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RAHS Special Lecture – Subjects of Time: Australian lives at the fin de siècle

Event Date & Time: Wednesday, 14 August 2024 @ 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm

Event Location: History House, 133 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000

Cost: Free

Event Description:

The fin de siècle (c.1890–1914) reflected a tension between the movement towards the future and an enervating stasis: fears of degeneration contested with the promise of progress. Many of the biographical subjects of The Fin de Siècle Imagination in Australia – including feminist Vida Goldstein, writer Henry Lawson, and Aboriginal activist David Unaipon – seemed gripped by a sense of urgency in pursuit of their aims, as the possibilities of profound change seemed imminently within reach. The ideas available at the fin de siècle provided the imaginative resources for intensifying this search: first wave feminism and the New Woman, the emergence of radical politics and anarchism; the exploration of Symbolism and alternative spirituality. The Fin de Siècle Imagination in Australia explores the patterns of self-creation that emerged from these individuals’ experience, and their need to assert an identity at a moment of profound change in Australian society.

About the speaker:

Mark Hearn is a senior lecturer in the Department of History and Archaeology, Macquarie University. His research focuses on the history, historiography, and historical theory of the fin de siècle, and the history of ideas and governance in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is the author of The Fin de Siècle Imagination in Australia, 1890–1914 (London: Bloomsbury 2022).

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