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The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.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 2012, 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.


Dr Rob Pensalfini: 'Inside Shakespeare Inside: The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble's Prison Projects', 8 March 2012

Since 2006, Rob Pensalfini has been leading Australia’s only prison Shakespeare program, indeed Australia’s only ongoing prison theatre program of any sort, the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble’s Prison Project. Each year, about twenty high security inmates of Borallon Correctional Centre have embarked on a three month journey exploring dramatic form, Shakespeare’s text, and personal story-telling through acting, a project which culminates in the performance of a Shakespeare play to an invited audience.
While not intended as therapy, participants consistency report feeling more in touch with their own feelings and the consequences of their actions, having a sense of accomplishment that exceeded their expectations, and feeling respected and valued as members of a team, both by other inmates and by the facilitators. According to prisoners who have participated in the project, the emotional authenticity and volubility required of Shakespeare functions as an antidote to the pervasive de-humanising prison culture, the rehearsal process is a constant journey of self-exploration and evaluation of competing strategies, and the performance an opportunity be seen as something other than their crimes.
In this lecture Rob will discussed the history of the project and what inspired its creation, the project’s philosophy, and its impact on everyone involved in it: the prisoners who participate, the facilitators that lead, the prison in which it takes place, and the members of the public who see the performance. He also located the Queensland project in the context of other prison Shakespeare programs, and talked about collaborations with international artist/practitioners.

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [2.2 mb]
Lecture Part One [12.7 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [13.1 mb]
Lecture Part Three [12.1 mb]
Lecture Part Four [12.7 mb]


Dr Mark Andrejevic: 'The Fate of Personal Information in the Digital Era: Commercial Surveillance Online and Off', 26 April 2012

Google and Facebook are in a race to see who can find out more about you. Online companies are teaming up with credit card companies to figure out how to target advertising to you more effectively. In the coming era of “Big Data”, much of that data will be about the details of our daily lives thanks to technologies that make it easier than ever before to track our actions, our communications, and even our location throughout the course of the day. In this talk, Mark Andrejevic explored Australians’ attitudes toward the collection and use of their personal information for customized advertising and target marketing. He presented the result of nationwide survey exploring how concerned people are about the fate of their personal information and the measures they would like to take to more effectively control it. He also discussed the results of interviews with Australians about the collection and use of their personal information in the digital era. He argued that how we regulate the ability of companies to track us will become an increasingly pressing concern in the digital era, and that the time to consider the consequences of the emerging surveillance society is now.   

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner & Special Introduction: Tim Pilgrim [17.9 mb]
Lecture Part One [13.0 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [12.0 mb]
Lecture Part Three [14.8 mb]

Associate Professor David McKnight: 'Rupert Murdoch's Political Power', 17 May 2012

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is the most powerful media organisation in the world. Murdoch's commercial success is obvious, but less well understood is his successful pursuit of political goals, using his news media.
Rupert Murdoch says that the recent News of the World hacking scandal went "went against everything [he stands] for". But how true is this? Murdoch himself is probably the most influential Australian of all time. He sees himself as an anti-establishment rebel yet his influence in in Australia, the UK and the US makes him part of a global elite. Murdoch’s critics often underestimate him, yet he is a deeply ideological media owner. The basis of his philosophy was expressed by one of his former editors, David Montgomery, who said "Rupert has contempt for the rules. Contempt even for governments". On this basis Murdoch became one of the key promoters of neo-liberal ideology of small government and deregulation over the past 30 years.
Murdoch is also a devotee of the neo-conservative wing of the US Republican Party who encouraged him to use his media to support the Iraq war. A number of the recent candidates for the Republican nomination for president (including Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich) were paid commentators for Fox News. The possibility of exercising power through the ownership the news media has been little studied in recent years, but Murdoch’s role in English-speaking countries over the last 30 years shows that perhaps we need to look again at such media theories.

Introduction: Professor Graeme Turner [3.6 mb]
Lecture Part One [9.7 mb]
Lecture Part Two  [9.2 mb]
Lecture Part Three [9.9 mb]


Professor John Macarthur, Dr Naomi Stead, Dr Deborah van der Plaat: 'A Taste for Place? Architecture, Edification and Citizenship in Queensland', 20 September 2012

This lecture traced how concepts of ‘place’ have been used to frame Queensland architecture, and how this has been refracted through a shifting terminology of climate, landscape, and nature. It questioned when and why Queensland architecture has been framed and promoted as ‘art’ and how this relates to past and present notions of architecture as fine art, industry and design.

The particularities of the built environment in Queensland are widely observed as an aspect of lifestyle, but little understood as architecture and the object of cultural policy.  Nevertheless, flagship buildings have long been employed by government as instruments of edification, and occasions for a training in citizenship. While there is currently no explicit state policy on architecture in Queensland, a range of institutions enact implicit strategy by framing local buildings as aesthetically ‘cutting edge’: equally site-specific and exportable, regionalist and cosmopolitan. Part of this can be explained by the fact that architecture in Queensland, uniquely in Australia, has long been understood in terms of climate. Historically seen as a solution to the problem of heat and humidity, local buildings were framed in terms of site-specific technical amelioration rather than art. In the present day however, this situation has reversed: the local climate is now highly valued in terms of lifestyle and cultural capital, with a corresponding rise in the taste for and perceived artistic value of ‘regionalist’ architecture.

This lecture traced the authors’ attempts to understand architecture as a matter of public policy in Queensland, comparing the present with the turn of the 20th Century. By examining architectural projects including Lindsay and Kerry Clare’s Gallery of Modern Art of 2006, and GHM Addison’s New Exhibition Building of 1891, the paper traced shifts in understanding of architecture as art and as industry, as ‘regionalist’, climate responsive and place specific. This forms part of a larger project examining the cultural logic of state attempts to train an audience and taste for architecture in Queensland. 

Associate Professor Anita Harris: 'At Home in the Nation: Young Australians' Multicultural Belongings', 18 October 2012

What does it mean to come of age in an era of anti-multiculturalism? How does such an environment shape the ways young people of diverse backgrounds come to feel ‘at home’ - in the nation, in the city, in their neighbourhoods, and in their Australian identity? Discussing findings from her study of youth in the multicultural suburbs of five Australian cities, Anita Harris explores how the politics of belonging is lived through the spatial practices of everyday civic life for those who have grown up during the multiculturalism backlash of the 1990s and 2000s.

Professor Elizabeth Shove: 'Beyond Behaviour: Social Theory and Climate Change Policy', 8 November 2012

In this presentation, Professor Shove outlined the pervasive ABC – Attitudes, Behaviour, Choice – model permeating policy making and program delivery, and introduce new theoretical perspectives that reframe the major sustainability challenges of our time. She provided novel examples of how everyday life is changing, how policy makers are already intervening, and how they might seek to reorient normal ways of life.

In the UK and in other countries too, environmental policy makers are increasingly interested in the potential for mitigating and adapting to the challenges of climate change by persuading people to adopt more environmentally friendly ways of life. Campaigns focusing on individual attitudes, behaviours and choices are much in vogue. One problem is that such initiatives rest on a very limited understanding of how the social world is organised and how it changes. In this presentation Professor Shove explored other ways of conceptualising the dynamics of daily life and the patterns of consumption that follow. The suggestion that people consume energy, water and other natural resources in the course of accomplishing social practices – for example, showering, commuting, eating, etc. - provides the starting point for a more detailed discussion of how more and less environmentally problematic practices come into being, and how they are carried and reproduced. This begs further questions about how environmental policy influences the dynamics of social practice and about the potential for deliberate intervention at this scale.  She concluded by reflecting on the role and relevance of social theory and the challenges involved in putting ‘practice’ into environmental policy.