Lalin in Western Australia is ‘married turtle season’.
January 2, 2018
On Wangkumarra land, in the corner-country near the borders of Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia, stands an ancient stone arrangement. It has been placed to the side of a huge complex, rivalling…
The Roman weekday ‘dies Veneris’ was named after the planet Venus, which in turn took its name from Venus, goddess of love. Detail from Venus and Mars, Botticelli, tempera on panel (c1483).
January 1, 2018
The origins of our days of the week lie with the Romans. Three are named for planets, the other four gods.
A central convention of Greek mythological narratives called katabasis, the hero’s journey to the underworld or land of the dead.
Marcella Cheng/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
January 12, 2018
Essays on Air
Journeys to the Underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety.
The Conversation 36.9 MB (download)
Our new podcast, Essays On Air, features the most beautiful writing from Australian researchers. Today, classics expert Paul Salmond explores how modern cinema directors borrow from Greek legends.
Reading fiction can make you happier, nicer towards others and better focused in your activities.
December 18, 2017
To counter the unbalanced effects of the digital age, reading literature is the key.
Craig McLachlan (centre), playing the role of Frank-N-Furter, rehearses with the cast of the Rocky Horror Show in 2015.
It is important for actors to 'de-role' after performing their character – but this is not something they routinely do.
Women in media joined other women demanding equality in the 1970s.
In the 1970s thousands of women in media took their employers to court over pay inequality. While many were successful, similar cases today show the fight for equality has a long way to go.
Happy Christmas Ethiopia: this photo was part of a Christmas card sent to Germaine Greer from the Diverse Productions film crew who worked with Greer on her 1985 documentary Diverse Reports: Ethiopia.
Photograph: Colin Skinner, reproduced with permission. University of Melbourne Archives, Germaine Greer Archive, 2014.0054.00156. Copyright: Colin Skinner.
One of the least recognised aspects of Germaine Greer’s professional life is her international career as a journalist. It spans reportage in Vietnam and Ethiopia and interviews with figures such as Primo Levi.
Detail from The Temple of Janus by Peter Paul Rubens. Wikimedia Commons.
December 31, 2017
On January 1, we consider the origins of Janus, after whom this month is named.
Rabaul is famous for its twin volcanoes, which erupted simultaneously in 1994.
Unknown photographer Image supplied by David Bridie and Gideon Kakabin
January 4, 2018
An exhibition at the Melbourne Museum tells the history of colonialism in East New Britain, PNG, from the perspective of the local people. This is history from the ground up, told through film, art and music.
Taylor Mac sacrificed the audience in a ‘Radical Faerie realness ritual’. Fortunately we survived.
2017 gave us a blockbuster female superhero, radical faerie realness rituals, and the 'frenetic flapping of male genitalia'. Here's what our arts critics made of all that.
Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in Moonlight (2016), one of the best American films in years.
A24, PASTEL, Plan B Entertainment
From the superb Moonlight to the exuberant Thor: Ragnarok, it has been a rather good year for film. Here's our take on the best (and the rest).
The cast of Muriel’s Wedding: the Musical, a co-production between Sydney Theatre Company and Global Creatures.
© Lisa Tomasetti
From Muriel's Wedding to a suite of budding new shows, 2017 was a great year for original Australian musicals.
Christmas Dinner, Mt Margaret Mission 1933.
State Library of Western Australia
December 21, 2017
Aboriginal missions were notorious for their austerity, but Christmas was a brief time of joy. While celebrations had a sinister assimilationist edge, Aboriginal people often adopted traditions into their own culture.
The nativity scenes celebrated each Christmas bear little resemblance to history.
December 21, 2017
The inn, the shepherds, angels and animals: pretty much everything we think we know about the Christmas story is historically wrong.
A painting depicting a debate between Socrates and Aspasia, by Nicolas André Monsiaux, circa 1800.
December 20, 2017
In Athenian society, it appears some elite courtesans were better educated than traditional wives. Other sex workers were sold into the role as children.
French engraving of a cuckolded husband.
University of Victoria
December 19, 2017
'Cuck', short for cuckold, is the favoured insult of men's rights activists today. But the term has a long history: from the 16th to 18th centuries it reflected a deep anxiety about women's sexual appetites.
Nick Cave’s notebook, now on display in the Australian Music Vault.
A new, permanent exhibition, which pays tribute to Australian popular music, represents a coming of age for our industry.
A chain gang of convicts in Hobart.
State Library of NSW
December 11, 2017
Governor Arthur Phillip regarded sodomy as one of the worst offences that convicts under his charge could commit. But sex between men and between women flourished in convict Australia.
Titian’s 1583 painting Venus of Urbino: historically, pleasure was not the only, or even the main, expectation from sex for women.
December 17, 2017
Australian women were once largely seen as reproducers, rather than lovers: sexual pleasure was suspect. Attitudes have changed, yet our culture is still troubled by female desire.
The Fall of the Titans, Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem, circa 1590.
December 14, 2017
The dream of a "gay utopia" is a constant in gay and lesbian historical imaginings over the last 200 years. But the Greek attitude to same-sex attraction was not nearly as permissive as many have assumed.