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Dykes on Bikes have been opening the Sydney Mardi Gras since 1988. Will Choi

Dykes on Bikes and the long road to Mardi Gras

Dykes on Bikes have been starting Sydney's Mardi Gras parade since 1988 – and many for many participants, the yearly ride to Sydney is as important as the parade itself.
The Allied bombing of Dresden, which killed 25,000 civilians, during the Second World War is but one example of state terrorism. German Federal Archive

When talking about terrorism, let’s not forget the other kind

To overcome the kind of relativism captured by the cliché “one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”, we need to define terrorism independently of who is employing it. Here is the definition…
Bits of the self have historically been an emotional aide memoire. Cristiana Gasparotto

Dear Valentine, take another little piece of my heart, or hair

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us will think about sharing a token of our affection. The ubiquitous card is often teamed with a staple of the season: chocolate, perfume or flowers. These gifts…
Neil McGregor’s history of Germany through artefacts such as this 1989 Berlin demonstration banner/placard is extraordinary. © Deutsches Historisches Museum British Museum

Know Germany through the history of its eloquent objects

Unfortunately, I will not see Germany: Memories of a Nation at the British Museum because it closes this weekend – and I live in Perth, Australia. As a result, I am unable to speak about my personal response…
Three Australian IS fighters may have been killed in the last month, including Mohammad Ali Baryalei. AAP Image/YouTube

Foreign fighters test the state’s monopoly on violence

Estimates are that there are more than 60 Australian citizens in the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) armies sweeping through Syria and Iraq. In a recent case, reported by the Sydney Morning Herald last…
Instead of dying out, Anti-Semitic myths have withstood the test of time.

The greatest zombie lie ever told

Eight hundred years ago, a monk named Thomas of Monmouth wrote a bogus account of the life of St. William, a Christian boy supposedly abducted by “the Jews” of Norwich. A boy – “like an innocent lamb…
Despite the importance of Remembrance Day in marking the end of the ‘war to end all wars’, it sits below Anzac Day in the estimation of most Australians. AAP/Julian Smith

Lest we forget: why November 11 lives in the shadow of Anzac Day

For all its importance, Remembrance Day, November 11, does not capture the Australian imagination in the way that Anzac Day does, despite the sustained efforts of successive governments to promote the…
A guide to help you shake out some enduring Anzac myths. State Library of South Australia

Ten things you need to know to prepare for the Anzac centenary

The centenary of the Great War has begun. Now, as we move towards the centenary of the Gallipoli landings on April 25 2015 we are gearing up for an extravaganza of Anzac-ery. The combined processes of…
The Slave Trade painted by a French abolitionist artist.

Slavery in America: back in the headlines

Foundation essay: This article is part of a series marking the launch of The Conversation in the US. Our foundation essays are longer than our usual comment and analysis articles and take a wider look…
The Ottoman Chief Eunuch was an influential figure. In this and other caliphates, eunuchs supervised the harem, the princes, the financial affairs of the palace and the mosques, as well as controlling access to the ruler. Photo postcard 1912

Islamic State lacks key ingredient to make ‘caliphate’ work: eunuchs

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed Islamic State (IS) as a Muslim caliphate on June 29, 2014, with himself as caliph, a term reserved for a successor to the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). His would be the newest…
A supposedly proud record of generosity to refugees in no way alters the harshness of the government’s present policies. AAP/Stefan Postles

Unfamiliar pasts challenge our view of responses to refugees

How do Australian institutions and political leaders draw on history to tell us who we are? How do they make sense of Australia’s past as a country of immigration and a nation that has accommodated hundreds…
Back in town. BBC/Mandabach/Tiger Aspect/Robert Viglasky

How Peaky Blinders made 1920s Brummies hard but hip

Your living room is in danger of being invaded by criminals with Brummie accents. Not a reason for fitting a new burglar alarm, I hasten to add, but an alert for the BBC’s new series of Peaky Blinders…
With little national history programming at the ABC, Hindsight and Rear Vision are precious. Allan Foster

Axing Hindsight and Rear Vision would be historically shortsighted

Last week it was widely reported that several of the ABC’s best-known programs on television and radio may be axed. Among those under threat is the ABC’s only program solely devoted to history across all…
Percy Wyndham Lewis, A Battery Shelled (1919). ©IWM ART 2747

World War I and the loss of artistic innocence

What the conflict would mean for British art was much debated in World War I – the question was already being asked in journals and newspaper reviews in the latter part of 1914. At the beginning debate…

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