[csaa-forum] Elspeth Probyn seminar @ UNSW May 4

James Donald j.donald at unsw.edu.au
Fri Apr 29 09:15:01 CST 2005

UNSW Media, Film and Theatre Seminars
5 p.m. Wednesday 4 May 2005
Webster Building 327

Writing Shame

Elspeth Probyn
Professor of Gender Studies, University of Sydney

In Blush: Faces of Shame (forthcoming, Minnesota UP & UNSW Press), I argue
that shame can be a positive force.  At an individual level, it can compel a
micro-ethics which involves a reevaluation of the shame; at the collective
level, acknowledging shame involves a rethinking of different forms of
proximity, to the past, to ourselves, to others. I take a central point from
Silvan Tomkins that there can be no shame without interest. There must be
prior interest for shame to occur. Conversely, if you do not care about
something or someone, there is no shame. In this paper I consider interest
and writing, which I argue are crucial to making our ideas interesting, and
in engaging beyond our own sometimes narrow circles within cultural studies.

Elspeth Probyn has taught media studies, sociology, and literature in Canada
and the US, and is now the Professor of Gender Studies at the University of
Sydney. Her work focuses on questions of identity, sexuality and bodies. She
has been constantly interested in what people think and do with their bodies
­ from eating, sex, to emotions. She has published several books in these
areas, including Sexing the Self, Outside Belongings, Carnal Appetites, Sexy
Bodies and Blush. She is also interested in ethics, the media and popular
culture, and recently co-edited with Catharine Lumgy Remote Control, a book
on media ethics, and new forms of television such as reality TV and food
shows. She also writes a fortnightly column in the HES of the Australian.

Elspeth's research covers a number of areas all to do with identity and
embodiment. She has held several large ARC grants, including 2001-2003 The
Practices and Performances of Alimentary Identity, and 2001-2003
Co-investigator with Catharine Lumby. Girl Cultures: A Study of Girls'
Consumption of Popular Media. With Jenny O'Dea she is conducting a ARC
Discovery Grant project on Youth Cultures of Eating, which will provide the
first nationwide survey of teenagers' and teachers' attitudes to food and
eating, as well as an ethnographic account of how youth culture intersects
with food.

Dr James Donald
Associate Dean (Education), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Professor of Film Studies, School of Media, Film and Theatre
University of New South Wales
NSW 2052

Telephone:      (02) 9385 4858
Mobile:         0433 126445
Facsimile:      (02) 9662 2335

Telephone:      +612 9385 4858
Mobile:         +61 433 126445
Facsimile:      +612 9662 2335

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