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The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.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 2011, 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 Gay Hawkins: 'From the Tap to the Bottle: Understanding the Rise of Bottled Water', 14 April 2011

Bottled water is now the fastest growing market in the global beverage industry. This lecture explores the causes behind the phenomenal increase in bottled water consumption over the last thirty years. How is it that bottles now seem to be everywhere and people are constantly sipping? What does this new form of drinking mean for the future of the tap?

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [2.3 mb]
Lecture Part One [12.5 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [13.5 mb]
Lecture Part Three [10.7 mb]
Lecture Part Four [9.0 mb]


Mr Kim Dalton: 'Television, Convergence and Local Content: The Place of the National Broadcaster in the Digital World Order', 19 May 2011

The long discussed convergence of communications devices, platforms and content is happening. Digital multi-channels, IPTV, intelligent handheld devices, EPGs, VOD, PVRs and a range of new social media applications are making the experience of consuming what was once simple linear television content so much more complicated, dynamic, fragmented and compelling. As a participant in these major shifts and as a public broadcaster the ABC has its own perspective and stake in both traditional models and the evolution to new models of production, distribution and consumption. Central to the role of the public broadcaster in this changing landscape is commissioning and distributing local content. How can the local content industry survive in a market limited by scale and inundated with cheap foreign content? How have the changes we see happening impacted local demand and local production? More importantly how can the regulatory and funding support mechanisms that successive governments have developed over the years remain effective? And finally where does the public broadcaster place itself in this new world? 
Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner and Professor Michael Bromley [2.5 mb]
Lecture Part One [10.4 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [10.4 mb]
Lecture Part Three [10.0 mb]
Professor Christina Slade: 'Arabic Citizens of the EU: ‘Prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity"?', 25 August 2011

Migration issues came to the fore in Europe over 2010 and 2011, typified by Nicolas Sarkozy: "We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity." (BBC, 22 June 2010). Sarkozy’s fear is symptomatic of the concerns about migrants, particularly Muslim, across Europe: that they retreat into ethnic worlds, including media worlds, watching satellite television in their own tongues and not engaging in the social or political life of the host country.

The nation state has traditionally controlled the formal mechanisms of citizenship. In the EU, a transnational entity, those powers are already diluted. Cultural citizenship is far more globalised. Access to satellite television and the internet does connect those of living away from our countries of birth in real time to other nations. This paper draws on the first large scale quantitative and qualitative study of what Arabic speakers in the EU are watching to question assumptions about identity and participation, and the role of media use in constructing citizenship.

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [1.9 mb]
Lecture Part One [9.9 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [10.5 mb]
Lecture Part Three [12.8 mb]
Lecture Part Four [10.6 mb]


Professor Philip Almond: 'Witches, Demons and the Western Imagination', 8 September 2011

In this lecture, Philip Almond looks at the European witch craze from 1400 to 1700. In August 1612, Grace Sowerbutts of Samlesbury in Lancashire told a Lancaster Assizes court a story involving her grandmother and her aunt in the murder and eating of an infant, together with stories of their involvement in Satanic sex. 

In this lecture, Philip Almond locates the events in Lancashire within the history of European witchcraft and demonology across the period of the European witch persecutions that ran for over three centuries from 1400 CE onwards. He hopes to provide answers to many of the questions most commonly asked about  the European witch craze. Were there Satanic cults? Were the persecutions of witches the repression of a European pre-Christian religion? Were the persecutions about hunting women rather than hunting witches? How many were executed for witchcraft. Did the witch hunts arise from the fears of a European elite about the ‘enemy within’ or are they to be seen as the consequence of village tensions and community friction?  What did demonologists believe? In the light of these reflections, he provides the first modern account of the story of Grace Sowerbutts and the witches of Samlesbury. He concludes with some reflections on how we can do the history of crimes that, from our perspective, couldn’t possibly have occurred and beliefs that couldn’t possibly be true? 

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [1.9 mb]
Lecture Part One [9.5 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [8.8 mb]
Lecture Part Three [9.7 mb]
Lecture Part Four [11.9 mb]


Dr Melissa Bellanta: 'Villains or Dear Boys? On Representing the Mount Rennie Outrage', 27 October 2011

This lecture explores some of the problems we face when we try to come to terms with violent crimes committed by members of underprivileged communities. It will do so using the Mount Rennie Outrage as a case study: a gang rape committed in 1886 by a group of unemployed Sydney youths, some of whom were later executed for the crime. The problems raised by the Mount Rennie Outrage are partly political in nature, caused by the differing views one might take about the degree of culpability of the perpetrators and the community in which they were raised. This was certainly illustrated by contemporary debate about the incident, which was polarised between representations of the accused as ‘vile villains’ and ‘poor dear boys’. Anyone interested in a reasoned debate about this incident today, however, faces problems of poetics as well as politics. We come up against difficulties of form and representation, in other words, whenever we try to discuss an irrational event through a mode of language based on logical argument and rationality. In this lecture, Melissa Bellanta presents her attempts to work through some of these problems when writing about the Mount Rennie Outrage, aiming to incite reflection on the issues they raise.