4 October 2012

The University of Queensland's Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies (CCCS) has welcomed a new Director, Professor Gay Hawkins.

Professor Hawkins was Deputy Director and Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for two years, before accepting the role of Director, succeeding Professor Graeme Turner, who has retired.

She has published widely on cultural engagements with the environment, practices of everyday life, media policy and institutions, and theories of materiality and political processes.

“The Centre is a landmark in cultural studies research with a very impressive history, so my challenge is to both continue and extend this remarkable record of achievement,” Professor Hawkins said.

“It is an honour to be given the opportunity to lead the Centre,” she said.

The Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies will also be supported by its new Deputy Director, Dr Mark Andrejevic.

“The key area of research for the Centre will be environmental humanities,” Professor Hawkins said.

“Cultural studies offers great insights into how everyday ways of living or practices are implicated in big problems such as climate change or water scarcity.

“It is this type of interdisciplinary research that the CCCS will continue with; and will keep our researchers at the leading edge of understanding changing human practices and interactions with environments.

In an upcoming public lecture on November 8, the Professor of Sociology from Lancaster University, Elizabeth Shove, will present Beyond Behaviour: social theory and climate change policy.

Professor Shove will outline new theoretical perspectives that reframe the major sustainability challenges of our time.

“Our upcoming seminar program signals the development of a new research strength in the centre,” Professor Hawkins said.

“Cultural phenomena need the skills of social and cultural analysts to be properly explained.

"We need to understand how new objects and practices became meaningful and popular.”

Over the past 12 years, the CCCS has played a leading role in supporting emerging research fields in the new humanities and is on the cutting-edge of contemporary humanities research internationally.

Media: Rebecca Ralph, P: (07) 3346 7407 or E: r.ralph@uq.edu.au