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Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman is a Vice Chancellor's Fellow at La Trobe University. His most recent books are God Save the Queen (Scribe, 2021) and  Death in the Sauna (Clouds of Magellan, 2023).

Dennis Altman reviews 'Masculinities' by R.W. Connell

May 1995, no. 170 01 May 1995
For over twenty years Bob Connell has been a leading figure in the development of an Australian sociology, and his move from Macquarie University to the University of California several years ago was a significant loss to Australian academic life. I wish I could write Australian public life, but our press, which is fond of academics with far less to say than Bob Connell, has largely ignored his wo ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'Two Nations: The causes and effects of the rise of the One Nation Party in Australia' edited by Robert Manne

October 1998, no. 205 01 October 1998
Even if Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party were to self-destruct after the next federal election, which I suspect is a real possibility, it has earned itself a position in Australian political history. Hanson herself must be one of our most remarkable political figures, having risen within three years from the obscurity of a Liberal nominee for an unwinnable electorate to a politician with media ... (read more)

'Letter from Manila' by Dennis Altman

October 2001, no. 235 01 October 2001
Of all major South-East Asian nations, the Philippines is least known in Australia, and rarely studied, even in our universities. The material and historical differences between the two countries seem to have blinded us to the interests our two countries share. Australia did not support the long Filipino struggle for independence, as with Indonesia’s, nor actively oppose it, as with Vietnam’s. ... (read more)

The Boys in the Band (Netflix)

ABR Arts 12 October 2020
It is hard today to recall the full extent of the furore that surrounded the first productions of Mart Crowley’s play The Boys in the Band. First produced off Broadway in April 1968, a year before the riots at the Stonewall Inn that sparked a new militant gay politics, it quickly became a hit, and was staged in Sydney later that year, where it ran for seven months. Scott McKinnnon, in his essay ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'The Pink Line: The world’s queer frontiers' by Mark Gevisser

September 2020, no. 424 21 August 2020
In 2011, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton proclaimed that ‘gay rights are human rights’. This statement, which would seem uncontroversial to most readers of ABR, was widely attacked as a symbol of Western neo-colonialism. Combined with the 2015 US Supreme Court recognition of same-sex marriage, gay rights were seen by many religious and political leaders as a threat to tradition, cultur ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'Down Home: Revisiting Tasmania' by Peter Conrad

March 1989, no. 108 01 March 1989
Back in 1964 before I left the University of Tasmania, Amanda Howard (now Lohrey) introduced me to a serious, nondescript first-year student who, she told me, would go far. Twenty years later Peter Conrad is a Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, and author of a number of well-regarded books on literature, opera, and television, with a reputation established on both sides of the Atlantic. Down Home i ... (read more)

'Letter from New York' by Dennis Altman

June–July 2002, no. 242 01 June 2002
The New York City Opera could not have known when they programmed a revival of John Philip Souza’s The Glass Blower just how appropriate it would be post-September 11. The opera, a pastiche of Gilbert and Sullivan, George Bernard Shaw and Franz Lehár, was first produced in 1913 but harked back to the war with Spain in 1898, which gave the USA its empire in the Caribbean and Pacific. Among other ... (read more)

‘Things that never were: Contradictions in the 2019 federal election' by Dennis Altman

September 2019, no. 414 26 August 2019
In retrospect, the Morrison government’s win in May 2019 is not surprising. After the shift to the right in a number of liberal democracies since the election of Donald Trump, why did we assume that Australia would be immune? The assumption that Labor was certain to win resembled the attitude of most commentators towards Hillary Clinton in the United States in 2016. This is not to suggest that S ... (read more)

Boy Erased

ABR Arts 07 November 2018
We all love redemption movies. The twist in Boy Erased is that redemption comes by escaping religion rather than discovering it. Garrard Conley is a nineteen-year-old college student who grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist family in Arkansas. When his parents discover his homosexuality, they pressure him into attending a Christian conversion camp, where he lasts twelve days before fleeing. In 2016 ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'Has The Gay Movement Failed?' by Martin Duberman

September 2018, no. 404 24 August 2018
The basic thesis of this book is that the gay movement has settled for accommodation rather than radical change, ignoring the ways in which larger social and economic inequalities impact on large numbers of homosexual and transsexual people, especially those who are not white or middle class. This is not a new critique, although it is one that is particularly resonant in Donald Trump’s America. ... (read more)
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