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Humanities Research Centre

Humanities Research Centre: A history of the first 30 years of the HRC at The Australian National University OPEN ACCESS

Glen St John Barclay
Caroline Turner
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jbjq4
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  • Book Info
    Humanities Research Centre
    Book Description:

    'This book may claim to be no more than a history of the HRC at ANU. It is, of course, much more than that. It is certainly an examination of the role and predicament of the humanities within universities and the wider community, and it contributes substantially to the ongoing debate on an Australian identity.' Malcolm I. Thomis

    eISBN: 978-0-9751229-8-3
    Subjects: Education
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Table of Contents

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  1. Foreword (pp. ix-xii)
    Anthony Low

    The foundation and growth of The Australian National Universityʹs Humanities Research Centre has been a huge success. This book tells a remarkable story with much panache and close attention. It recounts the numerous vicissitudes particularly early on of a novel and sometimes vulnerable institution. It follows the unending tide of its seminar conferences. It picks from the great and the new in its elongated catalogue of Visiting Fellows to illustrate their calibre, and provides extracts from some of their euphoric tributes on their departures. It traverses the leadership of its successive Directors, and their stand-ins, and the vital contribution made...

  2. Introduction (pp. xiii-xiv)

    This is the record of the first thirty years of an institution which was conceived in a particular economic and political environment, inspired by a particular traditional model and launched with a particular expectation of expanding financial support. The environment changed totally; the model was effectively abandoned almost before the institution commenced operations; and the expectations of expanding support became almost immediately realisations of just the opposite. But the response has been more than equal to the challenge. It is not just that the Humanities Research Centre is still here: the real measure of its achievement is that an institution...

  3. Professor Richard Rorty, one of the most acclaimed and influential philosophers of the present age, told the committee reviewing the Humanities Research Centre (HRC) in 1995 that in his view the Centre had ʹbeen the principal means of communication and collaboration between Australian scholars in the humanities and their colleagues throughout the world. It has an absolutely impeccable reputation in the international scholarly community, and is thought to be one of the most successful think-tanks in the world.ʹ The Centre had come a long way in a remarkably short time. Nobody could have imagined at the outset where the road...

  4. The world may or may not have changed essentially after 11 September 2001. There is no doubt that it did so after October 1973. US President Richard M. Nixon had effectively unleashed the world-transforming phenomenon of globalisation on 25 August 1971, when, in the words of former Vice-President of the Council on Foreign Relations Ethan Kapstein, he

    announced that the United States dollar could not be converted to gold, thereby ending the era of fixed exchange rates and ushering in a system of floating rates … Floating exchange rates encouraged intense speculation on currencies … mobile capital was finally free...

  5. The HRC could certainly be said to have established its own identity by mid-1975. It had already received the most convincing accolade of international recognition. Richard Johnson had visited the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s to find inspiration and models for the HRC in the varied and proliferating research centres there. But Donaldson found on visiting the USA himself after 1975 that it was the HRC which was now providing inspiration and a model: ʹit had attracted the attention of a group of American academics who hoped to establish a similar national humanities centre in the...

  6. Words may be cheap, but they can make good reading: the litany of praise lavished on the HRC by former Visiting Fellows made a striking contrast with the decidedly unlavish funding bestowed on it by the University. Charles Fantazzi, Professor of Classical and Modern Languages at the University of Windsor, Ontario, testified that the HRC was, inter alia, ʹa unique institution in the world of humanities.ʹ It was ʹcomforting to know that such strongholds of humanistic and humane learning exist and exert their influence in a tangible way.ʹ The Director and Deputy Director ʹset the tone of excellence and industry,...

  7. Ralph Elliott described Graeme Clarke towards the end of 1991 as ʹstanding among the remains of the Acropolis Palace at Jebel Khalid … smiling broadly, under a cloudless sky, in light working clothes, his left hand resting proprietorially on what looks like a huge stone hamburgerʹ.¹ It was a happy picture and one which no doubt owed much of its happiness to the fact that work on his archaeological digs on the Euphrates was rather less exacting than was required of Clarke in his other capacity as Director of the Humanities Research Centre in Canberra. Maybe the weather was better...

  8. Graeme Clarkeʹs five-year term as Director came to an end in mid-1995 and Iain McCalman took over as Director. Clarke remained as Associate Director and continued to have a very significant intellectual input into the HRC. In a characteristically gracious ʹWelcome to the Directorʹ penned by Clarke to McCalman and published in the Centreʹs June 1995 Bulletin Clarke wished Iain well and thanked him for serving as Acting Director for seven months during the very stressful period of the HRC Review ʹwhen Iain demonstrated how well the Centre is going to fare under his Directorship. All who use the Centre...

  9. The move from the A.D. Hope Building took place in June 2000. Visiting Fellows were housed in the cottages located in the vicinity of Old Canberra House (OCH) until the new building located behind Old Canberra House, to be known as the WEH Stanner Building, was ready for occupancy in August 2001. There were fewer Visiting Fellows to be accommodated in 2000; but the HRC academic cohort was enhanced by ARC Fellows Professor Bill Gammage and Dr Paul Pickering and Adjuncts including Dr John Docker. Dr Brian Massumi left in 2000 but returned to run one of the HRCʹs most...