Archive for the 'Seminars' Category

Animal Death Symposium

HARN: Human Animal Research Network at the University of Sydney

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

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
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.
NEAF Members: $25
Non Members $35
Student Members of NEAF $10.00
Please pay by 16th April 2012

Download details and payment form here
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
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.
NEAF Members: $25
Non Members $35
Student Members of NEAF $10.00
Please pay by 16th April 2012

Download details and payment form here

P +61 2 9351 4151
F +61 2 9114 0921
E Click here to email

Key Thinkers – Herodotus And The Discovery Of History

Towards the end of the fifth century BC Herodotus wrote his Histories, a work in which he sought to explain why the Greeks had won the Persian Wars. The Histories are widely credited for pioneering the Western tradition of historiography – already Cicero called Herodotus “the father of history”. But what is original about Herodotus’ Histories is not so much what he wrote about – after all Homer had already focused his narrative on a great war – but how he wrote about it. Herodotus blended history and literature, political, cultural, and military history, ethnography, geography, zoology, linguistics and religion (to name just a few interests of this highly versatile author) in a unique and sophisticated fashion. In bringing these different strands of knowledge together Herodotus’ Histories reflect the cultural and intellectual milieu of ancient Greece during the late fifth century BC when different areas of human life became subject to critical inquiry.

When: 27 October 2010
Where: Lecture Theatre 101, Sydney Law School Building, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus
Free event. No booking required.

NEAF Lecture: Temple, Town and Tombs

Dr Stephen Bourke

The University of Sydney’s NEAF-sponsored excavations at Pella in Jordan have been in the field for 30 years. This lecture will highlight some of the more memorable discoveries spanning the last 10000 years of settled life at Pella. We will touch on the first evidence of settlement at Wadi Hammeh around 12000 years ago, before moving to the main tell to begin the story of settlement in and around the ancient city. The first settled villages of the Sixth and Fifth Millennia give way to the brick and stone fortified city of the Fourth Millennium Early Bronze Age, visible both on the main mound and on nearby Tell Husn. Urban life progresses through the Middle and Late Bronze Ages of the Second Millennium BCE, first as an independent city-state of Pihil, and then as one small part of the Egyptian New Kingdom Empire. Temples, palaces and rich tombs feature in this first highpoint of urban life. The post-Imperial Iron Age has turned up recent surprises bearing on the rise of the Biblical nation states, before the coming of the Greeks under Alexander gave birth to Hellenistic Pella. Roman Pella is represented by bathhouses and theatres of the Imperial age, before the Christian conversion graced Pella with its magnificent cathedral churches and a fortress atop Husn. Islamic Pella follows on from Byzantine Christianity with hardly a break, and extensive domestic dwellings, a mosque and caravanserai testify to the continuing vigour of settled life. Ottoman Tabaqat Fahl completes the picture of upwards of 10000 years of human history on one site.

Wednesday 3 November 2010
6.30-8.30 pm
General Lecture Theatre 1 Main Quad

Price: $20 Non Members, Members $15 and Student members $5
All welcome

History Week: 4-12 September, 2010

The theme for History Council of New South Wales’ History Week 2010 is ‘Faces in the Street’. Staff from the Department of History will be presenting a series of fascinating talks during this year’s History Week.

Furious Faces on the Streets: Public Protests in history
Prof Robert Aldrich, Dr Frances Clarke and Dr Jim Masselos

“Power concedes nothing without a demand,” avowed Frederick Douglass in 1857, “It never did and it never will.” As an escaped slave who had gone on to become a leading figure in America’s growing abolitionist movement, Douglas was no stranger to making public demands. He would become one of the many millions of people in history–most of them now forgotten–who refused to submit quietly in the face of authority. Their public actions have been one of history’s driving forces. In protests, marches, parades and rallies, ordinary people have demanded and produced social change, sometimes, but not always, for the good. In this panel, we examine the history of public protests in a range of contexts–from crowd action in post-Enlightenment Europe and America through to the nationalist struggles in India and beyond–examining their contexts, tactics, and historical impact.
When: Monday 6 September 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm.
Where: Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies of Australia (CCANESA), Room 409 Madsen Building F09, University of Sydney

Faces from Australia’s Underworld
Penny Russell (Sydney):
‘Street Parade: of a prostitute, a military captain and a sword’
Amanda Kaladelfos (Sydney):
‘The Execution of Frank Johns, Bushranger’
Jill Matthews (ANU):
‘Blue Movies and their Audiences’
Presented by the Department of History and the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney
Australia’s Underworld’, a new unit offered by the History Department at the University of Sydney in 2010, encourages students to explore Australia’s forgotten stories: the cross-dressers and prostitutes, crooks and impostors, maverick reformers, entertainers and oddballs who find little place in the ‘national story’, but whose lives are stitched into the fabric of our past. How do historians frame questions to capture the richness of social experience? What sources and research techniques do they employ? Poster displays show how Sydney’s newest historians go about the task, and a panel of historians from Sydney and ANU share their latest discoveries.

Enjoy a drink and light refreshments while viewing students’ poster presentations of their research projects, followed by a panel on facets of ‘underworld’ history.

When: Tuesday 7 September 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Where: Nicholson Museum, Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney
Contact: 9351 2812,
Note: Free. Bookings essential.

Heroic Culture: E. P. Thompson’s Histories and the Experience of the Oppressed
Dr Chris Hilliard

Putting names to the faces in the street, recapturing the experiences and struggles of the forgotten people of the industrial revolution, was a central preoccupation of the eminent British historian E. P. Thompson (1924-1993). In this lecture, Dr Chris Hilliard of the University of Sydney explores the power and limitations Thompson’s brand of history and takes stock of his legacy.
When: Wednesday 8 September 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm.
: Law Lecture Theatre 101, Sydney Law School, University of Sydney.

Cities – Sydney, Freetown and Cape Town: Convicts and Empire
Dr Kirsten McKenzie, Dr Emma Christopher

Many Sydneysiders think they know all about the history of their city, but few know that its convict past links it firmly to Africa, a continent many Australians know little about. Emma Christopher and Kirsten McKenzie uncover a forgotten history of abandoned plans and lost hopes, of political objections to sending convicts to Africa and the sufferings of those who were sent there. By revealing the convict connections to Freetown, Sierra Leone and Cape Town, South Africa, they show how very nearly the stories of Africa and Australia came to taking different turns. The salon will launch Emma’s new book A Merciless Place: The Lost Story of Britain’s Convict Disaster in Africa and How it Led to the Settlement of Australia.
When: Thursday 9 September 2010, 6:00pm – 7:30pm.
Where: Sydney Law School Foyer, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney.

These events are free, Bookings required for Tuesday’s event only.
Proudly supported by The Department of History, The Humanites Salon, The School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, and Sydney Ideas at the University of Sydney

For general information contact
T +61 2 9351 2862
F +61 2 9351 3918

For more information on History Week please visit the History Council of NSW

The Impact of the Declaration of Independence – Symposium 11-12 August, 2010

Generously sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, (USA) and the Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney

Thomas Jefferson’s virtuoso performance in drafting the Declaration of Independence has secured him a special place in world history. For nearly 250 years his words have been a source of inspiration and adoration, as well as exasperation and revulsion. The potency of this document in United States is without parallel and Jefferson’s declaration has been a powerful force in the intellectual, moral and political life of many other nations. As the inspiration for anti-imperial movements, Jefferson’s declaration was echoed in 1790 when rebels in the Austrian Netherlands declared their province a free and independent state; in 1811 when Francisco de Miranda proclaimed the United Provinces of Venezuela; in 1918 when the Declaration of Independence of the Czechoslovak Nation was declared; in 1945 when Ho Chi Minh issued the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence; in 1965 when the white minority government of Southern Rhodesia issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence.

This symposium aims to stimulate discussion about the intended and intended consequences of Jefferson’s most famous contribution to world history. It will be an informal affair where guest scholars will speak briefly to particular themes, with the aim of producing a cumulative conversation among participants. The numbers of participants is strictly limited.

Symposium guests are:

  • Richard Drayton, Rhodes Chair of Imperial History, Kings College London, author of Nature’s Government: Science, Imperial Britain and the Improvement of the World;
  • Frank Cogliano, Professor of History, University of Edinburgh, author of Thomas Jefferson :Reputation and Legacy;
  • Maya Jasanoff, Associate Professor in History at Harvard, author of Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750-1850;
  • Jorge Canizares-Esguerra, Alice Drysdale Sheffield Chair of History, University of Texas author of Nature, Empire, and Nation. Explorations of the History of Science in the Iberian World;
  • Peter Onuf, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor, University of Virginia, author of Jefferson’s Empire: The Language of American Nationhood;
  • Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Director Saunders International Center for Jefferson Studies, editor of The Old World, New World: America and Europe in the Age of Jefferson;
  • John Keane, Professor of Politics, University of Sydney, author of The Life and Death and Democracy;
  • Rhys Isaac, Professor Emeritus, College of William and Mary, author of The Transformation of Virginia;
  • Michael Kranish, journalist and author of Flight from Monticello.

Registration:$ 120 for academics and $80 for postgraduates [includes morning tea and dinner on 11 Aug]. To register contact Professor Cassandra Pybus: before 30 July.

Venue: Holme and Sutherland Room, Holme Building, University of Sydney
9am, Wednesday 11 August, 2010.
Please note: The seminar will conclude at 1.30pm on Thursday 12 August.