Global sensibilities group


Antoine Watteau, 'Gathering in the Park', oil on wood, 1716-17

The global sensibilities group brings together an interdisciplinary team to develop a 'new' history of ideas. This approach replaces the emphasis upon texts as a source of ideas, insisting on the importance of the social, cultural, visual, economic and political contexts in which ideas develop, on who is speaking, when and where.

Funded by a Faculty Collaborative Research Grant for 2013-2014, our interests are in themes that raise new questions about the history of ideas in respect of the boundaries between thought and feeling, and the universality or cultural specificity of particular beliefs and ideas.

For more information of the Global Sensibilities Group, contact


Visual Sensibilities/Aesthetic Cosmopolitanisms

11-13 June 2014

Participants include:

Limited Availability. Please contact if you are interested in attending.

Finding form for historical lives: a workshop with Tony Birch and Ross Gibson

Thursday 27 March 2014

How do we find a form for representing historical lives, especially those lives that have left only traces in the archive? Or does the form find us? In this workshop, novelist, poet and academic Tony Birch (The University of Melbourne) and author, film-maker and academic Ross Gibson (The University of Sydney) talk about how they have found form for historical lives forgotten and remembered in writing projects, collaborative image-based works, and interactive installation pieces. Tony and Ross will address in particular how to use different media to translate our ideas for public audiences beyond academia.

The workshop is aimed mainly at postgraduate students interested in thinking experimentally about the archives you are working with (broadly conceived) and the imaginative experiences that encountering your archive has inspired. What will you do next with what you have discovered? And how will you go about it?

CLOSED to new applications. Please contact Miranda Johnson for further information.

This workshop is generously supported by Global Sensibilities Group, a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Collaborative Research Group; and Race and Ethnicity in the Global South, a project supported by an ARC Laureate Fellowship at The University of Sydney.

Visual Manipulation and Auto/Biography


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Tuesday 25 February 2014
3-5 pm

Kevin Lee Room
Level 6, Lobby H
Quadrangle Building
the University of Sydney

This seminar will combine the work of two art historians researching the visual self-representation of royal woman at the French court during the seventeenth century.

Dr Gaehtgens (an independent scholar based at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles) explores how Anne of Austria used multiplied images as visual propaganda to change her image from a widowed queen to a self-assured regent. In turn, Dr De Vitis (National Art School) considers the theatrical performances of Elizabeth Charlotte as substantive acts of socio-political critique, calculated and incisive.

Discussion will focus on how the visual - in prints and performance - can be conceived as a form of writing biography.

Revolutionary Ideas


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16 November 2013

Public Symposium, co-sponsored by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in conjunction with the exhibition America. Painting a Nation

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Hero and Villain: Lafayette's Legacies


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12 November 2013

Public lecture presented by Professor Laura Auricchio on the subject of her forthcoming book, The Marquis, a visually informed biography. Co-presented with Sydney Ideas.

Genealogies of Internationalism


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19 August 2013

A salon discussion by Professor David Armitage (Harvard University) and Professor Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney) about the ideas behind their new books: