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”

Chile, cultural history, film and visual cultures, Spanish, trauma

Life imitating art imitating life: The raging discontent of Chile

1024px-Concepcion,_Chile_protests_2019
Alvaro Navarro / CC BY-SA. Concepcion, Chile protests 2019 via Wikipedia

Post submission by Dr. Joe Hardwick and Oscar Cárdenas (PhD Candidate)

Recently, popular Chilean magazine The Clinic conducted an interview with acclaimed filmmaker and PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, Oscar Cárdenas (also known as Oscar Cárdenas Navarro). The interview, which is available on The Clinic‘s website here, focused on Cárdenas’ ability to capture the discontent of Chileans which until recently, had quietly simmered under the surface of normalcy. However, recent events in Chile have brought that simmer to a raging boil, making international headlines.

Chile has experienced ongoing protests and a civil uprising which started on 18 October 2019. These are the largest protests Chile has experienced since the end of the Pinochet’s dictatorship. They began in response to a fare increase on the Santiago Metro’s subway line, emblematic of a much larger issue of disparity in living conditions in the country, with protestors citing factors such as the rising cost of living, income inequality, political corruption, and mass privatisation of services. The crisis has been heralded as yet another “brutal legacy” of the Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet neo-liberalism who ruled from 1979 – 1990.  Continue reading “Life imitating art imitating life: The raging discontent of Chile”

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

The Importance and Intangibility of Heritage

 

640px-Dainichi-dō_bugaku_godai_sonmai_01
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”

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, 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”

History, japanese, Japanese Culture, literature, memory, Novels, Transculture, Translanguage, trauma

Exploring Australia’s infamous ‘Cowra Breakout’ through fiction

Burial AWM 073487
Cowra, NSW. August 1944. The burial of Japanese Prisoners of War who lost their lives in the mass outbreak from B camp – Australian War Memorial 073487

Submission by Rebecca Hausler PhD (Cand.).

Hausler, Rebecca. “The Cowra Breakout: Remembering and Reflecting on Australia’s Biggest Prison Escape 75 Years On”. The Conversation. 5 Aug. 2019.
https://theconversation.com/the-cowra-breakout-remembering-and-reflecting-on-australias-biggest-prison-escape-75-years-on-120410

In this piece for the academic news analysis website The Conversation, Rebecca writes about the way that the infamous “Cowra Breakout” has been remembered and reflected upon in the 75 years since the event. Writing on the anniversary of the breakout, Rebecca’s piece coincides with events held in the town of Cowra, with these commemoration events running from August 2nd-5th. Continue reading “Exploring Australia’s infamous ‘Cowra Breakout’ through fiction”