Works that Shaped the World


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Works that Shaped the World

The Works That Shaped the World Lecture Series was established in 2019 by the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Centre to showcase contemporary scholarship in the humanities. Inspired by the HRC’s series on Books that Changed Humanity, Works that Shaped the World features lectures by major scholars on astonishing creations that have shaped people’s lives: thoughts and events; images and music; engineering and technology; medical humanities.

A ‘work’ in this series might be anything from a bridge to a book, an idea to a machine – in our first year the theme was 'The Moon' and the ANU's Vice Chancellor, the Nobel astrophysicist Professor Brian Schmidt, talked about the 1969 moon landing, Professor Tom Griffiths about what the earth looks like from the moon, Dr Sonia Pertsinidis about Pythagoras, Dr Kate Flaherty about Shakespeare’s moon, Professor Will Christie about the Lunar Society of Birmingham, Dr Gemma King about Georges Méliès' Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902), and Professor Tony Dreise about the moon and the stars in Aboriginal science and lore.

2022 Program details coming soon.

Past lectures can be found below.

Past events

Works that Shaped the World: Mary Douglas’s Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (1966)

25 Nov 2021

In her Purity and Danger (1966) Mary Douglas begins with the fundamental rule of any classification system: that certain things must be kept apart....

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Works that Shaped the World: The Concepts and Practices Associated with “Model Organisms”

28 Oct 2021

This talk explores the concept of the ‘model organism’ in contemporary biology. Use of non-human organisms such as fruitflies, mice, and worms has become...

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Works that Shaped the World: Malthus and the Modern World

30 Sep 2021

As the planet approaches 8 billion, international debate on population will be ignited again, and as with 7 billion, 6 billion and 5 billion, discussion will...

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Works that Shaped the World: ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM-III’

26 Aug 2021

The third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM-III, is widely regarded as a watershed in the history of...

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Works that Shaped the World: Charles E Rosenberg’s The Cholera Years (1962) and the Family Resemblances of Pandemics

29 Jul 2021

The crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic has flushed out a gaggle of historians of medicine, all of us eager to read the lessons of history or, alternatively, make...

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Works that Shaped the World: No single story: Medical Humanities from the Parallel Chart to Performance Art

20 May 2021

Following the inspiration of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this presentation explores the multiple history of the Medical Humanities, selecting three moments in...

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Works that Shaped the World: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

15 Oct 2020

  “MR WORDSWORTH’S genius is a pure emanation of the Spirit of the Age”, wrote the critic and journalist, William Hazlitt: “It is one of the innovations of...

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Works that Shaped the World: The “Gweagal” shield: Cook at Kamay (Botany Bay) 1770

8 Oct 2020

A recording of this event is now available to listen to as a Works that Shaped the World Podcast. Violence marred the encounter between the British and...

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Works that Shaped the World: Sarah Bellamy (1770-1843) and Women Transported to Botany Bay

1 Oct 2020

  Born in 1770, 250 years ago, Sarah Bellamy was one of the longest lived first fleeters by the time of her death in 1843. Owing to the dearth of records,...

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Works that Shaped the World: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)

24 Sep 2020

  From nationalism to liberalism to communism, the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel inspired a variety of modern ideologies that share at least one thing in...

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