Humanities Salon podcasts

Podcasts from 2011

Past Futures: Angkor and the debate on sustainable low-density urbanism

Societies of every known socio-economic system and magnitude have used low density settlements patterns from dispersed hunter-gatherer camps to the industrial megalopolis. Between the late 1st millennium BCE and the mid 2nd millennium CE three regions in the tropics in Mesoamerica, South Asia and South-East Asia produced vast, agrarian-based, low-density urban settlements. The largest, situated in modern Cambodia, was Angkor. In the 12th and 13th C CE  the urban complex of Greater Angkor covered about 1000 sq km. By the start of the 17th C  it was largely abandoned and the entire former metropolitan heartland of the Khmer Empire reverted to forest and scattered village communities in an eerie repetition of the end of the Classic Maya urban societies of Yucatan in the 9th and 10th C and great Buddhist cities of northern Sri Lanka in the 12th and 13th C. The demise of tropical low density urbanism was apparently associated with serious regional decline involving the impact of severe climatic instability, extensive land clearance and dependence on massive infrastructure.  After the 16th C agrarian-based, low-density urbanism largely disappeared. Only in the 20th C, following industrialisation, has low density urbanism reappeared, spectacularly represented by the East Coast Megalopolis of the USA and the rapidly expanding desakota of southern and eastern Asia. How might we gauge the implications of the profoundly different past from the unknown future of sustainable urbanism?

Professor Roland Fletcher, Department of Archaeology and Christophe Pottier, Ecole Française d'Extrème Orient

22 March, 2011 (Running time1 hour 18 min, 36Mb MP3)
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Carthage: City of Memories

In 146 BC, after three protracted and bloody wars, the city of Carthage was finally captured by the Roman legions. In an infamous act of ruthless brutality Carthage was razed to the ground and a curse placed against any future attempts to settle on the site of the city. Yet just a century and half later, the emperor Augustus re-built Carthage as the new capital of the Roman province of Africa. In this session I will explore the extent to which the memory of Carthage as Rome’s greatest and most dangerous enemy continued to colour how this new Roman city was portrayed by Roman and Greek authors. As well as highlighting the ongoing influence of Carthage as an anti-type through which Romans writers could explore aspects of their political and cultural identities, such an approach also underlines the importance of physical landscapes as repositories of memory in Roman thought.

Dr Richard Miles, Department of Classics and Ancient History

May 23, 2011 (Running time 1 hour 11 min, 32.6Mb MP3)
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Athens: Gift of Athena

What are the myths that we tell about Athens? This lecture examines the legacy of Athenian culture. In particular, it focuses on looking at the darker side of that legacy. We like to imagine the Athenians as devoted to freedom and the spirit of reason. Certainly there is much to praise about Athens, but the city could also be violent, irrational, xenophobic, misogynist, and brutally imperialist. This session explores both sides of the Athenian story.

Dr Alastair Blanshard, Department of Classics and Ancient History

June 7, 2011 (Running time 58 min, 26.8Mb MP3)
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Podcasts from 2010

The Virtues of Mendacity: On lying in politics
Dirk Moses inconversation with Martin Jay

When Michael Dukakis accused George H. W. Bush of being the "Joe Isuzu of American Politics" during the 1988 presidential campaign, he asserted in a particularly American tenor the near-ancient idea that lying and politics (and perhaps advertising, too) are inseparable, or at least intertwined. Our response to this phenomenon, writes the renowned intellectual historian Martin Jay, tends to vacillate-often impotently-between moral outrage and amoral realism.

March 1, 2010 (Running time 57 min, 26Mb MP3)
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A panel on Violence in Modern Aboriginal History
Gordon Briscoe, Jackie Huggins, Bob Debus, Peter Read, Julie-Anne Williams

Julie-Anne Williams, Gordon Briscoe and Joy Williams were deeply affected by the policy of separating Aboriginal children from their parents and communities. Bob Debus and Peter Read have been closely associated with the violence affecting Aboriginal Affairs for many years, violence towards to children, on the streets, to young adults, to settlements and missions, and in the cities.

March 12, 2010 (Running time 54 min, 25Mb MP3)
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Lucan’s epic masterpiece: New works on Lucan's Civil War
with Frances Muecke and Paul Roche

Frances Muecke and Paul Roche discuss the brilliant young poet of Nero’s court, Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Lucan), in light of two new publications on his epic poem, De Bello Civili ('On the Civil War').

April 8, 2010 (Running time 32 min, 15Mb MP3)
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Harlem, the black capital of the world

Shane White, Stephen Robertson and Stephen Garton are part of a collaborative team working on everyday life in Harlem in the 1920s, when the neighbourhood became the black capital of the world. Their award-winning web site maps everything from street speakers to parades, traffic accidents to basketball games, house fires to arrests for numbers – the form of gambling invented in Harlem that became its largest black business, and the subject of the team’s recently published book – to recreate what it was like to live in this ‘black metropolis.’ One finding of this research was that Harlem was not the segregated place it has been long thought, but a neighbourhood in which whites remained a significant, influential presence.
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Digging up Sydney

A conversation between the disciplines of History and Archaeology on ways of researching Sydney's past. Panelists included; Mary Casey, Director, Casey & Lowe, archaeology and heritage consultants, and a research associate, Department of Archaeology, University of Sydney; Annie Clarke, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and convenor of the Heritage Studies Program; Martin Gibbs, Senior lecturer in the Department of Archaeology; and Paul Irish, archaeologist and Principal Consultant with Mary Dallas Consulting Archaeologists. Panel chaired by Grace Karskens, School of History and Philosophy at the University of New South Wales.

June 17, 2010 (Running time 1 hour 38 min, 45.2Mb MP3)
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