Humanities for the Environment Australia-Pacific Observatory Update: “Caring for Country”

September 20, 2013

“Caring for Country” is the theme that connects a constellation of activities organized by project leader Iain McCalman of the Australia-Pacific Observatory, one of the three continental collaborations of CHCI’s Mellon-funded Humanities for the Environment project.  During the first half of 2013, McCalman and his team at the University of Sydney recruited distinguished new members of the Observatory from across the region and negotiated an ongoing collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History (New York) and the Australian National Museum (Canberra), to be formalized at a joint New York conference October 2-4, 2013, co-organized by Australia-Pacific Observatory members, Dr. Kirsten Wehner and Professor Libby Robins. This event also features a keynote lecture from Professor McCalman, a paper from Indigenous Observatory scholar Leah Lui-Chivezhe, and a reception to which USA Observatory members are invited.

November 6-9, 2013 will bring a Marine and Maritime Research Festival of six events at Sydney University, co-hosted by the Australia-Pacific Observatory, the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Sydney Environment Institute. It includes the launch of Professor McCalman’s Penguin history, The Reef: A Passionate History (to be available in the U.S, from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in April 2014), and the first Australia-Pacific Observatory PhD and Master’s workshop for students from across the region.

Sydney web company Extrablack has been engaged to build the Observatory website, Caring for Country, to be linked with those of the Sydney Environment Institute in Australia, the CHCI/Mellon website, and the HfE project site. The Observatory will also in December 2013 launch Invasion Ecologies: The Nature/Culture Question (Routledge, UK), edited and introduced by Observatory members, McCalman and Jodi Frawley, with chapters from five other members.  Planning is underway for the Observatory’s major conference of February 2014, Living in the Anthropocene. What can the Environmental Humanities Offer?