[csaa-forum] The Altitude Website!

Clifton Evers clifton.evers at unsw.edu.au
Fri Feb 11 09:45:15 CST 2011

New issue of Altitude: An e-journal of emerging humanities work


Altitude: an e-journal of emerging humanities work is a peer reviewed journal of emerging innovative and creative work in the humanities. Altitude is committed to the democratisation of writing, research and knowledge, and to experimentation with new journal practices. It brings emerging and experienced scholars into discussion with writers and thinkers outside the academy. We use web-based open-access technologies to provide access to research (includes audio and visual material), and to extend the parameters of intellectual exchange.

Volume 9, 2011, edited by Clifton Evers

the new issue of Altitude comes with an eclectic array of articles sourced from the hard work, rigorous research and creativity of emerging humanities scholars around the globe. The issue provides clear evidence of how even though this cohort remains under-funded and under-resourced they continue to produce politically important work for their respective fields, and their global communities more broadly.  

We open the issue with Shè Hawke (University of Sydney) leading us into the creative and experimental realm of the humanities. Hawke’s article explores the evolution of water as charted by earlier scientific and more recent multidisciplinary inquiry. Its value lies in its comparison of these scientific approaches to water with mythic approaches to water, creation and the maternal, through the disavowed Greek mythic water deity Metis. Hawke creatively demonstrates crossovers and tensions between the disciplines of hard science and feminist humanities. In a fascinating turn, Hawke also elucidates psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi’s concept of utraquism at the biological and evolutionary level, as a methodological tool. 

Senthorun Raj’s (University of Sydney) article continues this theme of experimental and creative humanities research as he examines the relationship between performativity, embodiment and transitioning in the context of a female to male (FTM) transsexual. Using the semi-autobiographical work of Jamison Green’s Becoming a Visible Man, Raj places Green’s phenomenological accounts of gender anxiety, masculinity, and transitioning in dialogue with Judith Butler’s work on performativity and Moira Gatens’ theorisation of the ‘imagined body’.  In doing so, he takes us beyond the assumed limits of bodies.

Paul Giffard-Foret continues the gender, sexuality and literary journey but combines this with important issues around race and nationalism. Giffard-Foret pushes us to consider the work of Simone Lazaroo and Hsu-Ming Teo. Through an analysis of these author’s work Giffard-Foret argues that the enduring essence or prevailing stereotype in the Western imaginary is a certain idea of Asia as the sign of femininity. He goes on to suggest that the (hyper)feminisation of Asia needs to be understood in the light of Asia’s assumed historic and ongoing threat to the West. 

Clifton Evers (University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China) and Megan La Masurier (University of Sydney) continue the thematic of gender but take out of the literary field and into the field of cultural research. In this article Evers and Masurier draw on the results of a comprehensive evaluation of a sport and media workshop for young elite sportswomen. This important article finally provides the space for young elite sportswomen to express how they view the fact that women’s sports continue to struggle for recognition and coverage in newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and on the Internet.

And it is the Internet that concerns Marco Bastos (University of Sao Paulo), whose article presents us a with a intriguing social system’s perspective on the Internet. Bastos summarizes the contributions of German sociologist Niklas Luhmann and outlines the theoretical boundaries between the theory of social systems and that of media studies. Bastos, via Luhmann, describes the Internet as a system, in regard to its self-referential dynamic, and as an environment, in regard to the non-organized complexity of data within the medium. Bastos’ article requires us to radically rethink a number of assumptions about Internet studies and media studies.

In this re-launch issue of Altitude we have a dedicated section that contains a collection of articles to emerge, under the guidance of Lisa Waller at the University of Canberra, from the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA) 2010 held in Canberra, Australia. This selection of articles provide clear evidence of the quality and wide-ranging nature of emerging communications research in this region. 

Lucy Morieson’s (RMIT University) article tackles the issue of interactivity so pertinent to the communications industry and to journalistic practice in the modern era. Morieson argues that while interactivity is often cited as a central characteristic of online news, a number of empirical studies suggest that it is more often held as an ideal than accepted journalistic practice. Morieson compares the adoption of interactivity at two Australian online news sources – The Age Online and Crikey. Moriseon argues that the adoption of interactivity at these sites is shaped not by the sites’ history, but rather by the way in which each of these publications positions themselves in relation to journalism’s changing social and political role, wrought by broader technological, economic and social conditions. 

Perin Brown (La Trobe University) tackles the difficult questions that are coming out of the nexus of journalism, law, the public, and compiling news stories on an ‘off the record’ basis. Drawing on qualitative interviews with three journalists, two of whom have been charged or convicted for contempt of court, and two lawyers who specialise in contempt law, Brown explores the issue, arguing that legislation is the only satisfactory protection for ensuring the continuance of unauthorised leaks to journalists, which remain important for public interest journalism.  

Kirsti Rawstron’s (University of Wollongong) article examines the portrayal of gender relations and issues in the Japanese media through a case study of discussions in mainstream newspapers surrounding the introduction in 1985 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL) in Japan. This law was introduced as part of Japan’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The debate surrounding the changing EEOL is examined through articles from three mainstream daily national newspapers, notably the Asahi Shinbun, the Nihon Keizai Shinbun and the Yomiuri Shinbun. 

Sarah Coffee (University of Newcastle) examines the meaning of ‘creativity’ through Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s system’s model of creativity. The article delves into four profiles of creative practitioners from the areas of music, art, science and journalism. In conjunction with some self-reflexive considerations investigates the nature of creativity for cultural producers. 

Similarly, Jane Fulton (University of Newcastle) emphasises the creativity of journalism and explores how the social structure of print journalism, what creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls the field, influences print journalist’s interaction with the field and what effect this interaction has on their practices. This article examines a selection of semi-structured interviews conducted with journalists and editors. 

The theme of exploring creativity continues in the article by Chloe Killen (University of Newcastle), who argues that the best approach to the examination of creativity is through a ‘confluence approach’ rather than ‘unidisciplinary approaches’. Again, using Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s systems model of creativity, but this time in confluence with Pierre Bourdieu’s notions of cultural production, Killen investigates how contemporary Australian picture book authors operate. The article is a case study of five authors of Australian children’s books. 
Dr Clifton Evers

Lecturer in Cultural and Media Studies
Division of International Communications
Room AB 425
University of Nottingham
199 Taikang East Road
Ningbo, 315100.
Zhejiang Province,

-- Dr Clifton Evers
Lecturer in Cultural and Media Studies
University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

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