Global Encounters Network Seminar Series returns this Friday

In 2021 the research team powering the Global Encounters project launched the Global Encounters Network Seminar Series, a monthly online program that saw academic experts from around the world interrogate and challenge entrenched narratives that have long defined Australian history. The seminars presented in our 2021 program are available to view on our Resources page.

In 2022 we are excited to showcase a new program of speakers, starting this Friday 25 March with a presentation from Professor Nicholas Evans (Australian National University).

Speakers to be featured in the coming months include:

  • A/Professor John Bradley (Monash University),
  • Curator Matt Poll (Australian National Maritime Museum),
  • Dr Sophie Couchman (La Trobe University), and
  • A/Professor Michael Rowland (James Cook University).

More speakers will be announced later in the year, and all upcoming seminars will be publicised on our Events page.

An Australian Research Council Laureate project helmed by Professor Lynette Russell AM, ‘Global Encounters and First Nations Peoples: 1000 Years of Australian History’ explores encounters between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and visitors from across the seas over the period of a millennium, in order to recast, reimagine and redefine Australia’s history, national identity, and place in the world. The Global Encounters Network Seminar Series amplifies this mission by bringing together a community of experts in Australia and abroad to explore the place of Australia in the last millennia of global encounters.

Registrations are now open for the first two seminars in this year's exciting program.

1. Mirror or compass? Sleuthing the histories of Macassan words in Northern Australia

Contact with ‘Macassans’ was the most significant contact by Indigenous Australian groups with the ‘outside’ world before the British invasion. Along with influences discernible in the realms of material objects, genes, and cultural practices, they also left extensive and tangible evidence of their presence in the form of ‘loanwords’ – words adopted into the languages of many scores of Indigenous groups from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Bonaparte Gulf. How to interpret the stories these words can tell us, according to the rigorous principles of historical linguistics, is the subject of this talk.

Speaker: Professor Nicholas Evans, Australian National University

Nicholas (Nick) Evans is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the Australian National University (ANU), and directs the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) as well as the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Initiative (ECDI). For four decades he has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork on Indigenous languages of Australia and Papua New Guinea. His driving interests are the interplay between the diversity contained in the world’s endangered languages and the many scientific and humanistic questions they can help us answer about human history, culture, mind and society.

Time: Friday 25 March 2022, 6:00pm - 7:00pm AEDT

Registrations: Click here to register.

2. “li-Makajanbala, li-Malayi, li-Munanga, li-Kariyangu, li-Tharribamara, that’s what old people called them, those Makassan men now” (Annie Karrakayny 1992): An overview of oral history, song, place and relationships between the trepang fishermen from Makassar and the Yanyuwa people in the South West Gulf of Carpentaria

In this seminar A/Professor John Bradley will draw on one particular focus from his over 40 years of working with Yanyuwa families in the South West Gulf of Carpentaria: relationships and points of contact with the seafarers from Makassar. Through the documentation of stories, songs, and sites upon the Sir Edward Pellew Islands, historical photographs, and an understanding of family and kinship, a complex picture emerges regarding points of contact between Yanyuwa families and the Makassan trepangers.

Speaker: A/Professor John Bradley, Monash University

John Bradley has worked for 43 years in the South West Gulf of Carpentaria. He is a speaker of Yanyuwa, Garrwa and Kriol Indigenous languages. Working with Yanyuwa elders, he has produced a two-volume Yanyuwa encyclopediac dictionary, an atlas of Yanyuwa country, and the award-winning Singing Saltwater Country: Journey to the Songlines of Carpentaria (2010). He has been the senior anthropologist on a number of land claims in the South West Gulf of Carpentaria and more recently engaged in Native Title and issues associated with compensation. He works with local li-Anthawirriyarra Indigenous ranger groups in regards to acknowledging Indigenous knowledges, language and cultural revitalisation. He is the founder of Wunungu Awara: Animating Indigenous Knowledges based at Monash Indigenous Studies Centre. Working Australia-wide, Wunungu Awara uses high-end animation to help preserve endangered languages, their stories, song and knowledges for future generations. He is presently the acting head of Monash Indigenous Studies Centre.

Time: Thursday 14 April 2022, 6:00pm - 7:00pm AEST

Registrations: Click here to register.

For all enquiries, please contact