SOAC Seminar Presentations Archive

1. S1 2016

17 February Postgraduate colloquium

The postgraduate colloquium (our second!) took place on the 17th February. Students from a range of disciplines, and at a range of different stages of their research, presented papers on their research and research processes.

The colloquium also included a panel/Q&A on publishing during the HDR: Associate Professor Andrew Hickey, Dr Jessica Gildersleeve, and Sarah Peters spoke eloquently about the challenges and possibilities available to students. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to make a recording of this final session for the day.

The papers are presented below in the order they were delivered on the day. The first file is the schedule for the day, which includes abstracts and bios for each presenter. Clicking on the links below the schedule will take you to the Camtasia recording of the speaker's presentation (MP4 or MP3 formats are available).

16 March

Malcolm Brown Is ISIS Islamic? A sociological and Islamological perspective

Recent events in the Middle East and in Europe, especially the Paris attacks on Friday 13th November last year, have led to a great deal of commentary (some of it misinformed and some of it merely uninformed) on the alleged responsibility of Islam itself, and the need for an Islamic reformation. Claims that ISIS is not representative of Islam are dismissed as wishful thinking on the part of Muslims, or even a calculated attempt to dissimulate. Yet the question of whether or not ISIS is genuinely Islamic is entirely legitimate, and needs to be taken seriously. Sociological conceptualisations of Islam start from a position of anti-essentialism, but this should not lead to a conceptual free-for-all ('a Muslim is anyone who claims to be a Muslim'), not least because that would negate the critique of individualism that is at the heart of the sociological project. This paper argues that there are genuine sociological and Islamological (in Mohammed Arkoun's sense) reasons to support the contention that ISIS is not Islamic, and that the call for an Islamic reformation misses the point entirely. This argument is based on an analysis of the concepts of takfir (excommunication), taqlid (imitation), and ijtihad (independent interpretation).

Melissa Forbes Assessing the value of collaborative learning

Whilst the value of collaborative learning can be intuited by students and teachers, specifically articulating these benefits can be more challenging. Promoting and Assessing Value Creation in Communities and Networks: A Conceptual Framework by Wenger, Trayner and de Laat (2011) is specifically designed to assist practitioners to clearly identify the value of social learning in a given context. The framework can be used to assess both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. It is also a useful tool to assist practitioners to reflect upon their own role within social learning. This seminar discusses the results of using the framework to discover the value of learning music collaboratively in first year music practice courses at USQ.


20 April

Chris Kossen Employment marginalisation and mature-age workers

Widespread age discrimination against mature-age workers leaves many in this cohort in situations of long-term jobless and others in precarious and subsistence employment. This presentation relates to his doctoral study into the impacts of employment marginalisation on the lives of thirty-two mature-age workers in a regional Australian city. Two overarching themes to emerge from in-depth naturalistic interviewing formed around corrosive impacts on well-being associated with a sense of lack of control over life stemming from: (a) anxieties associated with financial hardship and uncertainty about the future and (b) deprivation from the latent benefits employment that help bring purpose and structure to the lives many. This presentation will overview the study and findings.

Daniel Hourigan "Keep those little bells on your slippers as quiet as you can": Complicity and Spatiality in Miéville’s Multiapocalyptic London

There has been little elaboration of complicity’s etymology and how this inheritance connects the idea of complicity to spatiality. This paper approaches the villains of China Miéville’s award-winning 2011 novel Kraken as figures that can help elaborate this resonance within complicity. Kraken is a unique novel for Miéville because it breaks with the genre strictures of the Weird before Miéville again advances the virtues of such generic procedures. Goss and Subby are Kraken’s centuries-old assassins for darkly sacred hire. Their comic thuggery is imagined with supernatural abilities to fold, stretch, and swallow in implacable pursuit of the protagonist, squid caretaker Billy Harrow, through the multiapocalypti London underworld. It will be argued that these spatio-corporeal movements of Goss and Subby align their villainy with complicity’s etymological inheritance as an invitation to comply. Composed of ‘com’ and ‘plicit’, or, ‘with’ and ‘fold’, complicity is weirded by Miéville’s villains. The horror of Goss and Subby is that their devouring violence is invited, and devout.


28 April - EVISS Event

Professor Donna Lee Brien Australian Speculative Biography: Recovering Forgotten Lives

This is the keynote address for the Forgotten Lives/Biographies Symposium. The aim of the symposium is to encourage research, innovation and collaboration by bringing together academics within and outside the University of Southern Queensland whose research focuses on historic figures who have been largely neglected by history and/or forgotten over time. Academics and HDR students working in this or related theoretical, methodological or research areas are encouraged to attend. If you are interested in presenting a paper please email a brief abstract (250 words max) and a biography of no more than 150 words by March 15th 2016 to: dallas.baker@usq.edu.au


18 May

Lara Lamb and Bryce Barker Fishing on the Kikori River: what the ethnography of the Rumu can tell us about archaeology, gender in archaeology and the Rainforest/Foraging Debate

The archaeology of the middle reaches of the Kikori River tends to show that people relied primarily on terrestrial and arboreal game for protein, which was supplemented by small-scale fishing. This is corroborated by the ethnographic record, which can be extended into the precontact period for approximately 500 years. However, the ethnographic record can also be used to expand upon what we know from the archaeology. In February 2009, Lamb and Barker undertook fieldwork in the region and were fortunate enough to accompany people from the Himaiyu (Rumu) clan on several fishing and bat hunting expeditions. These practices are described in the paper, noting particularly that weir fishing on the various tributaries of the Kikori River is generally undertaken by women, and that the activities associated with weir fishing (procurement, preparation, consumption and disposal) are largely archaeologically invisible. We discuss the implications of this for local archaeological interpretation, and also with reference to a broader international debate which posits that foraging in the tropical rainforest is not possible, without direct or indirect reliance on agricultural resources.

Bryce Barker and Lara Lamb Aboriginal Rock Art and the Extinction of the Megafauna: Results of archaeological excavations at the Genyornis newtoni, art site, south western Arnhem Land, N.T.

A topical issue in Australian archaeology is whether or not Aboriginal hunter-gatherers were responsible for the extinction of marsupial megafauna. Various reasons for extinction have been put forward, including over hunting, cultural modification of the environment and natural environmental change. Key to this debate is the timing of when the megafauna became extinct, with some arguing that megafauna were already extinct or close to extinction by the time people arrived on this continent some 55,000 years ago. This seminar outlines results from our excavations of the ‘Genyornis’ rock art site in south western Arnhem Land. This rock art site has a large motif of a bird with a spear in it that has been described as most resembling the extinct flightless megafaunal bird Genyornis newtoni, which if the case would establish clear interaction between humans and megafauna and the first evidence of hunting of megafauna in Australia. From the dating of Genyornis newtoni egg shell in southern Australia it appears that this species was extinct by at least 45,000 years ago. Our excavations in conjunction with detailed chemical and geophysical study of the motif and associated rock surfaces has established a maximum date for when the motif was painted, and thus the likelihood of it in fact depicting one of the extinct megafauna or not.


19 June

Jessica Gildersleeve and Daniel Hourigan 'Derelictions of Murder House'

Coming in the wake of horror’s televisual dominance throughout the first decade of the twenty-first century, American Horror Story has redefined the contemporary cinematic gothic of the small screen. This paper addresses the first season of AHS, ‘Murder House’, in terms of its unquiet spectres and the strange vortex of the house itself as figurations of Irigaray’s déréliction. In this way, we will consider the ruined subjects and the ruined space as offering up a reading of the legal subject and the violence of the law threaded through the monstrous hospitality of historical trauma in the family home.