Woman Keene, Judith


Written by Patricia Grimshaw, The University of Melbourne

Judith Keene is a leader in European history with a research and teaching focus on the cultural history of twentieth century wars. Her research has included art and cinema associated with such conflicts and, in relation to them, the formation of individual and collective memory. She has published widely on the Spanish Civil War and World War II and is presently writing a history of memory and the Korean War. She is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and is currently an Associate Professor in the History Department at the University of Sydney.

Keene's books include Treason on the Airwaves: Three Allied Broadcasters on Axis Radio during World War II (2009); and Fighting for Franco: International Volunteers in Nationalist Spain during the Spanish Civil War (2001). Other relevant publications in these fields are: Lost to Public Commemoration: American Veterans of the "Forgotten" Korean War, Journal Of Social History, 44 (2011); Fighting for God, for Franco and (most of all) for Themselves: Right-Wing Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War in Christine G. Kruger and Sonja Levsen (eds.), War Volunteering in Modern Times: From the French Revolution to the Second World War (2011); Bodily Matters Above and Below Ground: The Treatment of American Remains from the Korean War, The Public Historian, 32 (2010).

Keene currently serves on the Australian Army Historical Advisory Committee and since 2010 has been a member of the Conseil Scientifique of an international network on historical memory, Histoire de l'oubli dans les mondes francophones et Anglophone, 19-21 siècles, co-ordinated from L'Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence et Marseilles. The group has organised a series of meetings of international scholars, the most recent in Aix en Provence in December 2011 with participants from a range of national research institutions. She is also part of the Conseil Scientifique of the international research network, Mémoires de guerres: commémorations, reconstitutions, récits de guerres/ War Memories Commemoration, Re-enactment and Writing and is an organiser of the network's international conference in France, at Rennes, June 2014.

In 2009, in face of heated debate in France over what were the appropriate forms of war commemoration, the Minister of Veteran Affairs commissioned a comparative study to examine forms of war commemoration and official memory in France, Britain, Germany and Australia. With Elizabeth Reechniewski, Keene was invited to be part of a group of eminent European historians, led by the French scholars, Olivier Wierviorka and Antoine Prost to produce a report that was tabled in the French National Assembly. Her section, La Place de la Mémoire Combattante en Australie (2009) was part of Prost and Wierviorka (eds) La Mémoire Combattante: Un Regard International (Centre d'études en science sociales de la defense, 2009). With Dr Yasuko Claremont and others, funded by the Japan Foundation, Keene has led a cycle of three conferences on Reconciliation and Remembrance in the Asia-Pacific War that took place in Sydney in 2012 and 2013 and in 2014 will take place in Seoul. Currently Keene is engaged in an Australian Research Council project to examine the transnational uses of the past in the post cold war world; her part of the project examines Spanish efforts, post Franco, to deal with the Spanish past.

Additional sources: Personal communication with the author.

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