[csaa-forum] Jon Stratton's Comments

Baden Offord baden.offord at curtin.edu.au
Mon Mar 30 11:51:14 ACST 2015

Dear Jon,

apologies Jon. 

I wish to acknowledge that I do support your previous and recent comments. I share the same concerns. 

I would say, however, that there is a fair bit of political edge for cs in parts of regional Oz, and in my experience specifically, in northern NSW.  And I am pleased to say, I have encountered it here in Perth already! I wonder whether there might be some way of thinking - following the con-urban model that now exists in terms of metropolitan and non-metro connections - of a con-cs movement that is more conscious of itself, its reach and its politics? 

There is a wonderful corollary between the recent Greens' victories on the far north coast and the metro cousins in Sydney and Melbourne. Who would have thought... 

Kind regards


​Dr Baden Offord
Director | Professor of Cultural Studies and Human Rights
Centre for Human Rights Education | Faculty of Humanities

Curtin University
T: | +61 8 9266 7186
E: | baden.offord at curtin.edu.au
W | http://info.humanrights.curtin.edu.au/
CRICOS Provider Code 00301J (WA), 02637B (NSW)

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: Call for Papers: 'Minor Culture' CSAA Conference 2015
      (Mark Davis)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 23:50:23 +0000
From: Mark Davis <davismr at unimelb.edu.au>
Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] Call for Papers: 'Minor Culture' CSAA
        Conference 2015
To: Jon Stratton <jon_stratton22 at outlook.com.au>,
        "csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au" <csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>
Message-ID: <D13ED96A.FFD6%davismr at unimelb.edu.au>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

Hi Jon and everyone else,

These thoughts have been very much on my mind as well. There?s much to be said here, I think. And some thinking/planning to be done about the future of our trouble-making discipline. Suffice to say, I?ve been inspired by what you?ve said and plan to use the conference as an opportunity to talk about ?academe as minor culture? ? in the best possible shit-sitrring yet scholarly spirit I hope.


From: Jon Stratton <jon_stratton22 at outlook.com.au<mailto:jon_stratton22 at outlook.com.au>>
Date: Friday, 27 March 2015 2:54 pm
To: "csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>" <csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>>
Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] Call for Papers: 'Minor Culture' CSAA Conference 2015

Dear List members,

       This is really a musing about the reaction to my email expressing concern about the geographical focus of the speakers listed for the upcoming conference.  I have had a number of responses to my email, all supportive; but none publicly on the List. These responses have come from people I know in academic capacities, people who trust that I would not pass on their emails or publicly reveal their names.  There have been no public responses at all.

I wondered about this and so started asking why it might be the case that people were not prepared to publicly endorse the comments in my email.   The replies were always the same: that academics down the food chain were worried about offending senior academics who had power over their jobs, or potential employment.  The neoliberal turn in higher ed, which has seen tenure all but disappear, which has seen many universities revising their staff lists through ?spill and fills?, and which has generally made academic work increasingly insecure not least with the spread of contracts over continuing positions, seems to have had an unedifying effect on disciplines.

In Australian cs, at least, it seems that hierarchy has become entrenched, certainly in the understanding of postgrads and ECRs.  People fear upsetting senior academics and worry that other ECRs will be given preference if they speak out of turn.  I don?t know if this is the fear of the powerless or if there is actual practice that feeds this fear.  Either way, it is a troubling phenomenon.

Not least because of the history of cs, because of what cs always prided itself as being.  For me, anyway, Stuart Hall and the work of the BCCCS, was central to my understanding of what cs is.  For Hall and his colleagues, cs was a situated practice, an ongoing work which critically engaged with daily life.  CS addressed the issues and silences of minorities, espoused values of egalitarianism and democracy in the face of those who attempt to minoritise and exclude.  CS has a tradition of a generation or more now of critiquing class and race, and the subordination of women, and more recently those minoritised for other reasons such as disability.

But I?m sure that I am telling you things you all already know.  What I have watched happening to Australian cs over the last ten and more years has been a loss of a political edge.  Now, it seems, this is coming home to roost in unfortunate ways.

I have always thought of cs academics as trouble makers?or seen as trouble makers by those who hold power.  We trouble their sense of rightful power and their easy assumptions of what in their eyes the world should look like.  It worries me that, at least in the perceptions of postgrads and ECRs, the traditional hierarchical structure is being replicated in Australian cs.  It would seem that neoliberal practices have dealt a crucial blow to people?s confidence to speak out and that, perhaps, senior cs academics have not realised this.  Perhaps this is a situation we should strive to rectify?

Personally, if their work was of an appropriate standard I would prefer to employ a trouble maker because they are the people that get things done.  They are the people who kick back against the impositions of the powerful.

Anyway, just a few thoughts.

Thanking you all for your time,


From: jon_stratton22 at outlook.com.au<mailto:jon_stratton22 at outlook.com.au>
To: timothy.laurie at unimelb.edu.au<mailto:timothy.laurie at unimelb.edu.au>; csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>
Date: Sat, 21 Mar 2015 16:45:52 +0800
Subject: Re: [csaa-forum] Call for Papers: 'Minor Culture' CSAA Conference 2015

Dear Rimi and Timothy,
     Thank you for organising this conference and for the splendid list of speakers. My apologies for not having attended the annual conferences recently. If I had I may already know the answer to my concern. It is that all the speakers, with one exception, come from universities in Sydney and Melbourne--unless there are some changes in affiliation of which I am not aware. To put it differently, there are, I think, no speakers listed from Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, or, with the very honourable exception of Graeme Turner, from Brisbane. Nor are any speakers listed from Aotearoa/New Zealand. This makes the conference appear terribly Sydney/Melbourne-centric. I am sure that the two of you, with degrees from a Perth uni and an Adelaide uni, can aapreciate how this feels to those of us who live and work outside of the traditional core nexus. This seems to me an issue of particular relevance given the exciting topic of the conference. Minor Culture, related to matters of place, ident
 ity and marginality, are of great importance to those of us in places still identified as peripheral to the old Australian core. Is there a reason that I don't know about why the conference has been configured in such a traditional and exclusive a way?

To remind list members of a small portion of a complex and diverse history; Perth figured large in the early development of Cultural Studies in Australia not least because the city's historically marginal status in Australia replicated the early concerns of Cultural Studies with marginality. The Australian Journal of Cultural Studies was founded in Perth. The journal's home subsequently shifted to the United States and it became the journal we know of as Cultural Studies. Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, which I believe still has a link with CSAA, was founded in Perth and its senior editor still works in Perth.

With best wishes,

From: timothy.laurie at unimelb.edu.au<mailto:timothy.laurie at unimelb.edu.au>
To: csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au<mailto:csaa-forum at lists.cdu.edu.au>
Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2015 02:06:39 +0000
Subject: [csaa-forum] Call for Papers: 'Minor Culture' CSAA Conference 2015

Call for Papers:

Conference of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia, Dec 1-Dec 3, 2015

Minor Culture creates a space for inter-disciplinary dialogues around the study of place, identity and marginality, and addresses research on everyday cultural productions and media texts, cultural policy and discourses of sustainability, digital life and creative industries, and public cultures in the Asia-Pacific region. The conference also invites responses to the following questions:

?                How are minor cultures inhabited? When do minor cultures become uninhabitable?

?                Is the concept of minority still useful in explaining contemporary forms of cultural marginality?

?                How do categories such as indigeneity and Aboriginality, gender and sexuality, class, disability, race and citizenship produce minoritising effects? How might these categories change when mobilised through governmental discourses, newsmedia, and everyday usage?

?                Who narrates experiences of minoritisation? For whom are these narratives produced? How is minoritarianism articulated through film, music, television, literature, performance, and digital cultures?

?                In what ways do practices of government and cultural policy shape relationships between local, national and transnational cultures? To what extent are legal regulations implicated in the formation of minoritarian practices?

?                How do new minor or major cultural formations emerge? Through which means do political practices resist or intervene in these formations?

?                Do minor cultures require novel theoretical tools or research methodologies? What do experimental approaches to cultural research look like? What alternative kinds of knowledge could such approaches make available?

?                Is minority a humanist concept? What place could majority and minority have within post-anthropocentric thinking?

?                And when do minor cultures cease to be minor?

Time & Location

University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus

Nov. 30: Prefix Postgraduate Day (incl. workshops on theory and methodology from senior cultural studies researchers)

Dec 1-3 Minor Culture conference

Keynote Speakers

Distinguished Professor Ien Ang (Professor of Cultural Studies, Institute for Culture and Society)

Professor Jose Neil C. Garcia (Professor of English, Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City)

Professor Meaghan Morris (Professor of Gender & Cultural Studies, University of Sydney)

Invited speakers also include Dennis Altman, Tony Bennett, Catherine Driscoll, Ghassan Hage, Koichi Iwabuchi, Peter Jackson, Stephen Muecke, Greg Noble, Elspeth Probyn, Katrina Schlunke, and Graeme Turner.


Please send an abstract (250 words max), a title for the presentation (15 min max), and a short bio (30 words max) including your name, email address, degree level and institutional affiliation to: csaa2015 at lists.unimelb.edu.au<mailto:csaa2015 at lists.unimelb.edu.au> (both in the body of the email and as an attachment) by June 1, 2015.

Presenters will be notified of their acceptance no later than July 1.

Conference Co-convenors

Dr. Rimi Khan & Dr. Timothy Laurie (Screen & Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne)

Conference Organising Committee at the University of Melbourne

Assoc. Prof. Chris Healy (Screen & Cultural Studies)

Assoc. Prof. Fran Martin (Screen & Cultural Studies)

Assoc. Prof. Scott McQuire (Media and Communications)

Professor Angela Ndalianis (Screen & Cultural Studies)

Professor Nikos Papastergiadis (Director of the Research Unit in Public Cultures)

Assoc. Prof. Audrey Yue (Screen & Cultural Studies)

Feel free to email any questions about the conference to csaa2015 at lists.unimelb.edu.au<mailto:csaa2015 at lists.unimelb.edu.au>

Website URL tbc, but for general information about CSAA, see www.csaa.asn.au

Dr. Timothy Laurie | Lecturer in Cultural Studies
Room 237John Medley Building
The School of Culture and Communication

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