News and Events in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies
SOPHI research ranked outstanding, well above world standard in ERA 2012
7 December, 2012
SOPHI's exceptional research strengths in Archaeology, Historical Studies (including Ancient History), (Classical) Literary Studies, Philosophy and Cultural Studies were reflected by scores of 5 - the highest rating - in the ARC's ERA 2012. Congratulations to our academic and research staff!
Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) evaluates research quality in Australian universities using a combination of discipline-specific indicators and review by experienced, internationally-recognised experts.
2012 News and events
2012 Research Seminar Series
For the 2012 Research seminar series see this dedicated page.
Announcing the CSAA2012 Conference
The Department will be hosting the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Annual conference in December 2012. The theme is "Materiality: Economies, Empiricism, Things". For more information and the Call for Papers 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.
Sexuality and Space Working Group
The Sexuality and Space Working Group was launched in 2010. It is a group designed to share resources, ideas and events about the politics of urban space in Sydney, particularly as this relates to gender and sexuality.
The group welcomes involvement from scholars, activists and others interested in cultural economies, consumer culture, cultural geography, criminology and urban governance.
Email for more information.
Events since the launch include:
- 14th October - Policing Oxford Street (Panel)
- 21st October - The Night, The Prowler (Social Film Screening)
- 28th October - Melissa Hardie on The Night, The Prowler (Lecture)
- 4th November - Sex Work in the City (Panel)
- 11th November - Queer Venues and Performers (Panel)
New book by Dr Jane Park
Yellow Future: Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema
"Yellow Future's emphasis on 'oriental style' is interesting and fresh. I can see other scholars in the field picking up this term and running with it, both in their writing and teaching. Jane Chi Hyun Park has written an excellent, useful book."
- Lisa Nakamura, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Tracing the significance of oriental style in contemporary Hollywood cinema.
Yellow Future: Oriental Style in Hollywood Cinema examines the emergence and popularity of techno-oriental representations in Hollywood cinema since the 1980s, focusing on the ways East Asian peoples and places have become linked with technology to produce a collective fantasy of East Asia as the future. Jane Chi Hyun Park demonstrates how this fantasy is sustained through imagery, iconography, and performance that conflate East Asia with technology, constituting what Park calls oriental style.
Park provides a genealogy of oriental style through contextualized readings of popular films from the multicultural city in Blade Runner and the Japanese American mentor in The Karate Kid to the Afro-Asian reworking of the buddy genre in Rush Hour and the mixed-race hero in The Matrix. Throughout these analyses Park shows how references to the Orient have marked important changes in American popular attitudes toward East Asia in the past thirty years, from abjection to celebration, invisibility to hypervisibility.
Unlike other investigations of racial imagery in Hollywood, Yellow Future centers on how the Asiatic is transformed into and performed as style in the backdrop of these movies and discusses the significance of this conditional visibility for representations of racial difference.
New book by Dr Melissa Gregg
The Affect Theory Reader edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J Seigworth
"The Affect Theory Reader is unique. It gathers interesting and provocative articles on affect by well-known theorists and suggestively brings to expression the productive divergence between different philosophical and psychological positions on the subject."
- Erin Manning, author of Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty
This field-defining collection consolidates and builds momentum in the burgeoning area of affect studies. The contributors include many of the central theorists of affect - those visceral forces beneath, alongside, or generally other than conscious knowing that can serve to drive us toward movement, thought, and ever-changing forms of relation. As Lauren Berlant explores "cruel optimism", Brian Massumi theorizes the affective logic of public threat, and Elspeth Probyn examines shame, they, along with the other contributors, show how an awareness of affect is opening up exciting new insights in disciplines from anthropology, cultural studies, geography, and psychology to philosophy, queer studies, and sociology. In essays diverse in subject matter, style, and perspective, the contributors demonstrate how affect theory illuminates the intertwined realms of the aesthetic, the ethical, and the political as they play out across bodies (human and non-human) in both mundane and extraordinary ways. They reveal the broad theoretical possibilities opened by an awareness of affect as they reflect on topics including ethics, food, public morale, glamor, snark in the workplace, and mental health regimes. The Affect Theory Reader includes an interview with the cultural theorist Lawrence Grossberg and an afterword by the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart. In the introduction, the editors suggest ways of defining affect, trace the concept's history, and highlight the role of affect theory in various areas of study.
New book by Dr Guy Redden
News Online: Transformations and Continuities edited by Graham Meikle and Guy Redden
News matters. It is still the main forum for discussion of issues of public importance. It is where we come together to inform, persuade, influence, endorse or reject one another in a collaborative process of making meaning from events. But the news is changing - content, distribution channels, geographical constraints, production values, business models, regulatory approaches and cultural habits are all in flux, as new media technologies are adopted and adapted by users. However, despite having driven many of the changes themselves, established media organisations are in many cases struggling to adapt to this changed environment.
News Online: Transformations and Continuities is for everyone who wants to better understand the news media of the twenty-first century. With contributions from leading international scholars who question established understandings of news in the light of change, this book charts a course through recent upheavals and ranges over a broad terrain - from the BBC to experimental videogames, from Latin American newsrooms to Northeast Asian blogs, from the crisis in US newspapers to Twitter users in Iran. Each chapter provides an insightful analysis of how popular digital communications change relations of production and consumption, in addition to the effect on cultural and political participation. News Online considers the shifting boundaries between the popular and the professional made possible by the redistribution of news functions.
Gender and Modernity Group wins funding for international events
The Gender and Modernity Group has won a Humanities and Creative Arts International Science Linkage grant to bring Professor Tani Barlow to Sydney in December 2010. Professor Barlow is T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of History and Director, Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University (U.S.A.). She is a renowned scholar of gender, culture and history in South East Asia and while based at Usyd she will lead a range of research activities around the theme of "Modernity and Gender in the Asia-Pacific Region". These will include a masterclass for postgraduate students and a symposium featuring other international visiting academics.
The Gender and Modernity Group has also received an Academy of the Humanities Science Linkage grant to run an international roundtable on gender, modernity, technology and labour to be held at the University in December. This will bring together speakers from Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific to create an international research network to understand international chains of dependence on women’s labour. Confirmed speakers include professors Marian Baird, Leopoldina Fortunati, Rosalind Gill, Meaghan Morris, Lisa McLaughlin, Vicki Mayer, Pun Ngai and Judy Wajcman.
Welcome to new Master of Cultural Studies students and congratulations to Scholarship holders
2010 sees students from ten countries (and every continent apart from Antarctica) enrolled in the department’s Master of Cultural Studies by coursework. We extend a warm welcome to those who have travelled to study with us, as we do also to our new Australian students. In particular congratulations are in order for Roberto Castillo Bautista and Jacinthe Flore who are both recipients of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences International Postgraduate Coursework Scholarships worth $23,500 over the year.
New book by Dr Jennifer Germon
Gender: A Genealogy of an Idea
Gender stands as one of the great conceptual devices of the twentieth century. It has become such a part of the English language that it seems indispensable and even ahistorical today. Yet until the 1950s, gender in English marked relations between words rather than people. Gender: A Genealogy of an Idea represents a critical intervention into the concept of gender. It traces gender’s historical specificity from its mid-twentieth century origins in sexology through the present and demonstrates the complex relation that the intersexed have to the concept. In doing so, this text applies a fresh approach to the study of gender as an object of knowledge and embodied experience.
New book by Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll
Modernist Cultural Studies
"A timely reassessment of the fraught relationship cultural studies has had with the term ‘modernism’ amounting to a reevaluation of the place that both can occupy in discussions of cultural modernity, resting on a commonality or refrain of innovation, relativity, contingency, critique, and a pluralistic disciplinary methodology."Peter Childs, University of Gloucestershire
For many scholars, cultural studies is viewed as a product of postmodern criticism and as the antithesis of modernism. In Modernist Cultural Studies, Catherine Driscoll argues persuasively that we must view what we call cultural studies as a direct continuation of the innovations and concerns of modernism and the modernists.
In making her case, Driscoll provides a fresh take on argumentssome seemingly unresolvablethat pivot on modernism’s desire for novelty. Defining modernity as a critical attitude rather than a time period, she describes the many things these ostensibly different fields of inquiry have in common and reveals why cultural studies must be viewed as a fundamentally modernist project.
Casting a wide net across the shared interests of modernism and cultural studies, including cinema, fiction, fashion, art, and popular music, Driscoll explores such themes as love and work, adolescence and everyday life, the significance of the everyday, the popular as a field of power, and the importance of representation to identity and experience in modernity.
Be at the Crossroads, reflecting on the ‘State of the Industry’
2010 sees the return of the Association for Cultural Studies’ major biannual conference, Crossroads. The academic director of next year’s event – which is at Lingnan University in Hong Kong from 17-21 June – is Sydney Gender and Cultural Studies professor Meaghan Morris. Professor Morris is also immediate past president of the Association. Crossroads is already considered one of the key international conference in the field, the local link will see a bumper crop of GCS staff and postgraduates at the 2010 meeting. Click here for more information.
Another conference associated with the department was the State of the Industry (University of New South Wales, 26-27 November 2009). Organised by department member Dr Melissa Gregg, and supported by the Cultural Research Network, the aim of the conference was to gather early-career practitioners of cultural studies in order to reflect upon the institutional conditions that shape cultural research and pedagogy today. GCS colleagues Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll and Dr Kane Race also presented, as did Professor Margaret Sheil (Chief Executive Officer, Australian Research Council) and Professor Graeme Turner (Convenor, ARC Cultural Research Network).
Three 2010 ARC awards for Gender and Cultural Studies
The department is well-represented in Australian Research Council (ARC) awards this year. Dr Natalya Lusty was awarded a four-year discovery grant to support a project she is running jointly with Dr HG Groth: Dreams: A Cultural History, 1840-1940. (Congratulations also to Dr Lusty on her receipt of a University of Sydney Brown Fellowship to undertake a project into feminist manifestos.)
Meanwhile, Professor Meaghan Morris is a co-investigator on Between Film and Art: An International Study of Intermedial Cinema, working with Dr Adrian Martin at Monash University and Professor Nicole Brenez from the Sorbonne/Paris Cinematheque.
Dr Fiona Allon was successful in her application to become an ARC Future Fellow. The new ARC Future Fellowships scheme is aimed at retaining highly qualified mid-career researchers in Australia. Fiona will work for five years on her timely project: The Wealth Effect: A cultural analysis of prosperity, financialisation and everyday life in contemporary Australia.
2009 News and Events
Gender and Modernity Research Group founded
The Gender and Modernity Group, an inter-disciplinary research cluster based in the Department, was lauched in 2009. GMG promotes research in the humanities and social sciences on gender across the key social, political and historical coordinates of modernity. The inaugural symposium of the group was held in August to commemorate the life and work of the late Eve Sedgwick. ‘Remembering Eve Sedgwick: The beginnings, present and future of queer theory’ featured a morning workshop for local and interstate postgraduates and an afternoon of seminar papers by leading Sedgwick scholars Melissa Hardie (USyd), Anna Gibbs (UWS), Elizabeth Stephens (UQ) and Elizabeth McMahon (UNSW).
The group’s next symposium was Thinking Fashion and Dress, and held on Tuesday 15 December, 2009 at the University of Sydney New Law School, Seminar Room 442, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney.
It featured talks by:
- Fiona Allon (Sydney),
- Prudence Black and Catherine Driscoll (UTS: Insearch & Sydney),
- Stella North (Sydney) and
- Alison Gill and Abby Lopes (UWS),
with a keynote address from Professor Jennifer Craik (UC).
Department hosts distinguished visitors
The Gender and Modernity Group has also facilitated recent and forthcoming visits by distinguished scholars. In September Professor Sara Ahmed, Professor in Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London presented the paper ‘Killing Joy: Feminism and the History of Happiness’. Professor Ahmed suggested that feminist histories might offer an alternative history of happiness, arguing that happiness is what makes some things into goods (happy objects are those that are anticipated to cause happiness). She introduced the concept of “conditional happiness,” when one person’s happiness is made conditional upon another’s, to explore how, for some, happiness means following other people’s goods.
On Monday, December 14, the Gender and Modernity Group is hosting a one-off special summer masterclass with Professor Rosalind Gill (Open University). Professor Gill is a leading feminist scholar in Europe who has written a number of influential books and articles on gender, feminism, the media and creative industries, such as Gender and the Media (2006) and the forthcoming New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Identity (with Christina Scharff). She will lead a workshop about postfeminism for postgraduate students.
The Department has hosted several other visitors through its regular series of Friday afternoon seminars. They included Professor Fernando J. Garc'a Selgas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) who was also Visiting Scholar in the department from January to July, undertaking work on gender and violence. Professor Garc'a Selgas has previously been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, UC Berkeley and UCLA. Members of the department also spent periods abroad in 2009. Associate Professor Catherine Driscoll was visiting scholar at the Institute for Research into Women and Gender at Columbia University in New York.
In January 2010 two eminent guests will arrive to become visiting scholars in the department. Professor Koichi Iwabuchi (Waseda University) will undertake work on his forthcoming book, Undoing Cool Japan: Culture and Dialogue in the age of brand nationalism (tentative title). Professor Iwabuchi is an expert in media, culture and transnationalism.
Lyndsey Stonebridge, Professor of Literature and Critical Theory at the University of East Anglia, will also be a Visiting Professor in the department. Lyndsey works on war, anxiety, and psychoanalysis in modernity and is currently completing a book, Writing After Nuremburg. She has been a Visiting Fellow at Cornell University and worked with eminent scholars and writers including Dominick LaCapra, Jacqueline Rose and W.G Sebald.
Recent books by GCS staff: property, performance, pleasure
Renovation Nation: Our obsession with home
Fiona Allon, Renovation Nation: Our obsession with home (UNSW Press).
Renovation Nation asks why we have become so wrapped up in our homes. It explores the ways we are distorting our lives in the pursuit of prestige and tax-free capital gains as we play the real estate game with mindless passion. Is our anxiety about safety and security, about keeping the ‘wrong’ people out of Australia, or off ‘our’ beaches, the flipside of this obsession?
Unimaginable Bodies: Intellectual Disability, Performance and Becomings
Anna Hickey-Moody, Unimaginable Bodies: Intellectual Disability, Performance and Becomings (Sense).
Unimaginable Bodies radically resituates academic discussions of intellectual disability. Through building relationships between philosophy, cultural studies and communities of integrated dance theatre practice, Anna Hickey-Moody argues that dance theatre devised with and performed by young people with and without intellectual disability, can reframe the ways in which bodies with intellectual disability are known.
Pleasure Consuming Medicine: The Queer Politics of Drugs
Kane Race, Pleasure Consuming Medicine: The Queer Politics of Drugs (Duke University Press).
In Pleasure Consuming Medicine, Kane Race argues that official discourses about drug use conjure a space where the neoliberal state can be seen to be policing the "excesses" of the amoral market. He explores this normative investment in drug regimes and some "counterpublic health" measures that have emerged in response. These measures, which Race finds in certain pragmatic gay men's health and HIV prevention practices, are not cloaked in moralistic language, and they do not cast health as antithetical to pleasure.
Congratulations to the authors!
The Department extends a warm welcome to colleagues that were appointed in 2009 – Dr Fiona Allon, Dr Melissa Gregg, Dr Anna Hickey-Moody and Professor Meaghan Morris. Professor Morris is joining Gender and Cultural Studies in order to teach on the new Master of Cultural Studies by coursework and to provide mentoring for postgraduate research students. She is immediate past president of the Association for Cultural Studies and a leading figure in the field internationally. Drs Allon, Gregg, and Hickey-Moody bring a range of qualities to the department including specialisations in finance and everyday life, cultural labour and cultures of disability, respectively. Dr Shé Hawke, poet and PhD graduate of Gender and Cultural Studies, was appointed an Honorary Associate of the Department. Her book Depot Girl was nominated for several literary awards, including the Miles Franklin Award, and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award for best book published on an Australian topic in 2008.
Glocalising Sex and Gender
To mark the beginning of the academic year 2009, the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, together with the CRN’s Identities and Communities node ran a two-day workshop: Glocalising Sex & Gender: Consumption, Culture, Practice. Held on Thursday 26th – Friday 27th February, the conference was convened by Professor Elspeth Probyn. In the vein of transnational study, it focussed on the concrete ways in which glocalised gendered and sexual effects are produced. Members of Gender and Cultural Studies presented a number of papers and were joined by speakers from other areas of Australia and beyond. Our international visitors were: Dr. Ulrika Dahl (Södertörn University, Sweden), who ran a workshop on feminist methodologies, representation, and research within communities; and Professor Chengzhou He (Nanjing University, China), who gave a plenary on feminism and the Chinese context, which he considered through the film Farewell My Concubine.