Held on the first Thursday of each month, our informal monthly seminar series features an ADI researcher presenting on their newest research to Deakin colleagues and the general public.
The seminars are held in Burwood, Building C room C2.05 and Waurn Ponds, meeting room JB3.03. They are also available via VMP 39384. For more details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday 7 March - Professor Greg Barton
National Security is too important to be abandoned to politics of fear
Thursday 4 April - Professor P. David Marshall
Transforming Politics: The Implications of Pandemic Fame, Persona and Digital Culture
Celebrity articulates a very particular form of public identity that more or less is linked to the extensions of the self beyond one’s primary activity and into the complex dimensions of publicity, fame, and into a wider, and by its very definition, popular culture. Celebrity’s relationship to another form of public identity—the politician/political leader—is conceptually and practically connected by their shared relationship to the popular and its articulation through the various mediated forms of popular culture. This connection to popular culture is one of the ways in which power is legitimized as the politician or celebrity is authenticated by their capacity to embody the citizenry in one sphere and the audience in another. This paper argues that there has been a significant transformation in our constitution of fame in the contemporary moment that has fundamentally shifted this fame/politics nexus. The key element of this shift is the way in which digital media has reconfigured our political-popular cultural landscape. It is argued that via the communicative structures of social media and its avenues of sharing and connecting, there has developed a pandemic will-to-public identity by the billions of users of online culture—what is identified as pandemic persona—that resembles the patterns with which celebrity and politicians have operated over the previous century. Pandemic persona has produced a new instability in the organization of contemporary politics as this new public intermediary insinuates itself in unpredictable ways into the way that the process of representation in both popular and political culture manifests itself in what could be seen as legacy media and legacy formations of political institutions and practices.
Thursday 2 May - Dr Vanessa Barolsky
Is truth a foundation for reconciliation: where to for Australian truth-telling?
Globally truth commissions have emerged as a widespread response to human rights violations in countries as diverse as Sierra Leone and Canada, with over 30 such commissions established since the 1980s. These commissions are generally seen as a non-judicial mechanism to recognise and document human rights violations in the wake of conflict in order to create more inclusive forms of national identity and reconciliation. These global processes and discourses on transitional justice are increasingly intersecting with local expectations and understandings about the possibilities of ‘truth telling’ for tackling colonial harms in Australia.
The discussion of a formal, systematic truth-telling process in Australia is in its early stages and therefore this moment offers unique opportunities to explore the potential form and substance of such an undertaking. The need for truth-telling about the historical violence and injustice of colonialism has been increasingly strongly voiced by Indigenous Australians.
What would such a process entail in Australia? While current discussion of truth has been preceded by a history of engagement with the concept of reconciliation in policy practice and academic analysis, the role of truth in reconciliation and the importance of ‘truth’ per se has been relatively marginal.
Thursday 6 June - Associate Professor Andrew Singleton
When a Religion dies a public death but has a private afterlife: the arc of Spiritualism in Australia
This presentation reports on a large-scale, ARC-funded project on contemporary Spiritualism (the religion that communicates with the dead) and spirit mediums in Australia. It draws on extensive participant observation at Spiritualist churches, platform demonstrations and physical seances, along with dozens of in-depth interviews. Spiritualism began as a diffuse spiritual movement in America in the mid-nineteenth century and became enormously popular in Australia, Great Britain, and France, among other countries. Alfred Deakin was a leading figure in its promulgation. In time, Australian followers of Spiritualism began to organise themselves into formal groups, and eventually received recognition as religious organisations. Dozens of churches were opened nationwide. Now, this congregational form is in precipitous decline. In its place, a loose social movement remains popular, yet deeply private, manifested at ‘psychic fairs’, in mediumship demonstrations in theatres, clubs and cruises, and in private sittings and seances. This presentation explains this dynamic and considers the socio-cultural consequences of a ‘public religion’ becoming an ‘invisible one’. It also situates these findings in the broader study of religion, spirituality and social change.
Thursday 4 July - Dr Victoria Stead
‘Local’sdon’t want to do that work anymore’: Race, nostalgia, and Australian rural imaginaries
In October 2018, amid debates over labour shortages within the horticultural industry, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced plans to compel ‘local’ unemployed welfare receipts into vacant fruit picking jobs. “This is about doing everything we can to ensure Australian jobs are being filled by Australians”, Morrison declared. Various forms of fruit picking work-for-the-dole schemes have touted over recent years, and as with previous proposals, this 2018 proposal was roundly critiqued by farmers and industry bodies as unrealistic. ‘Locals’, as the conventional wisdom goes, ‘don’t want to do that work anymore’.
In this paper, I take this widely aired sentiment as a basis for thinking about the complexities of culture, history, and identity that coalesce around agricultural labour relations in rural Australia. Conflicting discourses of ‘localness’, I argue, reveal tensions and dissonances between rural and metropolitan imaginaries and experiences in relation to migrant workers. In some ways, these dissonances destabilise reductive characterizations of rural places as parochial and conservative in contrast to urban metropoles. At the same time, strongly racialized and nostalgic rural imaginaries mobilise relations of belonging and exclusion that ultimately privilege White claims to land and place.
Thursday 1 August - Dr Imogen Richards & Associate Professor Matthew Sharpe
Alexandre Dugin, Eurasianism and the Global Rise of the Antiliberal Right
One of the comforting stories many intellectuals told themselves in the 70 years of the post-fascist era was that fascism was a vulgar, populist political formation with no academic content. Students of fascism and the Right intelligentsia have long called this out as the myth that it always was: the tertiary educational sectors in Italy and Germany were amongst the first to be ‘coordinated’ with the new regimes, and leading thinkers like Martin Heidegger, Gerhard Kittel and Carl Schmitt played key roles in undermining liberal democracy and legitimising the new order. In this paper, we will look at arguably the leading intellectual of the global far Right, Alexandre Dugin, a neofascist Heideggerian who propounds a philosophy or ‘geopolitics’ of empire called ‘Eurasianism’ which looks to the secure the end of ‘Atlanticist’ global hegemony, possibly by a ‘fourth world war’ (the cold war being the ‘third’). We will focus on his reading of Heidegger, since the latter’s works are so much more widely known; then concluding remarks will look at the dissemination of Dugin’s work globally, including in America, where his work is translated by the professed neoNazi Richard Spencer’s wife.
Thursday 5 September - Dr Christopher Mayes
Strangers in the academy: bioethics and the transformation of Australian universities
The Hawke Government’s 1987 Dawkins Reforms transformed the university sector by encouraging a greater focus on research impact and innovation to build a new knowledge economy. The emphasis on translation and industry engagement stoked old rivalries between the sciences and humanities. The animosity was in full display at a public meeting held to discuss the changes. Don Aitken the head of the ARC was asked ‘why science was getting a better deal’ than the humanities. He responded that the sciences had ‘fewer wankers’. A regrettable comment, but it was felt that some disciplines were better placed, and better supported, to make the transition to the new university environment.
Preceding the Dawkins Reforms were significant developments in health policy and medical technology, particularly relating to genetics and reproductive medicine. These developments provoked doctors, philosophers, theologians, lawyers and sociologists to convene conferences and workshops under the banner of the neologism – bioethics.
The new university environment and advances in medical technologies provided an opening for bioethics to emerge as a science-humanities hybrid enterprise. Over the course of a decade, bioethics and bioethicists began to secure grants with biomedical scientists, chair national research ethics committees, develop public profiles, and adjudicate moral debates over the beginnings and ends of life. This paper examines how bioethics emerged in universities during the 1980s and the effects it had on scientific research, medical education and radical feminist critique.
Thursday 3 October - Dr Sherene Idriss
Can’t Knock The Hustle: Precarious Labour, Gender, Racism and Entrepreneurship
In this paper, I draw on the findings from a qualitative study with young women of migrant minority backgrounds in Australia’s urban cities of Sydney and Melbourne working in the creative and cultural industries to consider how postfeminism, but specifically the celebratory discourses of individualisation and entrepreneurialism, comes into contact with localised migrant understandings of ‘the hustle’, a narrative rooted in one instance in the legacy of ethnic entrepreneurship. By exploring how racialised young women develop entrepreneurial attitudes of ‘hustling’, an orientation to work that is inherited across generations and across borders, I suggest that neoliberal postfeminist sensibilities on the one hand and imaginaries of migrant entrepreneurial dispositions on the other are fused together to produce complex and contradictory narratives about work, gender and racism. I explore how hustling is operationalised as a strategy for passing, a process of leveraging ethnicity as a valuable commodity, and as a way to express simultaneous marginalisation and stuckedness alongside “imaginaries of mobility” (Robertson et al. 2018).
Thursday 7 November - Dr Rose Butler & Dr Eve Vincent (Macquarie University)
Love across class: social difference and intimacy in contemporary Australia
How does class shape expectations and everyday negotiations within long-term partnerships in Australia? This talk will outline a new research project investigating how class differences are managed within intimate relationships where partners originate from a differently-situated class background. Building on sociological and anthropological studies of family, class and capital, the research will qualitatively explore the role of class in people’s approaches to work, money, family life, child-rearing, health, social life and leisure. With inequality having become a defining issue of the 21st century, the project takes intimacy as a key site for understanding broad scale economic restructuring and aims to generate new insights into how class, inequality and privilege work in contemporary Australia.