History, politics & current affairs
Questions for the Nation: Darwin
What are the most important questions facing Australians – today and in the future?
The Wheeler Centre is roaming Australia, collecting the nation’s most urgent questions and thrashing them out with some of the sharpest thinkers we know. We’re doing it in panel discussions at Brisbane Writers Festival, Perth’s Disrupted Festival of Ideas, Darwin Festival and National Young Writers Festival…
Nation, Clan, Self: Paul Beatty, Susan Faludi and Ivan Coyote in Conversation
‘Is identity something you "choose," or is it the very thing you can't escape?’
In 2017, the personal has never been more political – and the political never more personal. Still, even as we obsessively unpack how to best define ourselves and others, a clear understanding of ‘identity’ can prove frustratingly elusive.
Jane Caro, Ivan Coyote, Susan Faludi and Paul Beatty
'Community’s not something you consume. It’s something that you build.'Ivan Coyote
There are few better placed to untangle our often divergent conceptions of identity than Paul Beatty, Susan Faludi and Ivan Coyote.
Paul Beatty’s bitingly funny work – including the satirical, Man Booker Prize-winning The Sellout – explores the complexities and contradictions of what it means to ‘be black’ in a ‘post-racial’ world.
Susan Faludi’s examinations of what it means to ‘be a woman’, meanwhile, have driven her to explore the shifting sands of gender inequality. Her latest work, In The Darkroom, explores the failure of existing transgender narratives to account for the complexity of her father’s late-in-life gender transition.
Transgender Canadian spoken word artist Ivan Coyote is well aware of how complicated gender-based conceptions of identity can be. The author and lead performer of Tomboy Survival Guide, Coyote’s books and performances are designed to guide their audience toward circumnavigating the gender binary ‘in seven thousand easy steps’.
What does it mean to write the self, or to write about nationhood – and how do we best fight to ensure others understand how we want to be seen? Host Jane Caro talks with three acclaimed international authors and artists whose work is driven by a challenge to interrogate how we move between categories, or are forced to inhabit them.
The Fifth Estate
Dealing with Drugs
The Australia21 report, ‘Can Australia respond to drugs more effectively and safely?’, released in March of this year, argues that it’s time to bring an end to the costly, unavailing campaign of criminalising drug users – and to instead adopt a wide approach to harm reduction.
The report’s 13 key recommendations are groundbreaking, and drawn from conversations between people with…
Roxane Gay’s latest book, a collection of short fiction called Difficult Women. The pages of the book are populated with resilient, perverse, bold, provocative, hilarious and heroic female characters.
It’s some of these very same qualities that have propelled Gay herself to feminist stardom. As a writer, and as a distinctly 21st-century voice in American feminism, Gay embraces complexity…
Elections Across Europe
Sally Warhaft, Georgina Downer and Mary Gearin — Photo: Jon Tjhia
In 2017, Europe is in a period of heightened uncertainty: the rise of populist politics, the biggest refugee crisis since World War II, the prospect of a weakened European Union and an increasingly assertive Russia on its doorstep.
French voters recently rejected both major parties to elect an unknown quantity in Emmanuel Macron, who has never before held elected office. The UK’s new Prime Minister Theresa May has made a virtue of being an ‘unclubbable’ Conservative, but after riding high in the lead-up to the June election on a manifesto of 'country and community', her campaign has begun to falter in the wake of two terrorist attacks and the resulting debates about security and rights.
What will happen when Germany goes to the polls in September? Angela Merkel's popularity has been waning since 2015, but 21st-century Europe has become hard to imagine without her steady, predictable presence.
To discuss the state of play in the UK and Europe – and for the 100th edition of this long-running Wheeler Centre series – Fifth Estate host Sally Warhaft is joined by Mary Gearin and Georgina Downer.
Direct Line: Manus Island and The Messenger
Abdul Aziz Muhamat – originally from Sudan, now a refugee detained on Manus – has been using a smuggled phone to give Australians a first-hand account of life in detention. Since March 2016, Aziz has been corresponding with Melbourne journalist Michael Green, using WhatsApp to relay voice messages. The Messenger is a ten-part podcast series from the Wheeler Centre…
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