Recommended Reading

Robert Hoddle’s survey of the town of Melbourne in 1837
Robert Hoddle’s survey of the town of Melbourne in 1837. Image: Victorian Public Record Office Historic Plan Collection

Finding the Hidden Hellenism in Melbourne
Though the Melbourne city’s ‘founding’ is quite recent by global standards, it has roots in a much older tradition, that of ancient Greek urban planning and monumental architecture. This article explores some of the earliest and most iconic instances of Melbourne’s Hellenistic heritage, from its gridded CBD to the artwork that adorns the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.


What the Ancient Past can Teach us about the Chaos of 2016
With 2016 nearly over, we can start taking stock of what has happened. Many might see the events of the year as an unprecedented show of global upheaval. But if you look through ancient history, you’ll see that we’ve been in many similar situations before. As TED prize winner Sarah Parcak states in this post, studying the events of the past ‘can cut through the divisiveness of this moment and help us realize that we are all a part of the grand human journey’, and possibly even teach us a thing or two about the present and provide strategies for moving forward.


Representing a Non-English Speaking Woman in 1890s Melbourne: Some Dilemmas
‘Each time I view the collection of images I’ve selected to tell a story of polyglot Melbourne, I feel a resurgent frustration at the ways in which women appear; present in highly marginal and whitewashed ways. White bonneted women appear in Parliament, where they’re consigned to the sidelines to listen on as their male counterparts orate. White women also appear in a sketch about Indian hawkers, here, as customers, protected from the hawkers by whip-baring white men.’ In curating the exhibition Moving Tongues: Language and Migration in 1890s Melbourne, Nadia Rhook ran into many questions and dilemmas concerning representation. In this article she reflects on her experience and on the representations of marginalised groups.


 

Don’t Fret: Shakespeare would have Loved Emojis
‘The idea that English can ever be “correct” is, of course, incorrect. There is a reason we study Chaucer and Shakespeare at school and university: they don’t make plain sense nowadays. This doesn’t mean what they’re saying is wrong or bad.’ Madeline White explores the significance of emojis in the evolution of language.


 

Why Study Humanities? What I tell Engineering Freshman
John Horgan taught a mandatory course for engineering freshman at Stevens Institute of Technology, which covered Sophocles, Marx, Shakespeare and other ‘greats’ of Western Civilisation. When many of his students showed antagonism towards the course, he developed a robust defence of the importance of the humanities. ‘In your science, mathematics and engineering classes, you’re given facts, answers, knowledge, truth. Your professors say, “This is how things are.” They give you certainty. The humanities, at least the way I teach them, give you uncertainty, doubt and skepticism.’


Why America’s Business Majors are in Desperate Need of a Liberal Arts Education
While American students are flocking to business programs, businesses are seeking out Humanities graduates, according to this article from Yoni Appelbaum. ‘Put simply, business majors seem to be graduating with some of the technical skills they’ll need to secure jobs, but without having made the gains in writing or critical-thinking skills they’ll require to succeed over the course of their careers, or to adapt as their technical skills become outdated and the nature of the opportunities they have shifts over time.’


The Skills Delusion
The widespread and misguided faith in vocational education is going to have a disastrous effect on future graduates. Adair Turner takes a look at the disconnect between the so called ‘skills’ being peddled to students, and the reality of what will be required of our workforce in the near future.


 

Events

THE PEDESTRIANS: David Astle, Sophie Cunningham, Christos Tsiolkas, Alia Gabres with William Stephanus
The Pedestrians: Walking Tours of Melbourne
Taking place over the two weekends of The City Speaks, a series of one-off walking tours by Melbourne-based artists and writers will lead the audience through the streets, arcades and laneways of Melbourne’s CBD, revealing their own relationships with language and the city. Saturday 12, Sunday 13, Saturday 19, Sunday 20 November, 3:00pm, various CBD locations. $10 per session, bookings essential. More info here.


 

Who Lies Within? The Case of Philip II and Tomb 2 at Vergina
Join La Trobe University’s experts in ancient Greece and Rome in exploring some of the mysteries, conundrums and problems of the ancient world in a series of myth-busting investigations of the evidence, suspects and victims. This session is run by Gillian Shepherd. Tuesday 6 December, 6:00pm, Melbourne City Library. Free, bookings required. Book here.


Emperors of Rome on Cleopatra
Good podcasts have a unique way of getting into our heads and infusing us with passions and fascinations we never thought we had. At their best, history podcasts can act like a museum of the mind’s eye, providing an absorbing audio guide to abstract ideas, real events and human dramas. For this event, Rhiannon Evans and Matt Smith, co-hosts of the Emperors of Rome podcast, will record a live episode on Cleopatra VII. What were her political ambitions? How was her story shaped and exploited for the benefit of Emperor Augustus, and how did she try to shape her own image? Tuesday 22 November, 6:15pm, The Wheeler Centre. Free, bookings essential. Book here.


The Death of Shakespeare
On 23 April 1616, William Shakespeare died in the small Warwickshire town of his birth. He was quietly buried in the chancel of its parish church. Beyond Stratford-upon-Avon the death of Shakespeare seems to have aroused very little interest. No gatherings in his memory were held in London or elsewhere in the country. No verses bewailing his death of Shakespeare were published or collected. None of his contemporaries noted the fact of his death in any surviving letter, journal, or record. Why was the death of Shakespeare such a non-event? What does this curious silence tell us about Shakespeare’s reputation, and the state of letters in 1616 Britain? This talk will explore these puzzling questions. Presented by Professor Ian Donaldson. Monday 14 November, 6:30pm, University of Melbourne. Free. Details here.


Torn Clothes, Blood Stained, Half-Undressed: The Place of Costume in Australian Shakespeare Productions
Costumes provoke a range of questions, including how the costume relates to the body of specific authors, and how the then-embodied costume evokes responses from an audience. This lecture, by Professor Rachel Fensham, will consider questions of costume with an analysis of costumes designed by Peter Corrigan for Barrie Kosky’s Bell Shakespeare Company production of Lear (1998), and their particular juxtaposition of a heightened theatricality with suburban ugliness. Thursday 17 November, 12:00pm, University of Melbourne. Free. Details here.


 

Opportunities

Call for Contributions to Arena Magazine special issue on the Contemporary University
Arena Magazine is planning a special edition on the contemporary university, for publication April 2017. They are seeking short commentaries, feature articles, anecdotes, reviews, artwork and poems around the theme of the new university, and the fate of the humanities in particular. The deadline is 10 March 2017. A fabulous opportunity for budding writers and scholars! Details here.

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