Lalin in Western Australia is ‘married turtle season’. Brian Gratwicke/Flickr

Indigenous culture

Explainer: the seasonal ‘calendars’ of Indigenous Australia

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). Wikimedia Commons

Our calendar

Explainer: the gods behind the days of the week

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

Essays on Air

Essays On Air: Journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety

Journeys to the Underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety. The Conversation36.9 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.
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.

Icons

Why it’s time to acknowledge Germaine Greer, journalist

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.
Rabaul is famous for its twin volcanoes, which erupted simultaneously in 1994. Unknown photographer Image supplied by David Bridie and Gideon Kakabin

Colonialism

The A Bit na Ta exhibition reminds us of our forgotten links to Papua New Guinea

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. Melbourne Festival

How our arts critics saw 2017

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

2017 in film: a return to form for the Hollywood blockbuster

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 nativity scenes celebrated each Christmas bear little resemblance to history. skepticalview/Flickr

Christmas

What history really tells us about the birth of Jesus

The inn, the shepherds, angels and animals: pretty much everything we think we know about the Christmas story is historically wrong.
Titian’s 1583 painting Venus of Urbino: historically, pleasure was not the only, or even the main, expectation from sex for women. Wikimedia Commons

Sexual histories

From reproducers to ‘flutters’ to ‘sluts’: tracing attitudes to women’s pleasure in Australia

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. Wikimedia

Sexual histories

Friday essay: the myth of the ancient Greek ‘gay utopia’

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.

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