Michelle graduated from the University of Tasmania's History Honours program in 2016. Her honours thesis looked at how abortion law was practiced in Tasmania from 1863-1938; 1863 being when the law was established in Tasmania and 1938 was when the first changes started taking place on a global scale. Her interest in this topic began in 2013 when changes to the abortion law in Tasmania were presented in parliament. During this time school children were involved in protesting the laws in front of Parliament House. This made her wonder if our attitudes are actually a learned behaviour. Michelle became interested in how these attitudes developed and how the law worked in practice.
Since graduating Michelle has continued this work by presenting papers on different aspects of this topic including the role doctors played in protecting their reputation or their patient's health, the social history of abortion in Hobart including abortion cases and trials, and the economic factors that concern attitudes and how ideas of nationalism play into this. She is also interested in how police investigated these cases and the media reported on them.
Michelle's areas of interested include the connection between medicine and the law, and the social issues concerning women's health history. Her interests are firmly placed in Tasmanian history but she is also interested in the comparison with other states and territories in Australia.
Her other work involves public engagement with history and social media for heritage. Michelle also has an interest in digital history and how technology can be used to give us a different perspective on sources and sharing information.
Presented papers will be available to view soon:
Serving to Protect: The involvement of doctors in abortion law cases in Tasmania 1863-1938, presented at the Australian New Zealand Society for the History of Medicine Conference, ACU, 12 July 2017
Ladies in Waiting: The social history of abortion in Hobart 1863-1938, presented at the Professional Historians Association Lunchtime Talk Series, Allport Library, 3 August 2017