Posted May 16th, 2013
Tom Griffiths discusses the career of Mike Smith, author of The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts.
CROUCHED in the red sand, handling a stone artefact with an arc of blue desert sky above him, Mike Smith is at home. This connoisseur of deserts, who revolutionised our understanding of the human history of Central Australia, has a discerning eye for the distinctive character of Australia’s Red Centre. His new book, The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts, published in March by Cambridge University Press, is the most important exploration of Australia’s ancient human history since John Mulvaney’s The Prehistory of Australia was published forty-four years ago . . .
Read the full article in Inside Story.
Photo by Stuart Grant.
Posted April 30th, 2013
Our worldview denies the most basic feature of animal existence on planet earth – that we are food and that through death we nourish others …
Val Plumwood, 2007
Tuesday 7 May 2013, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
In 1985 the eminent Australian environmental philosopher Val Plumwood was almost killed by a saltwater crocodile as she canoed along the East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park. The horrific incident inspired Plumwood to explore ideas about human death in an ecological context.
The National Museum of Australia, which recently acquired the canoe in which Plumwood was attacked, invites you to discover her extraordinary story and legacy. For one night only, see the canoe and join ABC broadcaster Gregg Borschmann in conversation with anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose, editor Lorraine Shannon, curator George Main and crocodile expert Grahame Webb talking about Plumwood’s work and how it helps us understand our – and the crocodile’s – place in the world. The event will be recorded as part of ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas program and will conclude with the launch of The Eye of the Crocodile, a posthumous publication of Plumwood’s essays.
Bookings essential: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 6208 5021
Image: Portrait of Val Plumwood, 1997. Photo: Terry Milligan.
Posted April 24th, 2013
North: Reflections on the Arctic
Drawing on two recent journeys to the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, Matthew Higgins will be giving an illustrated presentation called ‘North: reflections on the Arctic’, at the CSIRO Discovery Centre, Canberra, on Saturday 11 May at 1.30pm. Centred around the theme of climate, the talk will address the Arctic land/seascape, plants, wildlife, exploration of the North-West Passage, Inuit prehistory and material culture, Inuit and Greenlandic life today, and climate change (all in an hour or so!).
The event is free and bookings are not necessary. Further details on CSIRO’s website.
Posted April 5th, 2013
12:30 pm, Friday 12 April, National Museum of Australia
This illustrated presentation looks at why the ACT border is where it is, who the surveyors were, how they marked the border and what they experienced. It is a great story of much more than theodolites and measurements, and tells of one of our nation’s major surveys following the decision to found Canberra over 100 years ago. It is a tale of three young men – two of whose names are commemorated in modern Canberra – working partly in some of Australia’s most rugged mountain country and living under canvas. One of them got snowed in, two had young wives with them, while one drove a Model T Ford and had a quirky sense of humour. The surveyors helped safeguard Canberra’s vital water supply, as the border that they charted was determined mainly by water catchment. Many of the survey marks left by the surveyors have survived bushfire and bulldozer to be key heritage sites today with a direct link with the very birth of the ACT. Similarly, the surveyors’ fieldbooks are archives of considerable heritage significance and historical interest.
The talk, which is a free event associated with the Museum’s new exhibition Glorious Days: Australia 1913, will be at 12.30pm in the Visions Theatre. If you would like to come, please book with NMA on either 6208 5021 or email@example.com
Posted April 2nd, 2013
Writing an honours thesis in the field of History?
Want to meet honours students from other universities and discuss how to research and write your thesis?
The School of History of the Australian National University invites you to an intensive History Honours Workshop in Canberra on the weekend of 24-26 May 2013 (it will start on Friday afternoon and finish noon Sunday). Historians at ANU will lead discussions on various aspects of research and thesis writing, and will also provide you with the opportunity to join smaller groups focusing on historical issues of direct relevance to your own inquiry. Students will be expected to participate by speaking and writing about their own research-in-progress. Special tuition will be offered in the fields of Biography, Environmental History, Indigenous History, Legal History, and Political and Contemporary History.
Financial support will be available to participants from outside Canberra. This will consist of a return discount air or bus fare plus a contribution towards accommodation expenses in Canberra.
Course organisers and presenters will include Professor Tom Griffiths, Dr Carolyn Strange, Dr Nicholas Brown, Dr Rani Kerin and Dr Maria Nugent.
The workshop will be restricted to honours students in History and related fields, currently enrolled at universities in Australia and New Zealand. The number of participants will be strictly limited (to facilitate discussion). There is no registration fee. The deadline for applications is 24 April 2013.
Please provide the following:
- A brief curriculum vitae
- Two short statements together totalling no more than 500 words: one explaining the subject (or likely subject) of your honours thesis; and the other describing what you hope to gain from this workshop. These statements will guide selection and also help us to design the event around your interests.
Please e-mail your application to Karen Smith, School of History Administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org. Enquiries about the academic program of the workshop may be directed to Professor Tom Griffiths at email@example.com
We look forward to hearing from you!
Posted March 27th, 2013
National Museum of Australia, Canberra
Cambridge World Archaeology, ISBN-13: 9780521407458.
This is the first book-length study of the archaeology of Australia’s deserts, one of the world’s major habitats and the largest block of drylands in the southern hemisphere. Over the last few decades, a wealth of new environmental and archaeological data about this fascinating region has become available. Drawing on a wide range of sources, The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts explores the late Pleistocene settlement of Australia’s deserts, the formation of distinctive desert societies, and the origins and development of the hunter-gatherer societies documented in the classic nineteenth-century ethnographies of Spencer and Gillen. Written by one of Australia’s leading desert archaeologists, the book interweaves a lively history of research with archaeological data in a masterly survey of the field and a profoundly interdisciplinary study that forces archaeology into conversations with history and anthropology, economy and ecology, and geography and Earth sciences.
Photos from the launch
Held on Friday 22 March, Friends Lounge, NMA
Read a review by Nicolas Rothwell