Recommended Reading

  1. Humanities Centre closure ‘will not be considered’

Good news! The Humanities Centre at John Hopkins University will not be shut down, after nearly 5000 people signed a petition against the possibility of its closure by a review committee. Here at Humanities 21 we encourage the important research done by these kinds of centres—we’re for the humanities! Read more of the good news here.

  1. Here’s How to Understand Our Age of Anger

How does a novelist weave literature (Herder, Schiller, Dostoevsky), philosophy (Voltaire, Rousseau, Bakunin) and economics (Marx, Piketty) into a moral tale about the politics of fury, both past and present? Pankaj Mishra delves into these questions in his recent book ‘Age of Anger: A History of the Present’, critically reviewed last week in the New Republic by Harvard University Law Professor Samuel Moyn. Whet your reading appetite here.

  1. Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t

How do we prepare our children for the workplace of tomorrow? Teach them philosophy! Charlotte Blease argues that as technical skills become automated in coming decades, workplaces and societies will need people who can ‘ask, and answer, the questions that aren’t Googleable’. Click here for the longer answer (and don’t bother googling it!).

  1. Why STEM majors need the humanities

STEM students: want to get ahead in your career? You should study the humanities. Neil Kobitz, a professor of Mathematics at Washington University argues that as well as providing a “richer, more fulfilling life of the mind”, the humanities teach STEM students how to tell a story—an essential skill for making an impact in any STEM field. Get the full picture here.

  1. Fewer and fewer jobs that robots can do are being given to humans

Want another reason to study the humanities? Students, try this one out with your parents: almost all job growth in the last few decades has come in “non-routine activities”. In other words, the jobs least likely to be automated will be ones that require critical thinking, analysis and creativity—just some of the skills you can gain from studying the humanities! Learn more about our bright future here.



  1. 75th Anniversary of Kokoda: Memories of a Young Soldier

Hear first-hand Kokoda experiences through a conversation with Kokoda historian David Howell and special guests. The personal Kokoda story of young 19-year-old soldier Ken Phelan, who helped build the Kokoda Track and defend it, is the centrepiece of a special presentation and display at the Freemasons Library and Museum in recognition of the historical importance of Kokoda as part of the 75th anniversary. Saturday 11 February 2017, from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Free event, limited seats available. More info here.

  1. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez: Why I Sued The U.S. Government

The boy who is suing the US government plans to shake up the establishment in Australia as Think Inc. brings Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on his debut tour Down Under. A climate change activist since the tender age of six, Xiuhtezcatl (Shu-TEZ-caht) has formed the global Earth Guardians youth movement, engaged Hollywood celebrities and spoken in front of the UN on behalf of the planet. Drawing on his Aztec heritage, public speaking prowess and passion for hip-hop, Xiuhtezcatl is spreading his message and shifting human consciousness. Xiuhtezcatl will be joined on his Melbourne and Sydney tour by Australian slam poet Luka Lesson. A powerful and charismatic speaker, Lesson is himself a notable commentator on social issues and a long-standing fan of Xiuhtezcatl. Saturday 11 February 2017, from 3:00pm. $39 + BF, bookings required. More info here.

  1. American Misadventure with Nathan Hill

Critics have likened him to John Irving; Irving has likened him to Charles Dickens; and Dickens, though very much dead, might have appreciated the humour, heart and panoramic scope of his work. His debut novel, The Nix, is a sprawling, postmodern social satire that skewers contemporary American politics, media and academia. The book is remarkably of its time – featuring a viral video firestorm and a populist presidential candidate bearing more than a passing resemblance to one Donald Trump. Hill’s novel – at times surreal and dystopian – has arrived at an extraordinary moment in American political history. Join him in conversation with Louise Swinn for a discussion of fiction, fact, fantasy and 21st-century America. Wednesday 1 March 2017, from 6:15pm to 7:15pm. Free, bookings required. More info here.

  1. Charles Smythe: Prosecuting Ned Kelly

Discover the factors that led Ned Kelly to be charged with the murders of Constables Lonigan and Scanlan. From the perspective of the prosecution we can see how the case against Kelly was developed and delivered. The talk will involve a short performance based on the actual trial of Kelly. Patrick Watt reflects on Charles Smythe – police prosecutor against Ned Kelly and examines the case against Kelly. Monday 20 February 2017, from 6:00pm to 7:00pm. Free, bookings required. More info here.

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