Amy Adams played an inter-species linguist in the 2016 film Arrival but she was a rarity. Most Hollywood films depict scholars as heroic males. IMDB

Essay

Friday essay: where are the female academics on film?

For decades, academics have been portrayed as brilliant, heroic men on our cinema screens. It's time to tell the story of more heroic female scholars. Here are some suggestions.
Nick Cave performing with The Bad Seeds in Budapest in June. His song lyrics, with those often melancholy, churchy organ chords, are dripping in references to what might be called sacredness. Zoltan Balogh/EPA

Friday essay

Friday essay: popular music’s search for the sacred in a secular world

The enquiry into sacredness is not over, it’s just beginning for the 21st century, and in wildly disparate modes and places. In music, Nick Cave, Hozier and Dr G. Yunupingu have led the way.
I had never encountered the word ‘curry muncher’ until I arrived in Australia 10 years ago. Shutterstock

Podcast

Essays On Air: the politics of curry

The politics of curry. The Conversation30.4 MB (download)
Whether being called 'curry munchers' or pigeonholed as authorities on a dish largely invented by the British, diasporic South Asians are emulsified in a deep pool of curry.
This 1904 photograph showing the massacre of villagers by Dutch KNIL forces in the Indonesian village of Koetö Réh was used by the Dutch to argue for the paternalistic colonial state as protector. We now see it as evidence of imperial atrocity. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen.

Photography

Ten photos that changed how we see human rights

From depictions of slavery to colonial massacres to contemporary portraits of refugees, photography is a powerful tool in evoking ideas of shared humanity.
While watching this weekend’s AFL Grand Final between West Coast and Collingwood, listen out for ‘action’ and ‘digression’ in the commentary. RICHARD WAINWRIGHT

Poetry

Why AFL commentary works the same way as Iron Age epic poetry

Like epic poets, AFL commentators improvise in short phrases, not sentences, because it creates vivid images of fast action.
Children at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of WA, at a 2015 exhibition of Elise Blumann. Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of WA

Education

Why an education in visual arts is the key to arming students for the future

Degrees with a strong visual arts foundation will ensure individuals will flourish, not flounder, when faced with disruptive technologies.
Government MPs raise their hands in response to a question from Scott Morrison: our PM emulates a Pentecostal preacher, engaging in the call and response that features in that tradition. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Friday essay

Friday essay: what do we want to be when we grow up?

We need a new national narrative, for reasons of diplomacy, trade and social cohesion and to grapple with many global challenges. The humanities and social sciences will be vital in shaping it.
The term ‘cisgender’ entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015. Shutterstock.com

Language

Explainer: what does it mean to be ‘cisgender’?

The prefix 'cis', meaning 'on this side of' is commonly used in chemistry and geography. More recently, it has become a way of referring to a person's gender identity.
Kevin Jackson, Robyn Hendricks and Ty King Wall in the Australian Ballet’s production of Spartacus. Justin Ridler

Classics

Spartacus: the rise and rise of an unlikely hero

When Spartacus and 70 or so of his comrades revolted and escaped from their gladiatorial school near Capua in 73 BC, everyone imagined the matter would soon be dealt with. But his rebellion has continued to inspire political movements.

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