Report on Lecture at U of Ljubljana

AUSTRALIAN STUDIES on the ROAD (cf. Projects): Oliver Haag in Ljubljana 

Report on the Lecture ‘Tradition, Innovation, and the Question of Economy', delivered at the University of Ljubljana (Nov. 2008)
By Danica Čerče and Oliver Haag


One of the central aims of ASRN is to promote lectures on Australian topics at Central European universities. Two members of ASRN, Danica Čerče from Ljubljana and Oliver Haag from Vienna, tried to realise this aim after the third ASRN roundtable meeting had taken place in Budapest. As a result, Oliver was invited by Danica to give a lecture to her students at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, on 14 Nov. 2008. It was certainly a challenging task to find an appropriate theme for an audience studying business and economics. We had to bear in mind that most of the students did not know much about Australia. Consequently, what could a historian and political scientist tell such students about Australia? How was it possible to get them interested in such a talk? The answer seemed obvious-it was not feasible to talk about literature or historiography. We soon decided that it had to be something ‘general', tailored to the specific needs and interests of her students. Finally, we agreed on an Indigenous subject. The title of the lecture was ‘Tradition, Innovation, and the Question of Economy-on the Situation of Indigenous Australians in Contemporary Society'. The talk highlighted the economical dimensions of inter-racial Australian history-covering the economical impacts of the processes of colonisation on the Indigenous populations, the economical dimensions of the assimilation policies (particularly the forcible abduction of Indigenous children from their families) as well as the socio-economic disadvantages Indigenous people as a group still have to bear. Reconciliation and the question of financial compensations were also discussed. To most students, these issues were fairly new. Yet students were very attentive and interested in getting some insight into Australia. It was thus absolutely worth the effort to offer such a lecture. The organisation itself was excellent and everything went smooth. We encourage organising similar events in the future.