How to reclaim, restart and reboot your PhD
Hanover: Author’s Republic, 2022
Just over 1% of the world’s population holds a PhD. This is a tough qualification, even in benevolent times. Yet the 2020s are not benevolent times. From a pandemic to a climate emergency and war, our universities are buffeted by panic, fear and crises. Restructures are common. Stability is rare.
In such a time, how can PhD students survive – and thrive? This audiobook takes the difficult states – that are often a full stop in a career, personal and professional life – such as disappointment, jealousy, narcissism and fear. These often career-ending experiences are addressed and transformed as a ‘comma’ state. A pause. A moment of reflection. A platform for transformation of a career and research.
12 Rules for (academic) life:
A stroppy feminist guide to teaching, learning, research and Jordan Peterson
Berlin: Springer, 2022
These are strange times. Climate crises. Health crises. Brexit. Donald Trump. And yes – Jordan Peterson.
We are currently living in a (Post) Peterson Paradigm. This book – 12 Rules for (Academic) Life – summons explores what has happened to teaching, learning and politics through this odd and chaotic intervention. Deploying feminism, this lens and theory offers a glass-sharpened view of this moment in international higher education. The book is organized through twelve mantras for higher education in this interregnum, and offers new, radical, edgy and passionate methodologies, epistemologies and ontologies for a University sector searching for a purpose.
This is a feminist book which targets a feminist audience, both inside and outside higher education. It presents a clear focus on how this Peterson moment can be managed and challenged, when in future such academics deploy social media in this way. This book is also a part of higher education studies, exploring the role of the public / critical / dissenting / organic intellectual in debates about the political economy, identity/politics and leadership.
A question of our time – through a climate emergency, a pandemic and polarized politics – is why Professor Jordan Peterson gained profile and notoriety. The Jordan Peterson moment commencing in September 2016 with his YouTube video, “Professor against political correctness,” and concluded with his debated with Slavoj Zizek on April 19, 2019. From this moment, his credibility was dented, if not destroyed.
Jordan Peterson infused scholarly debates with Punch and Judy extremism and misunderstandings. Instead, this book offers debate rather than certainty, interpretation rather than dogma, evidence rather than opinion, and theory rather than ‘moral truth.’ The goal is to recalibrate this (Post) Peterson Paradigm, to take stock of how this moment occurred, and how to create a revision of higher education.
The Creative PhD:
Challenges, Opportunities and Reflexive Practice
Bingley: Emerald, 2020
Written with Tiffany Lyndall Knight and Natalie Hills (eBook, paperback and audiobook)
Doctorates awarded based on artefact and exegeses, and enabled through creative-led research, are a minority enrolment which suffer from wildly diverse examination expectations and assumptions about quality. Widening the disciplinary parameters and currency of this kind of doctorate, The Creative PhD is the first book that challenges the standards, structure and value of this research. The authors, themselves leading authorities on doctoral education, break fresh ground by demonstrating that rather than being intrinsically wedded to the creative arts or media studies, arts-based research practice doctorates can transcend traditional humanities subjects, becoming instead a model of organizing knowledge, developing methodologies and presenting research. Offering a critical reflection on the contemporary state of the PhD, the authors probe and reshape creative-led research to increase transparency for doctoral students, supervisors and examiners, inviting readers to access a new pathway to how original research is created, supervised and assessed.
Memories of the Future: (Post) Steve Redhead, Cultural Studies and Theories for a still-born century
What has happened to Cultural Studies in the last 50 years? This audiobook answers this question. Part biography, part polemic, Memories of the Future asks how – today – activism and courage can return to research, teaching, and citizenship. The ‘decline’ of cultural studies in the 21st century can be addressed. A different future can be created.
Trump Studies: An intellectual guide to why citizens do not act in their best interests
Bingley: Emerald 2018
Written with Steve Redhead and Sunny Rue Chivaura. (eBook, paperback and audiobook).
Play: A theory of learning and change
Berlin: Springer, 2015
This book examines the question of why ‘play’ is a happy and benevolent verb in childhood, yet a subjective label of behaviour in adulthood. It studies the transformation of the positively labelled term ‘child’s play’, used to refer to our early years, into an aberrance or deviation from normal social relationships in later life, when we speak of playing up or playing around. It answers the question by proposing play as a theory of learning, an ideology that circumscribes behaviour, and a way of thinking.
Written by scholars of early childhood through to further and higher education, the book presents research on play enacted in a way that arches beyond the specificity of age groups or predictive, normative patterns. It is international in its focus, moving beyond insular, inward and parochial educational standards and limitations in one city, province, state or nation. Finally, it demonstrates the value of play to educational policy and theories of learning.
Enabling University: Impairment, (dis)ability and social justice in higher education
Berlin: Springer, 2015
This work takes the most recent, interdisciplinary research and demonstrates how to make higher education institutions open, accessible and socially just for staff and students with disabilities. Combining the scholarly fields of media platform management, information literacy, internet studies, mobility studies and disability studies, this book offers a guide and method to consider how students and staff with differing needs move through university processes, spaces and interfaces. It captures the challenges and potentials of both the online and offline university. The key concept of the book is universal design.
This term and theory is used to move beyond the medical and social model of disability that disconnect and separate the issues of disability and impairment from core societal concerns. This book confirms that most of us will be touched by impairment through our lives. When matched with the necessity to retrain and gain new skills for a post-recession future, there must be a renewed commitment to not only the widening participation agenda of higher education, but also the enabling of universities for men and women with impairments.
Unique Urbanity? Rethinking third tier cities, degeneration, regeneration and mobility
Berlin: Springer, 2014
This book investigates small cities — cities and towns that are not well known or internationally branded, but are facing structural economic and social issues after the Global Financial Crisis. They need to invent, develop and manage new reasons for their existence. The strengths and opportunities are often underplayed when compared to larger cities. These small cities do not have the profile of New York, London, Tokyo or Cairo, or second-tier cities like San Francisco, Manchester, Osaka or Alexandria.
This book traces the current state of the creative industries literature after the GFC, but with a specific focus. The specific — and worsening — conditions in third-tier cities are logged. The social and economic challenges within these regions are great, particularly with regard to health and health services, education, employment, social mobility and physical activity. This is not a study that merely diagnoses problems but raises strategies for third-tier cities to create both a profile and growth. The current research field is synthesized to reveal how cities are defined, constituted, developed and, in many cases, suffering decline. There is an imperative to build relationships with other urban environments.
The book enters these under-discussed locations and reveal the scarred layering of injustice, signified by depopulation, dis-investment, economic decline and a reduction in public services for health, transportation and education, while also developing specific and innovative models for improvement. The vista summoned in Unique Urbanity is international, with strong attention to trans-local strategies that offer wide relevance, currency and opportunities for policy makers. While third-tier cities are often hidden, marginalized, invisible or demeaned, Unique Urbanity shows that innovation, imagination and creativity can emerge in small places.
Digital Wine: How QR codes facilitate new markets for small wine industries
Berlin: Springer, 2014) with Mick Winter and Bryn Gandy
This book explores the way in which QR codes (Quick Response codes) can help the wine industry facilitate distribution and more effectively market and sell their product. It examines the interventions, invention and opportunities brought about by QR codes for the wine industry. It also investigates how QR codes can help enable regional development as well as information and knowledge about winemakers and regions. The book begins with an introduction to QR codes. It explains how to use them as well as shows how QR codes combine analogue and online promotion and information dissemination.
Next, the book explores strategies and examples from the creative industries, small nation theory and emerging wine industries. It then goes on to examine how to integrate QR codes with wine media, including marketing the bottle and using QR codes to build new wine regions. The book concludes with a case study of how Aotearoa/New Zealand wine producers deploy QR codes. QR codes can store and digitally present, a range of helpful data, including URL links, geo-coordinates and text and can be scanned by smart phones, making them a useful marketing and business tool.
Presenting detail research on how QR codes can enhance the relationship between producers and consumers as well as aid regional development in the wine industry, this book will be of interest to academics focusing on Wine Studies, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and practitioners and researchers from the creative industries sector. In addition, while this book focuses on the wine industry, the information that it presents about QR codes is relevant and applicable for an array of industries that require a tether between analogue and digital, physical and virtual, especially food and primary production.
Digital Dieting: From information obesity to intellectual fitness
Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013
Imagine if a student spent as much time managing information as celebrities doted on dieting? While eating too much food may be the basis of a moral panic about obesity, excessive information is rarely discussed as a crisis of a similar scale. Obviously, plentiful and high quality food is not a problem if eating is balanced with exercise. But without the skills of media and information literacy, students and citizens wade through low quality online information that fills their day yet does not enable intellectual challenge, imagination and questioning.
Digital Dieting: From Information Obesity to Intellectual Fitness probes the social, political and academic difficulties in managing large quantities of low quality information. But this book does not diagnose a crisis. Instead, Digital Dieting provides strategies to develop intellectual fitness that sorts the important from the irrelevant and the remarkable from the banal. In April 2010, and for the first time, Facebook received more independent visitors than Google. Increasingly there is a desire to share rather than search. But what is the impact of such a change on higher education?
If students complain that the reading is ‘too hard’, then one response is to make it easier. If students complain that assignments are too difficult, then one way to manage this challenge is to make the assignments simpler. Both are passive responses that damage the calibre of education and universities in the long term. Digital Dieting: From Information Obesity to Intellectual Fitness provides active, conscious, careful and applicable strategies to move students and citizens from searching to researching, sharing to thinking, and shopping to reading.
City Imaging: Regeneration, renewal and decay
Berlin: Springer, 2013
This book examines the paradoxes, challenges, potential and problems of urban living. It understands cities as they are, rather than as they may be marketed or branded. All cities have much in common, yet the differences are important. They form the basis of both imaginative policy development and productive experiences of urban life. The phrase ‘city imaging’ is often used in public discourse, but rarely defined. It refers to the ways that particular cities are branded and marketed. It is based on the assumption that urban representations can be transformed to develop tourism and attract businesses and in-demand workers to one city in preference to another.
However, such a strategy is imprecise. History, subjectivity, bias and prejudice are difficult to temper to the needs of either economic development or social justice. The taste, smell, sounds and architecture of a place all combine to construct the image of a city. For researchers, policy makers, activists and citizens, the challenge is to use or transform this image. The objective of this book is to help the reader define, understand and apply this process. After a war on terror, a credit crunch and a recession, cities still do matter.
Even as the de-territorialization of the worldwide web enables the free flow of money, music and ideas across national borders, cities remain important. City Imaging: Regeneration, Renewal, Decay surveys the iconography of urbanity and explores what happens when branding is emphasized over living.
Digital Dialogues and Community 2.0: After avatars, trolls and puppets
Oxford: Chandos, 2012
Digital Dialogue and Community 2.0: After avatars, trolls and puppets explores the communities that use digital platforms, portals, and applications from daily life to build relationships beyond geographical locality and family links. The book provides detailed analyses of how technology realigns the boundaries between connection, consciousness and community. This book reveals that alongside every engaged, nurturing and supportive group are those who are excluded, marginalised, ridiculed, or forgotten. It explores the argument that community is not an inevitable result of communication.
Following an introduction from the editor, the book is then divided into four sections exploring communities and resistance, structures of sharing, professional communication and fandom and consumption. Digital Dialogues and Community 2.0 combines ethnographic methods and professional expertise to open new spaces for thinking about language, identity, and social connections.
The Revolution Will Not Be Downloaded: Dissent in the digital age
Oxford: Chandos, 2008
This book attacks the often implicit and damaging assumption that ‘everyone’ is online and that ‘everyone’ is using online resources within the specified parameters of employers, government and national laws. This book summons a critical Web Studies, asking not only who is using particular applications, but also how and why. This remedial work is required. The concept and label of ‘Web 2.0’ is part of a wide-ranging suite of assumptions that offer simple answers to difficult questions.
The term captures a desire for online collaboration and the sharing of information, performed most visibly through blogs, podcasts and wikis. Other ‘products’ that capture the Web 2.0 ideology include Google Maps, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr. Within this framework, websites no long hold information but become a platform to connect applications with users. The business applications have gained the most attention — particularly content syndication — but there are also ‘political’ initiatives overlaying this project including open communication, the sharing of data and the deep linking of web architecture.
Popular Music: Topics, trends, trajectories
London: Sage, 2010
Organized in accessible sections and covering the main themes of research and teaching it examines: the key approaches to understanding popular music; the main settings of exchange and consumption; the role of technology in the production of popular music; the main genres of popular music; and the key debates of the present day. Brabazon writes with verve and penetration. Her approach starts with how most people actually consume music today and transfers this onto the plain of study. The book enables teachers and students to shuffle from one topic to the other whilst providing an unparalleled access the core concepts and issues. As such, it is the perfect study guide for undergraduates located in this exciting and expanding field.
Thinking Popular Culture: War, terrorism and writing (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008)
This book is about war and popular culture, and war in popular culture. Tara Brabazon summons, probes, questions and reclaims popular culture, challenging the assumptions of war, whiteness, Christianity, modernity and progress that have dominated our lives since September 11. Addressing modes of thinking, design, music and visual media, Thinking Popular Culture offers a journey through courageous, interventionist and thoughtful ideas, performers and cultures. It welcomes those who ask difficult questions of those in power. Addressing the lack of imagination and dissent that characterizes this new century, it is essential reading for any scholar of cultural studies and popular culture, media and journalism, creative writing and terrorism studies.
The University of Google: Education in the (post) information age
Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007
Looking at schools and universities, it is difficult to pinpoint when education, teaching and learning started to haemorrhage purpose, aspiration and function. Libraries and librarians have been starved of funding. Teachers cram their curriculum with ‘skill development’ and ‘generic competencies’ because knowledge, creativity and originality are too expensive to provide to unmotivated students and parents obsessed with league tables, not learning.
Meanwhile, the internet offers a glut of information on everything-under-the-sun, a mere mouse-click away. Bored surfers fill their cursors and minds with irrelevancies. We lose the capacity to sift, discard and judge. Information is no longer for social good, but for sale. Tara Brabazon argues that this information fetish has been profoundly damaging to our learning institutions and to the ambitions of our students and educators. In The University of Google she projects a defiant and passionate vision of education as a pathway to renewal, where research is based on searching and students are on a journey through knowledge, rather than consumers in the shopping centre of cheap ideas.
Angry, humorous and practical in equal measure, The University of Google is based on real teaching experience and on years of engaged and sometimes exasperated reflection on it. It is far from a luddite critique of the information age. Tara Brabazon celebrates the possibilities of digital platforms in education, but deplores the consequences of placing funding on technology and not teachers. In doing so, she opens a new debate on how to make our educational system both productive and provocative in the (post-) information age.
Playing on the Periphery: Sport, memory, identity
London: Routledge, 2006
Part of the Sport in the Global Society series, this innovative and creative text explores collective history, memory, and sport culture, tracking the passage of sports away from England. The author investigates why ‘elite’ English sports — such as rugby and cricket — became national sports in New Zealand and Australia, and asks why ‘working class’ English sports — such as football — have travelled less well to these areas. Focusing on these sports, the author tracks narratives and myths, tracing the passage of colonial truths, behaviours and practices.
Clearly defined sections in the book focus on: sport and tourism; sport and history; and sport and memory. Using a refreshingly broad range of sources to analyse differences between popular culture and sporting memory, this book offers new perspectives on sport and makes an interesting reference for masters and postgraduate readers in sport and cultural studies.
From Revolution to Revelation: Generation X, popular culture, popular memory
Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005
From Revolution to Revelation offers a new paradigm for Cultural Studies. Tara Brabazon explores our understanding of our own past and the collective past we share with others through popular culture. She investigates Generation X, the ‘post-youth’ generation born between 1961 and 1981, and the popular cultural literacies that are the basis of this imagining community. She looks at the ways in which popular culture offers a vehicle for memory, providing the building blocks of identity — the politics and passion of life captured in an unforgettable song, an amazing nightclub, or an unexpected goal in extra time.
For a fan, the joy and exhilaration is enough, but it is the task of cultural studies to understand why particular cultural forms survive the passage of time and space. Brabazon argues, with Lawrence Grossberg, that Cultural Studies is ‘the Generation X of the academic world’. She tracks its journey away from Marxism and subcultural theory and looks at its future. In particular she explores the possibilities of popular memory studies in reclaiming and repairing the discipline of Cultural Studies — making it as relevant and as revelatory as in its revolutionary past.
Liverpool of the South Seas: Perth and its popular music
Perth: UWA Press, 2005
Perth is labelled, either whimsically or derisively, the most isolated capital city in the world. What happens to popular music in such a city during a time of globalization and sanitized sameness? The authors of this collection provide a snapshot of this cultural moment. Answers to the question fly off the pages of this book. Perth, a small and dynamic city, generates incredibly vibrant and diverse music — from the energy of hip hop and b-boys, electronica and post-rock, to committed performers and riveted fans in gritty pubs and darkened clubs. Disentangled from vested interests and corporate sponsorship, this is an independent book capturing the rhythms of an independent city.
Digital Hemlock: Internet education and the poisoning of teaching
Sydney: UNSW Press, 2002 [Amazon]
Digital Hemlock shows Australia’s education system under siege. With record levels of tertiary students, funding crises, and the corporatisation of education, online education is being embraced at an incredible rate by our universities. But will Australia’s education system become another tech wreck on the dot com highway?
In her new book, Tara Brabazon argues the case for looking beyond internet education as the answer to overcrowded lecture theatres. “The list of high profile universities that welcomed the dot com educational initiative and have been burned by it is growing,” she writes.
“Students quite rightly want ‘the university experience’ of intense debate, social interaction, drinking, dancing and profound, life-changing learning”.
Digital Hemlock takes readers into Tara’s classroom, introducing her students and events that form her working days. Her single aim is to “demonstrate the importance of universities to national and cultural life”. Technology, she argues, has its place, But “we must start with teaching and learning goals, and then determine how technology can assist these functions”.
“Teachers currently feel as if we are trapped in a Monty Python sketch,” she writes. “We are living the opening scene of The Meaning of Life where, through the ‘miracle of birth’, the medical administrator remains most impressed by the machine that goes ping rather than the arrival, before his eyes, of new life. Far too many administrators gravitate towards the ping, missing the magic being woven by teachers”.
Ladies who Lunge: Celebrating difficult women
Sydney: UNSW Press, 2002 [Amazon]
Shrew. Banshee. Witch. Slag. Broad. Tramp. Bitch. Ho. These labels — through time — have described women who transcend description. Women with overpainted faces, shrill laughter and short skirts — dropping shocking one-liners — have a zeal and passion for life that shakes with energy and enthusiasm, as well as honesty and humour. Ladies who Lunge: Celebrating on Difficult Women dances through history with the unconventional woman. Witty and refreshing, the tone, texture and feeling of the words on the page are as unconventional as the plucky women who punctuate the prose. It is a tough, determined, moving, frank and funny review of difficult women: how they got there, how we can understand their actions, and how we can learn from them.
Tracking the Jack: A retracing of the Antipodes
Sydney: UNSW Press, 2000 [Amazon]
Tracking the Jack: A retracing of the Antipodes investigates the social, economic, political and cultural relationship between Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This book is not only historically relevant, but also resonant within present discussions of republicanism, monarchism, multiculturalism, biculturalism and cultural studies. The Jack in the title refers to the Union Jack, the symbolic tie between ‘home’ and the outer reaches of the Empire. The book traces the movements of The Jack, incorporating the passage of people, ideas and popular culture.
This book opens a new intellectual terrain that has lacked systematic exploration. New Zealand and Australia are often presumed to possess remarkable historical and social similarities. However, this assumed shared history has resulted in few coherent analyses of both the confluences and remarkable differences between the two nations. British colonisation has left a shared language and iconographic database. Yet the differences are stark. The social systems of multiculturalism and biculturalism have resulted in profoundly different responses to questions of social justice. While much rhetoric emerges of Australia’s placement in Asia, and New Zealand’s role in the Pacific, this book investigates the far more complex histories that encircle this region.
The book is not only an investigation of social systems or policy concerns. Instead, it is a coherent, well-written cultural studies and cultural history text. Popular cultures, including popular music, fashion, film and television, offer a reminder of how The Jack has punctuated Antipodean history. The breadth and range of discussion is a significant addition to Australian Studies, New Zealand Studies and cultural studies.