News and Events in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies
2015 News and events
The Department welcomes the ALLY Network
As part of its commitment to creating a stronger and more inclusive community, the University of Sydney established an ALLY Network to support the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) students and staff. The University has partnered with Pride in Diversity, Australia's first and only not-for-profit workplace program designed specifically to assist with LGBTIQ inclusion, to assist with the ALLY Network.
The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies was a strong presence at the launch of the ALLY Network on 3 March 2015 in the Great Hall, the Quadrangle. The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG spoke of his time at Sydney. Professor Elspeth Probyn was an invited speaker, talking her own experiences of queer issues at the University. Other students and staff, and alumni were also invited as inaugural members of the Network. You can read Elspeth's speech here.
Find out more about the ALLY Network here.
2014 News and events
New publication: The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience by Catherine Driscoll
The Australian Country Girl: History, Image, Experience offers a detailed analysis of the experience and the image of Australian country girlhood. In Australia, 'country girl' names a field of experiences and life-stories by girls and women who have grown up outside of the demographically dominant urban centres. But it also names a set of ideas about Australia that is surprisingly consistent across the long twentieth century despite also working as an index of changing times.
For a long period in Australian history, well before Federation and long after it, public and popular culture openly equated 'Australian character' with rural life. This image of Australian-ness sometimes went by the name of the 'bush man', now a staple of Australian history. This has been counterbalanced post World War II and increased immigration, by an image of sophisticated Australian modernity located in multicultural cities. These images of Australia balance rather than contradict one another in many ways and the more cosmopolitan image of Australia is often in dialogue with that preceding image of 'the bush'.
This book does not offer a corrective to the story of Australian national identity but rather a fresh perspective on this history and a new focus on the ever-changing experience of Australian rural life. It argues that the country girl has not only been a long-standing counterpart to the Australian bush man she has, more importantly, figured as a point of dialogue between the country and the city for popular culture and for public sphere narratives about Australian society and identity.
Ruth Barcan wins Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching
Ruth Barcan has been awarded a 2014 Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. This is a wonderful achievement and highly deserved, reflecting the extraordinary care and skill with which she approaches her undergraduate and graduate teaching, and demonstrating the kind of reflective, practice-based approach characteristic of the best kind of teaching.
A fantastic achievement that reflects Ruth's outstanding teaching but also a tremendous honour for the department to have her here with us.
In the media: Dr Prudence Black for Hindsight
Dr Prudence Black, with Catherine Freyneas, is the Associate Producer for ABC RN program ‘Bleat! How Australia fell off the sheep’s back' for Hindsight, in April 2014.
Australia famously rode to prosperity on the sheep’s back. Wool was our main export commodity from 1871 to the 1960s. For over a century, the golden fleece drew pastoral workers and professionals to regional Australia, and sustained many a country town. From the 1960s, new challenges faced an old industry: competition from synthetics, rising costs and waning prices on the international market.
But the Australian wool industry had some exceptionally determined advocates in the ranks of government and agri-politics who forced through a protectionist scheme in 1972. The Australian wool reserve price scheme remained in place until February 1991 when it was buried under a stockpile of wool so massive, it threatened to overwhelm the entire Australian economy. In the 23 years since the collapse of the reserve price scheme, the wool industry has shrunk to a third the size it used to be.
Just how much this decline can be put down to government and statutory intervention in market forces is a key question explored in this rich work of social, political and economic history. 'Bleat!' probes the old Australian fault line between free trade and protectionism, throwing into sharp contrast the material realities and economic policies of the Menzies/McEwen and Hawke/Keating governments. It takes us from sheep country in southwest Queensland, to the euphoria and hubris of the Bicentennial Wool Parade at the Sydney Opera House, and ultimately to the highest echelons of the Hawke government to find out how Australia fell off the sheep’s back.
Prudence is also working on 'Dressing Women for Work: The Role of Support Services in Reintegrating Inmates in NSW Correctional Centres' with Associate Professor Diane van den Broek, Work and Organisational Studies.
It has been well documented that getting women offenders into the workforce is an important way to reintegrate women into the community and contribute to the reduction of recidivism among this population. 'Dressing Women for Work' considers the importance of services that help female inmates prepare for court appearances and life outside gaol. The study analyses the effectiveness of programs such as Dress for Success, which already operates in several NSW correctional centres and transitional centres, and the way the service assists female inmates to think about dress and presentation as a way to build confidence and self efficacy as part of the process of reintegrating into society and the workforce.
New publication: Darwin by Tess Lea
Darwin is a survivor, you have to give it that. Razed to the ground four times in its short history, it has picked itself up out of the debris to not only rebuild but grow. Darwin has known catastrophes and resurrections; it has endured misconceived projects and birthed visionaries. To know Darwin, to know its soul, you have to listen to it, soak in it, taste it.
To write about her home town, Tess Lea waded knee-deep in memories of the city, including those of her family and her own. The story begins in 1974, when Cyclone Tracy shattered Darwin, and Lea was a little girl. Then it takes us back to the wild times of early settlement, explores the backstory of the White Australia policy, paints a vivid picture of the bombing of Darwin during World War II – the first Australian city to experience direct attack from a foreign power – and guides us to Australia’s militarised future, led by Darwin, sitting as it does under the largest aerial defence training space in the world. Lyrical and visceral, Tess Lea’s ode to her hometown is suffused with the textures, colours, scents and the many gritty realities that beset this tough, fragile, magical, foolhardy and unique place.
Tess writes about Darwin's history in a special feature for The Guardian, and a follow up piece in Crikey.
An extract of 'Darwin' can be downloaded and a podcast is available on ABC Classic FM.
New co-edited collection: Modernism and Masculinity
Natalya Lusty's new co-edited collection (with Julian Murphet), Modernism and Masculinity, investigates the varied dimensions and manifestations of masculinity in the modernist period. Thirteen essays from leading scholars reframe critical trends in modernist studies by examining distinctive features of modernist literary and cultural work through the lens of masculinity and male privilege. The volume attends to masculinity as an unstable horizon of gendered ideologies, subjectivities and representational practices, allowing for fresh interdisciplinary treatments of celebrated and lesser-known authors, artists and theorists such as D. H. Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Henry Roth, Theodor Adorno and Paul Robeson as well as modernist avant-garde movements such as vorticism, surrealism and futurism. As diverse as the masculinities that were played out across the early twentieth century, the approaches and arguments featured in this collection will appeal especially to scholars and students of modernist literature and culture, gender studies and English literature more broadly.
Gender and Cultural Studies invited speakers
Dr Prudence Black has been invited as guest lecturer on "Modes of Existence: Thinking Fashion and Dress" at the summer school course at The American University in Paris, June 2014. She is also invited guest at "The Speed of Decolonisation: Travel, Modernisation and the 1955 Bandung Conference" at Postcolonial Justice Symposium at the University of Potsdam, May to June 2014. Dr Black also presented her invited paper "“I’m so Excited”: Flight Attendant Fashion, Films and Performance 1933 to 2013" at the Ist International Cabin Crew Congress, Estoril, Portugal, February 2014.
Christen Cornell, PhD candidate, was the postgraduate respondent at the Consumption, Lifestyle and Asian Modernities Symposium at RMIT, 4-6 November 2013. Other speakers and respondents included: Chua Beng Huat; Eric Kit-wai Ma; Fran Martin; Tania Lewis; Larissa Horst; Koichi Iwabuchi; Wu Jing and Meaghan Morris. Chris has also been accepted to the Inter-Asian Cultural Studies biannual Summer School, in Hsinchu, Taiwan, 1-15 July 2014.
Dr Shé Hawke, Honorary Associate of the department, presented her paper "Reading Water Futures Through Resilience Thinking, the Biosocial and CAS theory" at the Research School of Social Sciences Seminar Series at the Australian National University, February 2014.
Luan Lawrenson-Woods, one of the department's 2014 Master of Cultural Studies students, has been invited to present her paper "That's Why She Fell for the Leader of the Pack: the Myth of Individuality in a Teen Coffin Song" at Le Rock and L'Amour (Love & Rock Music) international conference in Montpellier, France, 16th-17 April 2014.
Paul Priday, another PhD candidate in the department, presented this paper at the inaugural Carat Lens Consuming Cultures Research Group seminar at The University of Sydney, 6 November 2013.
Associate Professor Kane Race was the invited Keynote Speaker, giving his paper “Complex Events: drug effects and emergent causality” at the Contemporary Drug Problems 2nd International Conference in Aarhus, Denmark, August 2013. He was also the Keynote speaker at 13th HIV and Related Diseases Social Research Conference, Sydney UNSW 2014, for his paper “Party ’n’ Play: online hook-up devices and the emergence of PNP practices among gay men”. Kane was also an invited participant in a workshop on “Sex, Health and the Technological Imagination”, organised by Mark Davis and Mary-Lou Rasmussen at Monash in November 2013.
Dr Victoria Grieves has been appointed joint Co-ordinator, WUN Indigenous Research Network at the University of Sydney with Assoc. Prof Catriona Elder of SSPS.
2013 News and events
Recent publications: Dr Victoria Grieves
Editor with the assistance of Dr Martina Horakova. Special Issue:Aboriginal Marriage, Family and Kinship in Australia: the persistence of life and hope in colonial and neo-colonial contexts. Peer reviewed, online Journal of the European Association for the Study of Australia, Vol. 4. No. 1.
New book: Academic Life and Labour in the New University: Hope and Other Choices
Dr Ruth Barcan examines what does it mean to be an academic today. What kinds of experiences do students have, and how are they affected by what they learn? Why do so many students and their teachers feel like frauds? Can we learn to teach and research in ways that foster hope and deflate pretension? Academic Life and Labour in the New University: Hope and Other Choices addresses these big questions, discussing the challenges of teaching and researching in the contemporary university, the purpose of research and its fundamental value, and the role of the academy against the background of major changes to nature of the university itself.
Drawing on a range of international media sources, political discourse and many years’ professional experience, this volume explores approaches to teaching and research, with special emphasis on the importance of collegiality, intellectual honesty and courage. With attention to the intersection of large-scale institutional changes and intellectual shifts such as the rise of transdisciplinarity and the development of a pluralist curriculum, this book proposes the pursuit of more ethical, compassionate and critical forms of teaching and research. As such, it will be of interest not only to scholars of cultural studies and education, but to all those who care about the fate of the university as an institution, including young scholars seeking to join the academy.
In a feature article in The Times Higher Education Supplement Ruth examines why academics feel like frauds in academia and how this might be productive.
Feminist Manifestos and the Shaping of Political Modernity in New York
Associate Professor Natalya Lusty has been awarded a Visiting Scholar position at the Centre for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University for the Fall Term 2013. While at the CSGS Natalya will be working on a new project on “Feminist Manifestos and the Shaping of Political Modernity.” This project will rethink the history of feminism through the genre of the manifesto and to examine how women used and transformed the manifesto at key moments of social and political crisis across first, second and third wave feminism.
Grant news in 2013
Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll, with Anna Hickey-Moody has been awarded the SOPHI Conference grant, University of Sydney, for her project Youth and Technology: Pleasure and Governance. Well done Catherine!
Congratulations go to two PhD candidates in the department, who won the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards for 2013.
- Nancy Lee was awarded Excellence in Teaching (Practice).
- Kerryn Drysdale received The Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Tutorials.
The Awards Panel received the highest number of applications for these awards since their inception, so well done to both Nancy and Kerryn.
GCS' international presence
The department's international presence continues to grow thanks to the work of our academic staff around the world.
Congratulations to Professor Elsepth Probyn for her news in 2013:
- Awarded the Visiting Scholar position in Semester 1, 2013 in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.
- Invited to give the keynote address at ‘Les Imagainaires comestibles’ Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
- Co-authored a paper with Jodi Frawley, "Fish Tales: the role of cultural and social sciences in promoting human-fish sustainability" at Seafood Directions, the annual seafood convention, Port Lincoln.
- Gave a paper "The taste of place: oysters and communities" at The Marine and Maritime Festival, University of Sydney.
Congratulations also to Associate Professor Kane Race for his following achievements this year:
- Invited to give the keynote address at the Contemporary Drug Problems conference, held in Aarhus, Denmark in August 2013.
- Invited as the 2013 SRC Social Driver Guest Speaker at the Canadian Association of HIV Research Annual Conference in Vancouver, May 2013.
Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll has been invited to give the following keynotes in 2013:
- “Global Girlhood: Internationalising Teen Film” (12 July 2013). The Girl in Global Cinema Symposium. University College, London, UK.
“Disciplines, Methods and Objects: The Problem of the Problem of Country Girlhood” (26 June 2013). UWS Postgraduate Research Conference. University of Western Sydney, Australia.
- “Media classification and adolescent plasticity” (15-18 April 2013). Núcleo de Pesquisa em Comunicação e Censura. University of São Paulo, Brazil.
- “The Threat and Promise of the City: A Cultural Studies Approach to Rural-Urban Migration” (7-8 December 2012). Urban Mobilities Conference. Airllunga University, Indonesia.
Dr Vicki Grieves has been invited to present her research both locally and internationally this year:
- Invited paper: “La Bestia as Transpacific Phenomenon: Indigenous peoples, camps, violence and Agamben’s ‘state of exception’” Joint research seminar SURCLA with the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, 17 October.
- Invited Paper: “Embodied Histories of Trauma: The Parramatta Female Factory Precinct and the intergenerational impacts on the health and wellbeing of incarcerated women and children”. Memory, Trace, Place, Identity – Parramatta Female Factory Public History Conference, 26 – 27 September.
- Invited public lecture: University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, July 2013 “Still coming out of slavery…” Indigenous knowledges and a revisioning of Aboriginal history in Australia”.
- Invited panel member - "Southern Cross Dialogues: Voices on Indigenous Knowledge From Jamaica and Australia". Paper: “Pathways to Progress: Spirituality, wellbeing and cultural heritage management for Aboriginal, Torres Strait islander and South Sea Islander people in Australia”, The Fifth International Maroons Conference, Jamaica, June 21 - 23 2013
- Invited panel member – "Indigenous knowledges: Ritual, Reconstruction and Recovery in Australia, Africa and the Caribbean". Paper: “Pathways to Progress: Spirituality, wellbeing and cultural heritage management for Aboriginal, Torres Strait islander and South Sea Islander people in Australia”. Caribbean Spaces and Institutions: Contesting Paradigms of “Development” in the 21st Century, CSA Conference, Grenada, June.
- Convenor of the panel- "Embodied histories of Trauma: the Parramatta Female Factory Precinct (PFFP) and the Intergenerational Impacts on the Health and Wellbeing of Incarcerated Women and Children" with Bonney Djuric and Christina Green of the PFFP. Gender matters: Determining Women’s Health, 7th Annual Womens Health Conference, May.
- Convenor of the invited panel –"Mirror images across the Pacific: Indigenous people, legacies of colonisation and emerging South to South dialogue between Australia and the Americas". Developed with Prof Abeyami Ortega UNAM, Mexico City. Also including Dr Vek Lewis, Dr Fernanda Penaloza and Mr Jim Everett. Paper: “’La bestia: …’ The Beast as a global phenomenon?: comparative existences in Australia and Mexico” Conference: New perspectives on Transpacific connections – The Americas and the South Pacific, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich 25-28 April.
- Invited paper: “Paradigms of whiteness? Retta Dixon long of the Aborigines Inland Mission and the recruitment of White and Aboriginal women for the Lord”. Women and Missions Symposium, Griffith University and the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Parliament House, Brisbane, March.
New book: Dreams and Modernity: A Cultural History
Associate Professor Natalya Lusty, with co-author Helen Groth, explores the dream as a distinctively modern object of inquiry and as a fundamental aspect of identity and culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
While dreams have been a sustained object of fascination from the ancient world to the present, what sets this period apart is the unprecedented interest in dream writing and interpretation in the psychological sciences, and the migration of these ideas into a wide range of cultural disciplines and practices. This books examines how the intensification and cross-fertilization of ideas about dreams in this period became a catalyst for new kinds of networks of knowledge across aesthetic, psychological, philosophical and vernacular domains. In uncovering a complex and diverse archive, Dreams and Modernity: A Cultural History reveals how the explosion of interest in dreams informed the psychic, imaginative and intimate life of the modern subject.
In an insightful interview with Routledge, showcased on the Cultural Studies page, Natalya Lusty and Helen Groth discuss their vision for the book and their aim to 'resituate the dream as a distinctively modern object of inquiry'.
Congratulations to Professor Elspeth Probyn for her appointment to the roles of Director, Carat Consuming Cultures Research Group, and Member of the executive for Sydney Environmental Institute and Node Convenor, Mariculture Environmental Research (MER)
And congratulations too, to Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll for her election to Chair of the Consortium fo Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Institutions.
Vicki Grieves has been invited to be a member of the International Advisory Committee, Humboldt Forum, Berlin GDR and will be a Thinker in Residence at the Institute of Koorie Education (IKE), Deakin University. She is also an invited member, Arts NSW History and Museums funding policy panel in April 2013.
2012 News and events
News in grant awards
The department is again well-represented in Australian Research Council (ARC) awards this year.
Associate Professor Kane Race received an ARC Discovery grant, commencing in 2012, for his project Changing Spaces of HIV Prevention: a cultural analysis of transformations in sexual sociability among gay men.
Dr Vicki Grieves has been awarded an ARC Discovery Indigenous grant, 2012-2015, for her project More than Family History: Gender, Race and the Aboriginal family in Australian History.
Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll, with Carrie Rentschler, Claudia Mitchell, and Marnina Gonick received the Social Science and Humanities Research Council Connection Grant (Canada), for their project Girlhood Studies and the Politics of Place: New Paradigms of Research.
Announcing the CSAA2012 Conference
The Department hosted the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Annual conference in December 2012. The theme was "Materiality: Economies, Empiricism, Things". For more information see this page.
2011 News and events
Honours thesis wins national prize
University of Sydney student Senthorun Sunil Raj has won the The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA) honours thesis prize in 2011. It was awarded for his work Moving Representations: Queer Refugee Subjectivities and the Law, which looked at the cases of nine people who’ve sought asylum in Australia on the basis of their sexuality since the mid-1990s.
Dr Fiona Probyn-Rapsey has taken on the roles of Coordinator and Executive Member of Sydney’s new Human Animal Research Network. HARN is an interdisciplinary and cross-Faculty research group. Enjoying a rapid growth within the Academy, both here and internationally, Human Animal Studies addresses and is inspired by everyday interactions with animals. From the perspectives of Science, Law, Veterinary Science and the Humanities, both the ‘animal’ and the ‘human’ carry different meanings and unique philosophical genealogies, and much can be learnt when these perspectives interact, consult, teach and learn from each other. HARN aims to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue within the university and between the university and community groups, international human animal studies organizations and other Australian University based organizations. HARN website
Mediating Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery in South Korea
Dr Jane Park is undertaking a research project Mediating Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery in South Korea funded by the Academy of Korean Studies in 2011 and 2012. Dr Park will be examining media representations of beauty culture in South Korea to consider how traditional, neo-Confucian notions of gender (especially of womanhood and femininity) are changing in response to globalization. In particular, the focus will be on the prominent role of cosmetic surgery as a mode of defining bodily aesthetic standards on- and off-screen. During her fieldwork in Seoul Dr Park will be looking into connections between the promotion of cosmetic surgery tour packages and the artistic decisions made by directors, producers and casting agents.
Affective Climates in the Big Apple
Dr Kane Race has been awarded a Visiting Scholar position at the Centre for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University for the Fall Term 2011. He will be working on the significance and mediation of 'affective climates' (Race 2010), as this concept might be applied to the health promotion principle of "constructing an enabling environment" in the context of stigmatized conditions such as HIV, homosexuality and drug use. In particular, Dr Race is investigating the performativity of the criminal law and enforcement practices in the context of disputes relating to the government of the night-time economy, as well as the legal and medical government of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.
New book: Teen Film: A Critical Introduction
Arguing that teen film is always a story about becoming a citizen and a subject, Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll’s new book, Teen Film, presents a new history of the genre, surveys the existing body of scholarship, and introduces key critical tools for discussing teen film. Covering a wide range of films including The Wild One, Heathers, Akira and Donnie Darko, the book's central focus is on what kind of adolescence teen film represents, and on teen film's capacity to produce new and influential images of adolescence.
New Book: Mediating Faiths
In Mediating Faiths co-edited by Dr Guy Redden and Dr Michael Bailey (Essex) contributors illustrate how religion continues to be responsive to the very latest social and cultural developments in the environments in which it exists. The book raises fundamental questions concerning new media and religious expression, religious youth cultures, the links between spirituality, personal development and consumer culture, and contemporary intersections of religion, identity and politics. Together the chapters demonstrate how belief in the superempirical is negotiated relative to secular concerns in the twenty-first century.
Sexuality and Space Working Group
The Department’s Sexuality and Space Working Group worked with New Mardi Gras to host several events at Queer Thinking, an event held at the Seymour Centre to launch the Mardi Gras festival in February 2011. These included a panel on Sexuality & Race Online, chaired by Kane Race, and featuring the work of GCS alumni such as Senthorun Raj and Gilbert Caluya, and a keynote presentation by Professor Lauren Berlant from the University of Chicago, chaired by Melissa Gregg, titled Structures of Unfeeling: Mysterious Skin. Professor Berlant also ran a workshop for GCS postgraduates as part of her visit. These activities were made possible by Strategic Development Funding from SOPHI for the Sexuality & Space Working Group.
Elite Schools & Globalisation: Unfolding Narrations in Connected Locations
The Department of Gender and Cultural Studies will be hosting one of a series of research forums on Elite Schools and Globalisation:
8–9 August 2011
New Law School Lecture Theatre 024,
Law Faculty on Eastern Ave,
The University of Sydney
Click here for more information
2010 News and Events
Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education special issue 'Disability Matters: Pedagogy, Media and Affect', guest edited by Anna Hickey-Moody and Vicki Crowley.
This special issue featured articles written by department academic staff and students, including:
- 'Stirring up the sediment: the corporeal pedagogies of disabilities' by Jessica Robyn Cadwallader
- 'Corporeal and sonic diagrams for cinematic ethics in Rolf de Heer's Dance Me To My Song by Anna Hickey-Moody
Critical Studies in Education special issue 'Pedagogy Writ Large: Public, Popular and Cultural Pedagogies in Motion', guest edited by Anna Hickey-Moody, Glen Savage and Joel Windle.
This special issue featured articles written by department academic staff and students, including:
- 'From bingeing booze bird to gilded cage: the re-teaching of gender and class on Ladette to Lady" by Rebecca Brown and Guy Redden
- 'Global flows as gendered cultural pedagogies: learning gansta in the 'Durty South' by Anna Hickey-Moody and Glen Savage
The Gender and Modernity Group (GMG) upcoming events
2010 events have included a visiting scholar, Lyndsey Stonebridge (UEA) and the following forthcoming events:
- 19th November - On Mad Men
- 13-14th December - Gender and Modernity in the Asia-Pacific Symposium
- 15-16th December - Gender and Technology Roundtable
Dr Fiona Probyn-Rapsey awarded Brown Fellowship
Dr Fiona Probyn-Rapsey has been awarded a University of Sydney Brown Fellowship for 2011. This will allow completion of her book Bad Blood: Cultural Politics of Australian Whiteness. Bad Blood shows how ‘whiteness’, as a biological and social force for assimilation, was imagined in C20th Australia as administerable to Australia’s Aboriginal population via white fathers. Using a combination of literary, archival and government documents, the book examines how whiteness became a unifying (but unreliable) thread that connected the interests of white fathers with state paternalism and white paternalist attitudes towards Aboriginal people. Dr Probyn-Rapsey will also be working on a co-edited book with Vicki Grieves called Significant Others: Race and Family in Australia.