Visiting Research Fellows

Dr Will Norman

Dr Will Norman

5 March 2018 – 14 April 2018

Will Norman is a Reader in American Literature and Culture at the University of Kent, UK, where he is currently director of the Centre for American Studies. He received his DPhil from Oxford University in 2008 and in 2013-14 spent a year as a Fulbright fellow at Yale University. He is the author of Transatlantic Aliens: Modernism, Exile and Culture (2016) and Nabokov, History and the Texture of Time (2012). His research is orientated around literature, thought and culture in mid-twentieth-century America and the post-1945 era. His interests include modernism, transnationalism, Marxism, literary style and hardboiled crime fiction.

During his research fellowship at the University of Sydney he will be working on a project that examines the representation of states of complicity in post-World War Two American thought and fiction. In particular, he will be exploring how figures such as Theodor Adorno, Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov dealt with the spectre of complicity in the decade following the end of the war. He will be presenting his work at the English research seminar series.

Dr Marie Gelang

Dr Marie Gelang

13 November 2017 – 15 December 2017

Marie Gelang, PhD, is a Researcher and Senior Lecturer in Rhetoric at the School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences in Örebro University, Sweden.

Her research focuses on visual rhetoric, in particular on aspects of nonverbal communication such as argumentation, gender differences, identity and how nonverbal communication more generally comes to influence the behaviour of citizens in society. Theoretically, her research is based on a rhetorical, cognitive and contextual view of nonverbal communication, focusing on the concept of actio, nonverbal communication, as a part of rhetorical theory and practice. She has written articles, book-chapters, and monographs within the tradition of rhetoric with a special focus on nonverbal communication.

During her visit as a Research Fellow in the School of Literature, Art and Media (SLAM), Dr Gelang will spend time finishing a collaborative article with Dr Alyssa O’Brien on visual rhetoric in cross-cultural contexts. Dr Gelang’s visit continues a collaboration with Dr O’Brien initiated at Stanford University; they have shared their research at many international conferences and published joint presentations.

Dr. Gelang will give two research seminars during her visit. One in the Writing Studies Department on ‘The Visual Rhetoric of Store Window Mannequins: A study of mannequin posture and proxemics’. She will argue that the artistic design and visual rhetoric of mannequins reflect ideals, norms, values and desires that we embody to create our ethos and personae, i.e., certain aspects of ourselves that we emphasise in a specific rhetorical situation. Another presentation will take place in the Department of Performance Studies. She will present research on two rhetorical concepts: actio (delivery/nonverbal communication) and kairos (timing), and the relationship between them.

Dr Yilei Kong

Dr Yilei Kong

Yilei Kong is a lecturer in the English Department of Suzhou University of Science and Technology, Jiangsu, China. She has been sponsored by the Jiangsu Government, China, to conduct research on Australian literature. She holds a PhD in English literature from Soochow University (2011). She has devoted herself for the study of Australian literature since 2007 and she has published several articles on Australian writers and great Australian literary events in Chinese journals and translated works of authors such as Robert Drewe and Gerald Murnane. Besides, she also worked as a member in a key project sponsored by National Social Science Programme Fund: A Study on the Process of the World and the Process of the Process of Foreign Literature After WWII (2013, contributor to Volume IV, "Australian literature in the 21st century"). Her current research proposes a comprehensive study on David Malouf.

Dr Caitriona Noonan

Dr Caitriona Noonan

31 July – 8 September 2017

Dr Caitriona Noonan is lecturer in media, culture and communications at the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, Cardiff University. She is an active researcher in the areas of television production, creative labour and broadcasting policy. In 2013 she co-edited a book on Cultural Work and Higher Education and is due to publish another book in 2018 on television drama production.

During her visit to the University of Sydney, Caitriona will continue her research on arts television and the future of public service broadcasting. Having done interviews with senior television executives, content producers and arts organisations in the UK, she now turns her attention to Australian broadcasting and its mediation of the arts, artists and culture. The aim of this research is to understand the specific challenges and opportunities this genre of programmes face in a more competitive and fragmented media market, and to consider this in the wider context of the sustainability of publicly funded television globally. Details of her research can be found at She will lead a seminar in late August within Media@Sydney to discuss this research.

Dr Deborah Scheidt

Dr Deborah Scheidt

5 July 2017 – 29 December 2017

Deborah Scheidt has been awarded a grant by the Brazilian government (through the CAPES Foundation) to conduct research on Australian literature at the University of Sydney. She is a tenured lecturer in English language literatures at the State University of Ponta Grossa (UEPG), Paraná, Brazil. She holds a PhD in Literary Studies from the Federal University of Paraná (2014) and an M.A. in English Language Literatures from the same university (1997). Her main research interest is Australian literature, and both her thesis and her dissertation have been devoted to Australian fiction. She has published several articles on Australian literature in peer-reviewed journals, on authors such as Patrick White, Henry Lawson, Peter Carey, Barbara Baynton and David Malouf. Other peer-reviewed publications include cultural studies and comparative analyses on the Brazilian sertão and the Australian outback, on Australian bush ballads and Brazilian cordel literature and on The Bulletin Magazine. Her current research project proposes a comparison between the novels Coonardoo, by Australian author Katharine Susannah Prichard and The Year Fifteen, by Brazilian author Rachel de Queiroz.

Dr Belinda Castles

Dr Belinda Castles

3 – 28 July 2017

Dr Belinda Castles is a creative writing lecturer and director of the MA in creative writing at the University of Exeter in the UK. She is a British-born Australian novelist and won the Australian-Vogel's Award for Literature in 2006 for her novel The River Baptists and the Asher Literary Award for 2013 for Hannah and Emil. In 2008 she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists.

Belinda will be based in the Department of English while in Sydney. Her project is the initial research phase for a creative writing guide based on Australian fiction. She is interested in Australian forms of voice and representations of experience as a resource for writers, and plans to explore departmental research interests in suburbia, worldliness, Indigenous writing and migration.

Dr Heather Ford

Dr Heather Ford

1 June 2017 – 11 August 2017

Heather Ford is an Academic Fellow in Digital Methods based at the University of Leeds School of Media and Communication. Before working as a full time academic, she worked for a number of non-profit technology organisations including the Association for Progressive Communications, Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, iCommons, Privacy International and Ushahidi as an activist, researcher and project manager. Her current interest is in the changing sources and dynamics of authority and inequality catalysed by the rise of the Internet and increasing deployment of algorithms and automation to organise and construct knowledge.

During her visit to the University of Sydney, she will be co-hosting a seminar with Dr Jonathon Hutchinson on digital media methods and talking about her new book entitled Fact Factories in the Media@Sydney seminar series. Fact Factories (MIT Press, due 2018) follows the ways in which digital facts are constructed out of multiple sources of online media on Wikipedia and how they then travel as data to other sites like search engines and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications.

Professor Gisela Håkansson

Gisela Hakansson

10 April 2017 – 30 April 2017

Gsela Håkansson is Professor Emerita with the Centre for Languages and Literature at Lund University. Her research areas include language acquisition in children and adults, classroom teaching, language impairment and multilingualism. She has directed/participated in several research projects exploring language development in different languages (Swedish, Arabic, English, German and French), different ages (from toddlers to adults) and in different contexts (inside and outside classrooms). The main focus of these project is the development of grammar. For nearly twenty years she has been using Processability Theory (PT, Pienemann 1998) as her theoretical framework, and applied it to the learning and teaching of Swedish.

During her visit to Sydney University she will give two talks relating to her research, one for the seminar series of the Department of Linguistics, about cognitive and typological aspects of language development, and another one for the Writing Hub about her experience of PT as a pedagogical tool in the classroom. Most of her time will be spent in collaborative work with Dr Bronwen Dyson examining data from learners and comparing L2 morphology and L2 syntax from a number of aspects. The aim is to write a joint paper to be published in an international journal. Their earlier collaboration has resulted in the co-authored book “Understanding Second Language Processing. A Focus on Processability Theory”, published by John Benjamins and expected in May 2017.

Dr Philip Steer

Philip Steer

3 April 2017 – 5 May 2017

Philip Steer is a Senior Lecturer in English in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey University, New Zealand. His research focuses on the relationship between literature and economics in the context of nineteenth-century settler colonialism, and how this relates to the environmental violence of settlement. He is currently completing a book project, “Borders of Britishness: The Novel and Political Economy in the Victorian Settler Empire,” and has published essays in Victorian Studies, Victorian Literature and Culture, and in A History of New Zealand Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2016). He is co-editor (with Nathan K. Hensley) of the forthcoming Ecological Form: System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire (Fordham University Press).

While at SLAM, Philip will be based in the Department of English, where he will be exploring the potential for colonial literature to offer a kind of “climate modelling,” through which settlers attempted to comprehend the vagaries of local conditions and reconcile them with the requirements of the new pastoral ecosystems they were imposing. His work will focus on Australian accounts of large-scale pastoralism in a context of climate extremes, identifying and examining literary responses alongside debates at the time about climate and ecology in Australia and Britain.

Dr Anna Bernard

Photo of Dr Anna Bernard

17 February 2017 – 24 March 2017

Anna Bernard is Senior Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London. She is the author of Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine (2013), co-editor of Debating Orientalism (2013) and What Postcolonial Theory Doesn’t Say (2015), and a Leverhulme Research Fellow in 2016-17.

During her time at SLAM, she is working on a book called International Solidarity and Culture. This project considers literature and film produced or circulated within three of the major left-wing international solidarity movements between 1975 and 1990: the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign, the anti-apartheid movement, and the Palestine solidarity movement. This period is significant not only for these three struggles, but for the study of international solidarity movements in general, since it marks a broader shift from third-worldist and liberationist ideas of solidarity to civil society and humanitarian approaches. A trajectory can be traced from early expressions of solidarity with the Sandinistas, which were chiefly based on a shared politics, to contemporary Palestine solidarity activism, which tends to prioritize humanitarian sympathy. Yet many activist films and texts trouble this chronology: they reveal ‘early’ uses of human rights discourse, ‘late’ articulations of a third-worldist politics, and combinations of the two positions. The book aims to show that the cultural activism of these three movements is a major site of confrontation and exchange between liberationist and humanitarian ideas of socio-political change, and that their influence persists in contemporary debates about the remit and impact of distant-issue activism in the global north.

Dr Kari Karppinen

Photo of Kari Karppinen

6 February 2017 – 15 June 2017

Kari Karppinen is a postdoctoral researcher in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His research interests include, among others, media policy, political theory and different conceptions of media freedom and pluralism. He is the author of the book Rethinking Media Pluralism (Fordham University Press, 2013), and a number of articles and book chapters ranging from theoretical work on media and democracy to empirical policy analysis around issues such as internet governance, digital rights, and public service media. He has also participated in several international collaborations focused on comparing media systems and media policies. He has previously been a visiting research fellow at the Donald McGannon Communication Research Center of Fordham University and at the Centre for the Study of Democracy of Westminster University.

During his visit to SLAM and the Department of Media and Communications, Kari is working on his Academy of Finland funded research project “Changing ideologies of media and communication policy” (2014-2018), which aims to examine the nature of values and ideologies that underlie different aims in contemporary media and communication policy debates. He is also collaborating on a new project proposal with Associate Professor Tim Dwyer and other colleagues from Sydney on the risks and consequences of emerging trends in online news for media pluralism and diversity policies.

Dr Anna Vatanen

Photo of Dr Anna Vatanen

10 January 2017 – 30 April 2017

Anna Vatanen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction and at the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, both at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Vatanen specialises in interactional linguistics and conversation analysis and works on data from naturally occurring everyday interactions in two Finno-Ugric languages, Finnish and Estonian. Her PhD thesis (2014) focused on overlapping talk in conversation and the connections between turn-onset timing and epistemics, social actions and the participants' agency. During years 2014–2016 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the project "The question of units in language and interaction" at the University of Helsinki. The project included close collaboration with scholars at the University of Turku, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and Keio University in Yokohama.

Vatanen's recent research topics concern several aspects of grammar and interaction such as affiliation and alignment, epistemically incongruent responses, prosody and grammar of next-turn repetitions, and delayed completions of unfinished turns. In addition, she has published on the conversation analytic methodology.

While at SLAM and the Department of Linguistics, Vatanen will work on her project on sporadic talk and the stereotype of the Silent Finn, funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction. In this project, she seeks to document the multimodal ways in which co-present participants inhabit silent moments in face-to-face interaction, the focus being on lapses between sequences of talk. Even though the data she examines consist of speakers of Finnish, who – at least in the stereotypes – are regarded as favouring silence in situations where speakers of many other languages assumedly prefer talk, the findings may offer some general insight on interactants’ behavior in silent moments. Vatanen's visit is hosted by Professor Nick Enfield.

John McNicol

Photo of John McNicol

15 September 2016 – 30 June 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.

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.