Progress Isn’t Natural
‘Of course, just believing that progress could be brought about is not enough—one must bring it about. The modern world began when people resolved to do so.’ Progress—the idea that humans should and could work consciously to make the world a better place for themselves and for generations to come—is a surprisingly new concept, and an important one to analyse in these tumultuous times. Joel Mokyr explores this in The Atlantic.
What Robinson Crusoe can Teach us about Brexit
The tale of Robinson Crusoe speaks to the divisions that led to Brexit, namely the history of antagonism and England’s status as an island. Andrew Lambert discusses the ‘exemplary Englishman’.
Teach Philosophy to Heal our ‘Post-Truth Society’
Irish President Michael Higgins has recently suggested that philosophy be taught at primary and secondary schools to combat the rise of a ‘post-truth’ society. President Higgins suggested that the critical analysis skills provided by philosophy helps students and citizens alike ‘to discriminate between truthful language and illusory rhetoric’. Joe Humphreys reports in the Irish Times.
The Importance of the Humanities in the Age of Trump
Why do we need the humanities in the age of Trump? Julianne Schultz argues passionately that the creative arts and humanities are central to understanding and influencing our era. For Schultz, the humanities are ‘sense making disciplines’ that promote and critique culture, introduce complexity and nuance to public debate, and provide insights into the human condition.
And in more Trump-related analysis—philosopher Raimond Gaita examines Trump’s America, and argues that citizens must be armed with critical thinking skills to avoid a political discourse based in ‘cloud cuckoo land’. Gaita suggests these skills should be taught throughout primary and secondary school, so that all citizens, regardless of their education, can enter respectfully and seriously into our political discussion.
What are the Great Australian Plays?
What use is dramatic canon in today’s shifting times? Julian Meyrick writes that ‘the art of the passing moment is drama. A canon is a mental cabinet wherein we keep that treasure.’ Meyrick will discuss great Australian plays in a series of articles in the coming months.
Study Latin, Not Business!
‘If I could change just one thing about the education I received growing up, I think I know what it could be. I would have been required to take Latin. No, not a year or two in high school. I’m thinking at least 5 years, maybe even 7 or 8 years, beginning in grade school and culminating in high school.’ Michael Ortner builds a compelling case for the utility of Latin in business.
Exhibition: Our Odyssey
Ithacans first came to Victoria in the 1850s, in search of fortune on the gold fields. Since then, their entrepreneurial spirit has contributed greatly to the cultural fabric of Melbourne, from street stalls in the Queen Victoria Market to some of the city’s finest cafes and restaurants. With an ancient history grounded in Greek mythology, this exhibition draws parallels between the epic tale of The Odyssey as it relates to the migrant experience. Explore the challenges faced by Ithacan migrants establishing roots in a new country, and celebrate the achievements of a community who continue to enrich the Melbourne of today. Our Odyssey: Ithacans in Melbourne has been developed in collaboration with the Ithacan community and coincides with the 100 year anniversary of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society. Until 4 June 2017, Immigration Museum. $14. More info here.
We have three double passes for this exhibition to give away to the first three people to sign up as H21 members. Write to [email protected] after purchasing your membership, with the subject heading ‘Immigration Museum Giveaway’.
Talk: Posthuman Feminism
This lecture given by Professor Rosi Braidotti will address the so-called ‘post-human’ turn in contemporary feminist theory in the light of three main considerations: the shifting perception of ‘the human’ in the Life sciences; the effects of globalisation as a system that functions by instilling processes of ‘timeless time’; and the impact of inhuman factors like wars and conflicts in contemporary governmentality and the new forms of discrimination they engender. Last but not least, this lecture examines the implications of this historical context for progressive, affirmative politics. Friday 9 December, 6:30pm, Federation Hall. Free. Book here.
Exhibition: After Shakespeare
On 23 April 1616, the poet and playwright William Shakespeare died, at the age of 52. To mark the 400th anniversary of his death, the Baillieu Library’s After Shakespeare exhibition explores the author’s legacy, both in terms of writers who imitated or adapted his works (that is, literally wrote ‘after’ his style) and in terms of Shakespeare’s reputation and significance in the four centuries after his demise, with a particular emphasis on how his work has been received in Australia. Until 15 January, Noel Shaw Gallery, Baillieu Library. More info here.
Classics Summer School 2017
Held over one intensive week in January, the Classics Summer School will present classes in four different subjects focusing on the great archaeological discoveries of ancient Greece and Rome, the fascinating history of the Roman province of Dalmatia, the domestic life of ancient Greeks and Romans, and finally a practical workshop to develop your argumentation skills in the style of Socrates. Presented by Dr Christopher Gribbin and Professor Frank Sear. 9-13 January 2017, University of Melbourne. $125-300, bookings essential. Book here.
Talk: Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin
Heidelberg Historical society member Steven Barlow grew up in the shadow of the Essendon City Council’s incinerator, one of a dozen curious such buildings designed by Walter Burley Griffin. He has maintained a life-long interest in the Griffins and in architectural history. Steven will give an illustrated talk on the breadth of the work of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, including that in Heidelberg, and the influences on their remarkable lives and beliefs. 13 December, 8:00pm, Uniting Church Community Centre Ivanhoe. More info here.
Seminar Series: The Classics
In 2017, Dr Robert DiNapoli will offer a series of 12-week seminars, on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In addition he will try to fit in another twelve-week seminar on Melville’s Moby Dick, a text enormously indebted to those exemplars of the classical tradition. Each seminar series will feature 12 sessions. Dates and times TBC—stay tuned. More info here.