World War I

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A new exhibition gives us an insight into the daily life – and language – of Australian soldiers in World War One. Courtesy of University of Melbourne Archives, University of Melbourne.

Dinky-di Aussies: how slanguage helped form a new national identity

When Australians went to the Western Front, language failed them. So they invented slanguage: a mix of slang, French words and creative swearing that, among other things, gave us the word "Aussie".
The long century that’s passed since WW1 is littered with the broken promises of Muslim rulers to bring about a transition to more representative forms of government. AAP/Asmaa Abdelatif

How the political crises of the modern Muslim world created the climate for Islamic State

The rise of Islamic State and its declaration of the caliphate can be read as part of a wider story that has unfolded since the formation of modern nation states in the Muslim world.
A flag-waving Islamic State fighter takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province. Reuters/Stringer

Understanding Islamic State: where does it come from and what does it want?

How far back in history does one have to go to find the roots of the so-called Islamic State? The first article in our series on the genesis of the terrorist outfit considers some fundamentals.
Agyness Deyn as Chris Guthrie Metrodome

What Sunset Song tells us about the modern world

Lewis Grassic Gibbon's tale of rural Scottish change between the world wars is anything but narrowly focused. It speaks to our universal sense of injustice and fairness.
Every year thousands of students read George Orwell’s 1984 and are doubtless convinced that its perspective on language and power is “definitive”. Except that it’s not; and hasn’t been since at least the 1970s. Manuel Harlan/Melbourne Festival

Goodbye to all that: Orwell’s 1984 is a boot stamping on a human face no more

Many still regard George Orwell’s 1984 and its message about the nature of language and power "definitive". But globalisation has revolutionised how we communicate; 1984 tells us nothing about our future.
Prior to world war one, many more soldiers died of infection rather than combat. Navy Medicine/Flickr

Stealth attack: infection and disease on the battlefield

Rupert Brooke was commissioned in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Sub-Lieutenant. Without seeing combat, he died aboard a French hospital ship, from a mosquito bite that turned septic.

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