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The Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia are pleased to announce that the Australian SHAPE Futures Network will officially launch in early 2022.

Welcome to the 12th edition of the Australian Academy of the Humanities’ flagship journal Humanities Australia, showcasing some of the outstanding research and writing being carried out by our Fellows, grants and awards alumni and those involved in our annual lecture series. It is an essential part of our commitment to supporting excellence in the humanities and communicating their value to the public.

Australia is one of the world’s most multicultural nations in the world. Discover how humanities researchers have played a pivotal role in reshaping understandings of national identity and culture, identifying and addressing some of the nation’s systemic inequalities, and helping Australia reposition itself at a time of rapid change and geopolitical turbulence.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is critically acclaimed at home and internationally, but until the middle of last century, it was often displayed in an ethnographic context instead of artistically. Learn how curators, activists, artists and community elevated these important artforms and transformed contemporary Australian art.

Australia has much to learn from Aboriginal land management practices, especially as we enter another season of bushfires, drought and extreme weather events. Archaeological and historical research shows just how extensively Aboriginal cultures used fire and expert agricultural strategies for over 65,000 years, and how we might re-adopt these historically proven approaches.

Evidence shows that language does indeed influence many things, including speakers’ conceptions of physical space and other abstract ideas like time and kinship. Explore the linguistic studies of the past and present that are helping scholars understand language’s diverse impact on human thought.

Subaltern studies remains relevant today as new classes of subaltern people – such as refugees – emerge, but where did this field of study come from and how has it been used in the past?

He supped with the Gunpowder Plot conspirators, was almost hanged after killing a fellow actor in a sword fight, and wrote a satirical play that led to the closure of London’s theatres for months, but you may have never heard of him. Thanks to extensive research and new editions, the striking and bold theatrical works of Ben Jonson, can now retake their place next to Shakespeare’s.

In Homer’s time, epic poems like the Iliad were composed and performed, not written down. So how exactly did oral poets remember all those lines, and why do these poems have such enduring appeal? Australian classicist Elizabeth Minchin’s work in cognitive psychology and linguistics may hold some answers.

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.