Published: August 2015
vast shape-shifting continent of Australia enables us to take a long view of
history. We consider ways to cross the great divide between the deep past and
the present. Australia's human past is not a short past, so we need to
enlarge the scale and scope of history beyond 1788. In ways not so distant,
these deeper times happened in the same places where we walk today. Yet, they
were not the same places, having different surfaces, ecologies and peoples.
Contributors to this volume show how the earth and its past peoples can wake
us up to a sense of place as history - as a site of both change and
This book ignites the possibilities of what the spaces and expanses of
history might be. Its authors reflect upon the need for appropriate, feasible
timescales for history, pointing out some of the obstacles encountered in
earlier efforts to slice human time into thematic categories. Time and
history are considered from the perspective of physics, archaeology,
literature, western and Indigenous philosophy. Ultimately, this collection
argues for imaginative new approaches to collaborative histories of deep time
that are better suited to the challenges of the Anthropocene. Contributors to
this volume, including many leading figures in their respective disciplines,
consider history's temporality, and ask how history might expand to
accommodate a chronology of deep time. Long histories that incorporate
humanities, science and Indigenous knowledge may produce deeper meanings of
the worlds in which we live.
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