Decolonization and Postcolonial Cinema in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Nigeria

Presenter: Professor Kirsten Knopf, University of Bremen
Time/Date: 27 September 2017, 1130am-1:30pm
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

The representation of postcolonial non-European cultures in Western mainstream media – print, television, radio, feature films, and ethnographic films – is often a neo/colonial discourse fraught with ethnocentrism, prejudice, distortion, and stereotypes. Neo/colonial discourses have created myths of Indigenous and local people embedded in the semantics of exoticism, primitivism, and savagery, which, in turn, have shored up Eurocentric cultural hegemonies, generated racialized thought, and cemented ‘naturalized’ Eurocentric cultural, political, and economic domination of subaltern people. Indigenous and postcolonial film directors and producers around the world have started to battle this politics of representation by creating a decolonized film discourse. Notably the last decade has seen an immense development in Indigenous and postcolonial feature film production which shows in the ever-growing Indigenous, African and other such film festivals.

This presentation will discuss the concept of decolonizing film discourses, before briefly outlining the diversified postcolonial filmmaking throughout the globe. It will then look in more detail at the films Stone Bros (dir. Richard Frankland, Australia, 2009), Birdwatchers (dir. Marco Bechis, Brazil, 2008), Johnny Tootall (dir. Shirley Cheechoo, Canada, 2005), and Maami (dir. Tunde Kelani, Nigeria 2011) and their decolonizing work. It will concentrate on the presentation of contemporary Indigenous and postcolonial life and cultural traditions, anti-colonial criticism as well as cinematic decolonizing strategies.

Bio: Kerstin Knopf holds an MA (1997) in American/Canadian, Hispanic and Scandinavian Studies, a PhD (2003) and a second PhD (Habilitation 2012) from the University of Greifswald in Germany. She studied and researched also in Los Angeles (USA), Gothenburg (Sweden), Regina, Ottawa and Toronto (Canada). She taught North American literature, film, and media in Greifswald, Rostock and Mainz and is now full professor for Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany. Her main research interests are Indigenous film and literature worldwide, Postcolonial Studies focusing on North America, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, Settler Colonial Studies, African Diaspora Studies, American and Canadian romantic literature, and American prison literature. She published Decolonizing the Lens of Power: Indigenous Films in North America (Rodopi 2008), edited North America in the 21st Century: Tribal, Local, and Global (WVT 2011), Aboriginal Canada Revisited (U of Ottawa P, 2008), and other books.

To be followed by a Masterclass: “How to Read a Postcolonial Film?: Contexts, Methods, Concepts”.

HRDs and ECRs are particularly encouraged to attend 2–4pm in the LHA Research Hub 19.2072

Knopf – Flyer Final-1cnsz74

ASRN/CTC Seminar: Mourning: dog and human attunement in southern African narratives

Presenter: Professor Wendy Woodward, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Time/Date: 7 July 2017, 12pm-1:30pm
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

This paper reads various narratives – by Luis Bernardo Honwana, Njabulo Ndebele, JM Coetzee, and Thando Mgqolozana – which figure taxonomies of race and species through humans and dogs. Vinciane Despret’s notion of human-nonhuman animal attunement will be deployed while remaining mindful of Claire Jean Kim’s call to ‘remain attuned to the … dynamics of difference production.’ The paper concludes with Tinyiko Maluleke’s short essay ‘I am an African and I grieve for my dog Bruno’ and asks if mourning could foster a recognition of feelings without recourse to the current South African imperative of sedimented racialised and gendered differences. The paper departs from academic convention in its narrativising of two childhood memories of dogs and grieving. The memoirist cameos implicitly critique my own situatedness and writing as the essay segues into depictions of trauma and mourning.

This seminar is jointly presented by the Animal Studies Research Network (ASRN) and Centre for Cultures, Texts and Creative Industries (CTC).

Bio: Wendy Woodward is Emerita Professor in English Literature at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She is the author of The Animal Gaze: Animal Subjectivities in southern African Narratives (Wits University Press, 2008) and co-editor with Erika Lemmer of a Special Issue of Journal of Literary Studies: Figuring the Animal in Post-apartheid South Africa (2014). She is also co-editor with Susan McHugh of Indigenous Creatures, Native Knowledges and the Arts – Animal Studies in Modern Worlds (Palgrave Macmillan 2017). She has written three volumes of poetry: Séance for the Body (Snailpress 1994); Love, Hades and other Animals (Protea, 2008) and A Saving Bannister (Modjadji 2015), and tries to live lightly in Cape Town with a palomino and a poodle.

All welcome. Light refreshments provided.
Please rsvp to Melissa Boyde.

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CTC Symposium: Responses to Climate Change: Led by Dr Tony Birch

Presenter: Tony Birch
Time/Date: 26 May 2017, 9am-2:15pm.
Venue: 24.101

Climate change represents a social, economic and practical challenge to humanity, but its effects are also localised and culturally contextual. In Australia, the colonial legacy casts a long shadow on contemporary lived experience. The work of Bruce McGuinness Research Fellow Professor Tony Birch (Victoria University) investigates the relation between Indigenous knowledge and climate change through both critical and creative practice. At the University of Wollongong, Professor Birch will lead a symposium that will include a round table on how researchers concerned with climate change can best decolonise both critical and creative practice.

Tony Birch is the author of the books Shadowboxing (2006), Father’s Day (2009), Blood (2011), shortlisted for the Miles Franklin literary award, The Promise (2014), and Ghost River (2015). Both his fiction and nonfiction writing has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and internationally. He is currently the inaugural Bruce McGuinness Research Fellow within the Moondani Balluk Centre at Victoria University.

Proposed Programme

Time Session
09:00–10:00 Keynote Address by Dr Tony Birch (24.101)
10:00–10:30 Coffee (24.101).
10:30–12:00 Speakers: Lucas Ihlein, Jodi Edwards, Michael Griffiths 24.101
12:00–12:45 Lunch (LHA Research Hub).
12:45­–14:15 Roundtable (LHA Research Hub)

RSVP (for catering)
Michael Griffiths

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CTC Seminar: Genet’s ‘rituals of the oppressed’ and the main stage

Presenter: Margaret Hamilton
Time/Date: 24 November 2016, 12:30pm-1:30pm.
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

In 2013 Benedict Andrews directed Jean Genet’s The Maids at the Sydney Theatre Company. Cate Blanchett (in the role of Claire) and Isabelle Huppert (as Solange) played the maids Genet originally intended to be acted by male performers, and Elizabeth Debicki as Madame performed the object of the maids’ ritual simulation of murder. Genet’s play, a fictionalisation of Christine and Léa Papin’s brutal slaughter of their mistresses in 1933, heightens the experience of theatrical modes of perception in its insistence on role-playing against a backdrop of social stratification. Andrews’s production of Genet’s play exemplifies theatre central to highly charged, polemic public debate concerning the prevalence of adaptation in Australia. According to Andrews the process of translating a text for the stage constitutes interpretation and subsequently a political act. But what, if any, political function does this performance of Genet’s drama have in the context of main stage theatre in Australia and beyond? Is it simply an example of star marketing that fails to correspond to contemporary notions of critical art? What issues are at play for the audiences that see this production? In considering these questions this paper will examine Peter Boenisch’s (2015) theorisation of Regie (directing) as a process of ‘making sense’ rather than consumption and the implications of this conceptualisation for adaptation as an aesthetico-political strategy; celebrity spectacle; and, the question of the commodification of theatre as a cultural form.

Bio:
Margaret Hamilton is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. She is the author of Transfigured Stages: Major Practitioners and Theatre Aesthetics in Australia (Rodopi, 2011), and specialises in research on contemporary Australian theatre. Her research has encompassed the emergence of postdramatic theatre in Australia and currently focuses on internationally significant main stage directors and theatre productions as part of a project that analyses the prospect of artistic critique in the context of late capitalism. In addition to critical book collections, her research has been published in a number of journals, including Theatre Journal, Sexualities and Australasian Drama Studies. She is a Chief Investigator on AusStage’s Australian Research Council funded project Phase 5: Australian live performance and the world – global networks, national culture and aesthetic transmission and Phase 6 – Visualising venues in Australian live performance research. For a number of years she developed and managed a major program of contemporary Australian arts in Berlin for the AustraliaCouncil for the Arts and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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CTC Seminar: Stone, Voice and the Roman Telephone

Presenter: Ika Willis
Time/Date: 27 October 2016, 12:30pm-1:30pm.
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

The last words of the epitaph on the tombstone of Ennius, Rome’ first epic poet, read ‘uolito uiuos per ora uirum’: ‘I live on, transmitted through the air on the mouths of men’. The line, and the medium on which it is inscribed, crystallize an aspect of Latin media theory which continues to be audible/visible throughout the literature of the Augustan period: a knotted and ambivalent relationship between stone and voice as media of cultural transmission. In this paper, I draw on work in media theory and archaeology by Michel Serres and Friedrich Kittler as well as Avital Ronell, in order to map Latin telephonic theories of cultural transmission. I track the interrelationship of oral transmission, inscription on stone, poetic fame, and cultural reproduction through the work of Ovid and Virgil, uncovering a vast telephonic network. I conclude by arguing that just as the figure of the telephone helps reveal the contours of Latin media theory, it also transforms our understanding of the activity of ‘conversing’ with the dead. If we understand our activities as readers of the ancient past as ‘conversing with the dead’, then on what wire – or what wireless network, powered by what transmitter mast – does that conversation take place?​

Bio:
Ika Willis is Senior Lecturer in English Literatures at the University of Wollongong. She came to Wollongong in 2013 after seven years in the department of Classics at the University of Bristol, where she was Lecturer in Reception. She works across the disciplines of Classics, Cultural Studies and Literary Studies, and has published work on Latin poetry, critical theory and deconstruction, and fan fiction. She is the author of Now and Rome (Continuum, 2011), which uses theories of teletechnology to read the Latin poetry of Vergil and Lucan, and she is on study leave this semester to complete the Reception volume for Routledge’s New Critical Idiom series.​

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Ecologies of Practice Symposium

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Date/Time: October 21, 8:45am-5pm.
Venue: Faculty of Law, Humanities and The Arts, University of Wollongong. Building 19, 2nd Floor, Research Hub Room 2072.

This multidisciplinary one-day event will examine culturally significant creative practices in the Illawarra and, through a collaborative workshop, develop a Creative Ecology map of the region.

Creative practices include, but are not limited to art, craft, design, writing, poetry, film, traditional practices, and performance. A range of speakers will provide insights into the history, practices, resources and current creative endeavours in the Illawarra.

Preparation: Participants are asked to bring an object, a photograph, a piece of writing or other tangible expression of a culturally relevant practice that is from or related to the Illawarra region. You will be asked to say a few words about your choice – why you selected it and its relationship to the region.

REGISTER NOW.

Facilitated by

  • Stuart Walker is a Visiting Professor at UOW, from the University of Lancaster. He has been conducting research in the United States, China and the English Lake District that explores the role of Ecologies of Practice in enabling and supporting culturally significant creative practices. His work focuses especially on tangible artefacts and the practices employed in their making. However, Ecologies of Practice can include performance, oral traditions, writing, and other forms of intangible cultural heritage that are important to people, culture and identity; are connected to place; and are commensurate with personal, social, and environmental aspects of design for sustainability.
  • Anne Collett is an Associate Professor in the English Literatures & Creative Writing Program. She was the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen in 2014/15 and the University of Tokyo in 2011/12, and the editor of Kunapipi: journal of postcolonial writing & culture from 1999-2013 (free online access 1979-2012 at http://ro.uow.edu.au/kunapipi/) Her research interests lie primarily in the field of postcolonial women’s poetry, with expertise in the Caribbean, Canada and Australia.
  • Sue Turnbull is Professor of Communication and Media Studies and Discipline Leader for the Creative Industries. Her research interests include media education, media audiences and television studies with particular attention to both crime and comedy. Her current ARC Discovery project is entitled Border Crossings: The Transnational Career of the TV Crime Drama (DP160102510). With Kate Darian-Smith (Melbourne) and Sukhmani Khorana (UOW) Sue also holds a current ARC Linkage project (LP 150100202) with partners at the Museum of Victoria and The Australian Centre for the Moving Image examining the role of television in the experience of migration to Australia.

CTC Seminar: How Podcasting is Affecting Narrative Journalism

Presenter: Siobhan McHugh
Time/Date: 22 September 2016, 12:30pm-1:30pm.
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

Since its launch in October 2014, the episodic true crime podcast Serial has had over 100 million downloads and triggered media organisations with flagging audiences to seek to emulate this crafted narrative form. Ease of production and dissemination has also seen a proliferation of talk podcasts, which range from interview formats to panel fests and ‘chumcasts’. But only a minority of the 350,000 podcasts on iTunes will find substantial audiences; others will simply ‘podfade’. This presentation examines the emerging aesthetics of podcasting and asks how this medium is changing journalism and the audio storytelling form. It will reference as case study a true crime investigative podcast to be launched in September 2016, on which Siobhan is a consultant producer.

Bio:
Siobhan McHugh is an internationally awarded audio documentary maker, writer and oral historian, whose current research addresses how podcasting is changing journalism and audio storytelling. She is founding editor of RadioDoc Review, a digital journal where the world’s best audio documentaries, podcasts and features are critiqued by a distinguished board of practitioners and academics. She has recently presented her research alongside the producer of Serial and other key podcasting figures at international media gatherings.

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CTC Seminar: James Baldwin and the Sexual Paradoxes of the Celebrity Novel

Presenter: Guy Davidson
Time/Date: 25 August 2016, 12:30pm-1:30pm.
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

In a review of James Baldwin’s third novel Another Country (1962), Lionel Trilling asked, “How, in the extravagant publicness in which Mr. Baldwin lives, is he to find the inwardness which we take to be the condition of truth in the writer?” Taking Trilling’s question as a starting point, in this talk Davidson explores the confusions of publicness and inwardness with reference to the representation of homosexuality in Baldwin’s novel-writing career, concentrating on Another Country and Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone (1968). Drawing on Leo Braudy’s recent characterization of celebrity studies as “performer studies,” Davidson considers Baldwin’s celebrity novels as performative expressions in which, as in his media performances, the putatively hidden matters of his own queerness and of homosexuality as a general issue are projected outward.

Bio:
Guy Davidson’s’s primary research interest is in the interrelations between sexuality, commodity culture, and literary form. He has explored this interest in relation to a variety of specific fields—chiefly twentieth- and twenty-first-century US queer fiction, but also late nineteenth-century British and American literature, and contemporary Australian literature. Guy’s current research project, on literary celebrity and sexuality in the postwar US, is funded by the Australia Research Council as a Discovery Project (2015-2017).

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CTC Seminar: Ethnicity and/as Sexuality in Chinese Australian Life Writing

Presenter: Wenche Ommundsen
Time/Date: 28 July 2016, 12:30pm-1:30pm.
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

The Chinese diaspora in Australia is one of the most diverse in the world. Separated by language, culture and country of origin, Chinese Australians are united by little more than a ‘Chineseness’ thrust upon them by the mainstream population. Their search for something like a coherent identity in diaspora often involves the need to write this ethnicity into being as a means to position themselves in a world where China looms increasingly large in the global imagination.

Using the work of William Yang, Alice Pung, Ouyang Yu and Tom Cho I argue that the unstable identifier of ethnicity is more often than not defined through other markers of identity, such as gender and sexuality. The final part of this paper (still a work in progress) draws on models from feminist, postcolonial and cosmopolitan theory to speculate on the causes and meanings of the sexualisation of ethnic difference at work in these texts.

Bio:
Wenche Ommundsen is Research Professor of English Literatures at the University of Wollongong, where she was Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 2009 to 2013. She has published widely on multicultural, diasporic and transnational literatures, with particular focus on Asian Australian writing. Her current research projects include an ARC-funded study of Australian literature in languages other than English.

CTC Seminar Schedule 2016

Featured

This page will be updated with more information on each seminar as it becomes available.

Upcoming

  • 24/11/16: Margaret Hamilton, “Genet’s Rituals of the Oppressed and the Main Stage: Benedict Andrew’s The Maids at Sydney Theatre Company. [MORE INFO]

Past

  • 2/6/16: Travis Holland & Dion McLeod, “The Ghost of J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter & the Ur-Fan” [MORE INFO]
  • 30/6/16: Melissa Boyde, “Peace and Quiet and Open Air …: The Old Cow Project” [MORE INFO]
  • 28/7/16: Wenche Ommundsen: “Sexuality and/as Ethnicity: Chinese Australian Life Writing” [MORE INFO]
  • 25/8/16: Guy Davidson, “James Baldwin and the Sexual Paradoxes of the Celebrity Novel”. [MORE INFO]
  • 22/9/16: Siobhan McHugh, “How Podcasting Re-Invented Personal Narratives & Audio Storytelling” [MORE INFO]
  • 27/10/16: Ika Willis, “Saxa Loquuntur: Stone, Voice & the Roman Telephone”. [MORE INFO]