Archive for the 'Headlines' Category



Richard Miles reviews Tom Holland’s In the Shadow of the Sword

Richard Miles has reviewed best-seller Tom Holland’s new book, In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World, for the Financial Times. The author of Rubicon (2004) and Persian Fire (2006) has released another non-fiction workthis time on what Miles calls the ‘thorny issue of the origins of Islam’. Miles writes of the book:

It is difficult not to be bedazzled by a cast that includes ulcerated Christian holy men, Zoroastrian priests obsessed with dental hygiene, demonic emperors, barbarians with self-inflicted cranial deformities, perfumed Persian monarchs and Arab ambassadors stinking of camel.

Read Richard’s full Financial Times review, ‘Faith that moved mountains

Animal Death Symposium

HARN: Human Animal Research Network at the University of Sydney

June 12th and 13th, 2012,
Woolley Building, University of Sydney,

KEYNOTE:
Professor Deborah Bird Rose,
Macquarie University

HARN Lecture:
Associate Professor Annie Potts,
NZ Centre for Human Animal Studies, University of Canterbury

This symposium brings together cross-disciplinary voices on the topic of Animal Death. Over two days we will explore how animal and human death are conceptualised; how they diverge, differ and also connect in profound ways. The conference will be exploring the following themes:

  • Ontologies of Death and sacrifice
  • Species extinction and climate change
  • Euthanasia: perspectives from veterinary science
  • The hunter and the Hunted
  • Sacrifice and expendability
  • Animal art
  • Road Kill’
  • Wild Life and Rescue
  • Mourning, grief and denial
  • Rituals of Slaughter
  • Vivisection
  • Who and who isn’t attributed a ‘soul’
  • post-death belief systems
  • Animal death and contemporary film

Check HARN website for full details and registration

Archaeology and the Bible in Jordan: Sanctuary of Lot

Dr Konstantinos Politis
Part of the NEAF 2012 Public Lecture Series

The Monastery of Aghios Lot is located at the south-eastern end of the Dead Sea on a steep mountain slope overlooking the modern town of Safi (biblicalZoara) in Jordan. As revealed by the excavations, the Monastery of Aghios Lot consisted of an early Byzantine monastic complex with a number of hermits’ cells above it. The focal point was a triple-apsed basilica church built around a natural cave that early Christians believed was where Lot and his daughters took refuge after the destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19). It is flaned to the south by a large reservoir and to the north by a refectory with an oven, a communal burial chamber and a pilgrim’s hostel. The church is adorned by fie mosaic floor pvements inscribed in Byzantine-period Greek and dated to A.D. 572/3, April 605/7 A.D. and May 691 A.D. Three other Greek inscriptions on stone which invoke Aghios Lot, confirm theChristian identifiction of the site as Lot’s Sanctuary.

Konstantinos D. Politis is an archaeologist educated in Greece, the United States, Belgium and Britain. His early fieldork was in Greece and Liechtenstein. Since 1988, he has been based at the British Museum which has been the principal sponsor of his excavations in Jordan and Oman. He specialises in the Early Byzantine/Christian and Early Islamic periods. Dr Politis’ most important work was the discovery and subsequent excavation of the Sanctuary of Lot on the south-eastern shores of the Dead Sea, publishing a major report on that project with the British Museum (2012) and the more popular “Holy Footprints across the Jordan. A Journey to the Ancient and Religious Sites on the Eastern Side of the Jordan Rift Valley” (2010).

Tuesday 15 May 2012
6.30-7:30pm
followed by a light supper.
Women’s College
University of Sydney
Bookings are essential for this event.
We prefer prepayment. All prepaid tickets will be available at the door.
Prices
NEAF Members: $25
Non Members $35
Student Members of NEAF $10.00
Please pay by 16th April 2012

Download details and payment form here
ENQUIRES AND RSVP:
P +61 2 9351 4151
F +61 2 9114 0921
E Click here to email

Did God have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel

Professor William Dever
Part of the NEAF 2012 Public Lecture Series

The Hebrew Bible portrays the religion of ancient Israel as monotheistic, the worship of a single male deity named Yahweh. Yet the archaeological data recently accumulated shows that this may have been the ideal, but the reality was quite different. We have hundreds of nude female figurines that represent the old Canaanite Mother Goddess ‘Asherah’. We even have 8th century BCE Hebrew inscriptions naming her as the consort of Yahweh in the context of blessing. This illustrated lecture will show how monotheism developed slowy and with great difficulty in ancient Israel.

William G. Dever is an American archaeologist, specialising in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times, receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1966. He was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1975 to 2002. He was Director of the Harvard Semitic Museum-Hebrew Union College Excavations at Gezer from 1966-71, 1984 and 1990; Director, Khirbet el-Kôm & Jebel Qacaqir (West Bank) 1967-71; Principal Investigator, Tell el-Hayyat (Jordan) 1981-85, Assistant Director, University of Arizona Expedition Idalion (Cyprus) 1991. Professor Dever joined the faculty at Lycoming College, Pennsylvania, in autumn 2008 where he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.

Tuesday 24th April 2012
6.30-7:30pm
followed by a light supper.
Women’s College
University of Sydney
Bookings are essential for this event.
We prefer prepayment. All prepaid tickets will be available at the door.
Prices
NEAF Members: $25
Non Members $35
Student Members of NEAF $10.00
Please pay by 16th April 2012

Download details and payment form here

ENQUIRES AND RSVP:
P +61 2 9351 4151
F +61 2 9114 0921
E Click here to email

Gender and Cultural Studies co-hosts 2012 Allen Feldman tour

SOPHI’s Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, together with the Departments of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Policy (Sydney), COFA (UNSW) and the ANU are sponsoring a tour by New York University’s Cultural Anthropologist, Assoc Prof Allen Feldman.

Allen Feldman is a political and medical anthropologist, the author of the acclaimed Formations of Violence: the Narrative of the Body and Political Terror in Northern Ireland and numerous essays on the anthropology of the senses and political violence. His forthcoming book is entitled Archives of the Insensible: Aisthesis, War, and Dead Memory (Duke 2013)

SYDNEY EVENTS

FRIDAY 16 MARCH, 5-7PM
SEMINAR:
On the apophatic blur of war

Co-hosted by the National Institute for Experimental Art, (NIEA), UNSW
(with dinner to follow)

Unofficial photographs and videos secretly obtained by a der Spiegel and the Rolling Stone magazines, show the falsified counterinsurgency shoot-to kill activities and image work of a Fifth Stryker Brigade “kill team,” in Afghanistan between January – May 2010. This unit is now indicted for murdering three supposedly Taliban sleepers who turned out to be Afghan civilians. My concern here is with how the praxis of sovereignty uses image work to install the event of violence as both material and inappropriable, sensible and intangible by which the state disavows the ethical excess and even the material actuality of its violence. In this talk what I term visual denegation is mapped across the counterfeiting photos of the American kill teams, as read through the Red Army Faction photo-paintings of Gerhard Richter.
Click here for more information

Contact:
Jennifer Biddle: j.biddle@unsw.edu.au

TUESDAY 20 MARCH, 1-4:30PM
SOPHI Common Room
Rm 822 Brennan MacCallum A18

POSTGRADUATE MASTERCLASS: An invitation-only workshop targetting visual and ethnographic methods in political projects.
Students from the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies (Sydney) and NIEA (UNSW)

Contact and RSVP :
Catherine Driscoll: Catherine.driscoll@sydney.edu.au
Jennifer Biddle: j.biddle@unsw.edu.au

WEDNESDAY 21 MARCH, 2-4PM
Rm 148, Lower Level, RC Mills A26
POSTGRADUATE MASTERCLASS:
Ethnographic Clinic on Violence, Human Rights, the Body, Transitional Justice  and Practice led Research

Students from the Departments of Anthropology and Social Policy (Sydney)

Contact and RSVP:
Catriona Elder: Catriona.elder@sydney.edu.au
Linda O’Connor: Linda.connor@sydney.edu.au

THURSDAY 22 MARCH, 3-4PM,
Rm 148, Lower Level, RC Mills A26
SEMINAR: Department of Anthropology:
Faceless Speciation: of Animal Natality, Aperity and Inhumanization

The violence that is poised between humanitas and inhumanitas speaks to the metaphysical ordering and phantasms of everyday political terror. Are practices of political aggression separable from the Western metaphysical divide between human and animal, and what are the ideological utilities of this divide? Are acts and discourses of inhumanization how philosophical anthropology (and all anthropologies are ultimately philosophical and political) confesses itself, not as theorem or disciplinary taxonomy, but as a political culture with the most severe material criteria and bodily consequences? Does political animality point to an anthropological sovereignty that only acquires positivity, tangibility, and figuration through its displacement onto, and passage into, the extimacy that is animality? And why does subjugated or expelled animality perennially threaten anthropological plenitude as an uncontainable negativity? These questions imply that the many thresholds of language, labor and finitude that have repeatedly delimited, governed and consigned the animal and human in metaphysical thought and practice can be remapped as a properly political dominion; a wildlife reserve in which philosophical, ethological, and anthropological declaratives and descriptions encrypt zoopolitical relations of power and force, and where the animal predicate circumscribes a concentrated time and space of subjugation, exposure, disappearance and abandonment.
Contact:
Robbie Peters: Robbie.peters@sydney.edu.au

FRIDAY 23 MARCH, 2-4PM
THE REFECTORY (QUADRANGLE A14)
SEMINAR: Department of Gender and Cultural Studies with Sociology and Social Policy:
The Disputation of Ashraf Salim: Sovereignty Before the Law

In Kafka’s fable “Before the Law” the appeal to infinite regress, to higher and deeper authority, creates the illusion of an interiority of law, that someone or something is within the hallowed and hollowed abode of the law even if this indwelling is merely the performance of withholding law from others, that is as the visibility of an invisibility that materializes a concrete delimited outside from an amorphic and disframed interiority. The site of law has no positive content other than this act of exclusion, of making a border and a before of law as the event of a self-emptying event. Withholding renders sovereignty untouchable, unscathable and as such unprofanable as its law can be symbolized and re-presented but not presented or touched in situ. In its infinite regress Kafka’s law holds to its bare-life of withholding law and to the bared and exposed life from which law is withheld. The Combatant Status Review Tribunals at Guantanamo (2002-2010) similarly inscribe a territory, a space, and a speculum where the sovereignty of the state can be performed as the event of withholding of law, as a pantomime of a juridical legitimacy without legality that is mediated by the sheer gate-keeping performativity of hollowed out juridic forms and ceremonies including the publication of the transcript under discussion. It offers an opening to a non-event, an aperture that is withdrawn as law and act in its very appearing as an event. In the recesses of the security state, in the security state as an assemblage of recesses, the law itself is securitized and subjected to an extraordinary rendition and consigned to a black site from which all other black sites are authored and transmitted.
Contact:
Tess Lea: tess.lea@sydney.edu.au
Elspeth Probyn:elspeth.probyn@sydney.edu.au

Tess Lea will present a paper at the ‘Songlines vs Pipelines’ conference at UNSW

Tess Lea will present her paper: Housing, Mines and Infrastructure on Groote Eylandt (Northern Territory) on Tuesday 28 February, 2012 at the ‘Songlines vs Pipelines’ conference, hosted by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

Imagine six houses built at a cost of $28 million AUD that have to be bulldozed and replaced by thermally inert cement boxes at unidentifiably larger costs that have no room for washing machines let alone people. Imagine this is a federally-funded, high-stakes and well-scrutinised ‘public good’ project in a country so affluent recent global financial crises left mere surface wounds. And it is on one of the world’s largest magnesium mining operations. This outcome of more poor housing for the already poorly-housed has multiple causes: technical incompetence; welfare ‘reforms’; recycled development arguments; and a rush to future-proof islanders against the immanent end of magnesium, along with the corrosions of rust, cyclones, calcification, termites, swamps and rats. This paper considers both the recalcitrant materiality of housing and infrastructure on Groote Eylandt and the limits of anthropology’s capacity to hold multiple scales in view.

Click here for full conference details and program

Karrabing! Low Tide Turning — SOPHI’s Tess Lee produces short film screened at the Berlinale

Karrabing! Low Tide Turning, a short film jointly produced by the Department of Gender and Cultural StudiesAssociate Professor Tess Lea, follows an extended Indigenous family as they attempt to track down a missing family member so as not to lose their government housing.

The short film depicts the Indigenous family living a technologically engaged life in a remote region to the north-east of Darwin,and has been screened in the prestigious Berlin international film festival (Berlinale).

Click here to read the full story


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