Trolling the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Roundtable

Trolling the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Roundtable
Thursday, 1 November 2018, 2pm-4pm
Room 2003, Building 19

Scholarship is not always warmly received. Where research is challenging to established arrangements (and sometimes, even when it is not), it can be misrepresented, treated as though it were offensive, and met with disdain and ridicule. This attitude can extend to students interested in such research and its social and political implications. Those conducting the research can find themselves subject to abuse and invective from both the mainstream press and vocal critics on social media – frequently in tandem. This is routinely referred to as trolling. Trolls and what they troll are indicative of how power works in public culture. This trolling directed to the humanities aligns with a number of political goals. These include normalising characterisations of academic culture as a kind of disconnected, ‘PC’ parallel universe, legitimising the defunding of public institutions, and ultimately, neutralising critique of the status quo. The costs of such trolling are commonly worn by individual academics. At this level trolling works as a strategy of silencing through shaming (particularly directed to women and visible minorities). Trolling thus involves an affective transfer, intensifying the emotional labour required of academics by channeling it in from the online domains where academics are expected to maintain profiles. This occurs in a professional context where impact and metrics are increasingly consequential, although the possibilities of entirely negative reactions to ‘knowledge transfer’ are seldom factored in to research evaluation.

This roundtable asks: What does all this mean for researchers and for research dissemination in the contemporary media landscape? How should universities support academics, and how can academics best support each other in engaging with this context?

Our speakers:

Andrew Whelan is a sociologist who has conducted research on internet subcultures and on the organisation of academic work.

Kate Bowles is a Twitter user, who will talk about academic Twitter in a time of “strident criticism” (A Jones, 2018).

Sukhmani Khorana is Senior Lecturer in Media and Culture at the University of Wollongong. Sukhmani has published extensively on diasporic cultures, multi-platform refugee narratives, and the politics of empathy.

Jet Hunt is a graduate of Wollongong University and former co-convenor of the Wollongong Feminist Society. They are currently a youth worker, and have worked extensively with young people around ethics and safety in online spaces. Jet is a settler on the stolen lands of the Wadi Wadi people of the Dharrawal nation.

This event is co-sponsored by CERN and FRN.

FRN Lunch Talk: 3 Things about the F-Word

FRN Lunch Talk: 3 Things about the F-Word
Reclaiming the F-Word in Academic Research

The F-Word – F for Feminism(s) is both everywhere and nowhere. From Beyoncé to Camp Cope, from #metoo to parliamentary debates on ‘proper’ sexual conduct in the Australian government, gender and sexual politics permeate much of today’s popular and political culture. In academia these may be framed as feminist questions or problems, while other researchers or policy makers may shy away from using the ‘killjoy’ F-word (see Sara Ahmed on this) to discuss issues of gender, sexual conduct, equality or inclusion.

We take this context as our starting point and in this session we ask: what are the challenges and possibilities for academics and researchers in using the F-word for research?

Join us to hear Dr Scarlet Wilcock, Dr Jordan Mckenzie and Dr Ika Willis as they reflect on their experiences undertaking feminist (inspired) research and navigating the academic environment in the past, present and foreseeable future.

The talk is aimed at HDRs and ECRs grappling with those questions and interested in using feminist ideas and language in their academic work

lha research hub (19.2072) 10 Sep 1230pm – 130pm

Lunch will be provided. Please click here to RSVP by 6 September if you would like to attend.


Join us at FRN’s Informal Planning Meeting 2018

The Feminist Research Network (FRN) is organising an informal planning meeting for Tuesday 28 August from 3.30 to 5.30 pm at LHA’s Research Hub (19.2072).

We would like to invite all FRN members and HDRs to a join us for a catch up session and to share any ideas about contributing to the FRN program, or events you would like to see FRN organise or run in the next 12 to 18 months.

As refreshments will be provided please RSVP (click here) by 24 August 2018 if you would like to attend.

If you are not able to attend but would like an update on the progress, please register your e-mail address by clicking here.

For more information, please contact Lisa at


Sara Ahmed Public Lecture

Sara Ahmed will be giving a public lecture at UOW on the 25th of October. The lecture is titled ‘Complaint as Diversity Work’ and will be of great interest to emotions researchers as well as those of us interested in topics such as gender, race and inequality. You can register for the event here. The event is co-sponsored by FRN, Contemporary Emotions Research Network (CERN) and Provocations.

The lecture explores how complaint can be understood as a form of diversity work, as what you have to do in order to make institutions more accommodating. Drawing on interviews with staff and students who have made complaints within universities (including complaints about racism, sexism, sexual harassment, and bullying) the lecture addresses the difficulty of making complaints and asks how and why complaints are often blocked. It explores how we learn about power from those who challenge power.

The CERN reading group will be hosting several meetings on Ahmed’s work in the weeks leading up to the event, and HDR students who attend these meetings will have the opportunity to meet with Ahmed in a special postgrad Q&A session. If you would like to participate in the reading group/Q&A, please email Jordan McKenzie ( to register your interest. 

Sara Ahmed is the author of 10 books including: Living a Feminist Life (2017), The Cultural Politics of Emotion (2014), Willful Subjects (2014), On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life (2012), and The Promise of Happiness (2010). Up until the end of 2016, Sara was Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London and prior to that she was based in Women’s Studies at Lancaster University.

Guest Lecture by Kim Akass – ‘Killers, Thieves, and Perverts: The Women of Went Worth Correction Centre’

Kim Akass (University of Hertfordeshire) will be presenting a Guest Lecture on ‘Killers, Thieves, and Perverts: The Women of Wentworth Correction Centre’ on 11 April 4.30 – 6.30pm at LHA Research Hub (19.2072), co-hosted by the Feminist Research Network (FRN) and Research Centre for Critical Creative Practice (C3P). Refreshments will be provided after the lecture.

The female prisoners in the iconic Australian drama Prisoner: Cell Block H (1979-86), and its contemporary reboot, Wentworth (2013-), clearly bear the scars of their familial history. Prison guard or inmate, Governor or top dog, the women’s narratives are indelibly and inextricably linked to the way they were parented, and their parenting skills. It should be no surprise that with women front and centre, the focus should be on the domestic. This paper will argue that both Prisoner and Wentworth offer hitherto unseen perspectives on female causes of crime, how female crimes are shaped by the family, and how maternity is central to the lives of these women, whether mothers or not.

Kim Akass  is a Senior Lecturer in Film and TV in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire.  She has co-edited and contributed to numerous collections focusing on feminism and contemporary television, including Reading Sex and the City (2004), Reading The L Word: Outing Contemporary Television (2006) and Quality TV: Contemporary American TV and Beyond (2007). She is co-founding editor of the television journal Critical Studies in Television (MUP), and is currently researching the representation of motherhood on television for forthcoming book From Here to Maternity: Representations of Motherhood in the Media.


Jane Haggis Seminar and Launch of ‘Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash’

FRN, CASS and CCHR invite you to the following:


Date: Monday 19 March 2018
Seminar: 3.00pm to 4.30pm, Book Launch: 4.30pm to 5.30pm
Location: Panizzi Room, UOW Library

RSVP: Seminar and/or Book Launch – Thursday 15 March:

Associate Professor Jane Haggis: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Flinders University

What Was the Steward Up to? Indian Women Touring Europe in the 1930s: Vernaculars of Friendship, Cosmopolitanisms and Anti-Colonialisms at the End of Empire  

Jane Haggis is an historian who combines historical analysis with social and cultural theory. Her research interests are wide, but cluster around three themes: cross-cultural encounters, affect and power in imperial and post-imperial contexts. She has published widely internationally in feminist historiography and gender and empire, and is currently leading an Australian Research Council funded project [DP 170104310 2017-2019), ‘Beyond Empire transnational religious networks & liberal cosmopolitanisms’ with Professor Margaret Allen, Professor Fiona Paisley and Professor Clare Midgley. With these scholars she recently published, Cosmopolitan Lives on the Cusp of Empire: Interfaith, Cross-Cultural and Transnational Networks, 1860-1950, Palgrave Pivot, 2017. Her long engagement with critical race studies most recently saw the publication of “Situated Knowledge or Ego (His)toire?: Memory, History and the She-Migrant in an Imaginary of ‘Terra Nullius’” Ngapartji, Ngapartji. In turn, in turn: Ego-Histoire, Europe and Indigenous Australians (ANU Lives Series in Biography, 2014). It also led to an Australian Research Council funded project (with S Schech) From Stranger to Citizen: Migration, Modernisation and Racialisation in the Making of the New Australian” (DP 0665782) results from which she most recently published in “White Australia and Otherness: The Limits to Hospitality” in Cultures in Refuge: Seeking Sanctuary in Modern Australia (2012). She is currently working on a monograph from that project, provisionally titled: Storying the borderlands: imaginaries of modernity and the refugee in Australia. The book (with S Schech) Culture and Development, (2000), pioneered a postcolonial feminist analysis of International Development and remains a seminal text.

Associate Professor Haggis will then launch:

Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash, Britain, Ireland and Australia, 1890-1920 (Routledge 2018)

Dr Sharon Crozier-De Rosa

Shame and the Anti-Feminist Backlash examines how women opposed to the feminist campaign for the vote in early twentieth-century Britain, Ireland, and Australia used shame as a political tool. It demonstrates just how proficient women were in employing a diverse vocabulary of emotions – drawing on concepts like embarrassment, humiliation, honour, courage, and chivalry – in the attempt to achieve their political goals. It looks at how far nationalist contexts informed each gendered emotional community at a time when British imperial networks were under extreme duress. The book presents a unique history of gender and shame which demonstrates just how versatile and ever-present this social emotion was in the feminist politics of the British Empire in the early decades of the twentieth century. It employs a fascinating new thematic lens to histories of anti-feminist/feminist entanglements by tracing national and transnational uses of emotions by women to police their own political communities. It also challenges the common notion that shame had little place in a modernizing world by revealing how far groups of patriotic womanhood, globally, deployed shame to combat the effects of feminist activism.

FRN Mini-Writing Retreat for HDR Students

FRN is running a mini writing retreat (at the research Hub) for HDRs on Monday 27th commencing at 10 am, followed by a  general meeting at 3.30pm  and FRN end of year refreshments at 4 pm.

Writing Retreat Outline

10 am to 12. 30pm  – Unstructured writing session.

12.30pm to 1.30pm – Working lunch and informal discussion with academic mentors (participants are asked to bring up an issue in regards to their writing for discussion)

1.30pm to 3.30pm – Unstructured writing session

Morning tea and lunch (including vegetarian and vegan food) will be provided.

3.30pm  FRN General Meeting

4 pm End of year refreshments


Roundtable on Same Sex Partnerships: International Perspectives

The Roundtable is jointly sponsored by the Centre for Critical Human Rights Research (CCHRR), the Feminist Research Network (FRN) and the Legal Intersections Research Centre (LIRC).

Speakers include: Nan Seuffert (UOW), Leigh Boucher (Macaquarie), Sharon Quah (UOW)  and Linh Nguyen (UOW).

Details of Event:
2:30 pm, Monday 16 October
19.2072 (Research Hub)
University of Wollongong

After the Roundtable at 4.30pm, there will be a launch of some CCHRR publications. Refreshments will be served at the launch.

Please RSVP for catering purposes to Linh Nguyen ( by Monday 9 October.

Program for 2017 FRN Symposium – ‘Feminist Interventions, Feminist Impacts’ 

The Feminist Research Network (FRN) is holding a symposium – ‘Feminist Interventions, Feminist Impacts’  – to showcase the feminist-inspired research of UOW scholars and those external to the university from 25th to 26th September 2017, held in Building 19’s LHA Research Hub (19.2072).

Panels include: ‘First Nations Feminism’, ‘Violence against Women and Violent Women’, ‘Contesting Gendered Emotions’, ‘Milk Culture: Feminist Resonances Across Lives in the Dairy Industry’, along with a HDR session on how feminism has inspired UOW HDR research.

In addition to panel discussions, the symposium features a photographic exhibition ‘Locating Chinese Women: Historical Mobility between China and Australia’, and a film screening on ‘Intersectionality on Film’.

FRN is also proudly collaborating with Wollongong Writers Festival to host a public event with Ellen Van Neerven and Clementine Ford at UOW on 25 September from 5pm.

The 2017 FRN Symposium is a FREE event, but please Register for catering by 22 September.

 Click ‘download’ below to download the program.

If you have any questions or require more information please contact Kai Soh:

Clementine Ford and Ellen van Neerven @ FRN!

Clementine Ford and Ellen van Neerven are coming to the University of Wollongong as part of the 2017 Feminist Research Network (FRN) Symposium – ‘Feminist Interventions, Feminist Impacts’!

These passionate activists will also be appearing at a public event for Wollongong Writers Festival as part of a residency series funded by UOW.

UOW Event: ‘Feminist Interventions, Feminist Impacts’, Monday 25th September, 5-7pm, UOW, Bld 20.4.              

 [UOW Staff & Students FREE but REGISTER for catering here by 22 Sept: RSVP]

 The Wollongong Writers Festival is also holding a Festival event featuring Celementine Ford and Ellen van Neerven on Tuesday 26th September, from 6-7.30pm

Festival Event: ‘Writing and Living as a Political Act’, Featuring: Winnie Dunn with Clementine Ford & Ellen van Neerven, Tuesday 26th September, 6-7.30pm, Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli St.           

 [COST $25: Bookings:]