culture literature

My last words on 2020 from Thomas Browne’s Urn Burial

Oblivion. Death. The rites we practise to farewell the dead. What better themes to end 2020? This afternoon I have begun a reading plan for 2020 that incorporates listening to audio books, and in one afternoon I have completed, while talking a lunchtime walk and doing the pre-dinner dishes, the magnificent sentences of Thomas Browne’s […]

culture history

Fragile identities, fragile memories

It is justice which extracts from traumatizing remembrances their exemplary value, turns memory into a project, and it is this project of justice that gives the form of the future and of imperativeness to the duty of memory Paul Ricoeur Memory, History, Forgetting  Some years ago I was asked to prepare one of those profiles of myself that […]

history Personal story the real world today

From flashbacks to testimony – reflections on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Childhood Sexual Abuse

In September last year I delivered a paper to a conference sponsored by a major research centre on the history of emotions. It was a step away for me from the hidden bureaucrat who never speaks in public or who does not share the depth and range of his thoughts. Perhaps I hoped it might […]