Books that Changed Humanity


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Books that Changed Humanity

Books that Changed Humanity is a book club with a difference. Each month, the Humanities Research Centre hosts an expert from one of a variety of disciplines, who will introduce and lead the discussion of a major historical text. All of these texts, which are drawn from a variety of cultural traditions, has had a formative influence on society and humanity. The series aims to highlight and revisit those books which have informed the way we understand ourselves, both individually and collectively, as human beings.

The series brings together readers from all backgrounds and vocations. Individuals from beyond and within the university community are warmly invited to come, listen, and share their thoughts about some great works of literature.

Past discussions are listed below.


Past events

Books that Changed Humanity: Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

22 Oct 2021

How did a relatively obscure study of manners and mores in mid 20th century Shetland Islands turn into one of the most influential texts within the social...

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Books that Changed Humanity: Oxford English Dictionary

6 Aug 2021

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is one of the foremost English-language reference works in the world. First conceived of as a project in 1857, the first...

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Books that Changed Humanity: The Qur’an

23 Jul 2021

Few books have changed humanity as much as the Qur’an, the sacred scripture of Muslims. In this public lecture, Dr Hakan Çoruh of Charles Sturt University will...

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Books that Changed Humanity: “Govardhanram Tripathi’s Saraswatichandra”

28 May 2021

Published in serialised form between 1887 and 1901, Govardhanram Tripathi’s four-volume text was written during a transformative period in colonial India when...

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Books that Changed Humanity: Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style

16 Apr 2021

  Youth culture, pop art, cultural studies, style – Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style was an influential early text in the march of cultural...

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Books that Changed Humanity: J. M. Coetzee's Disgrace

19 Mar 2021

Dr Ibrahim Abraham explores this controversial masterpiece of post-apartheid South Africa at the turn of the twenty-first century. Disgrace is the novel that ...

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Books that Changed Humanity: Sophie Cottin's Claire D'Albe

23 Oct 2020

  In the period 1816-20, Claire d’Albe was in fact the best selling novel in France, followed closely by Cottin's Élisabeth ou les Exilés de Sibérie (1806)....

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Books that Changed Humanity: The Quiet American

25 Sep 2020

The world may yearn for a ‘quiet’ American in 2020, but 65 years ago, the English novelist, Graham Greene presaged its dangers in The Quiet American. In an...

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Books that Changed Humanity: The Australian Legend

28 Aug 2020

  BOOKS THAT CHANGED HUMANITY Russel Ward’s The Australian Legend (1958) began life as a doctoral thesis in history at the Australian National University –...

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Books that Changed Humanity | Aristotle’s Metaphysics

25 Oct 2019

Books that Changed Humanity is an initiative of the Humanities Research Centre, based at the Australian National University. The HRC invites experts to...

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Updated:  19 January 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications