Animals, Fairy Tales, film and visual cultures, Folktales, French, History, Poetry, Research

The Unicorn’s Journey from “Indica” to Instagram

boston terrier wearing unicorn pet costume
Photo by mark glancy on Pexels.com

Submission by Dr Jenny Barnett and Dr Joe Hardwick

When Dr Jenny Barnett started to research the history of the unicorn for her doctoral thesis it was unlikely she could have predicted the public’s interest in her work would have taken off as much as it has. A resurgence in the public’s fascination in the mythical unicorn has seen Dr Barnett’s expertise being called upon numerous times to provide a glimpse into the mysterious history of this fantastic creature. Just last year, she was interviewed by Paul McIntyre for ABC Radio Hobart, and more recently wrote an explainer article for the academic news website The Conversation.

Dr Barnett’s 2010 thesis explored Maurice Scève’s Délie, objet de plus haute vertu, a French book of emblems and poetry written in 1544 , and examines Scève’s use of woodcut images as a compliment to his textual explorations of the “dangerous” and “fatal” acts of seeing.  Scève uses figures such as the unicorn to reinterpret myths and legends to show that “the act of seeing is always pervaded by fear, deception and death”. Barnett notes that the “[s]cenes of sight and mirrored reflection in the woodcut images tell us more about the gaze than the ‘literary images’ in the text alone”. Continue reading “The Unicorn’s Journey from “Indica” to Instagram”

cultural history, heritage, History, Humanities, Intellectual history, japanese, Japanese Culture, literature, memory, Uncategorized

The Importance and Intangibility of Heritage

 

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Dainichi-dō bugaku godai sonmai by Wc018 via Wikimedia Commons

Post Submission by: Dr Natsuko Akagawa

We often talk about heritage in relation to our familial and linguistic connections to countries, with these connections passed down from generation to generation. However, as the ABC recently reported it only takes three generations for many migrant families to lose their native tongue, leading some to suggest that Australia is a “graveyard of languages”. In order to understand how these cultural and linguistic linkages become muddied or even lost, it is important to look at the bigger picture, how the memories and objects in the world around us become elements of heritage to which people relate and hold dear.

Dr Akagawa, considers these questions and more in a number of publications that investigates the nature of heritage as it applies to people, nations and global interactions, and more specifically, the important links between heritage conservation and national identity. Continue reading “The Importance and Intangibility of Heritage”

Art, heritage, History, Humanities, Immigration, japanese, Japanese Culture, literature

Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and Connection – A New Edited Collection

adult back view backpack beautiful
Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

Submission by: Assoc. Prof. David Chapman

In 2007, Assoc. Prof. David Chapman led a project  highly successful symposium held at the University of Queensland entitled “Japan in Australia“. The symposium sought to investigate a curious gap in the literature on Japan-Australia relations. While previous discourse on the two countries had focused primarily on the relationship between Japan and Australia, there had been little focus “on Japan’s place within Australia and within the nation’s social, cultural and historical landscape”. Furthermore, “with the changing dynamic of Australia’s relationship with Asia [particularly with Australia’s increasing focus on Chinese and South Korean relations] there is a need for a fresh look at Japan within Australia and how Japan has been understood and conceptualised”.

From the research presented at the symposium, Assoc. Prof. David Chapman and Assoc. Prof. Carol Hayes (ANU) edited the newly published collection: Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and ConnectionThis collection is “a work of cultural history that focuses on context and connection between two nations. It examines how Japan has been imagined, represented and experienced in the Australian context through a variety of settings, historical periods and circumstances”. Continue reading “Japan in Australia: Culture, Context and Connection – A New Edited Collection”

German, History, literature, memory, Translation, trauma, Women

From Nazi Austria to New York’s 9/11 Attacks: Ilse Aichinger’s “Improbable Journeys”

asphalt road between trees
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com

Submission by Dr Geoff Wilkes

Ilse Aichinger (1921-2016) was one of the most significant prose writers to emerge in Austria after the Second World War. Her work was acknowledged by numerous national and international awards, and has received considerable attention from scholars around the world. Aichinger was particularly known for her novel Die gröβere Hoffnung (The Greater Hope; 1948), which was prompted by her experiences in Vienna in 1938-45. During those years, Ilse and her mother Berta (one of the first women to study Medicine in Vienna) were forced to leave their flat and work in government-assigned jobs, her twin sister Helga emigrated to England on the last Kindertransport, and her grandmother Gisela, aunt Erna and uncle Felix were deported, and murdered in a concentration camp. Continue reading “From Nazi Austria to New York’s 9/11 Attacks: Ilse Aichinger’s “Improbable Journeys””

History, Indonesia, memory, mental health, Oral History, trauma

A Lifetime of Hearing Voices: Mental Illness, Trauma, and Oral Histories

person in grass field
Photo by Mash Babkova on Pexels.com

Submission by: Dr. Annie Pohlman

Amak Dahniar has heard voices, and sometimes seen people, that others cannot since she was in her early 20s. A few years ago, when Amak was in her early 70s, a psychiatrist at the hospital in the city near her home in the mountains of West Sumatra diagnosed her with paranoid schizophrenia. It was a diagnosis that meant very little to Amak; she doesn’t care for the psychiatrist, the hospital, or the medicines that she was given that made her feel sleepy.

For Amak’s children, however, the diagnosis gave a new name to their mother’s interactions with voices, visions and dreams. The voices who speak to their mother are hallucinations, the signs only she can divine that others in the village mean her harm are delusions.

Annie Pohlman and her colleagues from Andalas University in West Sumatra first interviewed Amak Dahniar as part of a project investigating oral histories of trauma in that province.  Continue reading “A Lifetime of Hearing Voices: Mental Illness, Trauma, and Oral Histories”

French, History, Humanities, japanese, Japanese Culture, literature, Novels, Poetry, Women

Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama to present at International Yukio Mishima Symposium in Paris

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Shirou Aoyama [Public Domain] via Wikipedia Commons
Submission by: Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama

From the 21-23 November 2019, Paris-Diderot University will host an international symposium on the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. The symposium is entitled “50 Years After: Another Mishima?” The author, who died in a shockingly dramatic manner after a failed coup attempt in 1970, was also a poet, playwright, actor, model, and film director, and is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. On the 50th anniversary of his death, experts from around the world will converge in Paris to revisit his works with fresh eyes.

The symposium organisers noted that too often, Mishima’s work is read through a biographical prism, which results in his texts being surrounded by an air of seriousness. Fifty years on, by reassessing Mishima’s work, the symposium hopes to establish an inventory of criticism, to review translation or retranslation projects, and to examine the most playful and ambiguous aspects of this work. Ultimately, to present “another Mishima”.

Continue reading “Assoc. Prof. Tomoko Aoyama to present at International Yukio Mishima Symposium in Paris”

French, History, memory, Transculture, Translanguage, trauma

The BBC’s exploration of Algeria’s ‘Pieds Noirs’ and their exodus from Africa

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A family arrives from Oran to Marseilles, 1962. AFP via Le Point.

Submission by Dr Amy L. Hubbell

“The Mass Exodus of Algeria’s ‘Pieds Noirs'”. The History Hour by BBC Sounds. August 2019. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3csypyx.

Recently Dr. Amy Hubbell, Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Queensland was interviewed by Max Pearson for the BBC’s History Hour radio show and podcast. This episode of History Hour explores the “mass exodus” of Algeria’s “pieds noirs”, a term that refers to French and other Europeans who were born in Algeria, in the North of Africa, whilst the country was under French rule from 1830-1962. Continue reading “The BBC’s exploration of Algeria’s ‘Pieds Noirs’ and their exodus from Africa”