The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.


Throughout the year, the centre hosts or co-hosts a number of distinguished visitors who offer lectures and seminars.


Nikolas Rose, the Martin White Professor of Sociology at BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society, London School of Economics, visited the centre in late November. He was the guest speaker at a symposium themed Governing Human Beings in the Age of the Brain and lead a master class for post graduate students.

Dr Sean Brady, a lecturer in Modern British and Irish History in the Departmennt of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birbeck College, spent a month as a visiting academic in the centre.  During this time with us, his  collaborative research included investigating the history of sexuality in Modern Britian. 

For the Virtual Anatomies symposium the centre was pleased to host:

Trish Adams has worked at the art/science nexus for over ten years. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at RMIT University School of Art, Melbourne, and a visiting artist at the Visual and Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland.

Eva Åhrén is a Research Fellow at the Office of History at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland. She has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University; Senior Curator and Head of Research at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm; and Research Fellow at Uppsala University, Dept. of the History of Science and Ideas. She is the author of Death, Modernity, and the Body, Sweden 1870-1930 (2009).

Oron Catts is Director and founder of SymbioticA, Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia.  He is an artist, researcher and a curator at the forefront of the emerging field of biological arts.  He has been a Research Fellow at the Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, and founded the Tissue Culture and Art Project in 1996.

Susan Dodds is Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Tasmania.  She is currently conducting research on three projects funded by the ARC: human vulnerability, ethical issues relating to nanomedicine/bionics, and democratic policy making on ethically contentious issues in bioethics.
Cultural historian Helen MacDonald is an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Possessing the Dead: The Artful Science of Anatomy (2010) and Human Remains: Episodes in Human Dissection (2005), winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award.
Samantha Murray is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies in the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. She is the author of The ‘Fat’ Female Body (2008), the forthcoming Fat Panic and Disciplined Embodiment: ‘Health’ and Bodily Aesthetics in the Management of Obesity (2013), and co-editor (with Nikki Sullivan) of Somatechnics: Queering the Technologisation of Bodies (2009).
Michael Sappol is curator-historian at the National Library of Medicine (Washington DC), the author of A Traffic of Dead Bodies: Anatomy and Embodied Social Identity in 19th-Century America (2002), Dream Anatomy (2006), and co-editor of A Cultural History of the Body in the Age of Empire, 1800-1920 (2010).

Margrit Shildrick is Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production at Linkoping University, and Adjunct Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Toronto. Her research covers postmodern feminist and cultural theory, bioethics, critical disability studies and body theory. She is the author of Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Subjectivity and Sexuality (2009 Palgrave Macmillan), Embodying the Monster (2002 Sage), and Leaky Bodies and Boundaries (1997 Routledge), and joint editor of Ethics of the Body (MIT Press 2005) with Roxanne Mykitiuk; and Feminist Theory and the Body (1999 Edinburgh UP) and Vital Signs (1998 Edinburgh UP) both with Janet Price.

Susan Stryker is Director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, and Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona.  Her works include the Lambda Literary Award finalists Gay By the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area (1996; co-authored with Jim Van Buskirk) and Queer Pulp: Perverse Passion in the Golden Age of the Paperback (2001), as well as the Lammie-winning anthology (co-edited with Stephen Whittle) The Transgender Studies Reader (2006). She co-directed, wrote, and produced the Emmy-winning public television documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria with Victor Silverman (2005).


In conjunction with the Australasian Society of Continental Philosophy Conference, the centre sponsered the specialist stream, Sensibilité: The Knowing Body in the Enlightenment and assisted hosting Anne Vila the key note speaker. 

Anne Vila is Chair of the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She specialises in the eighteenth-century French novel, theatre, and intellectual history; the body in literature and medicine; the culture and philosophy of the Enlightenment. Her book Enlightenment and Pathology: Sensibility in the Literature and Medicine of Eighteenth-Century France (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998) focused on the conjunction between scientific and literary/philosophical writings during the French Enlightenment, working against the tendencies of nineteenth and twentieth century notions of epistemology to obscure that which preceded them. She has also published “Penser par le ventre: The Gastric Embodiment of Thought and Feeling in Eighteenth-Century France,” and “Sex and Sensibility: Pierre Roussel’s Système physique et moral de la femme,” as well as papers on Tissot, Rousseau, and Diderot. She is currently working on a manuscript provisionally entitled Singular Beings: Passions and Pathologies of the Scholar in France, 1720–1840.



 Judith Halberstam

The Killer in Me is the Killer in You: Homosexuality and Fascism

In Sasha Baron Cohen's most recent camp spoof, Brüno, the very gay and very swish Austrian fashionista compares himself several times to Hitler and jokes that he is "the second most misunderstood Austrian in history." The intersection of Nazi and homosexual that Cohen invokes has a long and vexed history that stretches from the well-known homosexuality of Nazi storm troopers to eroticized images of Nazi soldiers by Tom of Finland. Leo Bersani notes the glorification of Nazism in the work of Jean Genet, and Dagmar Herzog notes in Sex After Fascism that "popular assumptions of Nazism as a homosexual movement have remained remarkably durable." In this talk, I will return to a very important essay by Stuart Marshall from 1991, titled "The Contemporary Political Use of Gay History: The Third Reich" and try to account for both gay Nazis and the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. At stake is a complex understanding of queer history that neither whitewashes the past nor colludes in homophobic renderings of it.

Judith/Jack Halberstam is Professor of English and Director of The Center for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California, teaching courses in queer studies, gender theory, art, literature and film. Halberstam is the author of Female Masculinity, The Drag King Book, Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters and In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives.

 Ivan Crozier

Ivan Crozier is a Lecturer in the Science Studies Unit at the University of Edinburgh. He is also Reviews Editor (Human Sciences), for Metascience (2004 - ) and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2007 - ). He was previously a lecturer at the Sydney University Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science (1999 – 2000), and a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL (2000 – 2003).His research strengths include: The Trial of Ronald True: The Place of Psychiatry in a 1922 Murder Trial; Culture and Psychiatry: The Case of Koro; M’Naghten and Murder in Colonial East Africa; The Sexual Body in History and Society; Criminal Responsibility and Psychiatry.  Ivan has edited several collections mostly in the History of Sexuality and has many papers with a special focus on Havelock Ellis and on the Medical Construction of Homosexuality. Ivan visited the centre from June of 2009

Fernanda Alfieri

Fernanda Alfieri visited CHED from the 2nd March to the 5th April. Fernanda is a researcher at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler—Studi Storici italo-germanici/Italienisch-Deutsches Historisches Institut in Trento, Italy. Her studies and research focus on moral discourse in theological, medical and legal sources throughout early modern Catholic Europe. Her findings on sexuality and marriage in the theological discourse of the 17th century have recently been made into a full-length book, which is forthcoming. Fernanda presented at the CHED Work in Progress series: her paper was titled “Shaping sexualities, shaping sexualized individuals in Early modern catholic Europe.



 Alistair Rolls

Alistair is currently on sabbatical and, having spent two months as a visiting scholar at Nottingham Trent University, is currently a visitor at CHED where he is working on two edited volumes: Mostly French: French (in) Detective Fiction (Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, forthcoming) and Hexagonal Variations: Difference, Plurality and Cultural Change in Contemporary France (co-edited with Murray Pratt and Jo McCormack).   Alistair Rolls is a lecturer at the University of Newcastle where he teaches French language and literature. He has published quite broadly on twentieth-century literature but is perhaps best known for his work on Boris Vian. His major works include The Flight of the Angels: Intertextuality in Four Novels by Boris Vian (Amsterdam; Atlanta: Rodopi 1999), Dark Crossings: Repositioning French and American Noir (London: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming), which he co-authored with Deborah Walker, and Sartre’s ‘Nausea’: Text, Context, Intertext (Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, 2005), which he co-edited with Liz Rechniewski. More recently he has co-edited a special issue of the Australian Journal of French Studies with Jo McCormack, entitled Voices from North Africa (AJFS, 45(2), 2008).

For the 2008 Rudé Seminar in French History the centre was pleased to host:

 Colin Jones, who is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London. Colin Jones is the author of many important books on the cultural and social history of eighteenth-century France, including The Medical World of Early Modern France (1997, with Laurence Brockliss); The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon, 1715-1799 (2002); Madame de Pompadour and her Image (2002); and Paris: Biography of a City (2004). He is currently working on a history of teeth and smiles in eighteenth-century Paris.

Christine Bard, who is Professeure des universités at the Université d’Angers. Her books include Les Filles de Marianne. Histoires des féminismes. 1914-1940 (1995); Les Garçonnes. Modes et fantasmes des Années folles (1998); Les Femmes dans la société française au XXesiècle (2001). Her most recent book, Une Histoire politique du pantalon, is due to appear in early 2008.

Fabrice Virgili who is Chargé de recherche of the CNRS group IRICE (Identités, relations internationales et civilisations de l’Europe) at the Univerisité de Paris 1. He is author of La France “virile”: Des femmes tondues à la liberation (2000), and co-author of Hommes et femmes dans la France en guerre, 1914-1945 (2003). He is currently working on a project about children born of Franco-German couples during World War Two.


Thomas Laqueur
On Wednesday 8 August, Thomas Laqueur gave a public lecture on places of the dead. On Friday 10 August, he was the central speaker in a day-long seminar entitled “Turning Points in the History of Sexuality”.



Susan Stryker, UCLA 
On Tuesday 28 February, at 6pm, Susan Stryker presented a screening of her documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafeteria at the Schonell Cinema. Further information about the documentary and presenter can be downloaded here.

Jana Sawicki, Williams College, USA
A seminar entitled "Focault and Sexual Freedom" was delivered by Jana Sawicki, internationally recognised for her work in feminist theory and critical disability studies.

Cary Nederman, Texas A&M
Cary Nederman delivered a seminar entitled "Comparative Political Theory and the Varieties of Dialogue.


Andrew Benjamin, UTS
On Thursday 18 August, at 4 p.m., in the CCCS seminar room, level 4, Forgan-Smith Tower , Andrew Benjamin delivered a lecture entitled Boredom and Distraction: The Moods of Modernity (on Walter Benjamin).

Margrit Shildrick, University College Dublin
On 12 May, A lecture entitled "The Disabled Body: Genealogy, and Undecidability" was delivered by Margrit Shildrick, internationally recognised for her work in feminist theory and critical disability studies.  A lecture abstract and biographical sketch may be downloaded here

Havi Carel, ANU
A seminar entitled "Understanding Death:  Two Types of Finitude in Heidegger" was delivered by Havi Carel.


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