SAM Seminar: Making Animals Public – inside the ABC’s animal archive

When:31 Jul 2018, 3:30pm - 5pm
Venue:Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building
Who:Gay Hawkins
SAM Seminar

This paper draws on a major research project done in partnership with the ABC investigating their animal archive. While the project began as an analysis of the emergence and demise of the Natural History Unit, it ended up as an exploration of how the existential realities of animals interacted with televisual processes. Animals, it turned out, were a lot more interesting than the institutional history of the ABC. Three key questions shape the paper: how did animals practically get to be on the ABC; how did the ecologies of television provoke particular modes of being for these animals; and how did these animals call publics into being? Theoretically the paper opens up a conversation between science and technology studies and screen theory. Its focus is not so much on animal representations or critique but animal performances and their political effects. The ABC made animals public in very particular ways, in letting these animals loose in the world it activated a range of new human animal encounters, some of them provocative and some of them very disturbing.

Gay Hawkins is a research professor in social and cultural theory at the Institute for Culture and Society, at Western Sydney University.

Chris Danta, UNSW, will draw on his research on animals and literature to respond to Gay’s presentation.

SAM Seminar Series

This series provides a showcase and forum for local as well as international scholars, researchers, industry practitioners and creative artists – ranging from early-career to well-established – to present on their work. No need to book, all welcome.

Coming next:
Week 5 - Tuesday, 21 August
How blue is Mozart?
Non-verbal sensory scales for describing music qualities
Antonio Rodà, University of Padova
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Find out more and see the full program.
Enquiries contact: SAM Seminar Convenor, Michael Richardson –

Finding us
Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Cinema 327 is located on the third floor.

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Supported by UNSW Creative Practice Lab

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