Public Lecture: Associate Professor Nicholas Reid: Aboriginal Memories of Inundation of the Australian Coast

Description

18,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, when sea level was about 120 metres below its present level, land ice started melting and sea level began rising, a process that ended some 6000 years ago around Australia. Postglacial sea-level rise transformed the coastline of this island continent, permanently inundating vast expanses of the continental shelf and severing the mainland from New Guinea, Tasmania and countless of today’s offshore islands. The drowning of Australia’s coast affected the ways in which its inhabitants – the Aboriginal peoples who arrived there 50-60,000 years ago – lived, principally by submerging lands on which they had previously lived.

The changes to the geography of coastal Australia wrought by postglacial sea-level rise were so noticeable that its inhabitants created stories – both mythical and narrative – that described the observed changes for posterity. Owing to the remarkable effectiveness of trans-generational storytelling in Aboriginal cultures, some of these stories have survived for millennia to reach us today.

Reid and Nunn have collected extant stories of coastal drowning from 21 locations around the coast of Australia. Using information about where sea level stood (relative to today) in the past, it is possible to assign age ranges to each story. Most stories are believed to date from at least 7000 years ago, making them remarkable for both their antiquity and the cultural continuity that their survival until today requires.

A few similar stories are known from some other parts of the world, including northwest Europe and India but most have been dismissed by most scientists as wholly fictional. Given the likely age of the Australian stories, the earliest of which might be 12,000 years old, it is worthwhile re-evaluating possible evidence of human memories of ancient coastal drowning elsewhere in the world.

When
Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 6:00 pm

Where
Elisabeth Murdoch Theatre A, Elisabeth Murdoch , Spencer Road

Booking
Posted in Events, Languages and Linguistics

After the deluge: The longer term impacts of the Three Gorges Dam

Description

In 2015 the construction of the Three Gorges Dam on China’s Yangtze River will officially end with the completion of the ship lift. For the more than 1.13 million people displaced for its construction, their livelihoods were disrupted by dispossession. Over the last two decades they have been busily rebuilding - using their various assets, resources and strategies to adjust to the altered environment. To assist them, the Chinese Government used a unique toolbox of policy and incentives to stimulate the local economy. Whether the resettlers benefited from such initiatives, however, is not yet understood.

This lecture offers the first publicly available longitudinal analysis of the outcomes of resettlement since the completion of the dam. Changes in income, food security and social wellbeing are analysed across three time periods; pre-resettlement, post-resettlement (2003) and 2011.

Dr Brooke Wilmsen is a Discovery Early Career Research Fellow in the School of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, Melbourne. She has a background in Development Studies with a PhD in Geography. She has worked as a resettlement consultant for several international institutions, government affiliates and private consultancies.

When
Thursday, 5 May 2016, 5:30 pm

Where
Evan Williams Theatre, Richard Berry G03 Theatre

Booking
Posted in Asia Institute, Events

2016 Ernest Scott Prize Winner Announced as Professor Stuart Macintyre – Prize $13,000

Winner Professor Stuart Macintyre and shortlisted Professor Joy Damousi at the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Lecture, 26 April.

Winner Professor Stuart Macintyre and shortlisted Professor Joy Damousi at the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Lecture, 26 April.

The inaugural Ernest Scott Prize was announced earlier this week at the reception of the Kathleen Fitzpatrick History Lecture at the University of Melbourne. Two of the shortlisted candidates were our own – Professors Joy Damousi and Stuart Macintyre. In awarding the prize, Professor Nicholas Brown, from the ANU, commended all shortlisted candidates, and the prize went to Professor Stuart Macintyre. Congratulations Stuart!

The Ernest Scott Prize is awarded to work based upon original research which is, in the opinion of the examiners, the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonisation. This prize is proudly supported by the History Program in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne.


WINNER Stuart Macintyre, Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s (NewSouth Publishing, 2015)

MacintyreStuart Macintyre’s account of Australia’s engagement with the prospects of post-war reconstruction through the 1940s is masterful in coverage and assured in narrative. An account of complex policy formulation and political debates, the book remains driven by a close attention to the personal investments in, and experience of, the profound uncertainties of wartime and unprecedented opportunities to address entrenched social and economic concerns. Rising above the polarity of ‘ideals vs pragmatism’, Macintyre evokes a nation and a diverse corps of people – politicians, officials, business and community leaders, academics, populists among them – that would be tested by those prospects for reform as much as they would embrace or debate them. The central theme of leadership running through this book is treated with admirable subtlety and balance. That approach, in addition to comprehensive account of the times, will be among the enduring contributions of Australia’s Boldest Experiment.

Judges: Professor Giselle Byrnes (Massey University, New Zealand) and Professor Nicholas Brown (Australian National University, Canberra).


Learn more about the Ernest Scott Prize, or see the full shortlist of candidates for 2016.


 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

1966 and All That

Description

1966 was an immensely significant year for continental thought. In France, Michel Foucault’s Les mots et les choses, Jacques Lacan’s Écrits and Gilles Deleuze’s Le Bergsonisme all played central roles in an intellectual scene that saw new theoretical developments intertwine with mass media hysterics, and drastic pedagogical changes precede a revolutionary fervor to come two years later. Abroad, Theodor Adorno published his Negative Dialektik, the most sophisticated philosophical explication of Frankfurt School critical theory, Martin Heidegger declared “only a God can save us” in a now infamous interview, and Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes and others converged upon Johns Hopkins University for four days to bring structuralism to the United States, changing the course of Western institutional history.

Fifty years on, this conference draws together a wide range of eminent and emerging thinkers to examine the key publications and broader legacy of 1966. It will map the year’s major theoretical, institutional and socio-cultural innovations, examine their immediate and ongoing reception both in France and abroad, and invite a renewed appreciation of 1966 as a pivotal point of rupture in twentieth-century thought.

Keynote speakers: Dr Knox Peden (ANU); Professor John Frow (USYD)

Co-Convenors: Associate Professor Justin Clemens; Elliot Patsoura; Thomas Sutherland

Admission is free, but registration is essential.

When
Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:45 am

Where
Fourth Floor Linkway, John Medley, Grattan Street

Booking
Posted in Culture and Communication, Events

Reform of administrative detention powers and the problem for minor crime

Description

What do we make of abolition of the administrative detention power of Re-education through Labour (RETL)? Many hoped that it marked greater acceptance of the need for development of a regularised, rule-based system of punishments in China. However, since its abolition, misuse of law to lend a semblance of legality to the repression of rights lawyers, publishers and human rights activists (amongst others) again raises questions about the commitment of the Party-state to rule-bound governance. In the post-RETL world a number of basic questions about the scope and structure of China’s system of punishments remain unresolved. What gaps, if any, has abolition of RETL left in the system of punishments? What is the emerging structure of the system of punishments and how does it relate to legal principles of proportionality, accountability and fairness? This seminar discusses the reforms in criminal and administrative law both before and after abolition of RETL that are shaping the system of punishments. It focuses in particular on debates circulating around the two concepts of minor crime and security punishments.

Professor Sarah Biddulph is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2014-2018) and Professor of Law at the Melbourne Law School. Sarah’s research focuses on the Chinese legal system with a particular emphasis on legal policy, law making and enforcement as they affect the administration of justice in China

When
Thursday, 19 May 2016, 5:30 pm

Where
Evan Williams Theatre, Richard Berry G03 Theatre

Booking
Posted in Asia Institute, Events

Between Prophecies and Invectives: The Myth of Avignon in Dante’s Purgatorio

Description

Dante has been the first European intellectual and poet to understand the so-called "Avignon crisis" and forge a polemic myth around the relocation of the papal court to France. In this paper Dr Vagata aims to read and interpret some excepts from the Purgatorio cantos XIX, XX, XXII and XXXIII, in which Dante expresses his opposition to the Avignon papacy and the Church's dominance.

In these cantos Dante through a crescendo of visionary prophecies and venomous incentives reaching its peak in Purgatorio XXXIII.

Finally Dr Vagata will take into consideration some brief passages from Epistulae (V, VII, XI) and Apocalypse, as well the prophetical axis of Dante's Commedia.

When
Monday, 9 May 2016, 5:30 pm

Where
G03, Babel Lower Theatrette, Babel Lower Theatrette

Booking
Posted in Events, Languages and Linguistics

Marco Polo’s Tomatoes, or on Cross-Cultural Exchange in Early European Art

Description

In the last decades, the question of cross-cultural contact and exchange has emerged as a major field of research in Art History and the humanities in general. This work is driven by the need to understand the early history of our own global moment, but it is also part of a larger and more ambitious project: the attempt to write a global history of art, one that does not privilege Western production at the expense of other cultures. The importance of the project is clear, but there are many competing, and conflicting, ideas about how such a history should be written.

To explore the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches, this lecture will focus on a limit-case: the possibility that renewed contact between Italy and Eurasia after the rise of the Mongol Empire had an impact on European art. On the one hand, it is clear that this was a moment of renewed and intense contact and exchange: Marco Polo travelling to China is only one famous example of a much larger phenomenon. Artists, materials, technologies, and objects traveled across Europe, Africa, and Asia as they had not done in a thousand years. It is also clear that there were fundamental changes in Italian art in the years around 1300. Yet how can we determine cause and effect, given the limited historical evidence that survives? The challenge is to avoid anachronistic interpretation, what will be discussed here as the danger of Marco Polo’s tomatoes.

Anne Dunlop was appointed to the Herald Chair of Fine Arts in the School of Culture and Communication in 2015. Her research and teaching focus on the art of Italy and Europe between about 1300 and 1550, including the role of materials and technology in the making of art, and the relations of Italy and Eurasian in the years after the Mongol Conquests.

When
Wednesday, 4 May 2016, 6:45 pm

Where
Public Lecture Theatre, Old Arts

Booking
Posted in Culture and Communication, Events

Das Lied in mir (The Day I Was Not Born)

Description

On a trip to Chile, the young German woman Maria (Jessica Schwarz) listens to a Spanish-language lullaby in a transport lounge in Buenos Aires. Maria does not speak Spanish, but she instinctively responds to the song. She misses her connection and decides to visit Buenos Aires, where she has to stay after she loses her passport.

When she updates her father, Anton (Michael Gwisdek), about her location and the lullaby he is on the next flight. Having kept Maria’s background a secret to her up to now, Anton reluctantly gives her bits of information. She learns that her biological parents were kidnapped during the Argentinian military dictatorship and murdered – joining the ranks of ‘the disappeared’.

After halting beginnings, Maria finds herself with a new family. Not offering definitive outcomes, The Day I Was Not Born allows the crisply naturalistic Buenos Aires light and nuanced performances to show how the notion of family – one either broken or created – can transport you to unsettling new terrain.

Directed by: Florian Cossen in 2010

When
Thursday, 5 May 2016, 6:30 pm

Where
South Lecture Theatre, Level 2, Room 224, Old Arts

Booking
Posted in Events, Languages and Linguistics

Academic Mobility and its Transformative Potential

Description

This presentation explores transnational academic mobility and opportunities it presents for learning cosmopolitanism. Academic exchange programs, such as the recently launched New Colombo Plan in Australia, serve to further deepen and expand transnational academic interactions. These encounters have potential transformative power on the careers, intercultural outlooks and life courses of the participants. Mobile scholars and their mobility experiences are a very promising research target group because they are uniquely placed at the forefront of potential cosmopolitan transformations. The presentation offers some insights from the empirical fieldwork conducted among mobile scholars affiliated with the European University Institute in Florence in 2015. In the face-to-face interviews, research questions examined individual pathways for intercultural transformations and opportunities for learning cosmopolitan values, beliefs and attitudes, as well as acquiring intercultural competencies, attributes and dispositions.

When
Thursday, 19 May 2016, 12:00 pm

Where
Room 321, Level 3, Sidney Myer Asia Centre

Posted in Asia Institute, Events

The 2016 Kathleen Fitzpatrick History Lecture: Easter 1916: Theatre, Re-enactment, Memory

Description

presented by Professor Gillian Russell.

The commemoration of the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising has been an event of major significance for Ireland that has been marked globally, including here in Australia.

This lecture will examine the Rising from two perspectives: as a ‘theatre of war’ and as re-enactment. From the precise moment that Padraig Pearse proclaimed the Irish Republic, at 12 noon on Monday 24 April, 1916 to Captain Peter Kelleher’s ceremonial re-reading of the Proclamation on Easter Sunday 2016, theatricality has been crucial to the articulation of the meaning of the Rising in ways that, though widely acknowledged, still warrant analysis. Following David Fitzpatrick, Russell asks: is Ireland’s investment in historical re-enactment exceptional and will a final curtain ever come down on this particular show?

When
Tuesday, 26 April 2016, 6:45 pm

Where
Basement Theatre B117, Melbourne School of Design, Masson Road

Booking
Posted in Events, Historical and Philosophical Studies