Tag Archives: Sydney

Southern Latitudes

Another forthcoming conference, to be held at the State Library of New South Wales, Southern Latitudes, is presented by the Australia & New Zealand Map Society (ANZMapS) and is to be held from24–27 May 2011. The conference will cover a wide range of topics from presenters including several Petherick readers. Speakers include:

  • Frederick Muller, ‘The first map documenting Magellan’s sighting of the Southland and sailing of the Pacific: Fries’ Tabula moderna alterius hemispherius, 1525’
  • Dr Michael Pearson, ‘Charting the sealing islands of the Southern Ocean’
  • Allen Mawer, ‘Incognita: The Incredible Shrinking Continent’
  • Sydney map collector Robert Clancy, ‘Shaping Australia: 1850-1950’
  • Rupert   Gerritsen, ‘The Freycinet map of 1811 – The first complete map of Australia?’
  • John Robson, ‘University of Waikato, ‘John Lort Stokes’
  • Mark Alcock, Project Leader, ‘Law of the Sea and Maritime Boundary Advice Project’
  • Bronwen Douglas, Senior Fellow at the ANU, ‘Geography, Raciology, and the Naming of Oceania, 1750–1850’
  • Christine Kenyon and Katrina Sandiford, ‘Charles Sturt, 1838, Overlander and Explorer: Tracing his journey by map and diary’
  • Bernie Joyce, ‘The 150th Anniversary of the Burke & Wills Expedition’

Details of the program, and registration etc are at http://www.anzmaps.org/

Stepping forward to the past: William Barak and William Dawes

Thursday 12 August 7:30-9pm, Institute of Postcolonial Studies

A conversation between Tony Birch and Ross Gibson

Two figures from the early days of the Australian colony that have fresh relevance today – an English scientist at the founding of Sydney and an indigenous leader at the birth of Melbourne.



William Dawes arrived on the First Fleet as the official astronomer. After arriving, he developed a close relation with the Eora people and learned their language. In the South, Dawes experienced a kind of intellectual upheaval whereby he began to understand the world in a non-hierarchical, fluid and relational way that contradicted most of the rectitude that he’d been trained in. 


William Barak was a Wurundjeri man and member of the party that met John Batman in the ‘purchase’ of the Melbourne area. During subsequent colonisation, Barak fought to protect Coranderrk, a self-sufficient Aboriginal reserve. This defence included three major walks to Parliament House.

During the early days of British settlement in Australia, the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Europeans was potentially quite open. Out of the many possible relationships explored at that time, a particular colonial paradigm emerged of squatters, missionaries and miners. Is it worthwhile delving back into the start of the colony for alternative paradigms that can inform our understanding of biculturalism today? Are there resonances with other colonial beginnings across the South?

Tony Birch writes short fiction, poetry, essays and art criticism. He also works as a curator and teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne. His books include Shadowboxing and Father’s Day. He has recently been collaborating with artist Tom Nicholson including Camp Pell Lecture (2010) at Artspace.

Ross Gibson is Professor of Contemporary Arts at Sydney College of the Arts. He makes books, films and art installations. He is particularly interested in art and communication in cross-cultural situations, especially in Australia and the Southwest Pacific. His recent works include the books Seven Versions of an Australian Badland and Remembrance + The Moving Image (editor), the video installation Street X-Rays, the interactive audiovisual environment BYSTANDER (a collaboration with Kate Richards) and the durational work ‘Conversations II’ for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

Institute of Postcolonial Studies
78-80 Curzon Street
North Melbourne
Victoria 3051 Australia (
Tel: 03 9329 6381
Admission – $5 for waged, $3 for unwaged, and free for members.

Islands and Archipelagos: Mapping Contemporary Art from Australia, Asia and the Pacific

A talk by Francis Maravillas

Wednesday, 12 May, 12-2, TfC Bagel, UTS Building 3, Room 4.02.

Abstract: In its six iterations since 1993, the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art has established itself as the premier ‘international exhibition’ that focuses on the diverse artistic cultures of the region. Significantly, these Triennials also offered a powerful and proleptic image of Australia’s place in the region, one that accented Australia’s desire for such a place. This paper seeks bring into relief the cartographic dispositions and representational logic underlying the Asia-Pacific Triennial’s curatorial imaginary. I argue that the curatorial agency and imaginary of the Triennial is constituted by the way it positions itself within wider cultural, geographical, and epistemic frames of reference. From this perspective, the Triennial’s engagement with the contemporary artistic cultures of ‘Asia’ and ‘the Pacific’ represents an attempt by the Australian subject to come to terms with its decentred positionality – that is, its peculiar experience of being located ‘South of the West’– by re-positioning itself, via strategic alignments along the periphery, as a cultural-artistic centre in the region, the putative centricity of which is defined by the space of invisible liminality marked by the hyphen that connects ‘Asia’ and the ‘Pacific’. 

Francis Maravillas completed his PhD in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney, where he teaches cultural studies. His current research interests include contemporary art and visual culture in Asia and Australia, curatorial practice and international art exhibitions. His work on Asian art in Australia appears in various journals as well as recent edited collections including Crossing cultures: conflict, migration and convergence (2009), Cosmopatriots: On Distant Belongings and Close Encounters (2007) and In the Eye of the Beholder Reception and Audience for Modern Asian Art (2006). He was previously a board member of the Asia Australia Art Centre (Gallery 4a) Sydney (2003-2006).

Please RSVP to Transforming.Cultures@uts.edu.au

Australia’s Re-engagement with Africa

The University of Sydney International Forum 

Australia’s Re-engagement with Africa

Friday, 19 March 2010, 9.30am – 12.30pm McLaurin Hall, Quadrangle

The University of Sydney is Australia’s first University, founded in 1850.The International Forum series brings together leaders and thinkers from around the world to present their views on strategic international issues and the way in which these issues may impact on Australia and the globe.

The next International Forum to be held on Friday, 19 March will focus on “Australia’s Re-engagement with Africa”.

The Hon Mr Stephen Smith will be one of keynote speakers at the International Forum.  This Forum will give the Foreign Minister and opportunity to discuss the Australian Government’s re-engagement initiatives in Africa.  A senior African diplomat will follow Mr Smith as the second keynote speaker.

An expert panel discussion including: The Hon Dr. Geoff Gallop, H.E. Mrs. Marie Rousetty (Dean of the Africa High Commissioners Group), an Australia Africa Business Council Representative and an African Government official will follow the two keynote speakers.  The audience will include prominent persons from government, business and academia.

We invite you to attend the International Forum on Friday March 19, 2010 at 9.30am in MacLaurin Hall, Main Quadrangle University of Sydney. Registration will be open from 9.00am. On conclusion of the Forum at 12:30pm lunch will be served in the Hall. Information on the location of the venue is included on the registration form.

To register for the International Forum please complete the attached form and return it via email: international@sydney.edu.au by Friday 5th March 2010 or via fax 02 9036 6047 As there are limited places for this important event and seats are reserved upon receipt of registration, please notify us as soon as possible if you are able to attend.

Verticalism talk

Poster advertising space in Santiago metro, aligning north and south america on a horizontal axis

Poster advertising space in Santiago metro, aligning north and south america on a horizontal axis

Poster advertising space in Santiago metro, aligning north and south america on a horizontal axis

Transnational and Transcultural Research Network is developing a conference “Transcultural Mappings : emerging issues in comparative, transnational and area studies” (see here for details).

They are having a network meeting and seminar this Thursday 13 August.  All welcome.

Network meeting: 4-5pm. Come to meet others in the network, bring along colleagues who may be interested, and hear about our other plans.

Seminar:  5-6.30pm. Kevin Murray, Adjunct Professor, RMIT, will speak on  “Verticalism and the Idea of South” (see here for text)

“How is the world constructed such that it has a top and a bottom? What role does this play in global politics? How is this arrangement contested today? This talk outlines the role that the idea of south continues to play in how the world is understood. It makes particular reference to a growing field of south-south exchange in academic fields.”

New Law 105
University of Sydney (see map)

Planet Bollywood

The Indian Ocean and South Asia Research Network invites you to its third seminar in 2009:
Anjali Roy (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India):

DATE: Thursday, 28th May
TIME: 12.00 pm
VENUE: TfC Bagel, UTS, Building 3 (Bon Marche), Level 4, Room 4.02
Please RSVP: Cornelia.Betzler@uts.edu.au

Walter Mignolo has defined cosmopolitanism as a counter movement to globalisation on the homogenisation of the world from above – political, economic and cultural but differentiated it from globalisation from below. But Mignolo’s working definition of globalisation as a set of designs to manage the world and cosmopolitanism as a project towards planetary conviviality has been complicated and critiqued since he first reflected on the relationship between globalisation and cosmopolitanism. Arguing that cosmopolitan narratives have been performed from the perspectives of modernity, Caro Breckenbridge has underlined the need to reconceive cosmopolitanism from the perspective of coloniality that she calls critical cosmopolitanism. Making a distinction between cosmopolitan projects from the perspective of modernity and critical cosmopolitanism from the exteriority of modernity, she conceives the latter as a project for an increasingly transnational and postnational world.

Bollywood, a derogatory term coined by the English language media to refer to Hindi popular cinema, signals a phase shift in the production, distribution and consumption of Indian cinema. Despite their implication in nationalist ideology and the construction of the citizen subject, Indian films had leaked across national borders and were appropriated in diasporic nostalgia narratives in the past. However, Indian Cinema’s global flows at the end of the twentieth century, driven by the new dynamics of transnationalisation of production, marketing, circulation and reception, challenge traditional notions of language, genre, national and culture. Reinscribed as Bollywood, Indian Cinema has been disengaged from its specific location and become part of global popular culture constructing new transnational identities that recall prenational imaginings of home, belonging and community. This paper aims to compare the transnational flows of Hindi cinema in the present and the past to unpack the meaning of global culture and to examine it as an instance of critical cosmopolitanism.

The Impact of the Antipodes on Ecological Thought: Landscape, Evolution, and Sustainability

Friday, 8 May 2009, 1–5pm
Sutherland Room, Holme Building, Science Road, The University of Sydney

Convenor:          Iain McCalman

  • Julia Horne         ‘Landscape and Wonder’
  • Peter Denney    ‘Picturesque Farming: The Sound of ‘Happy Britannia’ in Early Australia’
  • Martin Thomas      ‘Cross-Cultural Exchange in Arnhem Land: The Legacy of the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition’
  • Richard Waterhouse  ‘Taming the ‘Wastelends’: the dream of the yeoman in Australian history’

From the eighteenth century, the discovery by Europeans in the southern hemisphere of new landforms, species and indigenous cultures prompted intense and continuing debate about natural economies (later called ecologies) on both sides of the world. We will explore these issues through papers on comparative art, aesthetics and landscape; on the rise of Darwinian evolutionary ecological theory; and on European scientific and Indigenous Aboriginal conceptions of nature and environmental management.

Ex Plus Ultra post-colonialism

From the University of Sydney comes a new postgraduate journal Ex Plus Ultra, which means ‘nothing further beyond’.

The journal sets out to question the categories of ‘colonial and ‘post-colonial’:

There was no cataclysmic rupture heralding the arrival of the ‘post-colonial’ nor was the advent of colonialism defined, uncontested or in some cases even as significant for the colonised as has previously been assumed. The very categories of ‘colonial’ and ‘postcolonial,’ insofar as they subscribe to linear, progressive time, are themselves imperial legacies.

This seems to be an attempt to de-centre the role of the British empire in the development of post-colonial theory.

In their aim to pluralise this field, the editors seek to reintroduce the concept of the national:

Beyond transnationalism
What are the problems with transnational histories? Is there an implicit masculinisation of the global and feminisation of the local? Does a transnational approach simply reinstate the national? Does it forget about the minutiae or the nationless? Is it really new? Are the terms global, supranational or cosmopolitan more useful?

It will be very interesting to see what perspectives emerge from this new opening. There’s an obvious danger. In the turn to particularities, will the only connecting element in this direction be its reaction to previous universalisms? Let’s see how they do it.

Sydney University Research Community for Latin America seminar series

SURCLA (Sydney University Research Community for Latin America)
Research Seminar Series Semester 1 – 2009
Venue: Room S225, Main Quadrangle, Camperdown Campus
Time: 5 pm

March 10 Paul Allatson
University of Technology Sydney
“Star Spangled Trespass: Auditory Dissonance and the Latinization of the USA”
Please note: this seminar will be followed by a Wine Reception to celebrate the creation of SURCLA

March 24 Barry Carr
La Trobe University
“Pink, Red or Tutti Frutti? Where Is Latin America Heading Politically?”

April 7 Professor Consuelo Ahumada
Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
"Latin American labour migration to the United States in the context of economic crisis in the South and in the North (1990-2008)"





Please note: This event is jointly organised by SURCLA and the University of New South Wales with the support of COALAR (Council on Australia Latin America Relations) and ANCLAS (Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies).

April 28 Isidoro Castellanos
Director Cervantes Institute, Sydney
“Instituto Cervantes en Australia: Presente y Futuro”
(Cervantes Institute in Australia: Present and Future)

May 12 Diana Palaversich
University of New South Wales
"La narcoliteratura y el mercado cultural global"
(Narco-literature and Global Market Culture)

May 26 Fernando J. García Selgas,
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
“Significado y Encarnación”
(Meaning and Embodiment)

Interview with Raewyn Connell

Professor Raewyn Connell explains the thinking behind her book Southern Theory.

What were your aims in writing "Southern Theory"?

Fourteen years ago, when I began this work, I aimed simply to correct a historical error – the textbook belief that sociology was invented to explain the new industrial society of Europe. I found that the creation of sociology was in fact closely bound up with the cultural problems of imperialism (sociology originally concerned "progress" and centred on a contrast between "primitive" and "advanced" societies). Without intending to, this piece of historical research opened up other questions about the relations between social science and world society.

By the time the book was written, I had two main aims and one subsidiary. First, I wanted to show how mainstream ideas and frameworks across the social sciences, which are usually taken as universally valid, actually embed the specific viewpoint of the global North. I wanted to show in some detail just how this viewpoint works, for instance in shaping concepts like "globalization" or in the ideas of celebrated theorists. I wanted to show how the uncritical importation of Northern perspectives gives a strange twist to the way social science operates in the global periphery, in countries like Australia.

Second, I wanted to show that there are real alternatives. Southern theory isn’t just a pipe-dream, it actually exists – though mainly in texts that are not widely read. So much of the text of Southern Theory is a matter of gathering up social analyses from different parts of the periphery, and thinking about them as social theory – that is, taking them as seriously as we usually take Foucault, Habermas, or Bourdieu. I wanted to get names such as Hountondji, Shariati, Das, Nandy, Garcia Canclini, Mamdani, and others into wider circulation, and persuade readers that the debates they are involved in are crucial for social science. I wanted to argue that the periphery generates important issues and ideas, it doesn’t just receive them. I tried to show that in another way too, by discussing the land as a key issue for understanding society – an issue highlighted by the history of settler colonialism and the land rights struggles of indigenous peoples.

If I could make progress on those two aims, a third became relevant. I wanted to stir up a discussion about what a democratic social science would look like, if we thought about it on a world scale. Discussions about epistemology and the structure of knowledge usually happen in a separate box from discussions about globalization and world politics. But they have to be brought together, if the argument in Southern Theory is broadly correct. In the final chapter I have a go at that problem; it’s sketchy, but at least it’s there.

What has the response been, in the North and South?

It is early days yet, for reviews in academic journals; but the first that have appeared, a review symposium in a UK journal and a regular review in an Australian journal, are very positive. I have been invited to speak on these questions at conferences and departmental seminars – mostly in my own fields of sociology and gender studies – and people in the university world have responded with interest. The International Sociological Association is an important forum for me.

I can’t say that Southern Theory is a runaway best-seller, yet! There have been no reviews in Australian mass media, which disappoints me. But I think it is gradually getting known. A quotation from Southern Theory has been used by an artist as the theme for a poster, exhibited in Germany. The Australian Sociological Association has recently awarded it the Stephen Crook Memorial Prize for the best monograph in Australian sociology 2005-2007 – I shed some tears at the presentation. I have had supportive email messages from people in the periphery, who find the book helpful because it names problems that they also faced, i.e. it validates their experience. Some scholars, in the metropole as well as the periphery, are sending me papers in which they are already building on the ideas of Southern Theory in their own fields. That is particularly exciting for me, as I believe that the growth of knowledge is very much a collective work.

Of course there are criticisms. One is particularly interesting. When I gave a seminar on the ideas at a US university, there was criticism from one colleague who was disturbed at the risk involved. If graduate students were persuaded by Southern Theory to spend their time reading Shariati, Nandy, Hountondji and other exotic authors, they would be distracted from the business of learning the mainstream professional knowledge on which their careers depended. This is a real issue, I take it seriously. There are risks for social scientists in the metropole, in the kind of global re-shaping of social science that I think is necessary.

What do you think are some of the questions raised by the book?

One of the most difficult, constantly raised in critical discussions and reviews, is what is meant by the "South". I say several times in the book that there is no single Southern perspective, and in fact show that in great detail. But it is still a nagging question. The geographer’s "South" is not exactly the same as the "South" in UN trade debates, or the "third world", or the "less developed countries", or the economists’ "periphery", or the cultural theorists’ "post-colonial" world, or the biologists’ "southern world", or the geologists’ former Gondwana – though there is some overlapping along this spectrum. I mainly talk of "metropole" and "periphery", but there is enormous social diversity within each; recognizing the polarity is only the beginning of analysis, not the end.

It seems particularly difficult to think of Australia as "South" – though the name actually means South-ia – probably because it is a rich country in world terms, and likes to think of itself politically or culturally as part of the "West", heaven help us. Partly because of the dominance of the misleading concept of "globalization", which I dissect in the book, we don’t have well-developed concepts for understanding the power of periphery-metropole relations or the complexities of the periphery. So there is work to be done, understanding the economics of primary-exporting economies such as Australia’s, the culture of post-settler-colonialism, and the ways ethnicity, class and gender are shaped in the different societies of the periphery.

Another question raised by the book, at a very practical level, is how knowledge circulates in the periphery. Southern Theory is published in Australia and the UK, in English; and there will be a small edition published in India. There has been some discussion of translations into other languages, but no publisher has undertaken that yet. How would its arguments get known in Latin America, in Africa, or in China? Mainly, by the book being discussed by scholars in the USA and Europe! In fact, the best chance I have of the book becoming known in the global periphery, is if it gets used as a textbook in social theory courses in the metropole. The fact that we still rely on the metropole to circulate ideas around the periphery is a problem discussed in the book, and I don’t know what solutions there may be.

How are you following this line of thought?

Firstly, by discussing the ideas of Southern Theory in as many forums as I can, and trying to get social scientists to read the theorists introduced in it. That would be a success in itself.

Next, I’m trying to apply the perspective in other fields of my work. For instance in 2009 the second edition of my book Gender is being published, which makes more use of Southern research and theoretical work than most of the English-language literature in this field. I have been working on a global sociology of intellectuals, some of which lies behind Southern Theory in fact, and which I hope to sharpen up in the light of the book and responses to it.

Finally, I’m doing what I can to encourage other people, including students, to work on these problems. I don’t think Southern Theory is more than a beginning – a rank beginning in some of the areas it touches, given the problems of language. And of course it’s not the only thing in its field! There have been discussions of these and related issues in Latin America, in Africa and in Asia; so in the papers I write, I try to spread awareness of other texts and debates. The broader the process that unfolds, the better.

Raewyn Connell is University Professor at University of Sydney