The contrast between Enlightenment and Romanticism is commonly used to define the beginning and end, respectively, of the cultural shift that takes us from traditional to modern cultural forms. Our themes flag the complexity of this shift; the ways in which it was influenced, adopted, or challenged by non-European cultures; and its legacies in the present, including in Australia, which has been described variously as an Enlightenment and a Romantic project. Perhaps the most unexpected of these legacies is Climate Change (the Anthropocene), which is an outcome of cultural, technological, and imperial transformations that begin in the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. As this suggests, our themes are designed to sketch the chief contours of the field within which we are working - but they are also a manifesto, intended to flag the multi-faceted social and cultural environment from which the modern world has emerged.
The images lead to a summary of the relevant theme (alongside a list of related projects). Because our themes describe the field within which we are working, individual projects are likely to be listed against more than one theme. An alphabetical list of projects can be found under Projects.