Alfred Deakin Research Institute

Local Intermediaries in International Exploration

Thu, 30 May 2013 12:25:00 +1000

ADRI member, Dr Tiffany Shellam, will be co-convening the Local Intermediaries in International Exploration conference in July at ANU.

While the myth of the solitary intrepid explorer has long been questioned, the notion of exploration still suggests the discovery of a wilderness. This conference aims to examine the extent to which the explored territory was in fact a peopled landscape, inhabited not only by indigenous peoples, but also often by the vanguards of Empire such as slavers, marines, merchants, sealers, whalers, and missionaries, as well as early settlers who hosted the explorers and travellers. Recent historiographical shifts mean that scholars now recognise that so called ‘lone travellers’ in fact depended on local support for food, shelter, protection, information, guidance, and emotional solace, as well as other resources.

This conference, which has a global focus, will analyse in detail the contributions of local people as intermediary figures, as interpreters and ‘native’ assistants, thus making the hidden histories of exploration more visible. Those hidden histories include not only indigenous participants but local settler populations.


Keynote speakers include:

  • Felix Driver, Professor of Human Geography (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Leonard Collard, Professor of Indigenous Studies (University of Western Australia)

Where/When:

Wednesday, 17th-18th July 2013
Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

This conference is linked to one of ADRIs many Australian Research Council Discovery projects. To find out more, visit our Research pages.


Image of historical map
The upcoming conference questions the myth of the solitary intrepid explorer.
More information
Tiffany Shellam
T: +61 3 924 43943
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Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

19th July 2012