Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and author who has investigated Putin, Pussy Riot, and the Boston bombers, amongst other things. She is the author of several best selling books and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Vanity Fair, and many other publications. Join her as she reflects on dissident art, the relations between truth, lies and morality in contexts of authoritarianism, and the horizons of hope and resistance in the face of fear. Masha will be in conversation with Carol D’Cruz of the Gender, Sexuality & Diversity program at La Trobe University.
How far would you go to live out a low-carbon life? How much money would you need to feel free? How would you travel if you wanted to reduce your footprint? Join Meg Ulman and Patrick Jones, authors of THE ART OF FREE TRAVEL, as they discuss their radical form of mobility, and how they’ve embodied permaculture principles in an experiment on bicycles that took them from their home in central Victoria to Cape York and back. Meg and Patrick, their two boys and canine companion have spent 17 months of the past two years on the road, guerrilla camping and documenting what they call ‘autonomous edibles’. Come hear their story: their near deaths, exasperations, triumphs, and their thoughts on economy, climate and our relationship to land.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — or drones — are at the forefront of military technology today and are increasingly forming the invisible frontline of modern state warfare. Support for the deployment of drones is growing on the basis of their supposed accuracy and cost for militaries that have been downsizing since the end of the Cold War. Drones have also been used in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions. In the words of Leon Panetta, then director of the CIA, they are the ‘only game in town’.
At the same time, drones have become a source of terror and death for many across the globe in the US-driven ‘war on terror’ and of growing anxiety in Western societies as governments rely on drones and other automated technologies to surveil and collect information.
Join DR CHRISTINE AGIUS (Swinburne) and lawyer DEAN EDWARDS to explore the evolving landscape of drone technology and its implications for national sovereignty, civil and human rights, and the future of state power. We will also delve into how drones are becoming normalised through non-military application such as their commercial and recreational use, and how this shapes our debates about drones.
While most commentators on myth like to speak about ancient curiosities, such as Aztec or Sumerian myths, or the now disconnected traditions of the classical world, there is in fact a wide range of mythic figures from the European past which still mean a good deal. The nine figures discussed in Stephen Knight’s new book THE POLITICS OF MYTH have all been newly represented on film or television in the twenty-first century, they all offer both a set of values and a set of threats, and they provide ways in which we can reflect on the forces at work our modern world.
The figures are discussed in three thematic groups: POWER (King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Queen Elizabeth I), RESISTANCE (Robin Hood, Joan of Arc, Ned Kelly) and KNOWLEDGE (Merlin, William Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes)
In this presentation Stephen will discuss the remarkable ways in which these figures have changed over time as the concerns of specific period have caused the reworking of their stories. Robin Hood can be a tough anti-authoritarian, a genial aristocrat, a Saxon patriot. Queen Elizabeth I has been seen as a Protestant heroine, a love-lorn lady, even a grumpy manipulator. Guinevere has, after centuries of disapproval, suddenly started doing very well in post-feminist historical fiction. These and similar major variations will be discussed – with some visual illustrations – as will the ways in which these figures can still mean things to help us to understand our present world.
>> STEPHEN KNIGHT’s recently published book THE POLITICS OF MYTH (Melbourne Uni Press) started out as a set of exploratory talks to a Melbourne Free University course in 2012. He is currently an honorary research professor at Melbourne University.