Deep Time workshop

Date and time
Fri 10 Aug 2018, 9AM–5PM

UWA Institute of Advanced Studies

This Deep Time workshop will attempt to grapple with some of the methodological and theoretical issues that beset a deep time history of Australia. Such a project would require a realignment of the chronology of Australia’s national narratives. This workshop will discuss some of the game changing evidence that could potentially inform a deep time history of Australia. It will consider a range of potential research and narrative approaches in order to examine the challenges, possibilities and impossibilities of translating Indigenous and scientific evidence into historical narratives. After all, any such deep time histories could reconfigure both Australian and global history.

Archaeologists, rock art specialists, geological, climatic, genomic and other scientists are uncovering substantial evidence about Australia’s ancient past. Indigenous knowledge custodians often attest that these western knowledge ‘discoveries’ only confirm what they already knew through their own modes of knowledge transmission. Australia’s national history knowledge gap remains.

Despite a general acceptance that Indigenous Australian civilization stretches back 60,000 years, young Australians say they are not taught much about Australia’s long human history.

Via collaborative approaches to deep time narratives, will it be possible to displace the imaginative hold of European navigators and ‘discoverers’, whose accounts are told in writing and text, with narratives of Australia’s deep human past? Without the written evidence that has underpinned western historical traditions, is it possible or even advisable to conceive of and present such a long stretch of time as ‘history’? This event will be held during Kathleen Fitzpatrick ARC Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor Ann McGrath’s visit to UWA. During her visit she will also deliver the 2018 Tom Stannage Memorial Lecture.

Deep Time poster.

Professor Ann McGrath, ANU
Dr Alice Gorman, Flinders University
Aileen Walsh, ANU
Dr Ben Silverstein, ANU
Dr Martin Porr, UWA
Dr Sven Ouzman, UWA
Professor Stephen Hopper, UWA
Alison Lullfitz, UWA
Dr Shino Konishi, UWA
Dr Glen Stasiuk, Murdoch University
Professor Len Collard, UWA