Annual Themes

2019 HRC Annual Theme: 'Crisis'

2019 HRC Annual Theme: 'Crisis'

 

Mobilised as a defining characteristic of the contemporary condition, ‘crisis’ often functions as a way to mark out a critical ‘moment of truth’ or rupture. Alternatively, it is offered as a tool with which to understand the category of ‘history’, or to differentiate the past from a conflicted present. For some, crisis has become a state of ordinary ambivalence, a constant and unresolvable feature of the status quo. Forming a background to these debates is the escalating chorus of ‘crisis’ texts in popular and academic contexts alike. In this growth industry – richly illustrated by images of violent protest and reform, by news of corruption, incompetence, and injustice, and by consecutive environmental disasters – the urgency of crisis is conveyed through its implication in the networks and structures that influence our individual and collective lives. And yet, despite the growing ‘crisis industry’, humanity has grappled for centuries with an intellectual history of crisis, with practices of critique and dissent, as well as with a past that often sees itself as on the cusp of an irredeemable crisis – often considered, in retrospect, part of a ‘generative’ process.

Seeking to explore all facets of crisis, plus the potential connections that might exist between and across them, the HRC encourages contributions from researchers working in all disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields, historical eras and geographical contexts, as well as those offering issue, topic, and case-study based approaches to the theme of ‘crisis’. Key questions might include: How are we today to understand intellectual, ethical, moral, and epistemological crises? What qualifies (or quantifies) as a crisis? What is the artistic, cultural, political, social, or psychological expediency of crisis? How does ‘crisis’ relate to ideas and practices of ‘criticism’ and ‘critique’? What, if anything, differentiates our current experience from prior experiences of crisis? How can disciplinary debates inform political change, or vice versa? Is there any potential for the humanities to have an impact on public conceptions of crisis? What is at stake when a researcher undertakes to examine crisis, and what ethical and other responsibilities does the researcher have in conducting this work? Are we really in a new age of crisis – and, if so, how so?

 

Applications for the 2019 HRC Visiting Fellowship Scheme are now open.

Please see the Visiting Fellow Program webpage for information on how to apply.

 

2018 Annual Theme - Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein

2018 Annual Theme - Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein

'It compels us to feel that which we perceive, and to imagine that which we know'.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

In 2018, the Humanities Research Centre will be looking at the humanities’ engagement (and failure to engage) with the accelerating fields of science and technology. The questions we will ask concern our understanding and imagining of the implications of our own rapid scientific and technological development. Do we understand the motivation for a billion-dollar medical science industry, for example, one that promises more and more radical forms of genetic engineering? How have artificial intelligence and robotics redefined what it means to be, and to act, human? To what extent is the development of science and technology culturally and ideologically inflected?

Does science and technology––should science and technology––contribute to social equity and justice? Where are we in the debate about the mutually abrasive existence of ‘two cultures’? What control do we currently exercise, individually and collectively, over scientific development? How have literature and film, the visual and musical arts, absorbed and informed the advancement of science and technology? What price do we pay––economically, psychologically, culturally––for our accelerated scientific literacy and technological sophistication? 

The HRC looks forward to engaging hard scientists, as well as humanists, social scientists, writers and artists, in its conferences and debates and as Visiting Fellows.

2017 Annual Theme - The Question of the Stranger

2017 Annual Theme - The Question of the Stranger

‘The cluster of words describing those who are (or who are made to seem) different from us (whoever ‘us’ is)—the foreigner, the alien, the stranger—has been critical in the articulation of how we live after 9/11’.So wrote David Simpson in the study from which we take our theme for 2017.  The theme asks us to look at the way individuals and...

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2016 Annual Theme — Forms of Authority

2016 Annual Theme — Forms of Authority

Authority involves claims of legitimacy, the capacity and right to exercise power. Taking ‘forms’ primarily in a literary/aesthetic sense, this theme seeks to interrogate the genres, images, and aesthetic forms in which authority is embedded – via tropes of realism, for example, in melodrama, reportage, tradition, and so on. Political...

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2015 Annual Theme - Global Languages

2015 Annual Theme - Global Languages

The history of the world is characterized by great diversity in languages and societies as small groups split off and develop their own ways of talking and interacting. This diversity has been periodically checked by the rise of larger societies and economies, created by empires, evangelism and the demands of trade and diplomacy. Greek, Latin,...

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2014 Annual Theme - Now Showing: Cultures, Judgements, and Research on the Silver Screen

2014 Annual Theme - Now Showing: Cultures, Judgements, and Research on the Silver Screen

Our cultures are awash in spectacular visual display. From the first exhibition of the cinematograph in 1895 to the web, video games and the iPhone, a succession of screens has been the site for the creation, reproduction and transmission of meaning and emotion, and a key medium for the contestation of power. These media have been imbricated in...

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2013 Annual Theme - Cities, Imaginaries, Publics

2013 Annual Theme - Cities, Imaginaries, Publics

In 2013 we commemorate the centenary of Canberra. Given the location of our Centre in Australia’s bush capital, we propose to dedicate the year to thinking about the creation of urban spaces and the role of public imagination and affect in configuring them as sites of value.Contemplating the urban is to contemplate a fraught realm of emotions,...

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Updated:  21 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications