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.
2013 News and events
2013 Research Seminar Series
For the 2013 Research seminar series - 'The Laptop Sessions' - see this dedicated page.
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.
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.