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DNA Nation raises questions of genetics, identity and race. DNA Nation/SBS

DNA Nation raises tough questions for Indigenous Australians

The SBS documentary DNA Nation tracks three people on their 'individual genetic journey'. But for Indigenous Australians in particular, genetic testing is a can of worms - politically, ethically and technically.
Printer George Howe shows the first edition of the Sydney Gazette to Governor Philip Gidley King, in a feature window at the Mitchell Library. Reproduced with permission of the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Digital Order Number: a6509002

The science issues this election are as old as the Australian media

What science issues did Australia's first newspaper - edited by a convict - discuss in its letter pages? The same ones we talk about today: the environment, education and health.
During his 1966 visit to South Africa, US Senator Robert F Kennedy met with ANC leader Chief Albert Luthuli. Shoreline Productions

The time ‘the other Kennedy’ visited apartheid South Africa

Fifty years ago US Senator Robert F Kennedy visited South Africa. A new documentary about RFK's visit puts the spotlight on an important part of the country's history.
Wangaratta police at the capture of Ned Kelly in 1880. William Edward Barnes/ State Library of Victoria

Who will be Australia’s future folk heroes?

Was Ned Kelly a Robin Hood warrior or a lone wolf/dangerous criminal/whacko? Given enough cultural oxygen, outlaws are apt to become folk heroes - something today's shock jocks might care to remember.
A scene from Heathers the Musical based on the 1988 film. Kurt Sneddon

Why do we find it so hard to move on from the 80s?

Eighties culture is big, from nostalgic TV dramas to tours by ageing pop stars. But it's time for a clear-eyed assessment of the decade, which prized excess and economic rationalism along with synth pop and big hair.
Eastman Johnson’s ‘A Ride for Liberty’ (ca. 1862) depicts a family of slaves galloping for the safety of the North in the early morning light. Brooklyn Museum

In a digital archive of fugitive slave ads, a new portrait of slavery emerges

With Freedom on the Move, historians hope to reveal patterns of escape and capture, while giving anyone the chance to learn about the individual heroism of runaway slaves.
The Sykes-Picot Agreement was the result of secret deliberations between British civil servant Mark Sykes and French diplomat François Georges-Picot. Wikimedia Commons

The Sykes-Picot Agreement and the making of the modern Middle East

The Sykes-Picot Agreement created the modern Middle East. It represents one of the first installments in a long line of modern European – and subsequent American – meddling in the region.
The promise of recently explored oilfields dictated British interest in Mesopotamia (roughly, modern-day Iraq) during the Sykes-Picot Agreement negotiations. Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani

Explainer: what is the 100-year-old Sykes-Picot Agreement?

The Sykes-Picot Agreement delivered the spoils of war to Britain and France, and deferred the dreams of Arab nationalists.
American advertisement for non-surgical nose correction.

Friday essay: the ugly history of cosmetic surgery

Surgical makeovers might seem a modern phenomenon but they have a long and disturbing history: from 16th century skin grafts done without anaesthesia to reductions of "primitive" large breasts.

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