23 June 2008

CFP - 2008 Annual Conference of the Cultural Studies Assoc of Australia

Call for Papers

2008 Annual conference of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia


Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, 6-9 December 2008

Cultural studies has historically concerned itself with the cultural practices of the everyday and the now. However, as a politically motivated discipline, cultural studies has an ongoing preoccupation with cultural, economic, and political change, and thus with futures. The 2008 Cultural Studies Association of Australasia National Conference will interrogate possible and impossible local, national, regional, and global futures.

Our imaginings of the future shape the lived experience of the present and our cultural memory of the past. These imaginings are usually polarised towards the deeply nihilistic or the jubilantly utopian. This conference will address the spaces between real and fictional futures, and the hopes and anxieties that emerge from those spaces.

Confirmed speakers

• Professor Mieke Bal, TBC

• Fred Chaney, Order of Australia, Co-chairman of Reconciliation Australia, former Deputy Chairman of the Australian Native Title Tribunal

• Kim Scott, Australian novelist, winner of the Miles Franklin Award, WA Premier’s Literary Award, and RAKA Kate Challis Award.


Conference themes and topics might include the future of:

• Landscapes: popular cultural responses to global warming; discourses of evolution; the aesthetics of entropy, erosion, ruins, and wastelands; ghost towns;

• Urbanscapes: retro and futuristic 'burbscapes and cityscapes; future advertising and graffiti; new soundscapes; liquid architectures (modular, programmable, and nanotech);

• Movement: the culture of mobile lifestyles (backpackers, tourists, and caravan parks); animal and human migrations;

• Community: the fate(s) of indigenous and regional communities; future ethnicities and subcultures; ageing and overpopulation;

• Politics: future social movements; neo-imperialism; post-civil society; the collective commons; utopian and preventative policies;

• History: (personal and national) collections, museums and archives; the atrophy of language; life stories; the media as a future archive of the present;

• Bodies: sexualities; genders; virtual; post-human; cyborg;

• The Child: children's utopias; future parenting and pedagogy; changing cultural constructions of childhood; future infantalism;

• Technology - new trends in media and entertainment; emerging trends in, and discourses of, game culture; regional engagements with online communities; fringe cyberculture; future ethnographics;

• Economy - blue sky futures; future food systems; popular representations of gold and instant wealth; trends and discourses of exploration, discovery, and exploitation;

• Aesthetics - popular imaginings of messianic, apocalyptic and utopian futures; new forms of art and art funding.

The conference will be held in the unique regional environment of Kalgoorlie at Western Australia's School of Mines. Kalgoorlie is the historic centre of mining in Western Australia. The Perth-Kalgoorlie pipeline, completed in 1903, was a contentious development that opened up the goldfields and signified a commitment to the future of WA. The town's growth gave rise to satellite industries such as tourism, beer brewing, and sex work, and today Kalgoorlie is a thriving regional city. However, like any industry centred around natural resources, the mining industry there has a finite future. The choice of Kalgoorlie as a venue therefore not only puts into practice the Association's policy of addressing the needs of regional communities, it emphasises that the future is a dynamic driven by tensions between development and sustainability.

The call for panels and refereed papers is now open

Panel Proposals due: July 18

Abstracts (250-300 words) due: September 5

A selection of papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies.

A further publication possiblity will be through Black Swan Press, the imprint of The Centre for Advanced Studies in Australia, Asia and the Pacific (CASAAP)

Abstracts should be emailed to Ron Blaber: R.Blaber@curtin.edu.au

For all other conference enquiries please contact either Leigh Brennan (l.brennan@curtin.edu.au) or Amanda Third (a.third@murdoch.edu.au).

Visit the conference website at: