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CASS Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series

Upcoming Professorial Lectures

Presented by the College of Arts and Social Sciences Is it still possible to write a history of a nation-state in an age of...

Past Professorial Lectures

This series celebrates and welcomes Professorial appointments to the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences.

Our professoriate are exemplified by their research excellence and outstanding leadership. Newly appointed and promoted professors celebrate this milestone by presenting their research to the college allowing opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement.

For information on th Professorial Lecture Series, please contact Meg Sawtell.


Evidence, absence and the beautiful failures of photography

Professor Denise Ferris

22 March 2017

While photographs can be documents of reality as images translated from the world, they also carry ideas beyond their face value. The tension between photography’s evidentiary representation and its imaginative aptitude to prise open understanding for the viewer is a fine line. Discussing current research interests I consider photography’s capacity to raise subject matter that lies outside the image, and how making and writing about images can galvanise thinking. One research interest addresses global warming’s influence on the Australian alpine environment, which I’ve continued to photograph during long and short winters over many years. I will survey various photographic series on climate change, place and visibility, drawing attention to the aesthetics of affect, erasure and absence. I will discuss Celestial Spaces, my exhibition on the nineteenth century Chinese miners of Kiandra also focused on erasure and gaps in recognition. Acknowledging photography’s limitations is to understand it may not always hold answers. However photography is brilliant at posing questions.

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Anti-gender campaigns, freedom and education about gender and sexuality in Australian schools

Professor Mary Lou Rasmussen

2 March 2017

Research is being conducted on diverse anti-gender mobilization campaigns in Europe (Kuhar and Paternotte; forthcoming). Building on and expanding this research, my lecture looks at how anti-gender campaigners are mobilizing in the Australian context. I consider how ideas and tactics from diverse European campaigns may inform Australian campaigns. My specific focus is on how anti-gender campaigners are seeking to influence the provision of education about gender and sexuality in Australian schools. Drawing on Eric Fassin’s study of gender norms and sexual democracy (2011) in France, I consider how anti-gender campaigners deploy “common sense” understandings of gender in order to oppose discussions of gender, sexuality and diversity in education. I also touch on the challenges of negotiating diverse gender perspectives in ways that can attend to religious freedom and sexual freedom.

If you missed this lecture, click here to watch now or listen to the  podcast.

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Where are the Mozarts of Today? An Analysis of the Condition of Classical Music Culture Through Discourse and Creative Research

Professor Kenneth Lampl

9 November 2016

Is it possible to achieve historical greatness to the extent of a Mozart or Beethoven in the present day?

What purpose does classical music serve in the modern age?

Will our current crop of music stars become the Mozarts of tomorrow?

"Where are the Mozarts of Today" is an examination through lecture and creative research into the question of the relevance and condition of the culture of classical music today.

If you missed this lecture, click here to watch now.

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The Periodical Enlightenment & Romantic Literature

Professor Will Christie

22 June 2016

The opening decades of the nineteenth century, which we know as the Age of Romanticism in Britain, was also the great age of periodical literature – The Periodical Enlightenment – at the centre of which were the Edinburgh Review (est. 1802), the Quarterly Review (1809),Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine (or Maga) (1817), and the Westminster Review (1824), each offering a politically-inflected conspectus of current knowledge and creative literature that was often aggressively argumentative and assumed greater authority than either the author or the reader.

The big Reviews were by no means the only places where the Romantic reader could find clever, scathing, but often well-informed and well-argued reviews, which contributed to the high degree of literary self-consciousness we associate with Romantic literature.

This lecture looked at the phenomenon of critical reviewing during the Periodical Enlightenment (aka the Romantic period), at the mythologies that grew up around critical reviewing as an institution, and at some of the ramifications of its severity for the evolution of creative literature.

If you missed this lecture, click here to watch now.

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Responding to Global Poverty: Harm, Responsibility, and Agency

Professor Christian Barry

23 March 2016

The first CASS Inaugural Professorial Lecture (Responding to Global Poverty: Harm, Responsibility, and Agency) celebrated Christian Barry of the School of Philosophy, Research School of Social Sciences, who asked:

  • What is the nature of our responsibilities to poor people abroad?
  • How much can these responsibilities demand of us?
  • What are the implications of our failing to do what we ought to do?

This lecture explored these questions and proposed some answers.

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Updated:  28 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  College Dean/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications