The Academy’s 49th Symposium will be held 15-16 November 2018 at the State Library of NSW, Sydney. Annual Fellows’ events and meetings will occur 16-17 November 2018 in Sydney.

The theme for the 49th Symposium is Clash of Civilisations? Where are we now?

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.



This year’s program convenors are Professor Bronwen Neil FAHA and Professor Catriona Mackenzie FAHA of Macquarie University.

The Advisory Group supporting the convenors include Professor Alastair Blanshard FSA FAHAProfessor Bridget Griffen-Foley FAHAProfessor Constant Mews FAHA, Ms Frances Muecke FAHA and Professor Ingrid Piller FAHA.


We are very grateful to the following institutions for their generous sponsorship and support for this year’s Symposium:

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

Please contact us for sponsorship opportunities.


Registrations are now open and the Early Bird discounted rate closes 31 August 2018.

This event is open to all, and will bring together a large cross-section of Academy Fellows, scholars, early career researchers and members of the broader community, especially those working in education, policy, and community development.

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We invite you to spread the word and share details of this year’s Symposium through your networks, on social media and newsletters.

You are welcome to provide a link to the Symposium website and to download the promotional poster to share.

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #AAHSymposium

About the image

The Academy is grateful for artist Xu Zhen (MadeIn) 徐震 and Sydney’s White Rabbit Gallery’s permission to use European Thousand-Armed Classical Structure as this year’s Symposium image