Abra Pressler

Co-designing research with Traditional Owners

In 2017, researchers discovered ceramics, dating between 1,800 and 3,000 years old, in an archaeological excavation on Jiigurru conducted by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) in partnership with the Dingaal and Ngurrumungu communities. The pottery sherds indicate ancestors of the Dingaal and Ngurrumungu communities traded goods, culture, […]

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Black Nazis, Asian Vikings & the white paranoia that haunts generative AI

Only three weeks after its introduction, Google decided to suspend the image generation features of its newest generative AI model Gemini over accusations it contained an ‘anti-white bias’. The move follows a series of viral posts by X (formerly Twitter) users who were outraged that prompts used to generate images of America’s founding fathers, Vikings,

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Immersion & influence: the power of storytelling throughout history

This article is based on Dr Emma Cole’s 2024 Trendall Lecture, Experiencing immersion from antiquity to modernity, presented at the Australasian Society for Classical Studies Conference (ASCS) in February 2024. The full video of her lecture can be viewed at the end of this article. Immersive experiences are big business within today’s creative economy. Forms

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Deserts & oceans in environmental disaster fiction

The blockbuster films Dune: Part one (2021) and Dune: Part two (2024) started life as an epic serial novel by American science-fiction author Frank Herbert. Originally published as the novels Dune World and Prophet of Dune in 1963-64 and 1965, Herbert’s work was firmly grounded in the nuclear and environmental politics of the Cold War. The

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An ambitious librarian: Colin Steele reflects on 70 years of loving books

‘It was books before everything else,’ Colin Steele AM FAHA says as he overlooks the Chifley Library at the Australian National University. The library houses notable collections of social sciences and humanities research—a collection Colin built meticulously during his time as University Librarian. ‘And it’s all still about books. Everything I do is because of

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Plonk, napoo, mayday & soo la voo: how French still influences modern English

I am currently sitting on the terrace of a Melbournian café, sipping a lemonade, and wondering how to explain to my students of French that a language is a living, dynamic entity that constantly evolves over time. Indeed, the proliferation of borrowings from English (or anglicisms) in the French vocabulary, particularly in the cutting-edge sectors

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Andrew ‘Andy’ F. Stewart FAHA 1948 – 2023

Andrew ‘Andy’ Stewart, best known for his wide-ranging scholarship in the field of Greek sculpture but master of so much more, passed away after an extended struggle with respiratory illness early in January 2023. It was just days after the Archaeological Institute of Americas honoured him with the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement. Ten

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Dr Robert Edwards AO FAHA 1930 – 2023

A charming, quietly spoken and well-suited gentleman, Robert ‘Bob’ Edwards AO FAHA had an old-world air that belied the ‘steely determination’ of an ‘inveterate strategist’ and ‘seasoned general’ (McDonald 2023). He leaves a remarkable legacy. Across his career, he was a pioneer in the systematic study of Australian rock art, founder and landmark director of

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A range of pride flags are being flown at a parade.

‘No cops at pride’: The complex history of police at Mardi Gras

Content warning: homophobia, hate crimes against LGBTQI+ communities. Over the last half century, antagonism between NSW Police and Sydney’s queer communities has been extensive and, at times, intense. The recent, tragic deaths of Luke Davies and Jesse Baird — allegedly killed by Beau Lamarre-Condon, a NSW senior police constable — have rekindled and reactivated far-reaching

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A woman archaeologist excavates bones on a river bank

Ten women in archaeology you should know about

Throughout history, women in archaeology have encountered substantial and systemic obstacles in pursuit of their profession. As archaeology Professor Claire Smith FAHA notes, “Much has been accomplished since the 1990s, and in the early twenty-first century, women are a fundamental part of the archaeological social landscape. Despite this, women have not yet achieved equity in

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A woman stands with her arms crossed in front of a sign of a rocket with the words "welcome to space" printed beside the launching rocket.

“What is a space archaeologist?” how Alice Gorman pioneered a cosmic career

‘Why are you here?’ It was one of the first questions space archaeologist, Associate Professor Alice Gorman FAHA FSA, remembers being asked at a space industry conference in Canberra back in 2003. Alice can still recall the mix of surprise and confusion her paper received. ‘People asked me “why are you here?” even as I

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.