School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    A preliminary understanding of oil paintings in tropical Southeast Asia
    TSE, N ; ROBERTS, A ; SLOGGETT, R (Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2008)
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    Southeast Asian Oil Paintings: Supports and Preparatory layers
    TSE, N ; SLOGGETT, R (Archetype Publications, 2008)
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    A contribution to ancient Near Eastern chronology (c. 1600 – 900 BC)
    FURLONG, PIERCE JAMES ( 2008)
    The chronology of the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age Near East is currently a topic of intense scholarly debate. The conventional/orthodox chronology for this period has been assembled over the past one-two centuries using information from King-lists, royal annals and administrative documents, primarily those from the Great Kingdoms of Egypt , Assyria and Babylonia . This major enterprise has resulted in what can best be described as an extremely complex but little understood jigsaw puzzle composed of a multiplicity of loosely connected data. I argue in my thesis [Furlong, P. J., Aspects of Ancient Near Eastern Chronology (c. 1600 – 700 BC), PhD Thesis, Melbourne University, 2007; available in full at The University of Melbourne e-Prints Repository: < http://eprints.infodiv.unimelb.edu.au/archive/00003929/ >] that this conventional chronology is fundamentally wrong, and that Egyptian New Kingdom (Memphite) dates should be lowered by 200 years to match historical actuality. This chronological adjustment is achieved in two stages: first, the removal of precisely 85 years of absolute Assyrian chronology from between the reigns of Shalmaneser II and Ashur-dan II; and second, the downward displacement of Egyptian Memphite dates relative to LBA Assyrian chronology by a further 115 years. Moreover, I rely upon Kuhnian epistemology to structure this alternate chronology so as to make it methodologically superior to the conventional chronology in terms of historical accuracy, precision, consistency and testability.
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    Abstract art and Fascism in Como
    White, Anthony ( 2003)
    During the 20th century abstract art was often connected with radical politics, most famously in the work of the Russian Constructivists. Although few would argue today that there is an inherent connection between abstract art and left-wing opposition, there is little awareness of how abstract art could be complicit with fascism, as happened during the 1930s in Italy. This lack of awareness can be partly credited to the role that Italian artists and historians have played in suppressing this complicity by publishing altered documents in exhibition catalogues. ‘Abstract Art and Fascism in Como’ will focus on a series of murals produced by Mario Radice (1898 – 1987) for Como’s Fascist Headquarters in 1936. A discussion of the role played by these murals in the propagandistic function of the building will give rise to a number of historiographical questions: Given the complicity of abstraction and fascism in this instance, as opposed to the more common association between abstract art and left-wing politics, should we assume that abstraction is politically neutral, an empty vessel for the inscription of ideology? Although there is an ethical obligation not to distort the historical record, are historians always obliged to read such works through a political lens? Or are there conditions under which such works might be understood to transcend their immediate political context?
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    Lucio Fontana: the post-Fascist masculine figure
    White, Anthony ( 2005)
    The ‘cut’ paintings of the Italian artist Lucio Fontana (1899 – 1968) are intensely sexual objects. For many viewers, their rawly coloured surfaces ruptured by deep vertical gashes strongly evoke female genitalia. Fontana’s violent cutting of the canvas has also been compared to the muscular gestures of male ‘action’ painters such as Jackson Pollock. What such interpretations fail to grasp, however, is the critique of gender identity, and in particular masculine identity, at the heart of Fontana’s work. However, as I will show, Fontana relied on an inversion of diametrically opposed notions of maleness and femaleness rather than any deconstruction of the opposition itself. As I outline in my paper, Fontana’s critique first emerges in the artist’s depictions of the male body immediately after Italy’s military defeat in WWII. Fontana’s limp and mangled clay warriors splashed with oozing layers of reflective glaze directly challenge the hard, ballistic ideal of the masculine body theorized in the proto-fascist writings of the Italian Futurist poet Filippo Tomasso Marinetti. Drawing on the work of Hal Foster and Jeffrey Schnapp on the representation of fascist masculinity, I argue that Fontana developed an alternative model of maleness to that encountered in the official culture of Mussolini’s Italy. Accordingly, as I also demonstrate, his work gives insight into the extraordinary transformations in male body imagery that took place in avant-garde and official cultural circles in Italy during the first half of the 20th century.
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    Cultural Collections at the University of Melbourne
    NEMEC, BELINDA JANE (School of Visual and Performing Arts, Academy of the Arts, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, 2005)
    The University of Melbourne has been collecting cultural material since its foundation in the 1850s and now owns 27 identified cultural collections, which link the history, scholarship and identity of the University with research, teaching and public programs. Many of these collections and individual items are of high cultural and heritage significance. They include rare books, prints, maps, music, Australiana and other special materials held by several library branches; museums of visual art, indigenous cultures, classics and archaeology, medical history, dentistry, and anatomy and pathology; collections illustrating the history of academic disciplines and professions such as geomatics/surveying, physics and electrical engineering; natural history collections covering earth sciences, zoology and botany; as well as the Grainger Museum and the University of Melbourne Archives.In recent years the managers of these collections have been working collaboratively to raise awareness of their existence and significance both within the University and in the wider community; to encourage their use in teaching, research, publications and public programs; and to improve their standards of conservation, cataloguing, storage and staffing. This paper describes work undertaken and progress made to date, and discusses options being considered for the future of the collections to ensure that they are managed in a sustainable way which benefits the University community and the public.
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    Relic or relevant? The Knights of Saint John
    von Guettner Sporzynski, Darius ( 2005)
    The Order of Saint John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions in the world. Established in the 1040s originally for the care of pilgrims to the Holy City, the Order achieved fame during the crusades, and since that time has operated as a military and religious order, and Hospitaller organisation. This paper examines the features of the Order’s longevity and adaptation over the centuries through to its position in the modern world. The Order is considered by some to be a relic of the crusades, and a secretive elitist club. Yet the considerable funds raised and used on humanitarian projects in all parts of the globe, diplomatic record at the United Nations and vast volunteer networks suggest that the Order is performing as valued role today as it was a nine hundred years ago.
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