| participants: liz conor|
| ||Liz Conor|
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of English
The University of Melbourne
Most Significant Contributions to this research field
2004: PhD dissertation, 'The Spectacular Woman: Visual Identity in the Modern Scene', is scheduled for publication with Indiana University Press. The book introduces the notion of 'appearing' which I developed from the work of Judith Butler, to create a methodology to investigate the relation of modern visual identity to feminine subjectivity. The theory of 'appearing' has been commended by Professor Rita Felski as 'a conceptual milestone in rethinking the position of women in the visual scene of modernity'. The chapter based on the idiosyncratic placement of Aboriginal women within this visual scene has excited great interest before publication and is the basis of my invitation to lecture in Seattle in April and Tokyo in 2004.
1996: employed as a research assistant on an ARC funded research project on the History of the Australian Women's Movement, 1967-1988. I collated data on feminist responses to the dispossession, labour and sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and child removal in a range of feminist publications and materials.
1990: employed as a Research Assistant by Prof. Marilyn Lake, for an ARC funded research project: 'The Emergence of Australian Beauty Competitions, 1890-1930'. I was invited to write up that paper on the basis of my response to the material that national investment in a representative beauty contributed to a pervasive casting of Aboriginal women as outside the legitimate gendered contracts of heterosexual romance and definitions of beauty as mobilised by ideas of the Australian nation.
Impact and Contribution to Field
The Spectacular Woman: Appearing in Modern Visual Scenes, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 2004 [Accepted August 23, 2002].
'The Flapper in the Heterosexual Scene', in Gabriella T. Espak, Scott Fatnowna and Denise Woods, eds, New Talents: Jumping the Queue, St Lucia, University of Queensland Press, 2002, pp. 43-58.
'The Beauty Contestant in the Photographic Scene', in the Journal of Australian Studies, no. 71., 2002, pp. 33-44.
'The City Girl: Appearing in the Modern Scene', in Lilith, vol. 11, 2002, pp. 53-72.
Ten Career-best Publications
'Kate Fischer, John Howard and Shrinking Voices in the Field of Social Action', in Paollo Bartolini, Karen Lynch and Shane Kendal, eds., Intellectuals and Publics: Essays on Cultural Theory and Practice, School of English, LaTrobe University, 1997, pp. 109-117.
'The Flapper's Ontological Ambivalence: Prosthetic Visualities, the Feminine and Modernity', in Patricia Grimshaw and Dianne Kirkby eds, Dealing with Difference: Essays in Gender Culture and History, History Department, University of Melbourne, 1997, pp. 178-97. Republished electronically through RMIT Publishing.
'The Spectacle of Women in the Heterosexual Scene', in Deborah Kelly, ed., Its Great to be Straight: Heterosexuality in Words and Pictures, Sydney, Pluto Press, [Accepted May 17, 2002} Forthcoming].
'The 'Primitive' Woman and the Failure to Appear Modern', in Liz Conor, Joy Damousi and Ruth Ford, eds, Modernity, Gender and Culture in Australia, [In process, publisher yet to be secured]
'Aversion and Cowboys and Indians in the Porn Debate', Scarlet Woman, issue 27, spring 1992.
'Nicole Kidman and the Commodity Star', Metro, no. 127/128, June 2001, p. 98.
'Undercover Girl', a review of Catherine Lumby's Bad Girls: Sex, Feminism and the Media in the 90s in The Republican, March 1997.
'Girls Own Sexibitionism', The Age, December 1997.
'Curse of the Bleeding Obvious' in The Australian, March 1999.
'Mourning Sickness: Commemorating September 11 and Grief Production', in Arena Magazine, no. 61, 2002.
Prizes and Scholarships
Career and Opportunities for research
Convocation Prize. Highest Achievement. School of Humanities La Trobe University, 1991
Pauline Toner Award, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University, 1991.
Australian Post-Graduate Research Award La Trobe University, 1993 –7.
I am currently editor of two magazines published by the Australian Teachers of Media, with funding from the Australian Film Commission and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Metro magazine has a broad readership. Peer reviewed essays sit alongside film reviews, opinion pieces, industry reports, policy and technical news and narrative contributions from industry creatives. Australian Screen Education has a specific readership of secondary teachers and includes study guides on films included in VCE and HSC curriculum and essays across the spectrum of visual culture.
Impact on the research field
I co-convened the 'Women and Modernity Conference' in December 2000 at Melbourne University.
The' Modern Girl Around the World Research Project' has invited me to take part in a symposium in Tokyo in 2004. This collaborative research project is analysing the emergence of the Modern Girl as a global phenomenon. They have become interested in my research on racialised formations of the modern women intersecting with notion of the primitive woman in Australian visual culture. They have also asked invited me to give a lecture in Seattle April 19, 2003.
Professor Rita Felski, author of Gender and Modernity, has been very encouraging of my work. At the annual Modernist Studies Conference she was keynote speaker and before an audience of 600 modernist scholars she described my work as 'an extraordinarily rich compendium of archival material' which 'is a consummate calibration of feminine visibility'. She quoted at length from my analysis of black and white drawings of Aboriginal women commenting; 'again we see how the Aboriginal woman was deemed to lack the self-consciousness that would allow her to appear as an authentically modern subject'.
I have been a community advocate and activist on a range of issues, using visual culture in campaigns addressing a range of issues from Native Title, Maternity Leave, to Outworkers Entitlements. I have also been a senate candidate in the part 2 federal elections for the Victorian Greens. I feel that community advocacy is an important outcome from the research I conduct and understandings I develop in academia.
Contribution to the project
I will take sole responsibility for the research, facilitation, administration, collating and archiving of data, negotiating of permissions and sharing of findings with Aboriginal research institutions and relevant communities. It is my intention to produce three journal articles, a book, and image production for an exhibition of the images.
My thesis involved extensive research at the Thomas Mitchell, La Trobe, Mortlock, Australian National Libraries, university collections, and business archives such as Coles Myer. I have extensive research experience on the collection and analysis of diverse forms of modern visual culture, including print media, film, photography, black and white drawings, sheet music, postcards and posters, 'girlie culture', pornography, advertising and commodity display. I am familiar with many of the pictorial collections in Australian archives and procedures for access, reproduction and permissions, including the film and still archives at Screen Sound Australia, the sheet music collection at the Penrick reading room, ANL. I am also adept at web research in electronic collections such as ASEDA (Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive) at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and I am registered with the Australian Pictorial Thesaurus, Picture Australia at the ANL, the Digital Library of Indigenous Australia and many others. I am already in contact with librarians overseeing a number of collections who are assisting me. I have already collected many images and photographed piccaninny kitsch ornaments toward the project. In previous research projects I have interviewed subjects contacted through newspaper notices. The experience of researching across the spectrum of the modern perceptual field has provided me with extensive researching skills.
The interdepartmental program in Cultural Studies at Melbourne University would provide the support, infrastructure, specialist staff, and links to a range of programs and research institutes that are essential to the realisation of the project. Subjects taught at undergraduate level, such as 'Aboriginal Cultural Studies', 'Media and Cultural Difference', 'Museums, Objects, Spectacles' and even 'Stardom, Media and Culture' mean that the program employs a range of staff with specialist knowledge in late colonial culture. Chris Healy has specialist knowledge of cultural tourism, cultural history and Aboriginality. Anne Maxwell has worked on colonial discourse and photography and is fulfilling at ARC grant on visual culture and eugenics. Ken Gelder have expertise in postcolonial literatures and Aboriginal writing. There are also a number of staff who have researched racialised formations of femininities, such as Audrey Yue and her work on queer femininities in Chinese cinematic culture and Annamarie Jargose and her studies of lesbian femininities in queer culture. Phillip Morrissey is working on Aboriginal and Torres Strait cultural production and national identity while Tony Birch is researching and writing on Aboriginal urban culture. Marcia Langton's work on Indigenous identity processing and art and film will be an invaluable resource to the project. As the archival material poses its own questions with theoretical and methodological implications, there are a diverse range of people within this program to draw upon for guidance and expert supervision.
The program is affiliated to a number of research institutes able to support the project, through expertise in research programs and infrastructure in archival collections. Kate Darian-Smith is head of the Australian Centre and a cultural historian with research experience in Western exhibition practices of Indigenous peoples and 'other' societies. Paul Carter, also at the Australian Centre, is a colonialist specialist historian. Chris Healy, through his ARC funded cultural history on Australian-Pacific museums, has links to the Melbourne Museum. The Indigenous Studies program is affiliated to the Cultural Studies program and headed by Marcia Langton. The Postcolonial Institute, run out of the Politics Department at Melbourne University, is about to be affiliated to the Cultural Studies program, providing a number of seminars and a guest lecture series.
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This report has been make possible due to the generous support
of the Australian Research Council, and Curtin University of Technology