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Law and the Quest for Gender Equality »

Authored by: Margaret Thornton
As law was a means of legitimating the subordination of women and their exclusion from the public sphere for centuries, it cannot be expected to become a source of equality instantaneously without resistance from benchmark men, that is, those who are white, heterosexual, able-bodied and middle class. Equality, furthermore, was attainable only in the public sphere, whereas the private sphere was marked as a site of inequality; a wife, children and servants could never be the equals of the master. Despite ambivalence about the role of law and its contradictions, women and Others nevertheless felt that they had no alternative but to look to law as a means of liberation. This skewed patriarchal heritage has continued to impede the quest for equality by women and Others and is the subtext of this collection of essays. It informs not only gender relations in the private sphere, as illustrated by domestic violence and sexual assault, but also the status of women in the public sphere. Despite the fact that women have entered the paid workforce, including the professions in large numbers, they are still expected to assume responsibility for the preponderance of society’s caring. The essays show how maternal and caring roles, which are still largely viewed as belonging to an unregulated private sphere, continue to be invoked to detract from the authority of the feminine in the public sphere. The promise of anti-discrimination legislation in overcoming the heritage of the past is also shown to be somewhat hollow.

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Lilith: A Feminist History Journal: Number 28 »

New research in this issue of Lilith includes studies of feminist vegetarian activism in Victorian England; the lives of Japanese businesswomen in North Queensland before 1941; negotiations of gender amongst women combatants in Tigray, Ethiopia; and the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on women. Each of the four research articles draws upon new sources and interpretations that shed light on the varied experiences of women within and beyond Australia, often challenging established norms or assumptions about progress. In ‘Vegetarians, Vivisection and Violationism’, Ruby Ekkel explores the centrality of vegetarianism to the activities and lived experience of noted Victorian activist Anna Kingsford. Tianna Killoran’s article ‘Sex, soap and silk’ draws on newly accessible sources in moving beyond traditional narratives that characterise Japanese women in interwar North Queensland as impoverished sex workers. In ‘A Soldier and a Woman’, Francesca Baldwin examines how women combatants in Tigray, Ethiopia, negotiated the connections and collisions between soldiering and womanhood during and after the 1974–91 civil war. Petra Brown and Tamara Kayali Browne’s article ‘Relational Autonomy: Addressing the Vulnerabilities of Women in a Global Pandemic’ explores how the individualistic/atomistic model of autonomy in responses to Covid-19 has disproportionately disadvantaged women. This issue also contains nine short essay responses from experienced gender scholars—including Ann Curthoys, Sharon Crozier-De Rosa, Catherine Kevin, Ann McGrath, Janet Ramsey, Yves Rees, Madeleine C. Seys, Jordana Silverstein, and Zora Simic—to the question ‘What does it mean to do feminism in 2022?’ These essays reveal the political power of feminist history-making, since, as Ann Curthoys argues in her essay, feminist history is itself a form of activism. Taken together, these research articles and essays, along with the editorial, demonstrate the fallibility of the notion of history being a narrative of linear progress without relevance to our current reality. They urge against political complacency about the Covid-19 pandemic, colonialism or women's oppression as existing only in the past.

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Something's Gotta Change »

Redefining Collaborative Linguistic Research

Authored by: Lesley Woods
Indigenous people are pushing back against more than 200 years of colonisation and rejecting being seen by the academy as ‘subjects’ of research. A quiet revolution is taking place among many Indigenous communities across Australia, a revolution insisting that we have control over our languages and our cultural knowledge – for our languages to be a part of our future, not our past. We are reclaiming our right to determine how linguistic research takes place in our communities and how we want to engage with the academy in the future. This book is an essential guide for non-Indigenous linguists wanting to engage more deeply with Indigenous communities and form genuinely collaborative research partnerships. It fleshes out and redefines ethical linguistic research and work with Indigenous people and communities, with application beyond linguistics. By reassessing, from an Indigenous point of view, what it means to ‘save’ an endangered language, Something’s Gotta Change shows how linguistic research can play a positive role in keeping (maintaining) or putting (reclaiming) endangered languages on our tongues.

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How Government Experts Self-Sabotage »

The Language of the Rebuffed

Authored by: Christiane Gerblinger
After official policy advice to governments is publicly released, governments are often accused of ignoring or rejecting their experts. Commonly represented as politicisation, this depiction is superficial. Digging deeper, is there something about the official advice itself that makes it easy to ignore? Instead of lamenting a demise of expertise, Christiane Gerblinger asks: does the expert advice of policy officials feature characteristics that invite its government audience to overlook or misread it? To answer this question, Gerblinger critically examines official policy advice and finds the language of the rebuffed: government experts reluctant to disclose what they know so as to accommodate political circumstances. She argues that this language evades stable meaning and diminishes the democratic right of citizens to scrutinise the work of government.

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Parliament: A Question of Management »

Authored by: Val Barrett
For centuries scholars and practitioners have studied parliament and its potential reform from an institutional perspective. Until now few authors have addressed in depth the internal relationships among parliamentary actors, their competing beliefs and their influence on parliament’s effectiveness. Parliament is overwhelmingly an agonistic institution and competition for status, resources, influence and control has pervaded its administration and impeded reform. Parliaments appear to struggle with the concept of institutional management. The doctrine of exclusive cognisance or sole jurisdiction implies that parliament, and only parliament, should retain control of its internal business and processes. But why is parliament considered to be unique amongst other public institutions and why do parliaments appear to resist or even defy attempts to manage them more effectively? At a time when the public is losing confidence in governments, politics and political institutions, parliament’s role as a broker of ideas and a forum for deliberative policy making is under threat. In an institution where no one has overall authority and direction, sustaining its relevance and managing public expectations present major challenges for its members and administrators. This book examines parliamentary management in the national parliaments of Australia and the United Kingdom. Without claiming to be a ‘how to’ book it attempts to provide a relatable account of how parliamentary officials and members of parliament carry out their respective institutional roles, recognising their inherent complexity, and how they might be assisted by contemporary public management approaches.

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Vietnam Task »

The 5th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, 1966–67

Authored by: Robert O’Neill
On 24 May 1966, eight hundred men of the 5th Battalion landed at Nui Dat in Viet Cong territory. For the next 12 months they were faced with the task of restoring peace, civil law and regular commerce to the Vietnamese of Phuoc Tuy Province. This book is a detailed record of those months in the monsoon jungles—of the problems that were faced and the solutions that were found. Captain O’Neill’s position as Battalion Intelligence Officer enabled him to view the war from the standpoint of the Battalion as a whole. However, he does not omit description of personal feelings—towards the Viet Cong, the jungle environment, the Vietnamese people and the other allied forces involved in the war. Most of the book was written on the spot in Vietnam. On operations or at Battalion Headquarters, Captain O’Neill jotted down details of the war against the Viet Cong; putting the events of each day in order, often in the small hours of the following morning. Thus not only is this a factual account of the 5th Battalion’s activities over the year, it is also a vivid and compelling picture of the war in Vietnam from the soldier’s point of view.

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Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation »

Journeys in Bougainville

Authored by: Gordon Peake
In 2016, Gordon Peake answered a job ad to work with the government of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a collection of islands on the eastern fringe of Papua New Guinea looking to strike out as a country of its own. In his day job he sees at first hand the challenges of trying to stand up new government systems. Away from the office he travels with former rebels, follows an anthropologist’s ghost, and visits landmarks from the region’s conflict. In 2019, he witnesses joy and euphoria as the people of Bougainville vote in a referendum on their future. Out of these encounters emerges an unforgettable portrait of this potential nation-in-waiting. Blending narrative history, travelogue, and personal reminiscences, Unsung Land, Aspiring Nation is an engaging memoir as well as insightful meditation on the realities of nation-making and international development. ‘Heartfelt and honest. This book is an insightful read and a valuable addition to scholarship on Bougainville’s journey to peace.’ — Joseph Nobetau, former Chief Secretary to the Autonomous Bougainville Government ‘An excellent piece of engaged travel writing. With first hand observation and curiosity, Gordon has produced a deeply informed, compelling and evocative account of war, survival and nation building in what may be the world’s newst country.’ — Tom Bamforth, author of The Rising Tide: Among the Islands and Atolls of the Pacific Ocean

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Humanities Research: Volume XX, Number 1, 2023 »

Public Humanities of the Future: Museums, Archives, Universities and Beyond

Edited by: Kylie Message, Robert Wellington, Frank Bongiorno
‘Public Humanities of the Future: Museums, Archives, Universities and Beyond’ explores the roles, responsibilities and challenges of the humanities in 2022 and beyond. It examines if and how our public cultural institutions and disciplines engage ethically and meaningfully with the challenges of contemporary life, and sheds light on how the conception and practice of humanities research is developing institutionally as well as through collaboration with partners and communities beyond the university context. This high-profile publication marks a number of historic moments, including the increasing urgency of the humanities in contemporary life, as well as the rapid development of interdisciplinary, digital and public humanities over the last decade, and the opportunities for international collaboration reflected in the post-COVID 19 resumption of international travel in 2022. It also marks the 50th-year anniversary of the Humanities Research Centre at The Australian National University, and the re-launch of Humanities Research.

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The Australian Embassy in Tokyo and Australia–Japan Relations »

Australia–Japan relations have undergone both testing and celebrated times since 1952, when Australia’s ambassadorial representation in Tokyo commenced. Over time, interactions have deepened beyond mutual trade objectives to encompass economic, defence and strategic interests within the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. This ‘special relationship’ has been characterised by the high volume of people moving between Australia and Japan for education, tourism, business, science and research. Cultural ties, from creative artists-in-residence to sister-city agreements, have flourished. Australia has supported Japan in times of need, including the aftermath of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake. This book shows how the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, through its programs and people, has been central to these developments. The Embassy’s buildings, its gardens and grounds, and above all its occupants — from senior Australian diplomats to locally-engaged staff — are the focus of this multi-dimensional study by former diplomats and expert observers of Australia’s engagement with Japan. Drawing on oral histories, memoirs, and archives, this volume sheds new light on the complexity of Australia’s diplomatic work in Japan, and the place of the Embassy in driving high level negotiations as well as fostering soft power influences. ‘With a similar vision for the Indo-Pacific region and a like-minded approach to the challenges facing us, Australia and Japan have become more intimate and more strategic as partners. I am very pleased to see this slice of Australian diplomatic history so well accounted for in this book.’ — Jan Adams, AO, PSM, Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Ambassador to Japan, November 2020–June 2022

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Marhaba! An Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic »

Marhaba! An Introduction to Modern Standard Arabic is a unique student handbook specifically written and designed for flexible learning. It consists of 23 lessons that include a variety of online interactive tasks supported by a range of audio resources. Online learners develop reading, listening, speaking and writing skills at the introductory level of Modern Standard Arabic while getting an insight into the culture of the Arab world. This publication addresses the needs of a mobile and diverse cohort of Australian and international students who seek to acquire a basic knowledge of the grammar and syntax of Modern Standard Arabic, a form of the language common to all peoples of the Arab-speaking world, from North Africa to the Middle East and Asia.

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Wehali: The Female Land »

Traditions of a Timorese Ritual Centre

Authored by: Tom Therik
Wehali defines itself as the ritual centre of the island of Timor. As a ritual centre, Wehali continues to be the residence of a figure of traditional authority on whom, in the 18th century, the Dutch conferred the title of Kaiser (Keizer) and to whom the Portuguese gave the title of Emperor (Imperador). At one time, Wehali was the centre of a network of tributary states, which both the Dutch and Portuguese regarded as paramount to the political organisation of the island. This book is a study of Wehali in its contemporary setting as it continues to maintain its rituals and traditions. Significantly, Wehali is a ‘Female’ centre and its ‘Great Lord’ is considered to be a ‘Female’ lord. Whereas other Timorese societies are organised along male lines, in Wehali, all land, all property, all houses belong to women. Men are exchanged as husbands in marriage. Wehali is thus considered to be the ‘husband-giver’ to the surrounding realms on the island that look to its inner power as their source of life.

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Living Art »

Indonesian Artists Engage Politics, Society and History

Living Art: Indonesian Artists Engage Politics, Society and History is inspired by the conviction of so many of Indonesia’s Independence-era artists that there is continuing interaction between art and everyday life. In the 1970s, Sanento Yuliman, Indonesia’s foremost art historian of the late twentieth century, further developed that concept stating: ‘New Indonesian Art cannot wholly be understood without locating it in the context of the larger framework of Indonesian society and culture’ and the ‘whole force of history’. The essays in this book accept Yuliman’s challenge to analyse the intellectual, socio-political and historical landscape that Indonesia’s artists inhabited from the 1930s into the first decades of the new millennium, including their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inclusion of one of Yuliman’s most influential essays, translated into English for the first time, offers those outside Indonesia an insight into a formative period in the generation of new art knowledge in Indonesia. The volume also features essays by T.K. Sabapathy, Jim Supangkat, Alia Swastika, Wulan Dirgantoro and F.X. Harsono, as well as the three editors Elly Kent, Virginia Hooker and Caroline Turner. The book’s contributors present recent research on issues rarely addressed in English-language texts on Indonesian art, including the inspirations and achievements of women artists despite social and political barriers, Islam- inspired art, artistic ideologies, the intergenerational effect of trauma, and the impact of geopolitical change and global art worlds that emerged in the 1990s. The Epilogue introduces speculations from contemporary practitioners on what the future might hold for artists in Indonesia. Extensively illustrated, Living Art contributes to the acknowledgement and analysis of the diversity of Indonesia’s contemporary art and offers new insights into Indonesian art history, as well as the contemporary art histories of Southeast Asia and Asia more generally.

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