Category Archives: lecture

Prof. Lorna Hutson, Free Public Talk @ University of Newcastle, Sydney Campus

“The Shakespearean Unscene: Sexual Phantasy in A Midsummer Night’s Drearm”‘ Lorna Hutson, Merton Professor of English Literature, Oxford University

Date: Friday February 24, 2017
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: University of Newcastle, Sydney Campus, Room 229, 55 Elizabeth St, Sydney
RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lorna-hutson-public-talk-tickets-31591800927

Abstract: Post-Freudian and post-Foucauldian readings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream assume that the play celebrates the freeing up of female sexual desire from neurotic inhibitions or disciplinary norms. But this is incompatible with what we know historically about sixteenth century society’s investment in female chastity. This paper addresses the problem of this incompatibility by turning to Shakespeare’s use of forensic or legal rhetoric. It argues that Shakespeare animates the chief topics of proof – Time, Place and Manner – as the mysterious Night, Wood and Moonlight which make sexual crimes (violence, stealth, infidelity) take on the form of likelihood and fairy agency. The play thus brilliantly represents the stories of Theseus’s notorious rapes, abandonments and perjuries as fearful ‘phantasies’ or imaginings experienced by Hermia and Helena. This explains how the Victorians could interpret the play as a chaste, childlike ballet, while moderns and postmoderns take it to be a play about psychological repressions working against the free play of sexual desire.

Dr David Caldwell, Sydney Society for Scottish History Lecture

Sydney Society for Scottish History Lecture:

“Scottish medieval seals — some revelations”, Dr David Caldwell (President, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland)

Date: Thursday, 23 February 2017
Time: 6:30 p.m. for 7:00 pm start
Venue: Non-members of SSSH should contact Dr Matthew Glozier (MRG@sydgram.nsw.edu.au) or Dr Lorna Barrow (lorna.barrow@mq.edu.au) for further details of venue and time.

The recent discovery of two remarkable medieval Scottish seal matrices has inspired the speaker to consider afresh the whole subject of seals, how they were used and what they can tell us. He also looks in detail at the two seals which attracted his intention, one a customs seal of King Robert Bruce, the other a seal of the noted Scottish patriot, William Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews at the time of the Wars of Independence.

Dr. Robert Appelbaum, Free Public Lecture @ The University of Melbourne

“Shakespeare and Terrorism”, Dr. Robert Appelbaum (Uppsala University)

Date: Thursday 1 Dec, 2016
Time: 6:15pm–7:15pm
Venue: Macmahon Ball Theatre, Old Arts, The University of Melbourne
Register: Free, but registration required: http://events.unimelb.edu.au/events/7852-shakespeare-and-terrorism

The word ‘terrorism’ had not yet been coined in Shakespeare’s day, but Shakespeare and his contemporaries were immersed in a political world where what we now call terrorist violence was a common occurrence. Shakespeare’s response to terrorism is characteristically complex and ambivalent. He ‘resists the resistance’, as one scholar has put it, but he is also capable of entering the minds of terrorist conspirators and showing us sympathetically what happens in them. Shakespeare is especially alert to the problem of terrorist violence as a form of political speech. This paper looks at The Tempest, Macbeth, and above all Julius Caesar to examine how terrorism works as political language in Shakespeare’s world, and how difficult it is for that language to succeed in delivering its political message.


Dr. Robert Appelbaum received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently Professor of English Literature at Uppsala University Sweden.

Emotions3D Launch @ The University of Western Australia

“Emotions3D Launch”, Dr Jane-Heloise Nancarrow (University of York)

Date: Thursday 8 December, 2016
Time: 5:30pm–6:30 pm
Venue: Woolnough Lecture Theatre, Room 107, Geology and Geography Building, The University of Western Australia
Register: RSVP by email to jane-heloise.nancarrow@uwa.edu.au by 1 December, or book a free ticket on the EventBrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/emotions3d-launch-tickets-29376310335

This event celebrates the launch of Emotions3D – a three-dimensional digital heritage resource developed as part of an Associate Investigator project for the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

Please join Dr Jane-Heloise Nancarrow for a presentation about digital imaging for museums and the Emotions3D project, and hear short talks about some of the fascinating objects in the collection.

Dr Rob Conkie and Dr Kate Flaherty – Free Public Seminar @ ANU

“Making Memories: Performing Research on Henry V in Australia (1916-2016)”, Dr Rob Conkie (La Trobe) and Dr Kate Flaherty (ANU)

Date: Tuesday 22 November, 2016
Time: 4:15pm-5:30pm
Venue: Humanities Research Centre Conference Room, ANU

Light Refreshments provided. All welcome.

How is performance research best articulated? Does live presentation afford the researcher opportunities that are commonly untapped? How is research a kind of performance?

In this unique event, using moved readings of key speeches from the play, theatre scholars Rob Conkie (La Trobe) and Kate Flaherty (ANU) and will perform recent discoveries about the cultural work it has been used to achieve in Australia since 1916.

When the first ANZAC Day (25 April 1916) collided with the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (23 April 1916), a special kind of challenge was issued to the Australian commemorative calendar. To this day productions of Henry V still bear traces of the ways in which the newly federated nation met this challenge. From a newsreel of a ‘Shakespeare in the Schools’ on the steps of the ANZAC memorial in 1955; to the 1995 Bell Shakespeare production featuring ‘diggers’; to the 2014 Bell production which couched its meditation of war politics in the context of the London blitz, Australian treatments of the play map a specifically Australian politics of war remembrance.

Dr Howard Gray, Australian Association for Maritime History, Annual Vaughan Evans Memorial Lecture

“The Life and Times of Frederik de Houtman 1571-1627”, Dr Howard Gray

Date: 18 November, 2016
Time: 6:00-7:00pm
Venue: WA Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle
Bookings: Essential, please call 1300 134 081 or visit museum.wa.gov.au/ticketing/civicrm/event/register?reset=1&id=4765
More info: http://museum.wa.gov.au/museums/maritime/vaughan-evans-memorial-lecture-dr-howard-gray

Join us at the WA Maritime Museum for The Vaughan Evans Memorial Lecture 2016, presented in association with the Australian Association for Maritime History.

Frederik de Houtman and brother Cornelis were despatched by Dutch merchants as spies to Portugal on a mission to uncover the source of lucrative spices from the East Indies. In 1595 they joined the Dutch first fleet, an almost comical expedition if it wasn’t for the tragedy and havoc left in its wake.

During a second expedition Cornelis was murdered and Frederik imprisoned. Their exploits, however, heralded Dutch domination of the East Indies and the establishment of strongholds that lasted two centuries. Frederik was also a significant astronomer and linguist, charting constellations and writing dictionaries. He was also among the first Europeans to encounter the long-sought Southland.

Professor Rachel Fensham, Free Public Lecture @ Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne

“Torn clothes, blood stained, half-undressed: The place of costume in Australian Shakespeare productions”, Professor Rachel Fensham (University of Melbourne)

Date: Thursday 17 November, 2016
Time: 12:00pm–1:00pm
Venue: Leigh Scott Room, Level 1, Baillieu Library, The University of Melbourne
RSVP: Free but RSVP required. Book here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/torn-clothes-blood-stained-half-undressed-the-place-of-costume-in-australian-shakespeare-productions-tickets-26274779573

In her book The Actor in Costume, Aoife McGrath argues that costumes provoke a range of questions; not least of how the costume relates to the body of specific authors, and how the then-embodied costume evokes responses from an audience.

This lecture will consider questions of costume with an analysis of costumes designed by Peter Corrigan for Barrie Kosky’s Bell Shakespeare Company production of Lear (1998), and their particular juxtaposition of a heightened theatricality with suburban ugliness. Professor Rachel Fensham will argue that the Bell conception of costume ranges from the ‘archaeological’, to a flagrant use of everyday clothing, to a stylized borrowing of costumes from Japan in Kosky’s 1992 Hamlet. This paper will consider to what extent these choices shaped the performance for an audience, and what might be learnt from them about Shakespeare in Australia.


Professor Rachel Fensham is Head of the School of Culture and Communication, and a dance and theatre scholar. She is currently involved in three distinct research projects that respectively involve digital archives, modern dance and costume histories, and evaluation of the affective impact of theatre. With Professor Peter M. Boenisch, she is co-editor of the Palgrave book series, “New World Choreographies” which has just launched its fifth title. She is also co-editor for The Interdisciplinary Research Methods Handbook (Routledge, in progress) and a member of the editorial boards of Performance Research and Theatre, Dance and Performance Training.

Professor Thomas Dixon, Free Public Lecture @ The University of Melbourne

“Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears”, Professor Thomas Dixon (Queen Mary University of London)

Date: Monday 14 November, 2016
Time: 6:15 pm
Venue: Singapore Theatre, Melbourne School of Design (MSD), Bld 133, Masson Road, The University of Melbourne, Parkville Campus
Registration: Online here.
Enquiries: che-melb-admin@unimelb.edu.au

Tears seem to be everywhere today – the common currency of confessional television, sporting events, and political interviews. They run down the cheeks of public figures, while we in our millions at home watch and weep over soap operas and reality TV shows. In Britain, there is a generational divide between those who have never known anything different and those who were born in a more restrained age. On behalf of the older generation, journalists repeatedly ask what has happened to the good old British stiff upper lip.

In this talk I set out to answer that question, introducing examples and ideas from my book Weeping Britannia, which offers an emotional narrative history of British life and culture through the tears of men, women, children, and animals since the late middle ages, as well as explaining the origins of the ‘stiff upper lip’. The talk will look at the place of tears in religion, politics, science, and popular culture, with examples including Margery Kempe, Charles James Fox, Oscar Wilde, Charles Darwin, Margaret Thatcher, and Paul Gascoigne. I will suggest that the real mystery is not what happened to the stiff upper lip, but why it refuses to go away.


Professor Thomas Dixon is the Director of the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London. His books include From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category (2003), The Invention of Altruism: Making Moral Meanings in Victorian Britain (2008), and Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (2015). He is currently researching anger and rage as part of a collaborative Wellcome Trust project entitled ‘Living With Feeling: Emotional Health in History, Philosophy, and Experience’. His broadcast projects have included a television programme about science and religion and a BBC Radio series entitled ‘Five Hundred Years of Friendship’. He is a Partner Investigator of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions 1100-1800, and is visiting Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne during November 2016.

Professor Carolyne Larrington, Public Lecture @ The University of Adelaide

“Game of Thrones! History, Medievalism and How It Might End”, Professor Carolyne Larrington (University of Oxford)

Date: Tuesday 8 November, 2016
Time: 6:15pm–7:15pm
Venue: Napier Lecture Theatre 102, The University of Adelaide
Enquiries: Jacquie Bennett (jacquie.bennett@adelaide.edu.au)
Registration: Online here.

In this lecture I’ll talk about watching and writing about HBO’s Game of Thrones as a medieval scholar. I’ll also explain some of the medieval history and literature from which George R. R. Martin chiselled the building blocks for the construction of his imaginary world. Game of Thrones has now become the most frequently streamed or downloaded show in TV history. I’ll suggest some reasons for its enormous international success as the medieval fantasy epic for the twenty-first century, and will undertake a little speculation on how the show might end.


Carolyne Larrington is Professor of Medieval European Literature at the University of Oxford, and teaches medieval English literature as a Fellow of St John’s College. She has published widely on Old Icelandic literature, including the leading translation into English of the Old Norse Poetic Edda (2nd edn, Oxford World’s Classics, 2014). She also researches medieval European literature: two recent publications are Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature (York Medieval Press, 2015) and an edited collection of essays (with Frank Brandsma and Corinne Saunders), Emotions in Medieval Arthurian Literature (D. S. Brewer, 2015). She also writes on the medieval in the modern world: two recent books are The Land of the Green Man (2015) on folklore and landscape in Great Britain, and Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones (2015), both published by I. B. Tauris. She is currently researching emotion in secular medieval European literatures, and planning a second book about Game of Thrones.

Professor Carolyne Larrington, Public Lecture @ The University of Melbourne

“Game of Thrones! History, Medievalism and How It Might End”, Professor Carolyne Larrington (University of Oxford)

Date: Monday 7 November 2016
Time: 12:30-1:30pm
Venue: John Medley Building, 4th Floor Linkway, The University of Melbourne

In this lecture I’ll talk about watching and writing about HBO’s Game of Thrones as a medieval scholar. I’ll also explain some of the medieval history and literature from which George R. R. Martin chiselled the building blocks for the construction of his imaginary world. Game of Thrones has now become the most frequently streamed or downloaded show in TV history. I’ll suggest some reasons for its enormous international success as the medieval fantasy epic for the twenty-first century, and will undertake a little speculation on how the show might end.


Carolyne Larrington is Professor of Medieval European Literature at the University of Oxford, and teaches medieval English literature as a Fellow of St John’s College. She has published widely on Old Icelandic literature, including the leading translation into English of the Old Norse Poetic Edda (2nd edn, Oxford World’s Classics, 2014). She also researches medieval European literature: two recent publications are Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature (York Medieval Press, 2015) and an edited collection of essays (with Frank Brandsma and Corinne Saunders), Emotions in Medieval Arthurian Literature (D. S. Brewer, 2015). She also writes on the medieval in the modern world: two recent books are The Land of the Green Man (2015) on folklore and landscape in Great Britain, and Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones (2015), both published by I. B. Tauris. She is currently researching emotion in secular medieval European literatures, and planning a second book about Game of Thrones.