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Saturday, 19th April 2014

API Review of Books

Altitude BirdIssue 44
Features reviews by Kathleen Broderick, Linn Miller, Christine Choo, Bill Thorpe, David Ritter, Eve Vincent, Stephanie Bishop, Alison Miles, Richard Kay, Amanda Day, Bernard Whimpress, Mads Clausen, Marion May Campbell, Sylvia Alston, Catie Gilchrist, Eva Chapman, Lucy Dougan, Stephen Lawrence and Nathanael O'Reilly. Click here for more details.


Altitude BirdPopular Music: Practices, Formations and Change - Australian Perspectives
The papers collected here in this special edition of Altitude offer a brief snapshot of popular music research broadly connected with Australia. The essays demonstrate the variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used by researchers in the fields of popular music studies and cultural studies to explore themes of popular music practice, formation and change in an Australian context. Click here for more details.

Network Scholars

The Australian Paradox(es) Revisited

  • Cameron Richards
    The challenge of being asked to teach Australian Studies in Hungary as part of an academic exchange in 1994 helped me to confront in a direct and practical fashion some of the issues that I was grappling with in a doctoral dissertation1. An obvious temptation was there to cater mainly for an exotic interest and talk about the distinctive contents of Australia’s bush heritage and national culture with popular references from the verse of Banjo Paterson through to the Paul Hogan film Crocodile Dundee (which had recently been shown on the local television), a canonical literary figure or ...
    Click here to read more.

Network Review of Books

Civilising Subjects: Colony and Metropole in the English Imagination (2002)

  • imageReviewed by Lorenzo Veracini in the November 2002 issue.
    Civilising Subjects is an outstanding achievement, which, as Roy Porter has suggested, 'does for colonial history what E P Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class did for social history' (cited in Polity site:; Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, 1963). The point of departure for Hall's study is, on the one hand, the 'imperative of placing colony and metropole in one analytic frame', and on the other, the notion that the complex dialectic relationship associating the two 'went both ways, even if in unequal relations of power' (Hall, p 9). The ... read more.

The Commonwealth of Speech: An Argument About Australia's Past, Present and Future (2002)

  • imageReviewed by Jasmina Brankovich in the December 2004 issue.
    This book by University of New England history professor Alan Atkinson was published in 2002, but it resonates with urgency in 2004, when read in the aftermath of the most recent federal election, when many are debating where Australia is moving to now. Much of this, as some have noticed, is happening in that doyen of conservative rat-bagging that is Australia's talk-back radio scene today. It is the power of the oral and the aural that those disappointed with the election result will need to learn to use better in the forthcoming years. In The Commonwealth of Speech, Atkinson understands ... read more.

The Prince's New Clothes: Why Do Australians Dislike Their Politicians? (2002)

  • imageReviewed by Tony Smith in the October 2002 issue.
    Considering that media consistently present negative images of Australian politics and that some professional 'politicians' undermined their own credibility during the 1999 constitutional referenda, it is a relief to find a work that rationally explores the idea of a crisis in trust. This valuable collection begins with a dispassionate examination of the level of dislike so far as it can be gleaned from data produced by polling agencies, focus groups and social science surveys. The longest chapter, by Murray Goot, investigates and provides a historical perspective on the notion of distrust, ... read more.

Goodbye Bussamarai: The Mandandanji Land War, Southern Queensland 1842-1852 (2002)

  • imageReviewed by Jack Bowers in the August 2002 issue.
    The Mandandanji land war occurred across the land of the Barunggan, Mandandanji, Bigambul and Yiman peoples, about 300 kilometres west of Brisbane. From the first white explorations into the area, until a few months after the Yamboucal massacre, Patrick Collins sketches the historical, cultural and political complexities of a decade of what we still feel uncomfortable about calling war. The title, though interesting, is a little misleading. Bussamarai (pronounced bussa-murray) was an influential Mandandanji warrior who led a coalition of different tribes against the white people. Collins ... read more.

Anglicanism in Australia: A History (2002)

  • imageReviewed by Marion Spies in the December 2002 issue.
    With some notable exceptions (such as the excellent collection of essays Religion in Australia: Sociological Perspectives [1991], edited by Alan W Black), Australian sociologists and historians have sadly neglected Anglicans, among other denominations. Anglicans, on their part, seem to have paid little attention to the social dimension of their faith; most have preferred to write ecclesiastical histories. But in this volume, thirteen contributors present a critical historical investigation of the Anglican social experience in Australia. In part one, 'Narrative', six contributors give a ... read more.

Cut to the Word (2002)

  • imageReviewed by Sue Bond in the June 2003 issue.
    It feels like a punch, that's all. We all say that when we're knifed in the heart. Our body's just a punching bag. One stab is fatal most times, but everyone in this poem survived. All of us were badly hurt. (from 'The heart: a knife in every chamber', p 12)This first poem of Tim Metcalf's is clever and robust. It is divided, like the heart, into four chambers, dealing with three injured patients in casualty, and the doctor himself, wounded in a different way. We immediately know the personal aspect of the doctor's work, that he is not an automaton stitching up and resuscitating, but a fellow ... read more.

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