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The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.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 2004, along with their original abstracts. For further information on any of these lectures, please contact CCCS Admin.


Professor Vera Mackie: 'Three Men and a Camera: Mishima, Media, and Masculinities', 22 April 2004

Mishima is best known as one of the leading figures in post-war Japanese literature. In addition to his writing and his political activities, he was also engaged in the constant manipulation of his own image. This started with a program of body-building, which transformed his body into something more photogenic. In his preoccupation with his own image, and his program of body-building, he has much in common with more recent patterns of the making of celebrity. He appeared in both films and photographic collections. This lecture will take as its starting point a collaboration between Mishima, photographer Hosoe Eiko, and graphic designer Yokoo Tadanori. Before his death, Mishima was the subject of a series of romantic and surreal photographs, taken in his rococo European-style house. These provide a surprising contrast with the better-known images of Mishima as samurai or gangster. After Mishima's death, photographer Hosoe collaborated with graphic designer Yokoo to transform this collection of photographs into the art book, 'Ordeal by Roses'. This collection of photographs will be the starting point for a consideration of the images of masculinity circulating in 1960s Japan. I will also ask what this case study can teach us about current debates on masculinity and media images.


Professor Phil Hayward: 'Facilitating Heritage: Agendas for Active Research in Local Music Cultures', 19 May 2004

Over the last decade Phil Hayward has been involved in research projects with communities in Pacific locations such as Lord Howe, Norfolk and Pitcairn islands, East New Britain, Ogasawara and the Whitsundays. Influenced by recent developments in community development, heritage studies, anthropology and ethnomusicology, he has attempted to establish ‘active research' projects in these locations which involve external researchers responding to and facilitating aspects of local music cultures as part of the research process. This lecture will explain the advantages, implications and potential pitfalls for such initiatives with reference to specific case studies. Whereas many previous research approaches have been vampiric, simply sucking ‘data' from ‘human subjects', culturally-engaged facilitating research (CEFR) is an important ethical activity that helps sustain and develop local cultural communities and produces richer research results.


Dr Michele Pierson: 'Who Cares About Experimental Film?', 27 May 2004

We are presently witnessing a revival of interest in experimental film.  A number of retrospective exhibitions screened at museums and film festivals in Australia, Britain, and the United States have attracted large audiences.  Specialist distributors of experimental films have also noticed an increased demand for their films from universities and film clubs.  This lecture suggests that we can learn a lot about this development by thinking about the circumstances in which a wide range of commercial and cultural institutions have become involved in the production and promotion of experimental film over the years.

The British Film Institute set up an Experimental Film Fund in 1952 to support the production of short, experimental films by providing filmmakers with funding for production related expenses and, where appropriate, supervision and technical assistance.  Not unlike the Institute itself in its early days, this program was regularly accused of being too much under the influence of commercial interests to produce a genuinely experimental cinema.  In this lecture, I want to look at the BFI's reasons, not just for wanting to become involved in the production of experimental films in the first place, but also  for hanging on to this idea in the face of considerable criticism and misunderstanding.

Professor Robert Dixon: 'Travelling Mass-Media Circus: The Spectacular Career of Frank Hurley', 5 August 2004

Travelling Mass-Media Circus: The Spectacular Career of Frank Hurley is not a conventional biography, but reflects the way Hurley learned to stage what we would now recognise as early forms of mass-media event. His shows or spectacles drew partly on nineteenth-century traditions of live popular entertainment and in part anticipated more modern forms of documentary reporting. Typically they comprised photographic exhibitions, saturation newspaper and magazine coverage, the presence of a celebrity or ‘personality', live lecturing, cinema screenings accompanied by live theme music, lantern slide projections, radio broadcasts and book publications, all co-ordinated or ‘tied-in' to achieve maximum advertising exposure.

These mass-media spectacles often took place simultaneously in Australia, Britain, Europe and the United States, and were performative rather than merely representational, drawing as much attention to their own entertainment value as to the events they purported to represent. Hurley's major ‘events' covered Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911-14), Shackleton's British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-197), Australia's involvement in the Great War, the Ross Smith Flight from London to Sydney in 1919, Hurley's own expeditions to Papua during the early 1920s, and the Second World War. The lecture will be illustrated with Hurley's photographs, many of which have iconic status for generations of Australians.

Dr Aileen Moreton-Robinson: 'Whiteness Matters: Indigenous Studies and Australian Studies', 9 September 2004

For some time now I have been troubled by the way in which ‘race' is configured in Australian studies and Indigenous studies. In general the literature in both areas of study confirm the idea that ‘race' is an important concept to be utilised in analyses and knowledge production. A great deal of serious intellectual effort has been given to explicating how ‘race' belongs to Indigenous and non-white migrants.  This effort has unmasked how racist ideology works historically and institutionally through agency manifesting as racial oppression, racial discrimination and racism.  What is of central concern in this literature is how ‘race' is implicated in the lives of those perceived to be ‘raced'.  This is extremely valuable work, but what is of equal value is a serious intellectual engagement with the hegemony of whiteness and how it functions, discursively and ideologically as a regime of power, in nation building and the cultural formation of subjectivities and identities.  The latter are topics that are at the heart of both Indigenous and Australian studies.  This lecture explores how critical white studies can contribute to and inform analyses in both areas of study.


Professor Mark Poster: 'Identity Theft, or What's the Use of Having an Identity?', 7 October 2004

In the late 1990s, "Identity Theft" became a crime in the United States. At that time "Identity Theft" was determined to be the fastest rising crime in the country. It is a crime that depends on digital culture and networked computing. I ask how this crime works to redefine the nature of identity, how it exteriorizes identity, separating it from the interiority of consciousness and moving it into the realm of information machines. I ask as well about the implications of such theft for an emerging Western and Global culture that relies increasingly on digital media.