Katharina Bonzel, Criminal Justice: Televisual Policing in the Age of Disillusionment

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

Criminal Justice: Televisual Policing in the Age of Disillusionment

Thursday 4 April, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

This paper argues that the popular television series The Blacklist (2013-present) marks a turn in “terror TV” (Tasker) towards criminals being the better police as trust in traditional law enforcement evaporates post 9/11. While traditional crime and procedural dramas such as NCIS still exist, terror TV such as The Blacklist represents a shift in the stability of the genre and reflects a deep sense of global precarity.

While the first decade of the new millennium saw a surge of superhero movie franchises celebrating American exceptionalism and heroic individualism, the second decade is beginning to show cracks in this facade of the classic American hero. Faced with terror abroad and at home, and transnational crime/terror organisations more advanced and better organised than any governmental agency, law enforcement agencies are deemed inadequate, hindered, even crippled, by moral, ethical and legal requirements.

The Blacklist renders the traditional forces of the law close to impotent, and displays a distinctly post-9/11 loss of trust in, and growing frustration with, traditional institutions of law enforcement and government.

Katharina Bonzel is a lecturer in screen studies in SLLL. She is the coeditor of Representations of Sports Coaches in Film: Looking to Win and her monograph National Pastimes: Cinema, Sports, and Nation will be released with the University of Nebraska Press in fall 2019.

Paul Magee, Writing is Speaking

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

Writing is Speaking

Thursday 28 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

Why is it that when we read a passage of dense theoretical prose, say in Frederic Jameson, or encounter a “garden path” sentence (e.g. The old man the boat), or just generally want more clarity from the text in front of us, that we slow down and sound the words out? The direct answer is that ‘intonation contours and sentence rhythms provide patterns which group words into phrases and highlight new and important information’ (Slowiaczek and Clifton 1980, p. 581). Sounding the words out is a way of performatively guessing at that missing grammatical coding, the sonic one. I am interested in what such a reparative act presupposes about the nature of writing. Does it not imply that the writer conceived those words—however un-colloquial their register (Biber and Conrad 2010)—as speech in the first place? Are distinctions between orality and the literary really that firm, once we hone in on what happens in “inner speech” (Vološinov/Bakhtin 1971; Vygotsky 1961), in the moments of a clause’s initial generation? Further: what relation does poetry-writing bear to that founding indistinction between the spoken and written?

Paul Magee is author of Stone Postcard (John Leonard Press 2014), Cube Root of Book (John Leonard Press 2006) and the prose ethnography From Here to Tierra del Fuego (University of Illinois Press, 2000). He is Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Canberra.

Genèse: Gemma King at the French Film Festival

Genèse: Gemma King at the French Film Festival

This Thursday March 21, CuSPP member Dr Gemma King will give a Q&A following the screening of Philippe Lesage’s French-Canadian film Genèse, at Palace Electric Cinemas for the French Film Festival. The evening includes live music, wine and cheese and is organised by the High Commission of Canada. Book your tickets here and join us for a conversation about French-language film: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/highlights/canberra.


Gemma King at French Film Festival Genesis Poster

Christie Margrave, Eco-regional Identities in the 19th-Century French Caribbean Novel: Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina and Bergeaud’s Stella

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:


Eco-regional Identities in the 19th-Century French Caribbean Novel: Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina and Bergeaud’s Stella

Thursday 21 March, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL


Caribbean literature ‘has continuously addressed, rather than belatedly discovered, its commitment to the environment’. Traversay’s Les Amours de Zémédare et Carina (1806) and Bergeaud’s Stella (1859) prove this. These novels portray a Caribbean landscape severely altered by plantation economy and industrial change. They call for conservation of landscape and the establishment of a new identity based on an eco-conscious society. Traversay argues for new identities based on the conservation of land for the purposes of fulfilling colonial needs, whilst Bergeaud argues that restoring a suppressed voice amid forests, mountains and rivers fosters a new identity which leads to the foundation of a free society. Examining these understudied novels through the lens of postcolonial ecocriticism allows us to understand how Francophone colonial authors perceived the history of the land to be inseparable from socio-political history on both a regional and an international level. Ultimately, both novels foreground landscape as a participant in the changing nature of France and her colonies, and allow us to map the colonial metropole’s relationship to non-metropolitan space.


Christie Margrave joined the ANU as a Lecturer in French in February 2019. She previously worked as a Lecturer at Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff Universities in Wales. Her monograph Writing the Landscape: Exposing Nature in French Women’s Fiction, 1789-1815 is in press with Legenda. Her new research project aims to shed light on the French novel of the late 18th-early 19th centuries by reading it through an environmental lens, contributing to the burgeoning field of ecocriticism, especially in ecofeminism, eco-postcolonialism and ecotheology.