Robin Poke: A Sociocultural History of Australian Rowing

Robin Poke presented his PhD confirmation seminar at the University of Canberra today.
Robin is researching A Sociocultural History of Australian Rowing.
A copy of his presentation can be found here Confirmation Seminar.
Robin outlined his passionate interest in rowing and drew upon over forty years of involvement in the sport to do so.
Robin’s Masters’ thesis explored the life of Peter Antonie. For his PhD he will look at the development of rowing in Australia from the early nineteenth century to the present day.
Robin anticipates that his research will lead him to investigate three eras in rowing:

  • Professional/Artisan
  • Amateur/Elitist
  • Semi-professional/Government-funded

It will involve exploring the interaction of heritage, status, class and gender in Australian sporting culture as it relates to rowing in particular.
I liked Robin’s use of quotations from Daniel Bertaux:

We must discover the forms of discourse through which elements of knowledge about socio-historical processes will find their way into living cultures and thus, coming to public life, become at last common knowledge

and Michael Cathcart:

…history is not one, long continuous story that is told over and over … history is a conversation. And we don’t have a fully-fleshed historical culture until we let that conversation rip … Our history needs to be a library … full of stories told by people of all walks of life … and the result won’t be chaos: it will be a rich sense of who we are and what we might become. (My emphasis.)

I am looking forward to my conversation with Robin as one of his supervisors. Greg Battye is the principal supervisor on this PhD panel.
The Seminar coincided with the publication of Olympic Gold: Our Greatest Individual Olympians Since 1896 edited by Robin and Kevin Berry.



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