Arts & Culture

Universities should tolerate ‘offensive’ ideas

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It goes without saying – or at least it ought to – that freedom of speech should be a core value of universities. As a scholar of freedom of speech and a university academic, it has been gratifying to see so many vice-chancellors (and a… Adrienne Stone Brisbane Times This attention to freedom of speech is a response to recent controversies on campus. Bettina Arndt’s university tour met with rowdy and obstructive demonstrations. Students have accused each other of bullying ... Read More »

Enormous, rare Viking ship burial discovered by radar

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Archaeologists in Norway using ground-penetrating radar have detected one of the largest Viking ship graves ever found. Andrew Curry National Geographic Archaeologists have found the outlines of a Viking ship buried not far from the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The 65-foot-long ship was covered over more than 1,000 years ago to serve as the final resting place of a prominent Viking king or queen. That makes it one of the largest Viking ship graves ever found. Experts say intact Viking ... Read More »

Inside torture and trauma counselling sessions on Christmas Island

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For three years from 2011, social worker Poh Lin Lee worked as a trauma counsellor for the Christmas Island Torture and Trauma Service. RN – By Teresa Tan ABC She offered therapy and support to detained asylum seekers referred from the nearby detention centre, which closed this month. At her lowest, most conflicted moments she wondered who she was providing the care for. “It might be enough for someone to get through the next week or the next day, but for ... Read More »

Lynsey Addario on maternal mortality

Noor Nisa, eighteen (right), in labor and stranded with her mother in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan, November 2009.
Her husband’s first wife died during childbirth, so he was determined to get her to the hospital, a four-hour drive from their
village. His borrowed car broke down and I ended up taking them to the hospital, where Noor Nisa delivered a baby girl.

Renowned for her fearless coverage of conflicts, Addario reflects on the experience of documenting a silent epidemic of epic proportions Words: Hannah Abel-Hirsch British Journal of Photography Throughout the Wellcome Photography Prize submission period, British Journal of Photography is profiling photographers who are exploring the importance of health in society and the… In line with theMedicine in Focus category, BJP spoke to Lynsey Addario about her series on maternal mortality in Sierra… Lynsey Addario is no stranger to conflict. The Pulitzer Prize-winning ... Read More »

Daughter’s hilarious obituary unravels mysterious life of her father

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Delaware: The obituary that ran on the Delaware Online last week was a mystery – the tale of a globe-trotting Renaissance man who disappeared in a single-engine plane over the Atlantic Ocean… Allison Klein The Age / The Washington Post It was written by Alex Walsh about her father, Rick Stein, 71, a man who she said had an endless appetite for comedy. The huge response on social media has been comfort to the mourning family, she said, as people who never knew her ... Read More »

The Little College Where Tuition Is Free and Every Student Is Given a Job

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Berea College, in Kentucky, has paid for every enrollee’s education using its endowment for 126 years. Can other schools replicate the model? * * * There’s a small burst of air that explodes from every clap. And when hundreds of people are clapping in unison, it begins to feel like a breeze—one that was pulsing through the Phelps Stokes Chapel at… Adam Harris The Atlantic The students and staff that had gathered here were stomping, clapping, and singing along, as ... Read More »

Decoding the music masterpieces: Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas and Mélisande

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Claude Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande holds a unique place in the repertoire of turn-of-the-century France. Madeline Roycroft The Conversation For his only completed opera, Debussy rejected the musical and dramatic conventions of the genre, crafting a work that is as captivating as it is perplexing. For years, Debussy had searched for the perfect text upon which to set his first opera. In 1899, he described his ideal librettist (the person who writes the words for an opera) as “a poet ... Read More »

36 Hours in Athens

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From the ancient Acropolis to a daring Renzo Piano-designed cultural center, the Greek capital is luring record numbers of tourists to explore its monuments, new and old. Chaney Kwak The New York Times There are cities that count their age by years; then there’s Athens, which can tabulate its history by millenniums. From battles and setbacks this ancient metropolis has rebounded again and again, proving itself to be resilient like no other. Sitting on a parfait of civilizations, the Greek ... Read More »

The Unstable Identities of The Caregiver

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Samuel Park’s last novel explores how one person’s sense of self can be absorbed into another’s need. ROSA INOCENCIO SMITH The Atlantic The Caregiver BY SAMUEL PARK SIMON & SCHUSTER Samuel Park’s new novel, The Caregiver, is a study in fragility: that of bodies, of boundaries, and of identity itself. Centering on two relationships—a mother and her daughter, and the daughter and her patient—it explores the complex bonds between people who are linked by the need that one has for the… The Unstable Identities… Read More »

How African American folklore saved the cultural memory and history of slaves

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All over the world, community stories, customs and beliefs have been passed down from generation to generation. Jennifer Dos Reis Dos Santos The Conversation This folkore is used by elders to teach family and friends about their collective cultural past. And for African Americans, folklore has played a particularly important part in documenting history too. The year 1619 marked the beginning of African American history, with the arrival of the first slave ship in Jamestown, Virginia. Slavery put African Americans ... Read More »

The Karen road to Nhill

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Famous for 1997 movie The Road to Nhill, the town of that name is now home to 200 Karen refugees from Myanmar. Far from dividing locals, the huge influx of newcomers – many of whom arrived traumatised, unfamiliar with western society – has brought new life to the community. Is this a model for the rest of Australia? Words by Margaret Simons Pictures by Damien Pleming SBS It’s too quiet in Kay’s Kreations flower and gift shop. There aren’t any fresh ... Read More »

Why did Jill Lepore write an epic of U.S. history? It’s a long story

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is pictured along the gates of Harvard Yard. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Harvard scholar discusses spark, aims behind ambitious project, and how students helped her along the way Colleen Walsh The Harvard Gazette “I thought that the general reading public needs an ambitious, sweeping account of the American past … because there’s no sense of a shared past,” says historian Jill Lepore. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer Finding topics to write about has never been a problem for Jill Lepore. The Harvard historian’s fascination with everything from Wonder Woman and Frankenstein to matters ... Read More »

How the loss of Native American languages affects our understanding of the natural world

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Alaska has a “linguistic emergency,” according to the Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker. A report warned earlier this year that all of the state’s 20 Native American languages might cease to exist by the end of this century, if the state did not act. Rosalyn R. LaPier The Conversation American policies, particularly in the six decades between the 1870s and 1930s, suppressed Native American languages and culture. It was only after years of activism by indigenous leaders that the Native American ... Read More »

Classical music is undergoing a revolution — and you’re probably a fan without realising it

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If you catch yourself humming the opening bars to the Game of Thrones theme, or feeling unsettled by the soundtrack to The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s possible you might be a closet classical music fan without realising it. RN – By Antony Funnell for Future Tense ABC You may think classical music is dying, but it’s actually booming — and it’s throwing off the confines of the past. From film scores to television commercials and the opening of major sporting events, classical ... Read More »

Art show takes on the misrepresentation of Muslims

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Muslim women in the West have been battling inaccurate stereotypes for ages. In the post-Sept. 11 era, Muslim women have come to be seen as one-dimensional figures in need of saving by the “West” and lacking dynamism or the ability to act. Nadiya Ali The Conversation This month, a visual art exhibit opening in Toronto aims to challenge those representations. (Mus)interpreted is presented by the Truth and Dare Project and organized by artist Zahra Agjee and curated by Agjee and ... Read More »

Warrior women: despite what gamers might believe, the ancient world was full of female fighters

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One of the great things about computer games is that anything is possible in the almost endless array of situations on offer, whether they are realistic or fantasy worlds. Eve MacDonald The Conversation But it has been reported that gamers are boycotting Total War: Rome II on the grounds of historical accuracy after developers introduced women generals, apparently to please “feminists”. But while it’s true that the Romans would not have had female soldiers in their armies, they certainly encountered ... Read More »