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Faction: A New Species of Writing?

In the last decade or so, the boundaries between fiction and fact have become blurred and a new type of writing has been identified: ‘faction’ or the combination of fiction and fact. In this course, we look at some recent examples of this literary form and consider whether the categories of fiction and non-fiction are useful; what, indeed, are the differences; and is this really a new activity at all? Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study by groups without a tutor, so... [More]

Political Forum: Five Women in Focus

The focus of this course will be on five women whose profile on the world scene has had great worth and influence within their nation’s political forum. The lives of the following will be studied – Benazir Bhutto: A tenacious surviving remnant of a Pakistani political dynasty; Aung San Suu Kyi:, Nobel prize winner, democratically elected (still unrecognised) leader of Myanmar (Burma); Megawati Sukarnoputri: President of Indonesia, carrying the nation’s hope for democracy, Sonia... [More]

Florence: The Spring of the Renaissance

In 1419 and 1421 two new buildings were started in Florence. They were the Foundling Hospital and the Old Sacristy of S Lorenzo. In 1425 Massaccio painted his Trinity, the first truly illusionist painting. All were different from the Gothic Italy of the time. Why did this happen? This course looks at the motivations for this astounding change – literary, philosophical, political and emotional. The core of this change is the architect Brunelleschi, and thus we study the multiple... [More]

Vietnam: Past, Present and Future

This course will look at the past, present and potential future of Vietnam. It will provide some new and up-to-date insights into this rapidly growing and changing country. We will discuss the historical and political background of the country, and the social and economic changes that have been occurring. We will try to discover how the Vietnamese people perceive themselves and also the relationship between Australia and Vietnam. Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study... [More]

The Pillars of Hercules: Theroux in the Mediterranean

Paul Theroux has written some of travel literature’s most famous and respected books. In this course, we join him on a wander around the countries facing the Mediterranean Sea, travelling from the Rock of Gibraltar to the southern shores of Morocco, visiting bullfights, bazaars, medieval villages and ancient ruins, development sites and war ravaged towns in areas such as Sicily, Slovenia, Turkey, Israel and Tunisia. Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study by groups... [More]

When A Philosopher Looks In A Mirror

This is an attempt to approach philosophy through a discussion of its most characteristic self-images. In contemporary philosophy the close association of philosophy with academic scholarship, with scientific research, and with technical expertise seems to reinforce the view that it is the exclusive preserve of the specialist. Reflection on these and other less fashionable images of philosophy shows that it properly belongs to every thinking person who is plunged into wonderment... [More]

Prize Picks

The sheer volume of modern publishing can make choosing a novel an overwhelming enterprise. In this course we consult the many annual high-profile literary awards and let them choose for us. The result is a variety of novels and authors from around the world, each with a distinctive voice and a seemingly inexhaustible variety of methods and techniques for describing and detailing the world. Independent Study Discussion Courses are for study by groups without a tutor, so there is no... [More]

Powerful Words! Popular Poems!

Collecting words into a line of verse can be a spoken delight. Voicing our own thoughts can be rewarding, so can the voicing of the words of others. This course will let us voice the words of selected Australian, British and American poets of the last 150 years. Poets such as Les Murray, David Malouf, Rosemary Dobson, W H Auden, W B Yeats, Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Included will be pieces from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Judith Wright and Kath Walker exploring... [More]

The Poetry of Sydney

This is a course based on the text Sydney’s Poems, an anthology collected for the 150th anniversary of Sydney. It contains contributions from poets from colonial days to the present time. Poets such as Henry Lawson, Dorothea McKellar, Kenneth Slessor, Patrick White, David Malouf and John Tranter are included. The course will look at the role that ‘place’ plays in inspiring poets, developing a national psyche and how it influences the way we feel about ourselves, our culture and our... [More]

Was There a Trojan War?

A course which recreates the Bronze Age, reading our legacy of archaeology, mythology and history to bring to life Helen of Troy, Ulysses, the Minotaur and the material world of Minoan and Mycenaean civilisation. 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 years ago, and... [More]