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The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.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 2005, along with their original abstracts. For further information on any of these lectures, please contact CCCS Admin.

 

Professor Paul Griffiths: 'The Conceptual Impact of the Genomic Revolution', 21 April 2005

In the ‘postgenomic' era, molecular biology faces every few months what in many disciplines would be regarded as a ‘scientific revolution'. This constitutes a fascinating and challenging case study of the role of conceptual change in science. Bioscientists cope with discoveries which challenge their basic assumptions through conceptual innovation, extending and changing the meaning of such apparently precise biological terms as ‘exon' or ‘cis-position' in a way that the historian of molecular biology Hans-Jörg Rheinberger has described as ‘exuberant'. This disregard for the traditional virtues of precision and stability in technical language makes perfect sense if we recognize that these biological concepts are primarily tools – ways of classifying experience forged by experimentalists to meet their specific needs and reforged as those needs change.
 
In this lecture I outline this perspective on empirically driven conceptual change and discuss research documenting the shift from a gene-centered view to a broader, genomics-oriented approach in contemporary molecular biology. I focus on an online survey conducted in 2003-4 in which biologists were asked to annotate conceptually challenging cases of genome transcription with the aim of revealing the range of conceptions of the gene operative in contemporary bioscience. The study seems to corroborate the widespread view amongst biology commentators that the textbook conception of the gene, the so-called ‘classical molecular gene', is simply not up to the job of characterizing the full range of genomic elements that have turned out to play some of the traditional roles assigned to the gene. The concepts used by contemporary bioscientists to describe the significant functional and structural components of the genome are both diverse and flexible. A broader appreciation of these novel ways of conceptualizing the genome and its role in the production of bodies and behavior could transform the understanding of genetic research by the rest of the academy and perhaps eventually by the community at large.

 

Mr Graeme Samuel: 'Media Convergence and the Changing Face of Media Regulation', 19 May 2005

 

Associate Professor Mark McLelland: 'The Emergence of Queer Culture in Postwar Japan', 25 August 2005

The Second World War has been identified by scholars as a pivotal period for the development of lesbian and gay identities and communities in the Anglophone west. Not only did the mass mobilisation of young men and women and their segregation into homosocial environments facilitate same-sex intimacy but the US military's official policy of identifying and expelling ‘inverts' from its ranks promoted the visibility of homosexuals, many of whom, unable to return to their old closeted lives, migrated to large cities in search of community. But what of Japan, also a combatant in the war? Did Japan's Pacific War produce similar effects in Japanese society that led to the establishment of analogous categories to the west's ‘lesbian' and ‘gay'?

Drawing upon extensive archival research into a genre of early 1950s ‘perverse magazines', I show in this presentation that the development of sexual minority identity and community in Japan's postwar period followed a very different trajectory than that apparent in the US or Australia. Rather than the emergence and consolidation of new and distinct sexual categories such as ‘lesbian', ‘gay', ‘bisexual' and ‘straight', early postwar Japanese culture was characterised by a polymorphous perversity much closer to contemporary understandings of ‘queer' culture in which a wide range of sexual and gender diversity was available for appropriation and representation. Through elucidating the local material conditions and circuits of understanding that made such ‘queer' appropriations possible, I inquire whether contemporary ‘lesbian' and ‘gay' identities are evolutionary end-points, or simply the effects of specific culture-bound ways of configuring gender and desire.

 

Dr Felicity Baker: 'Can Rock Music Really Be Therapy? Music Therapy Research Directions with Patients with Neurological Damage', 22 September 2005

Felicity Baker will present an overview of her music therapy work with traumatically brain injured young adults. She first illustrates the benefits of music and music therapy as a therapeutic tool and will illustrate her presentation with clinical examples. She will describe a study she conducted which examined how singing songs enhances the mood, and vocal expressiveness of people who have a monotonal voice following neurological trauma.

 

Dr Juliana de Nooy: 'Look Twice: Twins in Contemporary Literature and Culture', 20 October 2005

Critics tend to view twin tales as a subset of the literature of the double, in decline since the nineteenth century. A closer look at recent examples, however, reveals patterns of genre and gender quite specific to our time. Why do we keep telling twin tales? and why might we want to tell them differently? The lecture analyses some contemporary story-telling conventions and what is at stake in attempts to shift them.