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La Trobe University

La Trobe University was established in 1964. It takes a brave, bold approach to higher education and delivers socially responsible, inclusive, relevant and radical teaching, learning and research. La Trobe University is also a leading provider of regional higher education in Australia.

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Scandinavian cultural exports are showing the world a different mode of representing struggle, crime, and death. edittrix/Flickr

Tying the Knausgaardian knot: struggle, Scandinavian-style

The Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard is the most recent export of a particularly Scandinavian expression of personal struggle. This ethos of resistance to larger socio-political forces, coupled with…
Baby Boomer women are challenging ideas around what it means to grow old. Cesar Vargas/Flickr

Sex, desire and pleasure in later life: Australian women’s experiences

Older people, and particularly older women, are often thought of as being asexual or sexually undesirable. Although the particular age this is believed to happen varies somewhat in the popular imagination…
A blueprint for Medicare reform must include cost control, but also support quality and equity. Dave Hunt/AAP

New funding models are a long-term alternative to Medicare co-payments

The Abbott government is struggling with its Medicare co-payment reform, scrapping the latest version for a period of consultation, starting this week. The government claims it wants to make Medicare sustainable…
Anyone can claim to be an expert these days. Flickr/Alan Cleaver

Why we need to listen to the real experts in science

If we want to use scientific thinking to solve problems, we need people to appreciate evidence and heed expert advice. But the Australian suspicion of authority extends to experts, and this public cynicism…
The new consumerism of Victorian England was going to change the old ways – for better and for worse. Kevin Dooley

Fowl play: why A Christmas Carol meant our goose was cooked

In much of the English-speaking world Christmas dinner involves the consumption of turkey – but that was not always the case. The origins of this ritual can be traced back to the generous act of one Ebenezer…
For many, the recent Brazil torture report is only a starting point – but so far it is a strong step in the right direction. EPA/Fernando Bizzera, Jr

Latin America has a few lessons for the US on torture

The world quietly celebrated Human Rights Day (December 10) earlier this month. That week, two big, interrelated human rights events occurred. The first was the well-publicised revelations that America’s…
What do school students bring to their understanding of Mohsin Hamid’s post-9/11 novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist? AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Don’t mention the war: teaching The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist has been on the VCE text list for four years in a row. For me, it has been an eye-opener to teach this novel to secondary school…
Parties who gained a very small first preference vote look set to be elected to Victoria’s upper house. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

How to make Australia’s upper houses truly democratic

The final count for Victoria’s Legislative Council is still some days away, but it appears members elected from micro-parties will hold the balance of power in the upper house. This will be a challenge…
Supporting parents to interact more responsively seems to benefit children with autism, just as supporting parents can help children with other conditions. The Q Speaks/Flickr

Parents don’t cause autism, but they can make a difference

Since the condition was first recognised in the 1940s, parents have been and felt blamed for their children’s autism. Today, most people no longer believe this, but a lingering doubt continues to niggle…
People argue over whether learning should take place online or face-to-face, but does it have to be one or the other? Flickr/Noticias UFM

Online vs face-to-face learning: why can’t we have both?

Ever since the invention of the printed word, academics have been arguing about the proper place of technology in teaching. On one side are those who I’ll call the traditionalists who insist on the primacy…
The human Y chromosome has retained only 3% of its ancestral genes. So why’s it a shadow of its former self? Rafael Anderson Gonzales Mendoza/Flickr

Sex, genes, the Y chromosome and the future of men

The Y chromosome, that little chain of genes that determines the sex of humans, is not as tough as you might think. In fact, if we look at the Y chromosome over the course of our evolution we’ve seen it…
We know deaths in families have a profound psychological impact. Why, then, do we expect grief to be a tidy process? Michael Shaffner/Flickr

Death and families – when ‘normal’ grief can last a lifetime

When I was three years old my brother was born. He had a heart condition, and after being in and out of hospital for the whole of his little life, he died when I was five. The time after he was gone was…
The dead can’t be insulted by our failure to honour them. Bob Prosser

It’s Remembrance Day, so what do we owe the dead?

Remembrance Day is an occasion when people are supposed to remember and honour those who died in their nation’s wars. But why should we believe that this obligation exists? The dead are dead. They can’t…
Pfizer’s evergreening tactics have made it the target of protests. Michael Fleshman/Flickr

Explainer: evergreening and how big pharma keeps drug prices high

Efforts by pharmaceutical companies to extend their patents cost taxpayers millions of dollars each year. In some cases they also mean people are subjected to unnecessary clinical trials. Big pharma makes…
Nutrition is one of the most important determinants of health, but has been neglected in policy. Jason Brackins/Flickr

Nutrition is key to closing the Aboriginal life expectancy gap

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have significantly poorer health and lower life expectancy than other Australians. But while reducing these inequalities is a priority for governments, national…
Former Retta Dixon resident Sandra Kitching guides the royal commissioners around what was the site of the children’s home. AAP/Neda Vanovac

How was ‘improper conduct’ at the Inland Mission buried for so long?

In 1998, the new directors of the Aborigines Inland Mission changed its name to Australian Indigenous Ministries. They cleaned out the cupboards and placed the archive they had inherited, starting with…
The Robert Farquharson case raised questions about male violence that go unanswered. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Garner’s This House of Grief ducks some hard questions

Helen Garner isn’t usually thought of as a crime writer, but some of her best-known prose has been on law-breaking. She won the prestigious Walkley Award for her 1993 Time Magazine article on the murder…

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