Postgraduate Research Students

These are the postgraduate research students currently enrolled in Gender and Cultural Studies programs, although of course many postgraduate students take our units of study as part of another degree. Research topics and working titles are also listed.

Click on the names below to see current and past research projects and publications for postgraduate students in Gender and Cultural Studies.

Current Projects

Past projects

Gender and Cultural Studies – Postgraduate past projects

Alifa Bandali
‘The work is good’: An examination of a women-centred NGO in Malaysia

My thesis is centered on ethnographic fieldwork conducted at an international women’s human rights organization based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I explore how the women engaging in this type of work view themselves through feminist ideologies, personal histories as well as issues surrounding health and how this is reflected in not only their personal lives, but their professional lives. I draw on Arlie Hochschild’s emotional labour thesis, where she discusses ideas of inducing and suppressing emotion in the workplace and what this means to individuals’ investments in their work. By researching predominantly a female-dominated environment, my research not only explores gender aspects, but also considers what motivates individuals to get involved in this type of work and what this means to them.


Kurt Bugden
Butterflies in The Stomach: Fluid Feelings, Feeling Fluids

This thesis explores the psychosomatic relationship between feelings – particularly of lust, disgust, disorientation and anxiety – and bodily fluids, their movements, secretions, pulsations, ebbs and flows. I argue that this relationship is psychosomatic because feelings and fluids are neither purely of the flesh nor “divined” by consciousness but are, rather, mingled and render one another intelligible. Drawing largely on the work of Alphonso Lingis, Michel Serres and Elisabeth Wilson, I aim to get at the pulsating heart of feeling, to probe the queasy gut, to make sense of the perspiratory pores and the weeping eyes, to attune to the nervously full bladder. In the first section of the thesis, I focus on “queer” feelings of disorientation and anxiety in relation to experiences of sweating, breathing and those peculiar experiences of feeling butterflies in the stomach. The sensations of butterflies in the stomach exemplify how feelings often mix with, infuse and can distort one another. The weight and specificity of a feeling is, in this sense, always situational. In the fourth and fifth chapters, I turn my attention to the headiness of specific bodily fluids. With an emphasis on breath and sweat, I explore the ways in which bodies feel, and are effectuated, moved or “thrown” by certain aromas and stenches. I call this process “smelling feeling”. Geared towards the lived experiences of queer people, these chapters mark an attempt to extend and supplement the project of queer phenomenology, and to further explore the ways in which non-visual phenomena can both inspire and enervate erotic feeling. In the second section of the thesis I consider more thoroughly erotic feelings of lust and their intelligibility through psychosomatic processes of salivation, perspiration, tumescence, lubrication and olfaction. The final chapter offers a study of the erotics of urine, its texture, variable aromas and its erotic transaction as a “queer” sexual practice. Throughout the thesis I draw on work carried out in the scholarly fields of phenomenology (and indeed queer phenomenology), queer theory, affect theory, the biological sciences, sensory theory or, in general, studies of embodiment. I also draw on narrations of lived experience (through both prose and poetry) and empirical research done within “queer” communities.


Julia Broom
The Labouring Subject in the Contemporary Indian Novel

This thesis explores the figure of the labouring subject in three Indian novels. It maps aspects of contemporary labour subordinated to regimes of flexible accumulation which structure the global economy, and in which the Indian worker is increasingly enmeshed. Here the neoliberal view of citizenship – that would have every citizen the entrepreneur of his or her own future – is examined in relation to three forms of labour as they are represented in the novels on which this thesis focuses. To this end it examines modalities of labour associated with: (i) the begging industry as portrayed in A Fine Balance (Mistry 1995); (ii) the outsourcing industry as characterised in The White Tiger (Adiga 2008); and, (iii) the undocumented worker as illustrated in The Inheritance of Loss (Desai 2006).


Ronggang Chen
The Image of Taipei in Edward Yang’s Films

The dissertation will investigate the films of Taiwanese director Edward Yang (1947-2007), which deals with contemporary life in Taipei. After WWII, Taipei, the capital city and economic hub of Taiwan, was deemed a model of modernization. With a background in the New Taiwan Cinema Movement, Yang adopted techniques from Italian neo-realist and Japanese films in order to decipher the city via an aesthetic that differs from the official propaganda films of the era and the so-called Healthy Realism Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. This research will consider Yang’s figuration of Taipei in relation to contemporary theorizations of modernism, post-modernism, urbanization and globalization. In Yang’s screen version of Taipei we find a hyper-spatial city that dispels, alters and transforms power as well as the cultural identities of its urban dwellers. Long recognized as one of the foundational directors of the New Taiwan Cinema Movement, Yang’s films have now entered the global market. His last film is undoubtedly his most well known: Yi-Yi: A One and a Two (2000). Produced by a Japanese company, selected by film festivals worldwide, and globally distributed to a non-Chinese language audience, Yang’s last film indicates that he himself has become a figure of globalization.


Christen Cornell
Art, Autonomy and the Postsocialist Global City: a spatial history of Contemporary Chinese Art

My thesis is a study of Beijing’s contemporary art spaces in the post-reform era, that is, the areas where artists have lived and worked communally since the years directly following the protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Variously known as painters’ villages (huajiacun), art districts (yishuqu) and, more recently, creative industries precincts (wenhua chuanye jijuqu), these spaces have emerged in the matrix of China’s post-reform urbanisation and in a co-production with a range of new values, and community and industry relationships. By investigating these changing contexts for artistic production in post-reform China, my work seeks to illuminate this production’s broader socio-political role – its place in the bigger puzzle of China’s economic, urban and cultural development. Many scholars have looked at post-reform urbanisation in contemporary Chinese art, but my work aims to reverse that and consider the role contemporary Chinese art has played in Beijing’s post-reform urbanisation.


Kerryn Drysdale
When Scenes Fade: Everyday investments in Sydney's drag king scene

For over a decade, events hosting drag king performances were a regular feature on the wider lesbian social circuit in Sydney, Australia. Loosely defined, drag kinging refers to the performance of a consciously enacted masculinity by women (and sometimes other non-male cisgender individuals). While drag king culture may have links to a longer tradition of live performance, drag king events were also significant within the local urban night-time economy catering to lesbian patronage. Functioning as a site for a range of social activities generated in the vicinity of the performances, this series of events between 2002 and 2012 provides the opportunity for mapping social meaning as it intersects with cultural phenomenon.

My research represents a departure from existing literature on drag king culture that tends to work with the analytic categories of performer and audience. Instead I deploy cultural studies methodologies to reframe Sydney’s localised version as a scene. From this data drawn from ethnographic research techniques, including participant observation and focus group discussions, I analyse how everyday encounters coalesce around drag king events. However, in also offering the perspective of a scene ethnographically captured in the moment of its demise, my research reveals the complex process by which a contemporary social moment begins to be layered with historical investment. Via the case study of Sydney’s drag king scene, I offer insight into the temporal conditions that structure all scenes: their emergence through to their expansion or contraction and, inevitably, their fading.

Publications:

  • Drysdale, K. (2015). "When Scenes Fade: Methodological lessons from Sydney's drag king culture", Cultural Studies, Vol 29, No 3, May 2015, pp345-362
  • Drysdale, K. (2016). "Tactile places: doing sensory ethnography in Sydney’s drag king scene", Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, Vol 30, No 2, Special Issue: Interrogating Practice, pp206-217

Inez Gershonowitz
After Ellen

In this project I critically consider the increasing visibility of lesbians and gays on television, by examining representations of Ellen DeGeneres, both on and off screen after she famously came out on the sitcom, Ellen in 1997. I focus on the production and reception of the sitcom, The Ellen Show (2001), which followed Ellen and the daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres show (2003-present) to show how DeGeneres has helped to normalise the presence of lesbians on television and by extension, dominant culture. I maintain that based on her high ratings and evident popularity, Ellen is America's sweetheart - entertaining people of all sexes, genders, sexual orientations, and ages. While the decision to come out would have a huge impact on DeGeneres' life and career, the coming out of the actress and her character led to an international discussion of the presence of lesbians and gays in prime-time television and lead to an increase in lesbian visibility and representation on television.


Liam Grealy
Punishing paedophilic sex offenders: Cultural studies, consent, and community protection

Liam submitted his doctoral thesis in February 2013 and has been lecturing in the department in 'Introduction to Cultural Studies' and 'Youth Cultures' since that time. His thesis examined changes in Australian law and policy across the last decade in relation to the punishment and post-sentence detention and supervision of child sex offenders. It asked why this offender group has been central to recent political debate and significant legal reform, drawing on enlightenment justifications for punishment and examining the place of the child in the law. The thesis also considered in what ways cultural studies can and should engage with law and normative commitments. Apart from teaching, Liam is currently working on a co-authored project with Catherine Driscoll on the international emergence of media classification systems and their significance for institutionalising an idea of minoritised adolescence.


Luz Hincapié
Pacific Transactions, Identity, Race, Hybridity: Japanese immigrants to Colombia

This project centres on the immigration of Japanese to Colombia to understand the fluid identities and hybrid subjectivities that are born of the experience of immigration. For this purpose, the project will use methodologies from ethnography, oral history and life writing in order to interview Colombians of Japanese descent. The study explores how processes of identity formation are shaped by the uniqueness of being Colombians of Japanese descent and how a sense of belonging is constructed. It asks what is invested in the immigrants' strategies of identification. It also asks how the discourses on race and racial identity constitute the relationship between the Japanese descendents and the Colombian population at large. A multi-disciplinary perspective will be adopted, to 'get at' the affective and cultural dimensions of being a Colombian of Japanese descent through a theoretical framework from related disciplines such as anthropology, cultural studies, and literary studies.


Maria Elena Indelicato
International students: a history of race and emotions in Australia

Maria Elena Indelicato has an MA in Communication Science from the La Sapienza University of Rome. She submitted recently her PhD thesis on international students as a case of Australian border politics and practices. Her research interests include the processes of racialisation through and by emotions. She is also critically analysing the denial of Indigenous Sovereignty in Australia as a major factor in shaping understanding of race and race relations in, during, and after, the formation of Australia as an independent colonialist, and racially exclusionary, nation-state.


Sophie Johnson
On a Tightrope? Technologies of Motherhood in Neoliberal Society

For women transitioning from pregnancy to first-time motherhood, the everyday management of personal health (both their own and that of the foetus/infant) has come to encompass a combination of physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and moral work. This thesis examines the ‘work’ of contemporary western motherhood. Drawing on qualitative research conducted with middle-class women in Sydney over their transition to first-time motherhood, I show how mothers engage in technologies of the self (Foucault, 1985) which consist of practices undertaken to ensure the health and well-being of the foetus and infant. Mothers are not simply responsible for the self, but also for the unborn other, termed here as ‘being-for-intimate-others’. An examination of these technologies and their adoption by women reveals how dominant discourses are resisted, negotiated or differentially embodied by women facing first-time pregnancy and motherhood. In the context of information overload, choice and risk, in this thesis I identify a new ideology of mothering which responds to disciplinary pressures and, to some extent, pushes back against some elements of neoliberal responsibilisation. First-time mothers who engage in this ethic of ‘relaxed’ mothering work hard to manage advice, emotions and expectations and in the process transform pregnancy and parenting into a ‘project’. The emergence of a ‘relaxed parenting’ approach and adopting parenting as a ‘project’ can also be linked to the extension of an entrepreneurial ethic in which mothering becomes professionalised – a frame that is likely closely associated with the class positioning of my sample. The ‘project’ of parenting provides a partial resolution to the conflicts between work and mothering and provides a way of navigating these two domains at once and creating a sense of value in relation to mothering. Professionalised mothers engage in specific techniques for being competent mothers, which include ‘relaxing’, enlisting new technologies and devices such as smartphone applications and accessing online support. I explore how the ‘device-ification’ of mothering purports to turn it into an administrative and calculable activity. I also demonstrate how, ironically, ‘relaxed’ mothering actually involves a great deal of ‘work’.

Publications:

  • Johnson, S. (2014) ‘“Maternal Devices”, Social Media and the Self-Management of Pregnancy, Mothering and Child Health’. Societies 4(2), 330–350. Available online: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4698/4/2/330

Jessica Kean
Intimate Theory: Mononormativity, negotiated non-monogamy and
the politics of love


Increasingly described as a legislative inevitability in Australia, gay marriage is often heralded as the certain, if temporarily stalled, triumph of love and an overdue public symbol of the tolerance of sexual diversity. In this context it is worth renewing queer questions about the limits of legitimate intimacy in contemporary Western cultures – limits which may not be challenged by granting same-sex couples state recognition. Instead of adding another voice to debates about the potential consequences of same-sex marriage, this thesis approaches the contemporary politics of love from the perspective of those who do not march two by two, asking what we might learn from practices of negotiated non-monogamy. Analysing TV series, blogs, self-help books and first-person accounts alongside 23 qualitative interviews conducted with queer non-monogamists in and around Sydney, the thesis explores the way sex, love, friendship, emotion, and intimacy are currently theorised in relation to non-dyadic relationships. Friends who fuck, fictional polygamists, ‘ethical sluts’, swingers, and polyamorists are considered side by side in order to draw out the tensions (productive and otherwise) that animate stories of sex and love beyond the couple.

The thesis considers non-monogamous scheduling strategies, taxonomic skirmishes, measures of significance and theories of jealousy in relation to queer and feminist thinking on intimacy. Idiosyncrasies and unexpected resonances within the material are used to map the political valencies of discourses surrounding these marginalised relationship styles, contributing to scholarship on how contemporary negotiated non-monogamy can be understood - an active concern as queers are increasingly encouraged to dream of wedding whites. Offering an extended conceptualisation of mononormativity - one entwined with but ultimately distinct from heteronormativity - the thesis also addresses broader patterns, ideals and institutions of intimacy, arguing that more people stand to benefit from the decentring of monogamy than those who actively pursue a life outside it.


Tim Laurie
Deleuze, Music and the Politics of Cultural Criticism

Tim Laurie's PhD thesis examines the politics of writing cultural histories, with a focus on music as both an object of history and a resource for reorienting historical discourses. This project draws on a range of disciplines involved in music criticism and history, including anthropology, ethnomusicology, postcolonial studies, sociology, historiography, bibliography and aesthetics, but focuses primarily on Gilles Deleuze's post-structuralism as a possible way of renegotiating issues of cognition, memory, writing and aesthetics. My own case studies include the cross-marketing of r&b singles in the 1950s, covers of Motown songs by rock artists and hip hop producers, and heavy metal versions of blues and folk songs. This includes an examination of authority and expertise when constructed through different mediums - 45s, LPs, magazines, journals and books - and opens onto wider discussions around the politics and history of writing as a means of securing cultural knowledge.


Nancy Lee
Celebrity chefs: class mobility, media, masculinity

Nancy submitted her thesis in March 2014. Her research was about the effects of celebrity culture on chefs working in Sydney and Sydney's chefs in the international context and involved in-depth interviews with some of the city's critically acclaimed chefs. Gender - in particular, the institutionalisation of masculinities in professional kitchens - and the integration of social media in chefs' labours were some of the topics explored in her research. Her thesis addresses a gap in empirical research in the field of celebrity studies, and contributes extensive social media analysis in the context of celebrity culture.

Publications:

  • Lee, N. (2012) 'Make or Break: Building chefs in Sydney food media.' Locale 2, 140-159.

Remy Low
Schooling Faith: Religious education and neo-liberal government in "parent-controlled" neo-Calvinist schooling

Since the mid-1990s, there has been a sustained growth in religious schooling in Australia generally and with it, an intense dispute has swirled around the acceptability and desirability of this trend. In turn, these debates in the realm of education are not separate from broader questions arising in ostensibly secular-liberal nations like Australia over what has been termed the ‘new visibility of religion’ in public life. In my doctoral research, I bring the questions surrounding the new public visibility of religion to bear on the issue of religious schooling in Australia with a specific focus on the case of the Neo-Calvinist ‘Parent-Controlled’ schooling movement.

Publications:

  • Low, Remy and Redden, Guy. 'My School, Education, and Cultures of Rating and Ranking'. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 2012, Vol. 34, Issue 1-2.
  • Low, Remy. 'The Inevitability of Religious Politics: Juan Luis Segundo and religion as faith and ideology'. From the proceedings of Challenging Politics: New Critical Voices, University of Queensland, 10-11 May, 2010.
    Available online: http://www.polsis.uq.edu.au/docs/Challenging-Politics-Papers/Remy-Low-The-Inevitability-of-Religious-Politics.pdf

Wei Miao
From National Allegory to Sentimental Fabulations: Gender, Affect and the Representation of Chinese Migration to the United States in the Post-Tiananmen Era

Written in the wake of Rey Chow's theorization of the Chinese sentimental, this thesis deploys an affect-centered conceptual framework to study selected televisual, filmic and literary narratives of Chinese migration to the United States produced in the post-Tiananmen era.

Publications:

  • Wei Miao. 'On the English Translation of the Chinese Phrase "Hai Xuan"'. Journal of Zhengzhou Institute of Aeronautical Industry Management (Social Science Edition), 2008, (1): 128~9. (in Chinese)
  • Wei Miao. 'Design of Simulation Activities in College English Classes'. Journal of Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (Social Science Edition), 2006, (4): 583~4. (in Chinese)
  • Wei Miao. 'Symbolism in The Scarlet Letter'. Journal of Shaanxi Normal University (Philosophy and Social Sciences Edition), 2003, (25): 254~8.
  • Wei Miao. 'Critical Linguistic Analysis of President Bush's Speech on "9.11"'. Foreign Languages Teaching, 2003, (24): 233~4. (in Chinese)

Lina Nope-Williams
The Construction and Reconstruction of Gender and Identity through Food in Indonesia

My study is focused on the question whether food has influenced on the changes in attitudes towards the understanding of gender and identity in the contemporary Indonesian society. This extends to the query whether food influences the process of family unification and structure along with the social changes. Ultimately, the enquiry is whether food has significant roles in the changes in construction and reconstruction of gender and identity in Indonesia. Factors such as globalization and economic growth contribute to the socio-cultural changes which may bring changes in and re-negotiation of the norms and ways in which people communicate with their families and members of their social circles. The discussion of gender, identity and socio-cultural changes in relation to food consumption and food habits can be viewed from Indonesian traditional and modern perspectives. Particular trends have emerged among Indonesians that have had consequences for their traditional food patterns. The transformation of gender and identity structures may either be a result of the changes in society or a response to the changes.

I undertook the fieldwork in Yogyakarta in 2010. It involved interacting and communicating with members of Indonesian society, making observations and conducting semi-structured interviews. Grown up in this city, I decided to apply the theories of “reflexive ethnography”. During my candidacy, I both attended and presented on seminars and conferences (locally and internationally). I submitted my thesis in 2013 and currently I am still making endeavour to publish articles related to my study.

Publications:

  • Nope, C.Y. 'Jerat Kapitalisme atas Perempuan'. Marselina, 2005, Yogyakarta: Resist Book

Li Meng
From Perplexity to Escape: Tragic Fictional Representations of 1980s Chinese Intellectuals in Huang Beijia's Nine Novellas

The 1980s witnessed a crucial interim during which China was recovering from the trauma of The Cultural Revolution while adapting itself to the changes brought by its Reform Era. The Chinese intellectuals of the 1980s, susceptible to the vicissitude as always, impressed the history and narratives of intellectuals with various responses, among which, the tragic and melancholic response was one of the most prominent.

The thesis highlights the tragic representations of intellectuals in 1980s in nine novellas of Huang Beijia, woman writer well-known for her concern over Chinese intellectuals. By studying the intellectual sexuality, intellectuals' social engagement, their transgression and connection of the West and self-orientation in the Reform Era, the author argues that perplexity is the major trigger of tragedies of the 1980s Chinese intellectuals who resort to escape in response to their adversity and trauma.


Kate O'Halloran
The ethics of queer anti-normativity

This thesis charts the ethical agenda of U.S.-based queer theory from its inception, exemplified in key figures such as Eve Sedgwick, Gayle Rubin, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, to its institutionalisation as an anti-normative and/or anti-social academic discipline. Engaging with some of its most canonical and influential texts and figures in Michael Warner, Jack Halberstam and Lee Edelman, the thesis suggests that the anti-normative and anti-social tenor of these works becomes problematic in translation to an activist and/or ‘community’ setting. I investigate, for example, some of the key sources of contemporary conflict within local queer communities, to suggest that in practice, queer anti-normativity has become an imperative that betrays the anti-identitarian and ethical beginnings of the discipline. In particular, this thesis is concerned by queer’s constitutive distance from ordinariness, from so-called less radical pasts and from feminist concerns. I argue that in practice, the capacity to satisfy queer (anti-)norms is related closely to privilege, which begs the question of who ‘justifiably deserves’ to be, and who is currently, represented by queer scholarship and/or communities. Key case studies analysed include: Queer Collaborations (QC), Querelle magazine, the Feminist Futures conference (Melbourne 2011), SlutWalk and the Sydney queer cabaret scene (via strip night Pirate Jenny’s). Each case study is explored through the lens of one of three key queer theoretical preoccupations: ‘identity’, ‘temporality’ and ‘community’.


Rany Pen
White Gold: A study of gender relations in rural Cambodia

What is like to be Neak Sre or rice farmer in today Cambodia? During the past two decades, starting from the 1991 Paris Peace Accord, Cambodia has transformed itself politically and economically. From a communist-socialist way of governing to democratically elected government, Cambodia’s economy has been shifted to the market economy as well. In this regard, gender relations have both resisted and influenced by these changes. They are constructed and re-constructed as the society continues to evolve. However, unlike in urban areas, rural Cambodia still maintains a strong attachment to the tradition that is not only inspired by Buddhist values but also the patriarchal system. The later is seen as imposing barrier for rural women to advance and to move beyond the family enclosure. My research interests centre around the areas of gender equality, culture, development, and rural society, as well as its interaction with external influences brought in by the changes of political and economic ideologies. The research attempts to analyse the construction of gender identities in rural Cambodia and to explore barriers and opportunities for women’s advancement especially in agriculture sector. As the majority of Cambodia’s population are rice farmers, I will also follow and examine rice production especially its connectedness with the construction of gender identities amongst rice farming population.


Paul Priday
Masculinities in Transnational Advertising Agencies

An empirical gender study into masculinities in transnational business. The selected sites are transnational advertising agencies in Sydney, New Delhi and Shanghai and the men who work in them. The importance of transnational business as an institutional location for research into men has been recognised and an understanding of institutions is regarded as important for an understanding of masculinities. This study adopts a socio-cultural perspective viewing advertising agencies as sites that professionally specialize in manufacturing and trading affect in support of brands. The men who work in them act as affect brokers and are involved in the ongoing conscious manufacturing of self that is then distributed through self-managed media. The research is conducted using participant observation as an ethnographic methodology combined with in-depth individual interviews.


Zitong Qiu
Youth and Chinese Modernity (1919-2010)

This PhD thesis explores how May Fourth modernity (1919-1921), socialist modernity (1949-1976) and postsocialist modernity (1979-2010) as different mode of dominant modernity play out in the discourse of youth in different historical eras. The thesis is comprised three parts. Each part consists of one historical background chapter and one chapter outlining a case study. Three historical background chapters constitute a cultural-historiography of youth through examining the dynamically linked tensions between the continuities and discontinuities of different modes of modernity that crystalised in the experience and discourse of youth. Three case studies examine three films: Song of Youth (Cui Wei and Chen Huai’ai, 1959), Sacrificed Youth (Zhang Nuanxin, 1985) and The World (Jia Zhangke, 2004). I read these films by utilising sexuality, ethnicity and class respectively as lines of inquiry to construct a new historiographical reading of May Fourth youth, socialist youth and postsocialist youth. There is a striking dearth of research on Chinese youth within youth studies, and within that small field most scholarship leans too heavily towards political science and sociology. In contrast, my study not only attempts to provide a new perspective on the ongoing debate surrounding the interface of area studies and cultural studies, but also seeks to stimulate a debate about what Chinese youth studies is, could be, and may become.


Nikki Savvides
Animal-centred volunteer tourism in India, Indonesia and Thailand

My PhD thesis aims to reconfigure the destructive aspects of the tourism industry through the development of a practical ethics of tourism. With a particular focus on tourism practices in the Asian LDC nations of Thailand, India and Indonesia, I consider how forms of volunteer and conservation tourism focused on improving the lives of injured, rescued and endangered animals contribute to a paradigm for ethical tourism by engendering cross-species and cross-cultural engagements. In recognising the potential that such engagements have to dissolve the enforced boundary between humanity and nature, the thesis puts the animal back into the human notion of ‘community’, while conversely reconfiguring ‘the environment’ to include the human. By incorporating forms of indigenous knowledge with my own experiences conducting research in the field, and by placing animals at the centre of questions, ideas and theories about tourism practices, the project aims to ‘write in’ the agency of (human and non-human) subalterns while also allowing myself, as author and as tourist, to test the potentiality of the practical ethics first hand. In developing an ethical framework for tourism practices, the thesis ultimately aims to encourage a form of transnational or global responsibility within the tourism industry.

Publications:

  • Savvides, N. (2012) 'Communication as a solution to conflict: similarities in divergent methods of horse training'. Society and Animals 20(2), 75-90.
  • Savvides, N. (2012) 'A dog's life on the streets of Bangkok'. In DeMello, M. (Ed.) Speaking for Animals: Animal Autobiographies, New York and London: Routledge.

Timothy Kazuo Steains
Representations of Japan in Contemporary Australian Literature and Cinema

My work looks at representations of Japan in contemporary Australian literature, cinema (and other media yet to be determined). I argue that these cross-cultural representations reflect both the transnational flows and nationalising forces affecting Australia's perceptions of Asia. My project starts by looking at films and novels by white Australian directors and writers. I point out how these texts stage Australia's changing local and global affiliations and ask where these representations might go further in their interactions with the global. I then go on to explore the unique potential of representations by Asian Australian, Japanese Australian, and Asian Australian mixed race people. This later work may include blogs and online communities, and would consider how new media offers different possibilities for intercultural exchanges between Australia and Asia. I'm also a research assistant on Helen Young's project Imagining Diversity: Race and Ethnicity in Popular Fantasy, which examines discourses of diversity and difference in fantasy literature, film, television, games, and in the fan cultures which revolve around them. In 2013 I taught on a first year course, in the Department of English, entitled 'Constructing the Fictive Self.'


Natalie Tao
The narratives of Thai migrant women with intercultural relationships in Australian context

This project investigates the lived experiences of Thai migrant women who are or have been in international relationships with Caucasian-Australian citizens. It aims to explore and understand the different factors involved in those women’s decision-making for international migration. I try to challenge the existing literature which often limits understandings of women’s migration decisions to economic bases. Furthermore, by analysing the blog discourses, I would like to find out the culturally-embedded stereotypes and assumptions that construct Thai women’s images and their relationships with foreigners. It will be used to compare with my interviewees’ narratives on their self-identity and their relationships with Caucasian-Australian partners. The performances and negotiations that migrant women make in the roles of daughters, wives, mothers and workers after migration are often still affected by the social and cultural structures of their countries of origin as well as the country of destination. Therefore, this project examines how those migrant women develop strategies to deal with a range of relationships they encounter in their daily lives, whether the intimate relations with their foreign partners, relations with their original families and partner’s families, relations with other women, including Australian women and those from the same diasporic group.


Helen Walters
Fancy a dress-up? Fancy dress practices in suburban Sydney

My thesis is a study of the fancy dress practices and experiences of a social group of Baby Boomer friends in Sydney. The project draws on over thirty years worth of diverse stories from selected members of the group and documents their involvement and participation in fancy dress costuming and parties. The project explores what fancy dress means both to the individual and the group and will discuss fancy dress as: a means of self-expression, a means of group identity and cohesion, a communal fun activity and a source of shared memories. I will also look at how the costumes are produced and embodied.


Yuehan Wu
The Representation of Pregnant Bodies in China

In this study, I am going to explore the changing representation of the pregnant body in selected Chinese films and novels from 1949 to the present day. Building on existing scholarship, I will relate the fictional representation of maternity to three consolidating discourses of reform, namely the Chinese family planning program, Chinese feminism, and Chinese globalization. By interrogating the highly symbolic depictions of pregnant women in films and novels I hope to meaningfully expand our understanding of the impact of these discourses on real Chinese women. Approaching my topic in an interdisciplinary way, I intend to disturb dualistic arguments that locate women in opposition to the political and reinstate everyday life as an arena of female agency as well as oppression. Using both Chinese and western feminist theories and methodologies, this study reimagines maternity through various scales and dimensionalities, including the generic, the social and the global. I will begin my study with an analysis of Xue Xiao-lu’s film, Finding Mr. Right (2013), which addresses the issue of Chinese women giving birth in the US in order to obtain citizenship in the form of a romantic comedy which is a partial remake of Nora Ephron’s Sleepless in Seattle (1993).