Panel Discussion with the Gold Rush Trio

Towards a Global Intellectual History of Gold

You…are not much inclined to devote yourself to purely intellectual pursuits; but you can grasp a subject with a great deal of spirit

–Phrenological analysis of Samuel McCullough, New York, 1854

Nothing but the hope of making a speedy fortune in the mines brings a man up under the many hardships…together with the excitement of the mind

–Samuel McCullough, from the Fraser River gold rush, British Columbia, 1858


The “Gold Rush Trio” of David Goodman (University of Melbourne), Benjamin Mountford (La Trobe University, Austrialia), and Stephen Tuffnell (University of Oxford) will visit the Kinder Institute on Tuesday, November 7, to discuss their current research on the global development and circulation of ideas initiated by the myriad gold rushes that took place during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Specifically, they’ll address the intellectual history of gold from three distinct vantage points: gold and democratic politics; the struggle for order; and engineering expertise. More complete abstracts for each paper to be discussed can be found here, and the event will run from 5:00 – 7:00 PM in Jesse Hall 410.

David Goodman received his PhD from the University of Chicago and currently teaches American history at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of Gold Seeking: Victoria and California in the 1850s (Stanford University Press, 1994) and Radio’s Civic Ambition: American Broadcasting and Democracy in the 1930s (Oxford University Press, 2011), and he is in the process of completing a book on the local, grassroots debate about US entry into World War II.

Benjamin Mountford is a David Myers Research Fellow in History at La Trobe University, Australia, where he came after serving from 2008-15 as an Associate of the Centre for Global History and the first Michael Brock Junior Research Fellow in Modern British History at Oxford. He is the author of Britain, China, and Colonial Australia (Oxford University Press, 2016) and a co-editor of Fighting Words: Fifteen Books That Shaped the Postcolonial World (Peter Lang, 2017), and he is currently at work on a history of Australians at the California gold rush.

Stephen Tuffnell is Associate Professor of US History at the University of Oxford. He is currently completing work on The American Invaders: Nationhood and Empire in Britain’s American Community, 1790-1914, as well as a second project titled Conquest, Labor, Profit: US Empire and British Africa, 1871-1910, which examines US engineering and technological imperialism in the creation and development of Britain’s African colonies. His work has appeared in Diplomatic History, the Journal of Global History, and Britain and the World.