions were observed to have a greater impact on the growth rate compared to school closures. School closures have a relatively marginal effect in the growth rate. Timing did not have apparent effect in lowering the rate of spread, despite that the initial implementation of school closures would cause a noticeable decrease in growth rate. Overall, the minimal effect showed that school closure is incapable of lowering the growth rate in isolation. International travel restrictions have been effective in slowing the growth rate in early stages for countries that are not the initial site of outbreak. However, they had very minimal effect when implemented after the

REFERENCES Adekunle, A. I., Meehan, M., Rojaz Alvarez, D., Trauer, J., & McBryde, E. (2020). Delaying the COVID-19 epidemic in Australia: Evaluating the effectiveness of international travel bans. MedRxiv, 2020.03.22.20041244. https://doi. org/10.1101/2020.03.22.20041244 Aquino, E. M. L., Silveira, I. H., Pescarini, J. M., Aquino, R., Souza-Filho, J. A. de, Rocha, A. dos S., Ferreira, A., Victor, A., Teixeira, C., Machado, D. B., Paixão, E., Alves, F. J. O., Pilecco, F., Menezes, G., Gabrielli, L., Leite, L., Almeida, M. da C. C. de, Ortelan, N., Fernandes, Q. H. R. F., … Lima, R. T. dos R. S. (2020). Medidas de distanciamento social no controle da pandemia de COVID-19: Potenciais impactos e desafios no Brasil. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 25 (suppl 1), 2423–2446. Auger, K. A., Shah, S. S., Richardson, T., Hartley, D., Hall, M., Warniment, A., Timmons, K., Bosse, D., Ferris, S. A., Brady, P. W., Schondelmeyer, A. C., & Thomson, J. E. (2020). Association Between Statewide School Closure and COVID-19 Incidence and Mortality in the US. JAMA, 324 (9), 859–870. jama.2020.14348 Chinazzi, M., Davis, J. T., Ajelli, M., Gioannini, C., Litvinova, M., Merler, S., Piontti, A. P. y, Mu, K., Rossi, L., Sun, K., Viboud, C., Xiong, X., Yu, H., Halloran, M. E., Longini, I. M., & Vespignani, A. (2020). The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Science, 368 (6489), 395–400. CSSEGISandData. (2020). CSSEGISandData/ COVID-19. COVID-19 (Original work published 2020) Esposito, S., & Principi, N. (2020). School Closure During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic: An Effective Intervention at the Global Level? JAMA Pediatrics. jamapediatrics.2020.1892 Ferguson, N., Laydon, D., Nedjati Gilani, G., Imai, N., Ainslie, K., Baguelin, M., Bhatia, S., Boonyasiri, A., Cucunuba Perez, Z., CuomoDannenburg, G., Dighe, A., Dorigatti, I., Fu, H., Gaythorpe, K., Green, W., Hamlet, A., Hinsley, W., Okell, L., Van Elsland, S., … Ghani, A. (2020). Report 9: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand. In 20 [Report]. https://doi. org/10.25561/77482

Gössling, S., Scott, D., & Hall, C. M. (2020). Pandemics, tourism and global change: A rapid assessment of COVID-19. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1–20. 0.1080/09669582.2020.1758708


Maier, B. F., & Brockmann, D. (2020). Effective containment explains subexponential growth in recent confirmed COVID-19 cases in China. Science, 368(6492), 742. science.abb4557 OxCGRT/covid-policy-tracker. (2020). Oxford Covid-19 Government Response Tracker. covid-policy-tracker (Original work published 2020) Read, J. M., Bridgen, J. R., Cummings, D. A., Ho, A., & Jewell, C. P. (2020). Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: early estimation of epidemiological parameters and epidemic predictions. MedRxiv, 2020.01.23.20018549. https://doi. org/10.1101/2020.01.23.20018549 Seale, H., Dyer, C. E. F., Abdi, I., Rahman, K. M., Sun, Y., Qureshi, M. O., Dowell-Day, A., Sward, J., & Islam, M. S. (2020). Improving the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions during COVID-19: Examining the factors that influence engagement and the impact on individuals. BMC Infectious Diseases, 20(1), 607. https://doi. org/10.1186/s12879-020-05340-9 Viner, R. M., Russell, S. J., Croker, H., Packer, J., Ward, J., Stansfield, C., Mytton, O., Bonell, C., & Booy, R. (2020). School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: A rapid systematic review. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 4(5), 397–404. Wang, F.-S., & Zhang, C. (2020). What to do next to control the 2019-nCoV epidemic? The Lancet, 395(10222), 391–393. https:// Wells, C. R., Sah, P., Moghadas, S. M., Pandey, A., Shoukat, A., Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Meyers, L. A., Singer, B. H., & Galvani, A. P. (2020). Impact of international travel and border control measures on the global spread of the novel 2019 coronavirus outbreak. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(13), 7504–7509. WHO. (n.d.-a). A Coordinated Global Research Roadmap. Retrieved September 7, 2020, from publications/m/item/a-coordinated-globalresearch-roadmap WHO. (n.d.-b). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – World Health Organization. Retrieved September 7, 2020, from https://

Pymble Student Research

Gog, J., Thomas, R., & Freiberger, M. (2020, June 11). The growth rate of COVID-19. Plus.Maths.Org. content/epidemic-growth-rate

Kucharski, A. J., Russell, T. W., Diamond, C., Liu, Y., Edmunds, J., Funk, S., Eggo, R. M., Sun, F., Jit, M., Munday, J. D., Davies, N., Gimma, A., van Zandvoort, K., Gibbs, H., Hellewell, J., Jarvis, C. I., Clifford, S., Quilty, B. J., Bosse, N. I., … Flasche, S. (2020). Early dynamics of transmission and control of COVID-19: A mathematical modelling study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 20(5), 553–558.


rise of community transmission. Travel restrictions are effective in maintaining a low growth rate after community transmissions have been contained. Therefore, the hypothesis is supported in that there is an association between NPIs and the growth rate of COVID-19 in China, Australia and United States. School closures affected a minimal decrease across all examined countries. International travel restrictions delayed the spread in early stages in Australia and the United States, however, had a minimal effect on the growth rate in later implementations due to the ineffective containment of community transmissions.

Phoenix Surridge 1. Where did the inspiration for your work come from? My scientific research report about the effects of climate change and rising temperatures on the phenology of sea turtles stemmed from my long-term passion and interest in wildlife conservation. Turtles have been a specific interest of mine since a trip to New Caledonia in 2016; swimming with these majestic beasts reminded me of the importance of sustaining their role in the eco system and minimising the impact of human actions on their existence. At the end of Term 4 in 2019, the Science Extension cohort went on an excursion to Sydney University which provided the platform from which my creative thinking developed. Meeting other students, listening to lectures and hearing innovative concepts developed by the professors was inspirational and allowed me to brainstorm, creating new ideas for my work.

2. What was your planning progress? I began planning my project by conducting deep research into many aspects of ecology and conservation, narrowing down to a specific interest in marine biology and climate change. Reading from a variety of journal articles from global marine biologists and ecologists, I was able to gain a holistic understanding and better plan my goal for my final report. From this, I developed an inquiry question which formed the basis of my report.

3. What challenges did you come across? There were many challenges, especially at the beginning where I struggled to find my way to understand the complex field, scientific concepts and jargon used in scientific research. It was overwhelming diving into the long term investigation without prior knowledge and preparation for this type of project which affected my levels of motivation. Time management presented another major challenge. Since this Science Extension project was a major work, I was required to balance the input throughout the year in addition to my two other major works and other subjects. This became difficult during exam periods and I often fell behind progressing my report which led me to spend large amounts of focused time on the project during holidays.


4. How did you overcome them? Two key people helped me throughout. The first was Dr. Spence who structured assessments throughout the year which maintained a sense of progress and reduced the sense of overwhelm. Her consistent support encouraged me, helping to boost my motivation and inhibit mental blocks. The second key person was my mentor, Dr. Leo Guida, who was very important for guidance, support and professional knowledge. Being within the industry, he connected me to my subject matter, pointed me towards reliable sources of data and provided feedback to overcome the challenges that restricted my progress. Finally, I adopted a strategy of writing check lists in order to maintain steady progress, accountability of tasks and delivery dates. This enabled me to focus my attention on specific tasks at the appropriate time and balance my other subjects simultaneously. This learning journey made me realise that any challenge can be overcome with support and guidance.

5. What advice would you give to future Pymble students? I would encourage future students to be led by their passion. Finding the motivation and enthusiasm to continually work on such an extensive project is made easier when the subject matter is close to your heart. The role of mentors is crucial to developing a coherent and professional product, but most importantly they offer inspiration and encouragement which are vital ingredients to see this project through to its completion. Setting small achievable goals each week helps the project to stay contained and achievable which reduces high stress levels prior to assessment due dates. Above all, I would encourage students to stay positive – not to get bogged down by feedback and to know that they can do this!

The influence of climate change and rising incubation temperatures on the physiology of Loggerhead Sea Turtles By Phoenix Surridge Acknowledgements Special thanks to my mentor, Dr Leo Guida, and teacher, Dr Kristie Spence, for their support and guidance.

Abstract Species that have temperature determined gender by incubation temperature, such as Caretta caretta or the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, are at risk as a result of increasing global temperatures. Small variations in temperature can produce highly skewed populations; C. caretta eggs incubated in the sand at low temperatures produce primarily males whilst eggs incubated at high temperatures produce primarily females. In this study, gender data from clutches along the beaches of North Carolina (NC) and weather data from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are statistically analysed to determine how C. caretta ratios fluctuate due to changing incubation temperatures. It was identified that even below the pivotal temperature of 29°C, populations of female C. caretta outweigh male populations. This conclusion contradicts the previous scientific research as female populations outnumbered male populations in incubation temperatures as low as 21°C. Further data should be gathered on both the birth rates and survival rates of newborn C. caretta determine if there are other factors that cause a skewed population other than temperature to aid conservation efforts.

Literature Review

Studies have shown that incubation temperature controls sex determination in 14 genera of turtles, including the C. caretta, or the Loggerhead turtle (Fuller, at al., 2013). The C. caretta is an endangered species, with a currently decreasing population trend (IUCN, 2020). It inhabits subtropical to temperate regions around the world, from coastal waters to inland waters (National Geographic, 2019). Sand temperature effects the nesting phenology of the C. caretta (Lament and Fujisaki, 1982). The incubation temperature that produces a perfect ratio, or 50% of each sex is defined as the pivotal temperature (Mrosovsky and Yntema, 1980; Limpus, 2008). The pivotal incubation temperature was estimated from nesting clutches of eggs in North Carolina, Georgia, and southern Florida along the east coast of the United States. All pivotal temperatures were close to 29.0°C (Mrovosky, 1988). The transitional range of temperatures that produce 100% males or 100% females spans a short range of temperatures, usually only 2-3°C, and varies among clutches and habitats (Refsnider and Janzen, 2016). Incubation at 26°C produces primarily males, while incubation at 31 \°C or higher results in primarily females. Survival of embryos to hatching was high enough in several studies to refute the hypothesis that the results are due to differential mortality of the sexes (Bull and Vogt, 1979; Pieau, 1975; Vogt and Bull, 1982). Species that have TSD can produce highly unbalanced offspring sex ratios, which will induce the production of single-sex generations, which potentially leads to extinction (Hays et al., 2010; Godley et al., 2002). C. caretta are influenced by small fluctuations of sand incubation temperatures. Sex determination in all


Pymble Student Research

In most species, gender is determined during fertilisation. However, the sex of turtles is determined after fertilisation (NOAA, 2020). The temperature of the developing eggs is what decides whether the offspring will be male or female, rather than the chromosomes. This is called temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) (Pieau, 1972). The sex of

turtles around the world helps scientists to understand the underlying and less obvious consequences of climate change, and the changes made to species as they adapt to the dramatically fluctuating environment (Bindoff et al., 2019).



species of turtles is hormone-dependent. Estrogen is essential for ovarian development; it induces ovarian differentiation (gonadal differentiation when an organism’s phenotype changes to characteristically male or female structures) (Makiyan, 2016), even at masculinising temperatures, below 26°C. Injecting eggs with hinderances of estrogen synthesis prevents ovarian differentiation, producing male offspring even if eggs are incubated at feminising temperatures, above 31 °C (Dorizzi et al., 1994). This is because estrogen synthesis inhibitors block the aromatase enzyme. Low aromatase conditions that occur in cooler incubation temperatures yield male offspring. At high temperatures, aromatase activity increases, yielding female offspring (Desvages et al., 1993). Moreover, the sensitive time for the effects of hormones and gonadal differentiation occurs in the middle third of incubation, when sex determination occurs in turtles (Gutzke and Chymiy 1988; Moeller, 2013; Jribi and Bradai, 2014).

female will go unused (Ido et al., 2010). It is likely the species will not be able to adapt quickly enough to temperature changes and the C. caretta population may decline towards extinction (Mast, et al., 2017)

It is important to understand the effects of a skewed sex ratio and how climate change has influenced the population viability of the C. caretta, which determines the probability that a species will go extinct within a given number of years (Sanderson, 2006; McNeill et al., 2016). This will possibly have further ramifications and consequences on biodiversity and marine ecosystems in many parts of the Earth (Fuller, et al., 2013)

Due to the recent increase in global temperatures, the sex ratio of C. caretta will be skewed towards the female population. The population of female individuals will outweigh the population of male individuals.

In North Carolina, USA, C. caretta performs important ecological roles, such as maintaining seagrass and algal populations which are their main food source (North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, 2005). Because of climate change, C. caretta, have begun to nest earlier in the year which allows them to preserve the sex ratio due to their instincts to ensure the reproductive success of offspring and survival of the species (Hawkes et al., 2007; Pike, 2013; Schwanz and Janzen, 2008). However, increasing average temperatures in typically cooler periods are resulting in a greater number of female than male C. caretta, likely reducing available partners to reproduce with. At a pivotal temperature of 29.0 °C (Mrovosky, 1988), the observed mating ratio is 1 female for every 2.5 males, this may become skewed as male populations decline (Lasala, et al. 2018). Breeding sex ratios (BSR), the proportion of males and females that successfully mate at any time, can be used to identify the minimum number of males and females contributing to C. caretta populations. A greater number of female than male C. caretta means there will not be enough partners to mate and reproduce with. The fertility of a large portion of the


The aim of this study is to determine how climate change has influenced the population viability of the C. caretta in North Carolina. To address this aim I will observe the gender ratio of C. caretta to determine if there has been a change. I hypothesise that due to the recent increase in global temperatures, the sex ratio of C. caretta will be skewed towards females and reduce the reproductive capacity of the population.

Scientific Research Question How has the Loggerhead Turtles sex ratio changed in recent years, in response to rising incubation temperatures in North Carolina?


Methodology In this study, gender ratio data from the State of the Worlds Ocean Turtles (SWOT) was compared to historical temperature data from the National Weather Service Forecast Office (NOAA). Population and Gender Determination: This study investigated the population of female and male C. caretta in the nesting population of North Carolina (NC). Hundreds of turtles lay their eggs on the sands of NC each year (Magnus and Rao, 2019). Beaches of present nesting importance along North Carolina include; Topsail Island, Caswell Beach, the Outer Banks and Holden Beach, (Figure 1) (Maxwell, 2019). Turtles who nest in NC migrate along the shores of the United States of America to Florida, as well as Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and across the Indian Ocean to West Africa (SWOT, 2015). On the map, the rectangular shapes signify nesting sites and the coloured dots highlight the migration patterns of Loggerhead turtles who nest at NC. In the NC Sea Turtle Project, sex samples were obtained from a variety of tests conducted during the North Carolina Long-Term Sea Turtle Monitoring Project and North Carolina Rehabilitated Sea Turtle Monitoring Project (NC Sea Turtle Project, 2018). The gender data from the Laparoscopy had the most data units (119), which is why it was chosen to be analysed. Laparoscopy


is an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis using small incisions. It uses an instrument called a global temperatures, the sex ratio of C. caretta will be skewed to look at the abdominal such as n. The laparoscope population of female individuals will outweighorgans, the s, ratio of or C. testes caretta will be skewed the gender of a turtle ovaries to determine . the sex n of female individuals will outweigh the (Gonzalez, 2012).

It was identified that the Laparoscopy data fell into 3 components – Male, Female and Sample Not ta from Collected. the State of the Ocean Turtles (SWOT) TheWorlds distribution of males andwas females ature data from the National Weather Service Forecast Office was determined each was year, and the resulting of the Worlds Ocean Turtlesfor (SWOT) e National Weather Service Forecast Office female:male gender ratio was determined.


the ale C. on of ds of nds of Rao, esting rolina aswell olden 2019). Figure 1: Study Site of Data – North Carolina on West Coast of USA Study Site of Data – North Carolina on West Coast of igrate FIGURE (NC Sea 1: Turtle Project, 2018). (NC– Sea Project, 2018). States tudy SiteUSA of Data NorthTurtle Carolina on West Coast of USA urtle Project,the 2018). as Mexico, Caribbean Ocean to West Africa bbean the rectangular shapes Africa loured dots highlight the hapesturtles who nest at head ht thesex samples were oject, est at s conducted during the Figure 2: Project where data was taken from on were Sea Turtle Monitoring SWOT website (NC Sea Turtle Project, 2018). 2: Project gehabilitated the FigureSea Turtle where data was taken from on FIGURE 2: Project where data was2018). taken from on SWOT website SWOT2018). website (NCgender Sea Turtle oring urtle Project, The dataProject, from the Laparoscopy had (NC Sea Turtle Project, 2018). urtle ich is why it was chosen to be analysed. Laparoscopy is an ). Theor gender from theincisions. Laparoscopy had omen pelvisdata using small It uses an instrument called and Filtering chosenData to be Cleaning analysed. Laparoscopy dominal organs, such as ovaries or testes is to an determine the gender g small The incisions. an instrument called dataIt uses set was cleaned to remove any samples ch as ovaries or testes to determine the gender

Soil temperature and air temperature are closely related, and there is little variation between the two methods of temperature collection (Islam and Khan, 2015). Islam and Khan’s study investigation into the Correlation between Atmospheric Temperature and Soil Temperature determined through Pearson’s distribution that there was a strong positive correlation. Atmospheric temperature was the independent variable and soil temperature was the dependent variable, thus validating that the incubation temperature is directly related to the air temperature; as atmosphere temperature increased, soil temperature increased. The median age of C. caretta in the wild is 20 years (National Geographic, 2015). This was subtracted from the year the temperature data was collected ranging from 1997 to 2006, as it was assumed that turtles captured from the wild are in close age proximity to this value. Hence, the sample of C. caretta are incubated at the temperature of the soil in NC from the years 1977 to 1986. The temperature dataset from NOWData, NOAA Online Weather Data, displayed maximum and minimum temperatures observed monthly from 1977 to 1986. The mean temperature for each year was calculated from the months May to October. Nesting on the West Coast of the USA occurs between May 1st and October 31st (Sea Turtle Conservancy, 2018). Temperature was recorded in °F, and was converted into °C to suit the hypothesis and pivotal temperature calculations of Mrovosky (1988). Statistical Analysis The proportion (%) of female C. caretta to the overall clutch each year was plotted against the observed temperature and the correlation between the two variables was determined using Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient. This shows the strength and nature of the relationship between these variables. A chi-squared test was used to compare the expected gender ratio of 1:1 to the observed ratio for each year, to see if there is a significant shift. A chi-squared test was chosen as gender data is categorical in nature. If the p-value was smaller than the alpha value of 0.05, the null hypothesis was rejected. In the statistical analysis, it was assumed that 50:50 is expected because it is the ideal gender ratio for a population. These techniques determine if the ratio observed from the collected gender data from the NC Sea Turtle Project is reflective of the current sex ratios in the environment, and if these changes consistent with fluctuations of temperature.


Pymble Student Research

that were irrelevant to the scope of this paper. In total, there were 13,436 separate data units. Data 5 units labelled as ‘sample not collected’ were deleted as they showed no trends and did not contribute to the data analysis. Columns holding irrelevant information were deleted, such as fat, skin, bone, blood, faecal, pathogen and barnacle samples and the radio/acoustic tag numbers. The remaining data was filtered using Excel. The year and date were sorted in chronological, ascending order, to allow trends to be noticed. The species was filtered ensuring all data units were C. caretta, indicating they had the same adaptations and response to temperature changes. In addition, all dead turtle samples were filtered out and only captured samples were analysed, ensuring they were presently adapting to the changing temperatures and were under the age of 40 (average life expectancy of C. caretta) thus were affected by global warming and rising incubation temperatures.

Temperature Data


rtles sex ratio changed in recent years, in response to rising rth Carolina? nged in recent years, in response to rising

Ethics Ethics were not needed in this study since an existing data base was analysed. Ethics were considered in the collection of data. Turtles involved in the study were not harmed; risks were minimised and subjects were released safely back into the wild in a healthy, uncompromised state. In additional, beneficial outcomes were produced which far outweighed the risks, creating a future pathway for forthcoming research and the stability/ protection of sea turtle populations globally.

Results The data highlighted clear trends and patterns. The null hypothesis for this study was that the ratio of 1:1 will be maintained. The hypothesis is that the ratio will change; there will be more females than males. Year Hatched

Average Temperature of Year Hatched (°C)



Number of Caretta caretta (Female/Male) compared to Estimated Hatching Year

Ratio 40































Number of Turtles

Year Captured

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0






Estimated Hatching Year

TABLE 1: Summary of key information average temperature of year hatched, compared with female and male numbers, and the overall sex ratio of each year.



Figure 3: Number of female and male C. caretta by hatched year.

FIGURE 3: Number of female and male C. caretta by hatched year.

As seen in Figure 3, the number of females outnumber males to a significant degree. There no observable increasing or decreasing trend based on the graph from years 1980-1986.

As seen in Figure 3, the number of females outnumber males to a significant degree. There is no observable Table 2: Monthly average air temperature from Greensboro, North Carolina. Yearly average calculate increasing or decreasing trend based on the graph from years 1980-1986. from Northern Hemisphere nesting/hatching months (May-October) Year


1981 1984 1985 1986


25.5 21.4


20.8 22.8


19.9 21.7






25.2 21.0

25.8 0.7 23.4 0.9 24.3 27.1 0.8

23.10.33 24.1 23.00.14 23.10.19

20.1 18.7 19.9 21.7

13.3 13.1 18.6 16.1 16.3

21.4 20.8 21.0 20.9 22.1









Year Hatched:

May: °C

June: °C

July: °C

August: °C

September: October: °C Hatched: °C 1980 °C 18.9































Average: Female °C Male °C °C °C °C21.6 ratio: 25.9ratio:22.8 25.8 23.9



Female ratio: 0.7 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.8

TABLE 2: Monthly average air temperature from Greensboro, North Carolina. Yearly average calculated from Northern Hemisphere nesting/ hatching months (May-October)

Expected Ratio of Males to Females

Ratio of Males to Females - 1980

Ratio of Males to Females - 1981

FIGURE 4: Expected sex ratio and observed sex ratio (at a pivotal temperature of 29 °C) of females to males for each year, out of a proportion of 100.

Figure 4 emphasises the skewed ratio of C. caretta populations in their estimated hatching year, demonstrating how female populations outnumber male populations. 8 Females


Ratio of Males to Females - 1984





Ratio of Males to Females - 1985





Ratio of Males to Females - 1986



Figure 4: Expected sex ratio and observed sex ratio (at a pivotal temperature of 29 °C) of females to males for each year, out of a proportion of 100.

Figure 4 emphasises the skewed ratio of C. caretta populations in their estimated102 hatching year, demonstrating how female populations outnumber male populations.

Chi-Squared Value:

Critical Value:



















The difference between the p-value and the alpha value of 0.05 is significant, suggesting a significant difference between the expected ratio and observed ratio of males to females in the environment. The null hypothesis is rejected.





TABLE 3: Chi-squared test summarising the difference between the expected sex ratio and the observed sex ratio between male and female C. caretta.

2000 M ale/Male/female female RatiRatio o 2000 Sex Sex Expected value Observed Observed O-E O-E (O-E)^2 (O-E)^2 (O-E)^2/E (O-E)^2/E Expected value value value 33.333333 277.77778 277.77778 5.5555556 5.5555556 Male Male 50 50 33.333333 -16.666667 -16.666667 Female 66.666667 277.77778 277.77778 5.5555556 5.5555556 Female 50 50 66.666667 16.666667 16.666667 Chi-squared value 11.111111 Chi-squared value 11.111111 Critical value 3.84 Critical value 3.84 p-value p-value 0.0008581210.000858121 Null hypothesis Null hypothesis rejected rejected Table 4: Example calculation of the Chi-squared test for the year 2000.



TABLE 4: Example calculation of the Chi-squared test for the year 2000.

The results of this table highlights that the chi-squared value is significantly larger than the

The results of this table highlights that the chi-squared value is significantly larger than the critical value the critical value the null hypothesis is rejected and there is significant variation between the null hypothesis is rejected and there is significant variation between the observed and expected ratio of male to observed expected ratio of male to female C. caretta. the p-valueless is 0.0.000858121 female C.and caretta. As the p-value is 0.0.000858121 and isAs significantly than the alphaand value of 0.05 the null is significantly less than the alpha value of 0.05 the null hypothesis is rejected. hypothesis is rejected.

0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0

22.5 22 21.5 21 20.5 1980






Earth temperature of year (°C )

Percentage of turtles that are female

Percentage of Female Caretta caretta compared to Estimated Hatched Year Temperature

Estimated Year hatched Female Turtles (%)

Temperature (°C)

Figure 5: Average nesting temperature for each year, correlated with the percentage of females in each hatchling population. As can be seen by the trend shown in Figure 5, the percentage of female turtles and temperature does not As can abeconsistent seen by the trend shown invariables Figure 5,have the percentage of female turtlestoand temperature follow gradient. These no apparent correlation each other. FIGURE 5: Average nesting temperature for each year, correlated with the percentage of females in each hatchling population.


Pymble Student Research

does not follow a consistent gradient. These variables have no apparent correlation to each other.

FIGURE 6: Correlation between temperature and percentage of females in the data sample, highlight the R2 value = 0.0234.

Correlation between Temperature of Estimated Year Hatched and Percentage of Female Caretta caretta Percentage of turtles that are female


R2 = 0.0234 R = 0.1529705854 = 0.153 (3 decimal places)

0.8 R² = 0.0234

0.7 0.6 0.5

Based on this data, there is a weak, slightly positive relationship between temperature and percentage of females. As temperature increases, the percentage of females increases at a very gradual rate.

0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0







Temperature (°C)

Figure 6: Correlation between temperature and percentage of females in the data sample, highlight the R2 value = 0.0234.

Discussion R = 0.0234 2

R = all 0.1529705854 In years studied, the population of female C. Therefore, the sex ratios produced at specific C. = 0.153 (3turtles decimal places) caretta outnumbered the population of male caretta nesting sites are derived by comparing nest Based on this data, there is a weak, slightly positive relationship between temperature C. caretta, creating a skewed population (Figure 3 and andtemperatures in the field with pivotal temperatures percentage of females. As temperature increases, the percentage of females increases at a very Figure 4). For example, in 2000, 8 female and 4 male from the laboratory (Baptistotte et al., 1999; Binckley et gradual rate. samples were recorded, creating a 2:1 sex ratio. al., 1998; Broderick et al., 2000). These estimated sex ratios are largely inaccurate, particularly when nesting According to the chi-squared statistical test site temperatures are close to pivotal temperatures, completed (Table 3 and Table 4), the null hypothesis since they can vary between species and study sites was rejected, and the alternate hypothesis was (Refsnider and Janzen, 2016). When nest temperatures accepted; the independent variable has a profound are outside of the transitional range of temperatures, effect on the dependent variable. It highlighted there which is the range of incubation temperatures that was a significant difference between the observed sex produce both male and females, the accuracy of ratio from data collected and the theoretical expected estimated sex ratios increases (Hanson et al., 1998). sex ratio of 1:1. Other factors may contribute to a higher chance of Temperature averages for each hatchling year were female offspring survival over male offspring survival, calculated and correlated with the C. caretta gender other than temperature. For example, more males are 11 ratio (Table 1 and Table 2). However, it showed that produced at these lower temperatures but are less in all instances where female samples outnumbered likely to survive in water due to their smaller size as male samples, the temperature was lower than the well as other mechanisms. To explore this possibility, pivotal temperature of 29.0°C. The temperatures the C. caretta survival rate should be determined over calculate range from approximately 20.8°C to 22.1°C, the birth rate, for each gender. which should theoretically produce more males than females (Bull and Vogt, 1979; Pieau, 1975; Vogt and The turtle gender data used from the National Ocean Bull, 1982). For example, in 2004, 34 females observed and Atmospheric Administration’s SWOT (State of compared to 8 males determining the ratio to be 17:4, the World’s Ocean Turtles) North Carolina study was highly skewed to the female population. Though, the considered reliable, as there were sufficient data temperature of the estimated hatching year of 1984 points. It was conducted and lead by Joanne McNeill was 21.0°C which is far below the transitional range from June 1988 to September 2015. It has been of temperature that would produce mostly males. The used in other scientific studies such as Refsnider data collected does not align with other researchers and Janzen’s 2015 report, “Temperature-Dependent and scientific studies, since the number of females Sex Determination under Rapid Anthropogenic outweighs the number of males at temperatures as Environmental Change: Evolution at a Turtle’s Pace”. low as 20.8°C. The pivotal temperature suggested by The purpose of this report was to “characterize the statistical analysis above is lower than the pivotal Loggerhead, Green, and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle temperature discovered by Bull, Pieau and Vogt. populations that inhabit inshore and nearshore waters of North Carolina” (McNeill, 2017). Hence, there is a need for more information on pivotal temperatures in sea turtles. At the moment, there are no valid methods for classifying the sex of hatchlings.


A key limitation of this study is in the dataset, as there were variables relevant to the experiment that were not controlled. For example, the age of the turtles and what year they were born in were an approximation. C. caretta turtles can live up to 40 years (National Geographic, 2019). The age of a sample turtle collected in 2000 could range from being incubated at temperatures in 1960 to 2000. In addition, the original hatchling area of the turtles and their subsequent migratory patterns is unknown and is another key limitation. Furthermore, there is an element of uncertainty due to the large range of temperatures gathered from May to October. It is not known precisely what time of year the specific C. caretta of this study nested in, therefore their exact incubation temperature is unknown. The relatively small number of data units in the SWOT report limited the validity of conclusions drawn; correlation trends between temperature and sex ratio could not be clearly identified (Figure 5 and Figure 6). For example, throughout the year 2000-2006, the sex ratio did not increase or decrease in a significant or measurable way, rather it jumped around sporadically. This is observed in the weak R value of 0.153. To strengthen the accuracy of this trend, more data is necessary.

Conclusion The research conducted investigated the temperaturedeterminant sex species of C. caretta, and the correlation between temperature and skewness of gender population. This report found that the temperature of incubation sand affected the ratio of male and female C. caretta. Statistical analysis also confirmed this observation and supported the hypothesis that the population of females will outweigh the population of males. However, the study provides evidence against the supposed pivotal temperature of 29.0 °C, as female dominant populations were produced in temperatures as low as 21 °C. Results were not significant or extensive enough to conclude that the population of females has increased and population of males has decreased, or to determine a correlation between temperature and gender due to changes in C. caretta incubation temperatures. It is recommended that further study be conducted in order to fully understand the environmental implication.


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In the future, additional data should be collected on C. caretta sex ratios in order to make increasingly valid and accurate conclusions. Data from other generations (for example, turtles hatched during the 1990s or 2000s) can be compared to these results in order to conclude if increasing sand temperature has a relationship with the skewness of female and male ratios. In future research, other variables can be tested; another species of turtles or reptiles or species from different parts of the world, such as the Great Barrier Reef.


The temperature data gathered from NOWData, a subsection of NOAA’s Online Weather Data was chosen as it was the only comprehensive temperature data set available in specific areas of North Carolina where the gender data had been gathered, and had available minimum, maximum and average temperatures by month. NOAA has a reputation of reliability and validity; they are funded by the United States Government, and are a combination of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey found in 1807, the Weather Bureau founded in 1870 and the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries founded in 1871. NOAA cites their purpose is to understand and predict changes in climate, to share knowledge and information and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.

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