Recommended Reading

  1. CUBAN: Don’t go to school for finance – liberal arts is the future

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban discussed how robots will replace human workers in the future and how this effects the future of work. But it’s not all bleak! Cuban then made a bold proclamation that the variety of skills and majors that the Humanities encompass will be an advantage in the automated workplace. Read more of the good news here.

  1. Remarkable Town’s Glorious Revival

A city’s fortunes rise and fall over decades and can be shaped by events and investments from decades earlier. The Melbourne that so intimidated Bernard Salt half a century ago had its roots in the turmoil of the Great Depression. The Melbourne that so impresses him today is cohesive and inclusive, and prepared to make sacrifices to deliver fluidity, prosperity and housing accessibility to future residents. Read about how Melbourne has changed over the years, and the factors pertinent to its revival. Stoke your Melbourne pride here.

  1. Book Club eResources on Melbourne

It’s no coincidence that Melbourne is a UNESCO City of Literature – its laneways, suburbs, streets and characters are an endless source of inspiration for writers. It’s also a fact that Melburnians are more passionate readers than other Australians, with the largest number of community book clubs in the country. The State Library of Victoria provides free access to a range of great ebooks about Melbourne. Get reading here!

  1. History classes are our best hope for teaching Americans to question fake news and Donald Trump

History classes matter because they help students learn to question the stories that are handed down to us. They help us look critically at how historical narratives are constructed, probing them for weaknesses and false assumptions. We can learn to ask whose interest a given narrative served, and what tools different historians had used to come their conclusions. These processes help people combat fake news and nostalgia, as well as realise that each period has its injustices and complexities. Marie Myung-Ok Lee unpacks how history is vital in today’s troubled times. Read more here.

  1. The next scientific breakthrough could come from the history books

The history of science as a linear story of progression doesn’t reflect wholly how ideas emerge and are adapted, forgotten, rediscovered or ignored. A group of scientists decided to look at works by Robert Grosseteste, a polymath from the 13th century. Responding to this thinker from eight centuries ago has, to their delight and surprise, inspired new scientific work of a rather fresh cut and perspective. Learn more about our bright future here.


  1. Sherlock Holmes: A collection or an obsession?

What, if any, is the connection between Samuel Johnson & James Boswell and Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson? Both pairs of men are forever linked in our minds and appear alive to us through and by their friendship. But Johnson and Boswell were actual historical figures who lived in 18th century England whilst Holmes and Watson sprang, fully formed, from the fertile imagination of Arthur Conan Doyle a century later. Holmes & Watson are currently the subject of two high ranking television programmes whilst Johnson`s last appearance was as a figure of fun in an episode of “Blackadder”. Why is this so and is it a just treatment of two towering figures of 18th century literature? Is Watson a “Boswell” to Holmes? John Byrne will tell you why this is so and will display treasures from his library to illustrate his lecture. Those attending are encouraged to wear “deer stalkers”! Thursday 6 April 2017, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm. $20, bookings required. More info here. 

  1. Penetrating the Impenetrable: Reading Ulysses

Ulysses has an undeserved reputation for being impossibly difficult to read. Having said that, it is demanding, and is better done with a guide in the first instance. This course aims to demystify the novel, make it less formidable and intimidating, and to create enjoyment of its riches, in particular its subversive but wise comedy. The style of the course is a mix of lectures and discussion, and participants are encouraged to bring their own copies of Joyce, preferably an annotated edition (the Penguin Student’s edition, or the Oxford University Press editions are both excellent, or alternatively, if you are using an unannotated edition, you might consider purchasing Gifford and Seidman’s Ulysses Annotated). Saturday 25 March 2017, from 12:30pm to 6:30pm. $50-$75, bookings required. More info here.

  1. Author in Conversation: Researching Biography

Join Minna Muhlen-Schulte and Sandra McComb, contributors to the March issue of The La Trobe Journal, in a conversation about researching and writing biographical articles. The talk will also include a viewing of items from the Manuscripts and Pictures collections. The MC for this event is Kelly Gardiner, historical fiction author, La Trobe University writing teacher and Learning Design Manager at State Library Victoria. The two panellists are Minna Muhlen-Schulte, a 2014 Berry Family Fellow at State Library Victoria with a Masters in Public History and Sandra McComb, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and an independent writer and researcher. Tuesday 21 March 2017, from 11:00am to 12:15pm. Free, bookings required. More info here.

  1. The Philosophy of Privacy

The Existentialist Society’s free monthly public lecture program is for those who question whether life has a meaning and a purpose. For April’s event, Associate Professor Janice Richardson from the Faculty of Law at Monash University, presents a lecture on ‘The Philosophy of Privacy’, followed by an extended period of questions and discussion. Tuesday 4 April 2017, from 8:00pm to 10:00pm. Free, gold coin donations appreciated. More info here.


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