Balint, Ruth

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Balint, Ruth

PERSONAL: Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Education: University of Sydney, Ph.D., 2003.

ADDRESSES: Office—School of History, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales 2052, Australia. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Educator, documentary filmmaker, writer. Worked as an oral historian. SBS Television, reporter, 2004; ABC Radio National, producer of radio documentaries. University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia, School of History, professor.

AWARDS, HONORS: Dendy Best Documentary Award, 2002, for Troubled Waters (film); Vogel Literary Award, 2003, for Troubled Waters.

WRITINGS:

Troubled Waters: Borders, Boundaries and Possession in the Timor Sea (documentary film), 2001.

Troubled Waters: Borders, Boundaries and Possession in the Timor Sea, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2005.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A documentary film about the Sydney and Budapest connection in the postwar era; a history book about Australia's islands.

SIDELIGHTS: Ruth Balint is an Australian professor of history with a special interest in the history of the sea. Her 2005 book, Troubled Waters: Borders, Boundaries and Possession in the Timor Sea, was adapted from her 2001 documentary film of the same title. Balint's manuscript of the book was the first nonfiction entry ever to win the prestigious Australian Vogel Literary Award.

Balint's book documents the "story of the battle over Australia's northern waters from the political leaders who pass down our maritime laws to the very people they affect," according to Erin O'Brien, writing for Boomerang Books. In particular, Balint focuses on the plight of the inhabitants of the Roti Islands in the Timor Sea who long have fished in waters that Australia now claims. Citizens of Indonesia, these fishermen face legal battles against their age-old fishing practices. After centuries of fishing these waters, the Roti fishermen were made trespassers by Australia's 200—kilometer exclusion zone in the Timor Sea. Now these fishermen, inhabitants of a poor and dry island, have no choice but to continue fishing where they are not wanted. Robin Osborne, reviewing Troubled Waters for the Northern River Echo online, found that Balint "does a fine job of conveying [the Roti islanders'] views and explaining their customs." Further praise came from an Antipodes reviewer who noted that Balint's book is "an ambitious mixture of cultural theory, current affairs, and environmental writing."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Antipodes, December, 2003, "Vogel Award," p. 169.

ONLINE

ABC Australia Book Talk, http://www.abc.net.au/ (July 30, 2005), Peter Mares, "Borders, Boundaries and Possession in the Timor Sea …"

Boomerang Books, http://www.boomerangbooks.com/ (February 21, 2006), Erin O'Brien, review of Troubled Waters: Borders, Boundaries and Possession in the Timor Sea.

Northern River Echo Online, http://www.echonews.com/ (August 18, 2005), Robin Osborne, review of Troubled Waters.

University of New South Wales Department of History Web site, http://history.arts.unsw.edu.au/ (February 20, 2006), author profile.