Visiting Research Fellows

John McNicol

Photo of John McNicol

15 September 2016 – 15 March 2017

John McNicol is a lecturer in history at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is a medievalist, but has expanded his teaching portfolio to include courses on the relation between history and film, as well as a course for masters students on how to communicate history.

His innovative and engaging teaching has been recognised in various ways. In 2016 he was named as one of 10 "amazing lecturers in Norway" by the newspaper Morgenbladet and in 2014 he won the University of Oslo’s prize for best teaching.

During his time with SLAM he will be affiliated with the Medieval and Early Modern Centre and will work on two different projects. The first is to write a textbook for a course on history and film which he has developed. The course investigates theoretical questions regarding history, and also attempts to put movies and TV-series in a historical context. This is done with reference both to the contemporary research methods as well as the historical issues focused on at the time the movies were made. The main goals of the textbook will be to teach the students the layers of source criticism and the historical context needed to understand and use these series and movies.

The second project is to complete an article on the pre-Christian cult buildings of Scandinavia. The concept of a pagan cult building came to an abrupt end when Olaf Olsen in 1965 published his doctoral thesis. With a critical view on what sources could be used for information regarding the conversion period he deconstructed the idea of a pagan cult building and organisation. During the last 15 years there has been a comeback for the pagan cult building. Archaeologists claim to have unearthed several undisputed cult buildings. This could be a game-changer for research on the conversion and the effects of this have not yet been discussed in depth.

Associate Professor Ivar John Erdal

Ivar John Erdal

20 June 2016 – 29 July 2016

Ivar John Erdal is an Associate Professor at Volda University College, Norway. His teaching and research focuses on journalism and digital media.

He earned his Ph.D. in media studies from the University of Oslo in 2008. His doctoral project was a study of digital news production and cross-media journalism at the Norwegian public service broadcaster NRK. His work has appeared in journals such as Journalism Studies, Convergence, Nordicom Review, and Journalism Practice. In the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies he has co-written a chapter on convergence in European public service broadcasters.

While at SLAM Associate Professor Erdal will be working on a paper concerning recent conceptualisations of locative media and journalism for mobile devices, and an empirical study of journalism for mobile devices in mainstream media. He will discuss these topics in a Media@Sydney research seminar on 14 July.

Dr Sukhmani Khorana

Dr Sukhmani Khorana

11 January 2016 – 8 July 2016

Dr Sukhmani Khorana lectures in the digital media and international media streams of the BCM program at the University of Wollongong. Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. Sukhmani’s doctoral project was a comprehensive study of diasporic film theory and practice, while her current research looks at the discourses of news television in India, ethnic and community media in Australia, and transnational articulations of cross-media ethical witnessing.

During her time with the Department of Media and Communications, Sukhmani will be working on the manuscript of her book ‘Cosmopolitanisation and Everyday Australian Food Stories’. The monograph will explore mediated narratives of the cultural diversity of food (in terms of production, circulation, and consumption) in contemporary global urban contexts, with a focus on Australia. In the post-global era, ‘diverse’ food has come to stand in for cosmopolitanism itself. In other words, one of the primary markers of a ‘cosmopolitan city’ is the availability of food (through cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and the like) from diverse corners of the world. At the same time, the cosmopolitan city-dweller is one who partakes in this food diversity, both in his/her neighbourhood and by travelling to locations and festivals that specialize in preparing and selling particular kinds of ‘ethnic’ food products and related cultural experiences. Using food-oriented case studies centred on Australian cities and media, the book argues for a processual understanding of cosmopolitanism that combines everyday inter-cultural exchanges with more reflexive and ethical responses to socio-political problems.

Ms Jessica Hamel-Akré

Photo of Jessica Hamel-Akre

15 January 2016 – 15 June 2016

Jessica Hamel-Akré is a PhD candidate in English Studies at the Université de Montréal. She earned her MA in Literary Studies and Gender Studies from the Université du Québec à Montréal. Her research interests include eighteenth-century literature, medicine, and philosophy, eating disorders, body image, self-perception, and historical feminisms.

Jessica's project seeks to conceptualise how the affective roots of eating disorders can be illuminated by an exploration of eighteenth-century women's food refusal. While at the Department of English in SLAM, Jessica is preparing the introductory chapters of her doctoral thesis, tentatively entitled “'The Source of a Thousand Ills': Women's Food Refusal and Feminine Appetites in the Long Eighteenth Century.” She is currently investigating the religious and moral discourse employed in early-modern and eighteenth-century medical literature on the subject of women's desire-related illnesses. She specifically considers the use of dietary medicine and appetite control as cures to greensickness, lovesickness, and hysteria. She plans to later consider literary depictions of self-starvation, food refusal, and gendered constructions of reason in the works of Hannah Allen, Samuel Richardson, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Moreover, Jessica will participate in the Sydney Intellectual History Network's Long Eighteenth-Century Reading Group, where she will present the medicine of George Cheyne. She will also organise, along side Dr Ursula Potter, Dr Olivia Murphy, and in collaboration with members of the Clinical Psychology department, a cross-disciplinary seminar on literature, spirituality, and eating disorders.

As a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada's Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship, Jessica's stay at the University of Sydney is generously funded by a Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement.

Professor Patricia Plummer

Professor Patricia Plummer

1 September 2015 – 1 October 2015

Patricia Plummer is Chair of Postcolonial Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Her teaching and research focuses on British literature and culture of the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, postcolonial and gender studies as well as contemporary literature and popular culture, especially crime fiction.

In 2000, she earned her Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Mainz. She has published a critical study on style in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist (Trier: WVT, 2003) and has written a monograph on English Orientalism across literary genres and the visual arts in the long eighteenth century (Turning Turk: The Ottoman Empire and the English Imagination, 1700-1799; forthcoming). She has also co-edited several interdisciplinary volumes on gender studies, feminist crime fiction and ‘subversive’ Romanticism, and is currently editing the proceedings of a symposium on transcultural Western encounters with Japanese Zen-Buddhism, which she hosted in 2012. Patricia Plummer’s current research focuses on transcultural spirituality; it is within this framework that she has been tracing the life and works of Louisa Haynes Le Freimann in order to write a book on this forgotten Anglo-Australian artist and theosophist. Her essay “The Hidden History of an Australian Painter: Louisa Haynes Le Freimann (1863-1956)” has recently been published in a special Australian studies issue of the open access journal Gender Forum.

While at SLAM Professor Plummer will be working on gender, art and theosophy in Sydney, c. 1900-1930 and is also planning to write an essay on that subject. Moreover, she will discuss her interdisciplinary work at a meeting with SLAM postgraduate students; she will also present on Louisa Haynes Le Freimann in the Department of Studies in Religion’s research seminar (on 1 September) and will talk about the Arts & Crafts Movement in Birmingham in the 1880s at a meeting of the English Department’s Nineteenth-Century Study Group (on 17 September).

Dr Kenneth Reinecke Hansen

Dr Kenneth Hansen

11 February 2015 – 17 June 2015

Kenneth Reinecke Hansen is assistant professor at Centre for Journalism, University of Southern Denmark. He earned his PhD in Journalism, and his MA in Nordic Languages and Literature, and Philosophy. He has a great interest in teaching, and for nine years he was a lecturer in Danish at the Institute for School and Education, Metropolitan University College, before returning to scholarly research.

His research interests include future-oriented journalism, phoric references of online journalism, and dramaturgy of television journalism.

While at SLAM and the Department of Linguistics, Dr Hansen will be investigating how current journalistic practice is shifting the focus from the present to the future, including how journalists ‘guess’, i.e. predict and speculate, about the future. The main methodological approach will be a linguistically informed corpus-based discourse analysis on a text corpus from television, newspaper and online news, drawing on theories on evaluative language and evidentiality.

Moreover, Dr Hansen will contribute to Sharing News Online, a recently awarded Australian Research Council project on the scale, scope and form of online news sharing on Twitter and Facebook. He will collaborate with SLAM scholars on a case study to investigate how the shared stories exhibit future-orientation compared to non-shared stories.

Dr Hansen’s visit to SLAM is kindly sponsored by The Carlsberg Foundation.

Ms Jennifer Fest

Jennifer Fest

16 February 2015 – 22 March 2015

Jennifer Fest is a PhD student at the Department of English, American and Romance Studies at RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Her current research interests focus on media language, forms of variation in English as well as applications of corpus linguistics.

Jennifer graduated from RWTH Aachen University in 2011 with a Master of Arts, majoring in Sociology and English Literature and Linguistics. In her masters thesis, she analysed the language of football journalism from a systemic functional perspective, using a quantitative, corpus-based approach. Since then, she has been working as a research assistant in linguistics as well as empirical educational science. Accordingly, her research has included possible applications of corpora in other disciplines, most prominently those of literature studies and the social sciences.

In the context of her PhD work, Jennifer is compiling a corpus of news language (CONE) from different varieties of English, covering various newspaper types as well as thematic domains. The foci of this study are a closer and more detailed description of the individual varieties on the one and a register analysis of the different newspaper domains on the other hand.

Jennifer Fest’s stay at the University of Sydney is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). During her visit to SLAM and the Department of Linguistics, she will work with Dr Monika Bednarek on studying the concept of news values in the CONE corpus. The research is based on an operationalisation of different news values into representative linguistic features and aims at describing the distribution of these values with regard to the topics and varieties to which they are most frequently connected. Additionally, Jennifer Fest will give a class on corpus work and sampling for undergraduate students.

Dr Alberto Gabriele

25 May 2014 – 8 June 2014

Alberto Gabriele is Assistant Professor at the English and American Studies Department at Tel Aviv University. A graduate of New York University’s Comparative Literature Department, as well as of the University of Florence’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Department, he is the author of Reading Popular Culture in Victorian Print: Belgravia and Sensationalism, which has been included in the select list of ʻworks of referenceʼ of the Societé pour lʼHistoire des Medias.

His research interests include global Victorian studies, the relation between text and image, particularly pre-cinema and silent film, and book history. His next book is Pre-cinema and the Literary Imagination, an exploration of visual culture and the challenges to the tradition of pictorialism, from the baroque age to the twentieth century avant-garde.

A recipient of a Fulbright fellowship and of a one-year fellowship at NYU’s Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge, Alberto Gabriele is a member of the editorial board of The Yearbook of Moving Image Studies. He convened an international conference at Tel Aviv University in December 2013, Sensationalism and the Genealogy of Modernity, for which he also organised and introduced the closing event at Tel Aviv’s Cinematheque, a screening with live musical accompaniment, of the silent film Amerikanka, partly written by Viktor Shklowsky. He is editing a collection of essays partly deriving from the conference. Alberto has also worked as a film critic reporting from the Venice Film Festival and has collaborated with the Pordenone Silent Film Festival Le Giornate del Cinema Muto.

Dr Gabriele is currently in Australia investigating the global dissemination of Victorian print culture in the 1860s-70s through the network of agents set up by the London-based publisher John Maxwell in twelve countries. His essay “Cheap Editions of French and British Books, Muquardt and the Nineteenth Century Transnational Book Trade” will appear in the collection Historical Networks of the Book Trade edited by Catherine Feely and John Hinks.

Associate Professor Robert Cummings

Robert Cummings

7 February 2014 – 7 March 2014

Robert Cummings serves as Director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric and Associate Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. His research focuses on Open Educational Resources generally, and more specifically on teaching with Wikipedia in Higher Education as an Open Educational Practice.

In 2006 he earned the PhD in English from the University of Georgia, with a focus on the connections between rhetoric, composition, and digital technology. His first book was the co-edited volume Wiki Writing: Collaborative Learning in the College Classroom with Matt Barton, (University of Michigan digitalculturebooks, 2008). His most recent book is Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia (Vanderbilt UP, 2009), which won the Modern Language Association Mina Shaughnessy award for outstanding scholarly book in the fields of language, culture, literacy, and literature with a strong application to the teaching of English.

In 2013 he led the development of an English composition course specification for the Personalized Learning Consortium of the Association of Public Land-grant Universities. Along with Pete Forsyth of Wiki Strategies he received a 2013 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to fund the development of Open Educational Resource information on Wikipedia. Similarly, he has served the Wikipedia community and Wikimedia Foundation as a frequent consultant on matters pertaining to higher education. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Wiki Education Foundation of US and Canada. His current research continues to focus on how network knowledge is reshaping higher education and redefining the cultural value of rhetoric.

Dr. Cummings's visit to SLAM is facilitated by a U.S. Fulbright Specialist Award. While here, he will work with Dr Frances Di Lauro from the Writing Hub on introducing the concept of teaching with Wikipedia at all levels and subjects of study through multiple talks, developing capacity for faculty to teach with Wikipedia through workshops, and supporting both faculty and students in their engagement with Open Educational Resources and Practices. He will also give a talk on the current landscape of Open Educational Resources, xMOOCs, and the advent of personalised learning, and will present a "How I Write" talk in the Writing Hub's quarterly seminar series.

Associate Professor Ursula Plesner

Ursula Plesner

10 – 21 February 2014

Ursula Plesner is Associate Professor at the Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School. She graduated in Sociology from the New School for Social Research, New York, and obtained a PhD in Science Communication from Roskilde University. She has been a visiting scholar at University of California San Diego and Stanford University.

Ursula’s research interests revolve around the role of new communication technologies in the ordering of the social, as well as on the role of communication technologies and communication practices in the production of knowledge and innovations, and in strategy. She believes that engagement with these empirical themes can add new perspectives to the understanding of communication technologies. Throughout her career, she has approached these themes empirically through qualitative studies of, for instance, the organisation of political protest on the internet, the interactions of professionals in mass media productions covering social science, and the strategic organisation of innovation processes in relation to the use of virtual worlds for professional communication. Her work has been published in journals such as Public Understanding of Science, Qualitative Inquiry, Journalism – Theory, Practice & Criticism, and Convergence – The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, and in 2013, her co-edited anthology Researching Virtual Worlds – Methodologies for Studying Emergent Practices was published by Routledge.

While at SLAM, Ursula will be working on her development of a comprehensive framework for analysing innovation communication, and she will be writing up an ethnographic study from a small company working with innovation in new communication technologies. The ambition with reporting on this empirical research is to refine our understanding of the constitutive role of communication in innovation processes. She will engage in conversations with scholars from the Department of Media and Communications, hoping to benefit from the department’s focus on digital cultures and technologies.