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The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.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 Seminars delivered in 2003, along with their original abstracts. For further information on any of these seminars, please contact CCCS Admin.


Dr Simon Deveraux: 'Patrick Madan: One Man's Odyssey Through England's Penal Crisis, 1774-1784', 7 August 2003

Dr Devereaux will explore how the case of Patrick Madan, an Irish-born criminal of the 1770s and 1780s, was cited in the mid-1780s in two famous penal treatises as evidence that the English penal system was in urgent need of reform.


Dr Tomoko Aoyama: 'Why Read Food in Modern Japanese Literature?', 4 September 2003

Dr Aoyama analyses the traditional neglect of food in Japanese literature and then considers what one can read into food, eating, and cooking as represented in twentieth century Japanese literature, especially fiction.


Professor Elisabeth Bronfen: 'The Violence of Beauty: Pin-ups, Performances and Beauty Surgery', 9 October 2003

Professor Bronfen will be discussing the iconography of classical pin-ups as well as the way these came to be refigured by performance artists, notably Hannah Wilke and Cindy Sherman, in the 80s and 90s, and by Chuck Palaniuk in his novel Invisible Monsters. While classical pin-ups were meant to sell first a world war and then the consumer confidence of post-war America, feminist artists appropriate the body language of the pin-up to deconstruct the destructive drive implicitly inherent in turning feminine bodies into signs for visual pleasure and economic gain. At the same time they address the ambivalent pleasure such self-display might afford the woman performing these poses. Chuck Palaniuk, in turn, offers a different deconstruction, not only illustrating that in the pin-up the monstrous and the perfect at some point converge, but also what it might look like to leave the economy of attention promised by pin-up beauty.


Dr Paul Magee: '"Last Night a DJ Changed My Life": On Certain Modes of Strategic Intervention', 6 November 2003

This paper draws on the author's experience as an actor (playing Stalin) in an on-stage dance party advertisement for another dance party, Red Roar ?99, which featured Sissy, Miss Vic, Sarah Pax, a full re-enactment of the Russian revolution, David Chisholm's house music adaptation of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and 10,000 drugged, dancing and demented gay and lesbian partygoers.  By focussing on the relationship between advertising and arts practice, Magee tries to show the link between these seemingly opposed practices.  Turning to a consideration of our practice as Cultural Studies teachers, he suggests that we should comprehend all three activities - advertising, arts practice and teaching - under the same rubric, for they all involve active intervention into pre-existing discursive networks. This leads to a re-reading of the work of Louis Althusser, with the aim of releasing the concept of ideology from the stasis of typical sociological description and/or Marxist meta-narrative.  By focussing on intervention and change rather than beliefs per se, Magee seeks to forge a theoretical language capable of describing certain types of strategic political acts: like revolutionary dance parties.