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Independent Study

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Public and Private Voices: Australia 1800-1900

Journals, diaries, stories and notebooks speak to us of the thoughts and feelings of our early settlers. These voices are intensely individual and project feelings of delight, disgust and misery, in an outspoken and personal way. We get to share the hardships and isolation experienced by these people, wherever they lived, be it the bush or the town. Included are some examples of cartoons, illustrating the importance of humour in this society plus comments from European visitors of... [More]

The Victorians: England from 1830 to 1900

This course aims to look at various aspects of Victorian life. Once scorned, the Victorian period is now seen as a one of great vitality and creativity and a time that saw changes that would prove seismic in their effect upon English political, social and cultural life. The great movements such as Romanticism, Aestheticism, Classic and Gothic Revival, The Industrial Revolution and The Rising Middle Classes with their Houses and Gardens will be studied. Independent Study Discussion... [More]

Australian Stories 2: The Outback

Robyn Davidson calls the outback Australia’s “mythological crucible”. From the early idea of an inland sea, through the disappointment and fear of the “dead heart” to its modern imagining as a place of beauty, mystery and renewal, the outback has been the most powerful symbol in the Australian psyche. After a historical and psychological introduction, we will explore some of the major narratives about journeys to and in the outback from literature and films of the last fifty years,... [More]

The Grandeur of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian civilisation has tantalised countless generations. This course is a fascinating survey of the history and society of the world of the Pharaohs, vast in wealth, technology and intellect, yet revering death and built on the forced labour of slaves. It will take you into the lives of the Egyptian people through the remarkable finds of modern archaeology, and provides a picture of Egyptian history and culture from prehistory to the New Kingdom. Independent Study... [More]

Glories of Georgian England: Houses, Gardens, Arts and Patrons

Join our six visits to Georgian England, to see its houses and gardens, not only the houses of the grand but also those of the not-so-grand. We will look at Chippendale who made furniture and Adam who redesigned interiors. At Lady Hamilton and Wedgewood who brought Ancient Greece to the dining table. We will see how ‘Capability’ Brown sculptured landscapes, and how Repton said he got it all wrong. Then there is the Duke of Burlington who loathed Versailles but inspired the Georgian... [More]

Campus Novels

Is the university campus a microcosm of larger society or simply a weird place? This course considers a series of novels each set within a university, and looks at the creative opportunities a campus setting offers the novelist. Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study by groups without a tutor, so there is no need to write reports. These courses were written by tutors who have now since retired from the Discussion Group Program. Some courses were written a number of... [More]

Journeying: Perspectives on Travel by Contemporary Women

More than tales of hardship and excitement, these are short pieces by recognised women writers, whose linguistic skill enables them to convey the discovery not just of places – from Cairo to Tokyo, the Galapagos to Burma – but of themselves and their travelling companions as well. This course, based on Without a Guide: Contemporary Women’s Travel Adventures, will explore the collection thematically, with some commentary on social and literary aspects. Independent Study Discussion... [More]

Crossing the East-West Divide

This is an historical ‘portrait’ study showing in broad outline the emergence of modern civilisation over the past 10,000 years, beginning in Mesopotamia, spreading throughout Western Asia and across to China and finally, after several millennia of development, flowing across to the West from China and Western Asia to spark the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions and the Renaissance, the forerunner of our modern civilisation. This interchange and interdependence has produced an... [More]

Life and Death Matters: Through Philosophical Discussion

Socrates' unfortunate demise (399BC) left an indelible mark on his admiring student Plato. The dialogues contained in The Last Days of Socrates bear witness to central issues surrounding Socrates' trial and execution; and what it means to live and die well from a philosophical perspective. The course aims to stimulate and guide philosophical discussion of life and death matters; and will interest any groups wishing to explore and develop their capacity for thoughtful discussion.... [More]

Designing Women

This course will explore the lives of six women from different continents, living in the late 19th to 20th centuries. The common thread linking these women is that they all possessed creative talents in their respective fields of art and design. We will trace their lives, assessing their achievements and recognition: Gertrude Jekyll, artist/craftswoman/garden designer (England); Ellis Rowan, flower painter (Australia); Beatrix Potter, artist/illustrator (England); Marion Mahony,... [More]