Arts & Culture

The Stella Prize 2018 shortlist continues to shake up the Australian literary landscape

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In 2011 at an International Women’s Day event in Melbourne, the panel of female authors, publishers and literary journalists noted that over the entirety of its 55-year run, only 10 women had been awarded the Miles Franklin, widely considered to be Australia’s most prestigious… Patrick Carey ABC It seemed especially ironic given that Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin, who wrote under her last two names as means of obscuring her gender, is generally thought of as Australia’s first great… Rather ... Read More »

German politicians invest in opera when seeking re-election – here’s why

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In virtually all rich democracies, governments subsidise expensive highbrow culture, such as theatre and opera. And they hire artists to work for these theatres and operas as public employees. Pieter Vanhuysse The Conversation At first sight, this might seem to pose a puzzle. After all, highbrow culture is elitist. And it seems electorally irrelevant. Parties don’t really compete on culture in elections. It’s unlikely that hiring artists to turn them into grateful voters (patronage) makes electoral sense. Even if it ... Read More »

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela Mandela 1a The Guardian etc

A life in pictures Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. The Guardian During her husband’s incarceration, she campaigned tirelessly for his release and the rights of black South Africans. She later became a controversial figure in South African politics due to allegations of corruption and involvement in acts of brutality. Matt Fidler Read More »

Making drama out of the refugee crisis

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Films about Europe’s migrant crisis run the risk of being artful and exploitative. Now directors are seeking to redress the balance Charlie Phillips The Guardian The release in cinemas next month of young British film-maker Orban Wallace’s Another News Story provides an opportunity to reflect on how documentaries have covered the European migrant crisis since it came to widespread attention in 2015. Wallace’s brilliant film turns the camera on the news crews and film-makers who have spent the past three years waiting on harbours, cliffs ... Read More »

Where the Brownshirts Came From

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Book review: Hitler’s stormtroopers were more representative of German society and politically relevant for longer than previous historians acknowledged. James H. Barnett The Weekly Standard The key to reading history of Nazi Germany, a wise professor once explained to me, is to attempt to understand the logic and mentality of those who embraced the Nazi movement without ever losing sight of what an ultimately absurd and fundamentally evil project theirs… This is the approach readers must bring to Daniel Siemens’s Stormtroopers: ... Read More »

Meg Wolitzer’s New Novel Takes On the Politics of Women’s Mentorship

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It will be tempting for most critics to approach “The Female Persuasion” through the lens of the current political climate — perhaps nigh impossible for them not to. Lena Dunham The New York Times Meg Wolitzer’s 12th novel begins with a campus assault that leads to a protest that leads to an intergenerational feminist debate that takes a turn for the toxic. It’s as if a healthy portion of the Twittersphere were aggregated, swallowed and spit back out as the ... Read More »

Cheating at cricket just one of the unthinkable things Aussies do now

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I can’t see why people are so shocked to discover our cricketers have been cheating. Surely that’s only to be expected in a nation that’s drifted so far from our earlier commitment to decency, mateship and the fair go. Ross Gittins The Sydney Morning Herald Such behaviour is unAustralian? We do, or condone, many things that used to be thought of as unAustralian. There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for Australians to stand by while an ... Read More »

Truth, Power, and the Academy: A Response to Hal Brands

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Academic expertise should guide U.S. foreign policy. Unfortunately, it does not really work that way. John Glaser War On The Rocks On a host of issues, there is an enormous gap between scholarship on international relations and the policy consensus in Washington. The United States persistently pursues foreign strategies that run contrary to the policy implications of the academic consensus. And on questions that are hotly debated in academia, Washington displays inviolable bipartisan unity. Hal Brands addressed the gap in ... Read More »

Australia’s real leadership failures are in politics, not cricket

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Where’s the national outrage over a terrified boy being abandoned to violent despair by our political leaders? Van Badham The Guardian Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft has been caught on video shoving some yellow sticky tape into his underpants. Fortunately – or unfortunately – there was a cricket match in play at the time. The image of him shoving sticky tape into his underpants was broadcast live to the crowd at the Newlands ground in South Africa, and they booed. “I ... Read More »

Taking Offense at the Opera

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‘Turandot’ is musically irresistible, but can it survive today’s cultural sensitivities? Nicholas M. Gallagher The Weekly Standard When French president (then-candidate) Emmanuel Macron waxed lyrical about his passion for the composer Gioachino Rossini in spring 2017, the transatlantic chattering classes gushed in admiration (and… But when British foreign minister Boris Johnson was caught on a hot mic a few months later quoting Rudyard Kipling’s imperial-era poem “Mandalay” on a trip to Myanmar, the reaction was swift, sharp, and negative. Not ... Read More »

March For Our Lives: Hundreds of thousands of people protest against US gun laws in rallies around the world

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The demonstration of global solidarity comes after 17 children were massacred at a school shooting in Florida – and the UK is taking part too Ian Simpson & Jamie Bullen Mirror Student survivors of the Florida school massacre are among the half a million people expected to march through Washington DC calling for tighter gun laws. Across the USA alone, 800 separate marches are taking place where hundreds of thousands more are expected to take part, according to organisers. Protests ... Read More »

Interview Best teacher in the world Andria Zafirakou: ‘Build trust with your kids – then everything else can happen’

Andria Zafirakou 1a Sarah Lee for the Guardian LLLL global teacher

After the London art teacher won her $1m prize, she was showered with praise by Theresa May and the education secretary – but she is exactly the kind of teacher this government actively discourages Decca Aitkenhead The Guardian Andria Zafirakou has been functioning on three hours’ sleep a night for weeks, but looks radiant. “It’s adrenaline, it’s excitement, it’s everything.” Nominated by current and former colleagues for the Varkey Foundation’s annual Global Teacher prize, dubbed the Nobel for teaching, last month ... Read More »

The lost children of the Empire and the attempted Aboriginal genocide

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The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has concluded that British children who suffered abuse when they were forcibly sent abroad should now be paid compensation from the government. David Pilgrim The Conversation The inquiry has looked into the cases of children who were sent to Australia and parts of the British Empire from 1945 to 1970 by charities and the Catholic church. Its findings are damning. But if society is looking for a fuller social and historical account of ... Read More »

Embracing multicultural voices can lead to a more democratic future

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One of the great moral challenges of our time is the rising tide of inequality in liberal democracies around the world. Duncan Ivison The Conversation This includes Australia, where both income and wealth inequality are increasing, especially the latter. There are arguments about the rise of China and other authoritarian regimes threatening the viability of liberal democracy. But a deeper problem is the persistent inability of liberal democracies to live up to their own moral promise. That promise is one ... Read More »

Bombed into oblivion: The lost oasis of Damascus

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Ghouta, the one-time oasis of Damascus, is being destroyed. Every day brings with it news of renewed bombing, deadly chemical attacks and starved or crushed bodies, accompanied by desperate scenes of mass exodus. Karen Pinto The Conversation Located a mere seven miles from Bashar Al Assad’s palace, Ghouta is the last surviving rebel enclave close to Syria’s capital, where the Assad family’s dictatorial regime has ruled for 47 years. The Syrian revolution that began seven years ago has failed, and ... Read More »

Machine Learning, Big Data and the Future of Higher Ed

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These new technologies have much to offer colleges and their students, but if we are not careful how we incorporate them, the risks may outweigh the gains, Vincent Del Casino Jr. writes. Inside Higher Ed If you ask, many people will say we are in a new era of higher education, one where machine learning and big data analytics­­ are driving rapid change. From the influx of adaptive learning technologies to the automated student support services and predictive analytics models driving ... Read More »