Recommended Reading

Young people today are constantly at risk of indoctrination – whether deliberate or inadvertent – thanks to our heavily interconnected and technologically dependant society. This can be by advertisers, politicians, religious extremists or the media – and can make it hard for young people to get a handle on the world around them. But in this age of contradictory images and constant messages, Angie Hobbs believes the teaching of philosophy can help young people think for themselves, challenge misinformation and resist attempts to indoctrinate them. Rouse your interest in philosophy further here.

Much like how Humanities 21’s April event looked at how the foundational myths of Western societies fail to recognise the contributions of China and beyond to the West, this article explores how one ancient religion shaped Western and Iranian politics. Christianity has frequently been used to define the identity and values of the US and Europe, as well as to contrast those values with those of a Middle Eastern ‘other’. Yet, a brief glance at an ancient religion – still being practised today – suggests that what many take for granted as wholesome Western ideals, beliefs and culture may in fact have Iranian roots. Get your Zoroastrian on here.

“We need the arts because they make us full human beings. But we also need the arts as a protective factor against authoritarianism. In saving the arts, we save ourselves from a society where creative production is permissible only insofar it serves the instruments of power. When the canary in the coal mine goes silent, we should be very afraid – not only because its song was so beautiful, but because it was the only sign that we still had a chance to see daylight again.” Consider the importance of the arts and humanities to society here.

In this short video, learn about the Banksy of punctuation. One man in England has utilised spray paint and more to correct bad punctuation on shop signs. Watch incorrect apostrophes disappear here.

Events

The coins of Vibia Sabina, wife of the emperor Hadrian, are beautiful and their number suggests that she was honoured with more coins than any previous emperor’s wife. The chronology of these coins, however, has puzzled many scholars for nearly a century with no satisfactory conclusion. The variety of the iconography, both the obverse images of Sabina and the selection of reverse images, several different legends and the use of most coin denominations, all contribute to an enormous chronological dilemma. Trudie Fraser discusses these problems with many illustrations of Sabina’s coins. It attempts to provide reasons for the different combinations of image and legend and to suggest a possible chronology for Sabina’s coins, which in turn could shed some light on Sabina’s relationship with her husband. Monday 24 April 2017, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, Ancient World Seminars. Free. More info here.

Join historian and biographer Dr Ross McMullin for an illuminating and incisive talk about Australia’s worst 24-hours: the disaster of the battle of Fromelles. How did such a calamity occur? What were they trying to achieve? Where does the blame for the disaster lie? Could, or did, anyone try to stop it? Ross will answer these questions and more, and explain why the battle was relatively little known until recently. The battle of Fromelles began on 19 July 1916 and was Australia’s first major engagement at the Western Front. It resulted in 5,533 Australian casualties in one night – equivalent to the entire Australian casualties in the whole of the South African War against the Boers, the Korean War and Vietnam War put together! The catastrophic attack had no redeeming tactical justification whatsoever. It was, per Brigadier-General “Pompey” Elliott, a “tactical abortion”. Tuesday 18 April 2017, from 5:15pm (refreshments), lecture at 5:45pm, Royal Historical Society of Victoria. Free for RHSV Members, $10 for general admission. More info here.

Join Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, who runs Wikipedia, to see where the world will take knowledge into the future in her inspiring keynote speech. Knowledge needs to be free – it needs to be in the hands of many, not the few, so that ideas can be shared and developed. With the advent of the Digital Age, our relationship with knowledge is immediate and intimate, a democracy where anyone can join in. We can trade tips on Twitter, get the latest news on Facebook, build a history on Wikipedia and build a library of ideas…and change the world in the process. Monday 1 May 2017, from 7:30pm to 8:30pm, University of Melbourne. Free, bookings required. More info here.

What makes someone travel across the world to start a new life in a strange country? Photographer Katayoun Javan explores the themes of immigration, home and diaspora in this series of photographs featuring Iranian immigrants to Victoria. Accompanying the photographs are short statements by the sitters explaining why they immigrated and how they feel about living in Australia. This moving exhibition is the outcome of a State Library Victoria Creative Fellowship in 2015–16. Friday 16 March 2017 to Sunday 16 July 2017, State Library of Victoria. Free. More info here.

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