This e-newsletter will arrive at one of the busiest times of the year...but I wanted to let you know that the 24th issue of Dialogue Australasia journal should reach you any day, and that registration is now open for the 2011 Conference (in the event you had some $$ left in this year's budget to spend!)  And once all the marking and reports are done, you might find one of two other bits of interest herein.
                                                                                                          Warmly, Belinda Hill, DAN EO
8th International DAN CONFERENCE 18-20 APRIL 2011
Engaging Sceptical Minds with Ultimate Questions
Newington College - Sydney

When we take students' ultimate concerns as our starting point, the classroom becomes a space where we can explore the metaphysical, ethical, spiritual and philosophical dimensions of being human.  What is a good life?  What does it mean to be human?  How do I find truth?  Why is there suffering and evil?  Opportunities to address such questions in a philosophically rigorous and existentially authentic way are rare, and yet answers have profound implications for the way we live. 
At the 2011 Dialogue Australasia Network Conference, outstanding educators will engage with and model strategies for exploring ultimate questions.  Keynote addresses will be followed by Making it Happen in the Classroom sessions, offering practical resources for both primary and secondary teachers of Religious and Philosophical Studies, Values and Ethics.  

Keynote Speakers:

  • Associate Professor Rufus Black – Master of Ormond College, University of Melbourne
  • Julian Burnside, AO QC  (Opening Address)
  • Gary Gach – Author of ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism’
  • Dr Jeremy Hall – Head of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Newington College
  • Professor Gareth Jones – Director of Bioethics, Department of Anatomy & Structural Biology, University of Otago
  • Dr Felicity McCutcheon – Head of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Melbourne Grammar School
  • Dr David Tacey – Reader in Literature & Associate Professor of Psychoanalytic Studies, La Trobe University.
24th Issue of Dialogue Australasia Journal & 2011 Renewal Invoices - Out Now

  • Buddhism: A couple of FAQs by Gary Gach
  • Two Way Thinking by Hannah Rachel Bell 
  • The Warrior Gene Controversy by The NZ InterChurch Bioethics Council
  • What would Kant make of that? by Dr Christopher Falzon
  • Looking at Images as a Form of Discernment by Rod Pattenden 
  • Vampires, the Soul and what is means to be Human by Dr Peter & Charlotte Vardy 
  • Logic and Rhetoric in Literature by Duncan MacLaurin
  • Far Away So Close: Atheism in the Classroom by Nikolai Blaskow
  • Rooting our Values Brian Poxon by Ballarat
If you do not receive your journals by the end of November, or realise your Membership has lapsed and wish to obtain this copy of the journal, please contact the DAN EO

The good folks at Scarboro Missions have added to their suite of Golden Rule resources a comprehensive curriculum called A Rule Made of Gold.  
And it is now much easier to order the Golden Rule Poster (email B B Broughton Ltd who are offering a discount of 20% for 50+ posters).
MOVIE: The Social Network (2010) 

Facebook is truly a 21st century phenomena. With over 500 million members, if Facebook was a country, it would rank third in size behind China and India. The Social Network charts it's creation by Harvard undergrad Mark Zuckerberg and the subsequent betrayal of his friends and co-creators.  In so doing, the film 'nails the concerns of privileged post-adolescence and...more universally, draws out eternal themes of truth, subjectivity and envy' (Film4) as well as the nature of friendship, community and ambition...This makes for a film with plenty of content for classroom discussion....
As usual, the folk at Damaris have assembled a range of resources to accompany The Social Network, including a 7 minute video with clips from the film centering around the question 'What is true friendship?' and a Discussion Guide that poses questions such as:
  1. 'There's difference between being obsessed and motivated,' Mark assures his girlfriend. What is Mark most passionate about? How much is he prepared to sacrifice in pursuit of his goals?

  2. Sean Parker: 'You know what's cooler than a million dollars?' 
    Eduardo Saverin: 'You?'
    Sean Parker: 'A billion dollars.'
    How are the themes of 'coolness' and money played out through the film?

  3. Facebook has around 500 million members worldwide. What impact has it had on our culture?

  4. 'Who are you? . . . I mean, what do you do?' Mark asked junior lawyer Marylin Delpy. In what ways does Facebook encourage us to define ourselves? How does this affect our concept of identity?

  5. 'As if every thought that tumbles through your head was so clever it would be a crime for it not to be shared,' Mark's ex Erica snaps at Mark. Why are people drawn to the idea of broadcasting their personal lives on the internet?

  6. 'The internet's not written in pencil, Mark. It's written in ink,' states Erica, seething at the comments he blogged about her. Why is the typed word so powerful? Why is it tempting to misuse this power online? What positive things can social-networking sites achieve when used to their full potential?

  7. '[Mark's] from a logged-in, left-out generation that knows little of beauty and even less of feeling,' says Empire. Do you agree, and why/why not? How might this generation resolve these problems and learn to connect with people on a deeper level?
The Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology (ISCAST) is an Australian organisation dedicated to exploring the interface between science and the Christian faith. 
Its membership consists of scientists, theologians and professionals with standing in their own fields and a commitment to the Christian faith.  Check out their multimedia resources based around the following topics:
If you have any interest in the 400 year history of the intersection of religion and public life in America - this comprehensive website linked to the recent God in America PBS series is a must.  Although Australasian audiences will encounter the same problems accessing the actual series (as with The Buddha), the online resources are exhaustive, and include the God in America Study Guide as well as:
Check out recent interviews on Philosophy Bites:
  • What is a portrait and can it reveal the essence of a person's character?  Cynthia Freeland explores these questions.
  • Analytic Philosophy - Gottlob Frege was one of the founders of the movement known as analytic philosophy.  Michael Dummett explains why Frege was so important for philosophy.
  • Moral Philosophy - what is it and when do we have it?  Gideon Rosen considers these questions.
Recent articles from ABC Religion & Ethics:
  • Capitalise on current public debate over SRE in public schools in NSW to start a conversation with colleagues and your wider community about the importance of providing opportunities for students to study all religious and secular worldviews in a critical and academically rigorous manner.  For a snapshot of recent opinion, check out Special Religious Education: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Catherine Byrne....and the subsequent feedback comments.
  • Challenging the Chaplains - Compass investigates support and opposition to the growing number of chaplains in our state schools. 
  • Yulki: Arnham Land Priest - the remarkable story of Yulki Nunggumajbarr, the first traditional aboriginal woman to become a priest. 
  • The Secular Dharma - Buddhist practitioners in the West will often say that Buddhism is not a religion as such. So what role do philosophy, belief and the Big Questions have in the practices of compassion, meditation and awareness?  Gary Gach will also weigh into these issues during his keynote at the 2011 DAN Conference.

Contact the DAN Executive Officer

T|  08 9367 8903
A|  34 Douglas Ave  SOUTH PERTH WA 6151