Author: Andrew May

Andrew May is a social historian with broad interests across urban, colonial and imperial history. As an urban historian he has published widely on the social experience of the Australian city, its public spaces and communal rituals, its suburban qualities, and its cosmopolitan cultures. As Director of The Encyclopedia of Melbourne, he guided that project's development from the mid 1990s to its publication by Cambridge University Press in 2005. His interests in multimedia have seen him involved in the development of history in new media formats, including Melbourne Podtours, eGold, Pathways to the Past (a learning module on using images as historical evidence), and eMelbourne (the Encyclopedia of Melbourne in online format). As a historian of imperialism, he also has a particular interest in imperial networks of science, religion and governance. His latest book "Welsh missionaries and British imperialism: The empire of clouds in north-east India" was published by Manchester University Press in 2012. He has served on advisory committees of the National Trust, City of Melbourne, Public Record Office Victoria, Heritage Victoria, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne Immigration Museum, Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, and the National Archives of Australia. He currently serves on the executive of the Australian Historical Association, and is a Board Member of Australian Historical Studies. In 2006 he was awarded the 'Individual Contribution to Profile' award in the City of Melbourne's 'Melbourne Awards'.

June 21, 2018 /

Today is “Rev. Thomas Jones Day”, gazetted as a Special Holiday for all State Government Offices and all revenue and Magisterial Courts and Educational Institutions across the Khasi and Jaintia Hills and the Ri-Bhoi District. What might this 22 June holiday mean, individually or collectively, for Christian or non-Christian, in that shape-shifting ground between the past and the present?
The 22 June holiday commemorates Thomas Jones as a founder, a father, a first. The idea of historical “firsts” often drives a popular understanding of the past— and more pertinently, the political use of the past in the present—but is not always helpful in really getting to grips with complex and interconnected historical processes. There’s not necessarily a ground zero moment when it comes to cultural change. Hero worship, furthermore — though it comes with a feel-good factor— can be rather unhelpful.