heather kerr

september 2th 1998

I want to try to focus the work for the project on some strands that interest me.

Firstly, ethics/aesthetics; the important question of "who can speak?" (understood as a compressed category that includes the who/what/how/where etc of discourse(s)). The specific objects of my attention are cultural studies practices, especially those clustered around the desire to mark our writing with certain tone(s), to find a "poetics" for speaking of the academic's principled stance in relation to troubling and difficult subjects.

At this stage I am gathering materials related to first nation/aboriginal discourses represented in electronic media. I will be tying this sampling of practices to my students' work on their experience of on-line, cd-rom, and other representations of aboriginality.

I expect to be able to find some points of conjunction between this class-room practice and my work on "melancholy histories" in cultural studies writing, especially the deployment of allegorical modes and (what I am calling for the moment) the turn towards the elegaic in some influential practitioners of academic writing. I will have to keep bringing this work back to what the academic essayist seems to want to achieve and to the question of how this is translated/overcome/repeated in electronic environments. I will talk partly about the production, and partly about the reception, aesthetics that seem to function in these practices. I will try to focus this on the pedagogic scene by playing around with a model of the post-Romantic interpretive paradigm as it functions in the classrrom as an ethic/habitus, a "practice of the self".
Heather Kerr studied at The University of Birmingham (UK), was a Research Fellow at The University of Otago (NZ), and Associate Lecturer at The University of Melbourne. She currently teaches courses in postmodernism, the post-structuralist essay, early modern culture and contemporary cultural studies at The University of Adelaide. She was general editor of the interdisciplinary journal -Southern Review- (1993-5) and is co-editor of -Shakespeare and the World Elsewhere- (ANZSA 1993), -Shakespeare: World Views- (Delaware UP 1996) and the forthcoming -The Space Between: Australian Women Writing Fictocriticism- (University of Western Australia Press, 1998). Her current research is focussed on fictocritical practices. An essay on "Perverse Writing; Maternity and Monarchy; Fictocriticism and Exorbitant, Plural Bodies" has been selected for inclusion in a forthcoming collection of essays on women, culture and perversion. In 1993 she was awarded the University of Adelaide's Stephen Cole the Elder Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
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