15-16 November, State Library of NSW Sydney
The program was convened by Professor Bronwen Neil FAHA and Profressor Catriona Mackenzie FAHA both of Macquarie University.
Twenty-five years ago, American political scientist Samuel P. Huntington posited the question ‘The Clash of Civilisations?’ suggesting religious and cultural identity would be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War era (Foreign Affairs, 1993). He predicted that, as the West began to develop a better understanding of the cultural fundamentals underlying other civilisations, Western civilization and its values would cease to be regarded as ‘universal’. This has certainly proved to be the case.
The Symposium will reassess Huntington’s question, in light of recent global developments and historical inquiries, and consider how the concept of ‘the clash of civilisations’ has been used as an enduring rhetorical device for explaining divisions between groups and across time and place. It will explore modern and ancient cross-cultural encounters and their contemporary implications in the spheres of history, politics, and religion, as well as their cultural expressions in literature, film, and the arts.
The event was generously supported by:
- Principal Sponsor: Macquarie University
- Venue Sponsor: State Library of New South Wales
- Associate Sponsors: University of New England, University of Sydney, University of Wollongong, UNSW Sydney, UTS and Western Sydney University
Select presentations and related works by program speakers:
- Belinda Hopper (Macquarie University) — The Role of Fiction in Creating Understanding Between Cultures
- Bronwen Neil (co-convenor, Macquarie University) — Blowing up the Parthenon: the power of a symbol
- Cliff Goddard (Griffith University) — ‘Civilisation’ and Other Meta-categories: How they work and how to do without them.
- Cris Townley (UNSW) — Cross Cultural Encounters in Playgroups: Spaces of belonging, support and identity and recent article Playgroups: Moving in from the margins of history, policy and feminism.
- Fadila Boutouchent (Macquarie University and University of Regina, Canada) and Aïcha Benimmas (Université de Moncton, Canada) — Canadian Perspectives on Immigration in Small Cities: Case study from Moncton City
- Georgia Curran (University of Sydney) — Cross-cultural negotiation in the production a Warlpiri women’s yawulyu DVD and see the Warlpiri women’s songs from Yuendumu website for more details on the project.
- Linda Barwick (The University of Sydney, Conservatorium of Music) — Performance as frame for pluriculturality
- Michael Richardson (UNSW) — Drone Culture: Artistic Responses to Technological Violence
- Natalie Doyle (Monash University) — Beyond the clash of civilizations: Marcel Gauchet and globalization
- Rebecca Hausler (University of Queensland) — Friends, Enemies, Strangers: Fiction that looks back to explore the present
- Roland Boer (Renmin University of China, Beijing) — ‘We have freedom of religion!’ Understanding Chinese Marxists Approaches to Human Rights and pre-publication chapter Sovereignty and Human Rights: A Comparison between the Western European and Chinese Marxist Traditions.
Two public lectures were held in conjunction with the Symposium:
The 49th Academy Lecture — Turning the Level of Civilisation Up: The twenty-first century challenge — was presented by Honorary Fellow Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAHA. An excerpt of the lecture has been published in The Conversation and the audio recording and video are available.
The 8th Hancock Lecture — Hybrid civilisations or Clash of civilisations?: Re-visiting the Muslim Other — was given by early career Arab and Islamic Studies scholar, Dr Raihan Ismail. The audio recording and video are available.
Edited versions will feature in Humanities Australia No. 10.