Past Annual Themes

 

2020 Annual Theme - Liberalism(s)

The concept of ‘liberalism’ or ‘liberal culture’ is central to modern social and political thinking, as it is to the content and conduct of the humanities generally. At different times, both the provenance and authenticity of liberalism as a coherent philosophy or ideology have been contested, as has the desirability of liberalism’s principles and institutions. Today, liberalism is once again under threat, and many of its structuring principles and institutions – individualism, pluralism, internationalism, secularism, freedom of speech, free trade, representative democracy, and the rule of law – face escalating challenges in one country after another. As the middle class, the core constituency of liberalism, experience stagnation and frustration in the Global North, can the emerging middle class in the Global South still be considered agents of liberalisation? >>read more

 

2019 Annual Theme - Crisis

Mobilised as a defining characteristic of the contemporary condition, ‘crisis’ often functions as a way to mark out a critical ‘moment of truth’ or rupture. Alternatively, it is offered as a tool with which to understand the category of history, or to differentiate the past from a conflicted present. For some, crisis has become a state of ordinary ambivalence, a constant and unresolvable feature of the status quo. Forming a background to these debates is the escalating chorus of ‘crisis’ texts in popular and academic contexts alike. >>read more

 
2018 Annual Theme - Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein

2018 Annual Theme - Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein

'It compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know'. Percy Bysshe Shelley In 2018, the Humanities Research Centre will be looking at the humanities’ engagement (and failure to engage) with the accelerating fields of science and technology. The questions we will ask concern our understanding and imagining of the...

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2017 Annual Theme - The Question of the Stranger

2017 Annual Theme - The Question of the Stranger

‘The cluster of words describing those who are (or who are made to seem) different from us (whoever ‘us’ is)—the foreigner, the alien, the stranger—has been critical in the articulation of how we live after 9/11’. So wrote David Simpson in the study from which we take our theme for 2017.  The theme asks us to look at the way individuals and...

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2016 Annual Theme — Forms of Authority

2016 Annual Theme — Forms of Authority

Authority involves claims of legitimacy, the capacity and right to exercise power. Taking ‘forms’ primarily in a literary/aesthetic sense, this theme seeks to interrogate the genres, images, and aesthetic forms in which authority is embedded – via tropes of realism, for example, in melodrama, reportage, tradition, and so on. Political...

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2015 Annual Theme - Global Languages

2015 Annual Theme - Global Languages

The history of the world is characterized by great diversity in languages and societies as small groups split off and develop their own ways of talking and interacting. This diversity has been periodically checked by the rise of larger societies and economies, created by empires, evangelism and the demands of trade and diplomacy. Greek, Latin,...

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2014 Annual Theme - Now Showing: Cultures, Judgements, and Research on the Silver Screen

2014 Annual Theme - Now Showing: Cultures, Judgements, and Research on the Silver Screen

Our cultures are awash in spectacular visual display. From the first exhibition of the cinematograph in 1895 to the web, video games and the iPhone, a succession of screens has been the site for the creation, reproduction and transmission of meaning and emotion, and a key medium for the contestation of power. These media have been imbricated in...

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2013 Annual Theme - Cities, Imaginaries, Publics

2013 Annual Theme - Cities, Imaginaries, Publics

In 2013 we commemorate the centenary of Canberra. Given the location of our Centre in Australia’s bush capital, we propose to dedicate the year to thinking about the creation of urban spaces and the role of public imagination and affect in configuring them as sites of value.Contemplating the urban is to contemplate a fraught realm of emotions,...

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2012 Annual Theme - Ecological Enlightenment

2012 Annual Theme - Ecological Enlightenment

In the 1960s, James Lovelock formulated his Gaia hypothesis about the symbiosis of the earth’s intersecting ecosystems.  He posited a complex feedback loop that somehow maintains, as he put it, ‘an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet’. Little did he know then that the catastrophic role of human agency in upsetting...

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2011 Annual Theme - The World and World-Making in Humanities and the Arts

2011 Annual Theme - The World and World-Making in Humanities and the Arts

Along with interdisciplinary debates on globalization, the last few years have witnessed a resurgence in the idea of the ‘world’, and markedly so in humanities and the arts. ‘World History’, ‘World Literature’, ‘World Art, and ‘World Music’ are now frequently cited sub-disciplinary rubrics. As market categories, of course, these have circulated...

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2010 Annual Theme - Imaging Identity

2010 Annual Theme - Imaging Identity

Understandings of self and other occur universally through images. Traversing history and culture, the production, presentation and apprehension of images is essential to how persons come to know themselves and make sense of their relations with others. Can it be said that certain image making practices are associated with particular ways of being...

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2009: Cosmopolitanisms

2008: Re-enactment

2007: Biography

2006: Remembering Lives: Biography, Memory and Commemoration

2005: Cultural Landscapes

2004: Asia Pacific

2003: Culture, Environment and Human Rights

2002: Latin America

2001: Enlightenment

2000: Law and the Humanities

1999: Religion, Society and Values

1998: Home & Away: Journeys, Migrations & Diasporas

1997: Identities

1996: Science and Culture

1995: Africa

1994: Freedom: Liberty & the Individual in Western and Non-Western Societies

1993: Sexualities and Culture

1992: Europe

1991: Histories

1990: Biography and Autobiography

1989: Film and the Humanities

1988: Use of the Past

1987: Europe and the Orient

1986: Feminism and the Humanities

1985: Hellenism: Rediscovering the Past

1984: Landscape and Art

1983: The Renaissance

1982: Insight and Interpretation

1981: Australia and the European Imagination

1980: Romanticism and Revivals

1979: Drama

1978: Medieval Art and Culture

1977: Literary Translation

Updated:  20 January 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications