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The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.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 2009, along with their original abstracts. Audio files are provided for lectures that were recorded. For further information on any of these lectures, please contact CCCS Admin.


Professor Ien Ang: 'From Dallas to SBS: The Popular, the Global and the Diverse on Television', 12 March 2009

Looking back on her own work as a media and cultural researcher in the past 30 years, Ien Ang will reflect on what has  changed in television culture in our increasingly globalised world.


Professor Gillian Whitlock: 'Gorilla Girl: Remediating Dian Fossey', 28 May 2009

Late in 2006 in Johannesburg, Professor Whitlock met an aid worker from Goma, Jennifer Harold, who gave her a harrowing first person account of the systematic rape of women and children in the DRC now. She described to Professor Whitlock a degeneration of society beyond ordinary imagining, she spoke of her own frustration that she was not eloquent enough to write and do justice to what she had witnessed, and she asked Profesor Whitlock how her interest in testimony might help women and children who desperately needed to give witness and receive recognition. Most memorably Jennifer spoke of a community of women struggling to survive near Lake Kivu, 'just across the border from where Fossey watched the gorillas.' What Professor Whitlock has done since then is read about Rwanda and the DRC, about genocide and ethnocide, and about the limits of the human, with the women of Kivu and the history of 'the meadow' in mind. This lecture is about how life narrative might track Fossey and the gorillas, in the context of an emerging field for research: human rights and the humanities.

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [1.4 mb]
Lecture Part One [5.4 mb]
Lecture Part Two [4.9 mb]
Lecture Part Three [5.8 mb]
Lecture Part Four [5.2 mb]


Associate Professor Helen Creese: 'Textual Traditions, Identity and Media in Contemporary Bali', 27 August 2009

Every day in Bali, on television, on talkback radio, in community centres, in schools and universities, banks, businesses and hotels and in private homes, Balinese of all ages, genders and classes gather to read—or rather sing—and interpret one of the many poetical works that make up the rich Balinese textual heritage. This traditional verbal art form of textual singing and interpretation (mabebasan), once the domain of elderly male practitioners, has undergone extraordinary revitalisation in the past decade, both in its customary ritual and literary contexts and in its transformation into a vibrant form of popular culture in the broadcast media. Mabebasan involves the singing and interpretation of traditional texts in highly stylised languages. The texts are traditionally written in Kawi, a collective Balinese term for Old and Middle Javanese meaning ‘th  language of poets’. The works are sung line by line by one participant (and then interpreted into highly-stylised modern Balinese by another). Set in the context of the revival of local tradition and the construction of regional identities, this talk will explore the interdependence of media and literary practices as they are reconceptualised during a period of significant social and political transformation in contemporary Indonesia.


Dr Martin Crotty: 'Engaging the Enemy?: Historians and Popular Audiences', 24 September 2009

Academic historians are primarily trained in and for scholarly discourse and debate with our peers. Closely argued, tightly defined, and assiduously referenced arguments in journal articles or scholarly monographs, and twenty minute conference papers to empathetic if not sympathetic audiences are their stock-in-trade.
Some have argued, particularly in the context of the history wars, that this leaves historians poorly equipped for the rough and tumble of public debate, and others have suggested that historians are wasting their time attempting to make any headway in a media dominated by the Murdoch press and its conservative or right-wing interpretations of Australia’s history. Highly-regarded Australian historians such as Henry Reynolds, Stuart Macintyre and Lyndall Ryan have attracted scorn, derision and ad hominem attacks in mainstream media outlets, and vicious personal abuse on blogs run by such luminaries as Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair. The temptation is to leave academic history and public memory to operate in distinct and separate spheres.
But to do so would be a grievous mistake and a professional cop-out. Historians need to gird their loins, toughen up, and enter the public fray when the opportunity arises. This lecture argues why, and suggests some ways in which historians can better equip themselves to do so.

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [1.4 mb]
Lecture Part One [6.0 mb]
Lecture Part Two [5.8 mb]
Lecture Part Three [5.5 mb]
Lecture Part Four [5.4 mb]

Professor Fred D'Agostino: 'Rituals of Cosmopolitanism', 22 October 2009
Cosmopolitanism involves an extension or reworking of the boundaries of moral concern, typically from the local to the (relatively) global. Each cosmopolitanizing gestures nevertheless is also a drawing of boundaries. The principles on which boundaries can be re-drawn in a more cosmopolitan way are considered. John Rawls’ political philosophy is relevant here. So too do we consider the social technologies through which we might hope to cosmopolitanize in a particular situation. Bakhtin, Victor Turner, and Foucault are discussed in this context. Finally, the culture of a cosmopolitanized community is considered in a way that, surprisingly, is informed by the work of Thomas Kuhn.

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [1.3 mb]
Lecture Part One [4.5 mb]
Lecture Part Two [5 mb]
Lecture Part Three [5.6 mb]
Lecture Part Four [4.8 mb]