Barbara Holloway on the Anthropo-scenes

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

Creating A Place Among the Anthropo-scenes

Thursday 25 October, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

For Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, the world is in the grip of a ‘Great Derangement’: human inaction in the knowledge of great, avoidable danger. This ‘danger’ manifests in several forms, but I am interested in the changes to environment and climate. To engage effectively with these, environmental and agricultural scientists call for a cultural turn to familiarity with the immediate natural world. At the same time, Ghosh predicts that future generations will hold writers and artists, as well as politicians, responsible for the inertia that characterizes derangement.

Ghosh’s and the scientists’ challenge invites experimentation; the relationship between place, culture and the material world is already one of the liveliest areas of inquiry in the humanities. In this paper I take a universal —the winds—and make them local. I focus on local place-writing and on the interplay of the natural world, language and experience, drawing on philosopher Edward S. Casey’s phenomenological and ethnographic approach to language as the expression of ‘intimate relationship between embodiment and emplacement, phenomena and culture’.

Barbara Holloway is a Visiting Fellow in SLLL. She researches and publishes across Australian literary history, place-making and environmental cultural studies in both critical and creative formats. Her most recent publication, ‘The Undead of Australian Forests’, appeared in ‘Land Dialogues,’ a special issue of Fusion, 2017.

 

Conference: TELFest Technology and Education

Join us on Monday, 5 November 2018 at Hedley Bull for the inaugural TELFest, a showcase of the University’s best practice and innovation in education, with a highlight on how technology can contribute to positive outcomes for teaching and learning.

All are welcome and the conference is free, but please register here for catering purposes.

TELFest is offered by ANU Online, the central team responsible for technology-enhanced learning (TEL) at ANU. This free event is for all ANU staff who contribute to teaching, including academic staff, tutors, demonstrators, and professional staff in education support roles.

This is an opportunity to connect with your colleagues, to discuss your teaching practice, learn about new approaches and techniques, and debate key issues in technology-enhanced learning.

The draft program is now available here. For more information about TELFest, visit our website here.

Several CuSPP members are participating in TELFest; Gemma King will be on the plenary panel, and Katie Cox will be speaking in the fishbowl discussion.

Symposium: Writing as Discovery: Investigating a Hidden Component of Method

Writing as Discovery:
Investigating a Hidden Component of Method
One-day cross-disciplinary symposium
Humanities Research Centre, Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU
Friday, November the 9th 2018 (9am – 5pm)

When scientists and scholars compose papers, articles and
monographs, is it really only a matter of “writing up” what they by then
already know? Could it also be that in the attempt to articulate our
knowledge new discoveries are made?
One of the few studies in this area concluded that scientists regularly started
writing prior to the end of experimentation, to bring clarity to what they were
trying to achieve, that major discoveries occurred in the course of revision and
that collegial input at the review stage actively changed findings (Yore, Hand
and Priam 2002; confirming earlier work by Holmes 1987). But mostly the
matter is obscure, and this is true outside the STEM sector as well. When
Michel Foucault’s editors comment that the way he composed his books
“should be an object of study in its own right” (Fontana and Bertani, 2003),
they underline that the writing practices of even the most cited figures in the
contemporary humanities are simply unknown. Nor is it clear to what extent
writing functions as a vehicle for discovery in the social sciences. Across all
disciplines with the arguable exception of creative writing itself, the writing
practices of scholars and scientists remain “significantly undertheorised”
(Aitchison and Lee 2006).
Our aim is to consider the possibility that, far from being simply ancillary, the
act of writing constitutes a key plank in scientific and scholarly method.
Co-hosted by the Humanities Research Centre, ANU College of the Arts &
Social Sciences and the University of Canberra’s Centre for Creative and
Cultural Research, Faculty of Arts & Design, this symposium brings together
major thinkers from across the disciplines. Presentations will include panel
discussions, a live interview and an open workshop.
All are invited to attend and contribute their own disciplinary and creative
perspectives to the discussion.
Featuring:
• Nobel Laureate in Physiology and National Trust Australian Living
Treasure, Professor Peter Doherty
• Author of over 35 U.S. patents for the treatment of cancer, Fellow of
the National Academy of Inventors, Microbiologist, Professor Yvonne
Paterson
• Filmmaker, Cultural Studies Scholar and Former Creative Director of
the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Professor Ross Gibson
• Labour Economist, former editor-in-chief of Labour Economics and
novelist, Professor Alison Booth
• Winner of the NSW Premier’s Biennial Prize for Literary Scholarship
and Head of the Humanities Research Centre, Professor Will Christie
• Non-fiction writer, novelist, former fellow at the Rachel Carson Center
for Environment and Society at Ludwig Maximillians University and
2018/2019 Environmental Humanities Fellow at the University of
Edinburgh, Associate Professor Saskia Beudel
• Novelist, creative writing researcher and former Fulbright scholar,
Doctor Lucy Neave
• Poet, critic and scholar in poetics, Associate Professor Paul Magee
For further information, please click here.

Image credit: Robert Delaunay, Rythme No.1

Co-organised by the Australian National University and the University of Canberra

Belle Joseph ‘Beyond Words’

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

Beyond Words? Trauma in Literature from the Concentration Camps

Thursday 25 October, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

Cathy Caruth’s studies on trauma and literature, especially her seminal 1996 work, Unclaimed Experience, laid much of the groundwork of literary trauma theory. Caruth labelled trauma ‘the unexperienced event’. Direct knowledge of the traumatic experience, according to Caruth, is impossible; the ‘threat of death’ is never truly confronted by the victim at the time, and can only be approached subsequently and in an imperfect manner.

The question of psychic trauma in literature is of particular relevance when it comes to memoirs and other writings by those who survived the concentration camps, the scene of what have become in the collective memory the archetypal traumatic events of the 20th century. Yet to date, the considerable body of writings produced by concentration camp prisoners during their internment has been largely overlooked in debates on trauma in literature. By looking at writings from the camps by French prisoners and others, including the contemporary Sonderkommando testimonies, I will show that far from manifesting the victims’ incapacity to come to terms with what they are experiencing, these texts are evidence of the authors’ genuine engagement with the harrowing realities of internment and with the proximity of death. Traditional literary strategies, including lyricism, aesthetic imagery, and metaphor, are used to confront and interpret the traumatic events experienced. Reading these texts compels us to come up with a more nuanced model of how profound psychic trauma might find voice in literary texts at the very moments in which the traumatic events are experienced.

Dr Belle Joseph is a Sessional Lecturer in the French program in SLLL. She was awarded her PhD in French in 2017 for a thesis investigating the poetry written by French prisoners in concentration camps during the Second World War. She has a research article forthcoming in the Australian Journal of French Studies.

Russell Smith: the dead pan

Join us for this week’s CuSPP seminar:

The dead pan: Nathanael West’s unfunny jokes and modernist anti-sentimentalism

Thursday 18 October, 1pm, Milgate Room, AD Hope Bldg, SLLL

Though Nathanael West’s novels are often read in terms of an ancient and revered mode of misanthropic humour—satire—in this paper I want to draw on recent work that seeks to situate his work in relation to distinctly modern comic modes—slapstick, burlesque, black humour, and especially, dead pan. In Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), we read of the constantly-joking newspaper editor Shrike:

Although his gestures were elaborate, his face was blank. He practiced a trick much used by moving-picture comedians—the dead pan. No matter how fantastic or excited his speech, he never changed his expression. Under the shining white globe of his brow, his features huddled together in a dead, gray triangle.

Drawing on Michael North’s Machine-Age Comedy, and recent readings of West by Jonathan Greenberg and Justus Nieland, I want to draw out the inhuman aspects of West’s anti-sentimental modernist comedy. In particular, where for other modernists the mechanical aspects of human behaviour are a source of comedy, and laughter itself the most mechanical of human behaviours, West’s ‘strange and unfunny jokes’ (as he called them) depict these human mechanisms of collective emotion in breakdown, pulling out the rug of sensus communis on which satirical humour traditionally rests. The result is a comedy which may not, in fact, be funny.

Russell Smith is a Lecturer in English in SLLL. This paper will be presented later this month at the annual conference of the Australasian Modernist Studies Network on the theme of Modernist Comedy and Humour.

Upcoming HRC event: Scientists in Australian Fiction

 

Conversations Across the Creek is an initiative by the Humanities Research Centre (HRC) and the Research School of Chemistry (RSC) to provide a space for continuing dialogue among scientists, social scientists, and humanities scholars. Meetings are held monthly, with the aim of stimulating and unearthing research and teaching collaborations across the university.

Join us for the fourth Conversation for 2018, where three diverse scholars ‘cross’ Sullivan’s Creek, presenting on their latest research. The topic of this event is Creators of Culture: Scientists in Australian Fiction.

The speakers will explore the representations and dynamics of scientists in Australian fiction, and why they matter. Special guest: Peter Goldsworthy AM, award-winning poet and writer. There will also be a glassblowing performance by Mark Eliott. This event is free to attend but registration is esssential. Register now!