Editor: Elizabeth McMahon
This special issue of Australian Humanities Review foregrounds the Eco-Humanities section of the journal with the publication of the proceedings of Desert Gardens: Waterless lands and the problems of adaptation, convened by Ian Donaldson and Libby Robin for the Australian National University’s Humanities Research Centre in March 2005. The conference, which launched the Centre’s 2005 theme of Cultural landscapes, was the second in a sequence of three international conferences on gardens sponsored by a group of research institutions in the United States, Britain, and Australia. A selection of twelve essays has been collated and edited by the conference convenors and presented here in a collection that explores the tensions between “the illusion of stability and rootedness” created by gardens, which are, in fact, subject to evolution and change. The essays are introduced by Libby Robin and Ian Donaldson, and the collection concludes with a reflection on the conference by Sverker Sörlin.
In his essay latest essay, “War in the age of intelligent machines and unintelligent government”, Ian Buchanan argues that the most terrifying phase of the war machine is when peace itself is the target of destruction and perpetual unrest the desired solution of war.
In “Reading Stephen Muecke’s Ancient and Modern: Time, Culture, and Indigenous Philosophy” Ken Gelder identifies a shift away from the self-reflexivity that characterises much non-Indigenous engagement with Aboriginal stories to an “ambitious non-Aboriginal or ‘whitefella’ attempt to describe ‘being Aboriginal’ and to account for what Muecke calls Aboriginal philosophy”.
Richard Waterhouse reviews Dance Hall and Picture Palace; Sydney’s Romance With Modernity by Jill Julius Matthews.
In “Reading the Other” Grant Hamilton reviews Derek Attridge’s study of J.M. Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading : Literature in the Event.
Stephen Muecke has responded to Ken Gelder’s review of his book Ancient and Modern: Time, Culture, and Indigenous Philosophy.
Ecological Humanities Corner
Desert Gardens: Waterless Lands and the Problems of Adaptation
“Introduction to Desert Gardens” by Libby Robin and Ian Donaldson
“Gardens without fences? Landscape in Aboriginal Australia” by Bill Gammage
“Radical Cactus: The Other Garden at the Getty Center” by Gail Feigenbaum
“Jardin d’Essai,Algiers” by Charles Salas
“The Void, the Grid and the Garden” by William L. Fox
Adapting gardening to waterless lands
“An Emerald City ? Water and the Colonial Picturesque at the National Capital, 1901-1964” by Christopher Vernon
“Decolonising Australian gardens: gardening and the ethics of place” by Val Plumwood
“Chinese market gardens in southern and western New South Wales” by Barry McGowan
“The abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet what’s-his-name” by Harriet Edquist
“A Lunatic Garden” by Terri-ann White
“Moving Colours” by Sverker Sörlin