The Centre for Critical Studies was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

Below is an archive of CCCS Public Lectures delivered in 2001, along with their original abstracts. For further information on any of these lectures, please contact CCCS Admin.


Professor Brian Johns: 'A New Kind of Interference in the Future of the National Broadcaster', 29 March 2001

Adjunct Professor Brian Johns, School of Media and Journalism, QUT, and formerly Managing Director of the ABC gave the first lecture in the Centre's 2001 program of public lectures on March 29, 2001. Brian Johns will be well known to most Australians as the immediate predecessor to Jonathan Shier as Managing Director of the ABC. Given the controversies that have surrounded Shier, and given the pressure faced by public broadcasters around the world, Brian Johns' opinions on the future of public broadcasting are well worth hearing. He has been a champion of Australian content throughout his career (with the ABC, the SBS and Penguin Books) and a sturdy defender of the values of public broadcasting in Australia, as well as an active participant in the battle for recognition for such principles from successive federal governments 


Professor Kay Saunders: 'Racial Ideologues: Pauline Hanson's Heritage', 24 May 2001

The bipartisan commitment to multiculturalism in the early 1970s, along with the official demise of the White Australia Policy in 1966, signalled a change in official policies towards the issues of race in Australia. The Mabo decision in 1996 and the Wik decision in the High Court four years later also defined a new official attitude towards indigenous peoples. Clearly this change in official policy and practice was not matched in large sections of the community. Rather than embracing the new multicultural Australia, many citizens wanted a return to the older forms of Australian -British privilege. They saw themselves as left behind in the new image of a progressive nation committed to an internationalist outlook. Coupled with the impact of a more globalised economy following the policies of the Hawke and Keating governments which deregulated the economy, many nativist Australians felt increasingly alien and alienated. This was to become the heartland of Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party. This lecture concentrates upon the racial ideologies of Hanson. Rather than a massive shift in racial ideals through the post war period, there was a continuation of the older nineteenth century forms. Hanson's views were similar to those of William Lane, the socialist ideologue who led an experimental community devoted to white supremacy to Paraguay in 1893. It is not argued that Hanson is familiar with the intellectual underpinnings of her racial ideas but rather that she continues a form of folk racism that is almost identical with older forms of virulent notions of Anglo supremacy.

Professor Roly Sussex: 'Dingo Lingo, Cultural Cringes, and the Changing Faces of Australian English', 23 August 2001

There are two current competing paradigms in the analysis of international English. One view has it that international media, travel and globalization will cause the various national, local and dialectal Englishes to collapse into a more or less homogeneous soup of a predominantly American flavour, with an aftertaste of British. The opposing view sees instead an increasing divergence. On this interpretation, modern Englishes will eventually become more or less unintelligible to each other. Australian English is currently in a period of joyful turbulence. It has a solid understructure of British-Australian stock, now increasingly overlaid with Americanisms. But there are also growing native strands, especially a penchant for ludic, playful language and diminutives like cuey, cardie, oppo and Kyles. One way of tackling these divergent trends and fashions is through the concept of the meme, introduced by the socio-biologist Richard Dawkins to provide a cultural counterpart to the gene. Memes are features of culture which pursue their own propagation. Like genes, the survivors are fitter. Applying memes to prestige and variation, two of the key themes of sociolinguistics, we can look for rationales and patterns, if not explanations, for the conflicting indigenous and exogenous movements of contemporary Australian English.


Professor Peter Holbrook: 'William Shakespeare, Fascist', 4 October 2001

Something profound happened to Shakespearean criticism in the 1980s and 1990s: it became hostile to the author it once adored. Like the disenchanted speaker of Shakespeare's Sonnets, who once idealized his beloved young man but now knows that "loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud", critics have had to face up to their author's failings--particularly ideological failings. As Michael Bristol puts it: "Recent research demonstrates how Shakespeare has been enlisted by a social and economic regime to serve the interests of a white, Christian, middle-class, predominantly male and heterosexual mainstream". The negative critique is now standard: the Shakespeare of Katherine Duncan-Jones's recent biography is a grain-hoarder in time of dearth, a misogynist, and fat. Defences of the poet, such as Harold Bloom's best-selling book, usually take the form of crude dismissals of political criticism as crude. The charge that Shakespeare is a force for "social discipline" (Bristol) won't go away so easily. Thus, it seems, we are doomed to dislike what we once enjoyed. This paper suggests a different story can be told about the politics of Shakespeare. It does so by examining some moments in Shakespeare's cultural influence between his time and ours. 


Dr Mary Laughren: 'When Every Speaker Counts: Documenting Australia's Indigenous Languages', 1 November 2001

Linguistic research can contribute to our understanding of Australian prehistory. To demonstrate this Dr Laughren's lecture will compare two areas: an apparently uniform zone straddling WA and NT, and one of the most linguistically diverse, around the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria

One problem confronting linguists wanting to model prehistoric movements of people and languages is that the language documentation is often very uneven - virtually non-existent in too many cases. Until 1999, it was generally believed that the poorly recorded Wanyi language traditionally spoken in the Nicholson River region of the Gulf of Carpentaria, like its traditional southern neighbours, no longer had any fluent speakers, that is people who had grown up speaking Wanyi as their first language and who had retained a good command of it. However, a series of fortuitous encounters in 1999 revealed two elderly men who speak fluent Wanyi, as well as some younger relations with partial knowledge. More fieldwork with these speakers is planned. This situation, where knowledge of Australian languages will be lost forever within the next 10 years because the only remaining speakers are of advanced age, is unfortunately very common, especially in northern Queensland. Linguists should be out there recording now. In addition to discussing these issues, Dr. Laughren will present her research into the fascinating mosaic of language evidence relevant to modelling prehistoric events in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.