Research Focus: Narrative

In LLCL we are proud to collaborate with industry, NGOs and partner universities in producing cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that addresses the most important challenges of our age.

Much of our research focuses on aspects of narrative. We passionately believe that questions of narrative are at the heart of many of the social, environmental and health challenges that face us today, and we are committed to working alongside our partners to develop powerful and practical ways of harnessing the potential of narrative to meet these challenges, in line with the Monash Arts Faculty research priorities.

Our research is focused in four areas (click to see ongoing research projects in each area):

the ethics and limits of narrative narrative memory and politics narrative, empathy and identity narrative, violence and war 

The Ethics and Limits of Narrative

Deep Sustainability: Narrative, Religion and Ethics

Dr. Chris Watkin and Prof. Kate Rigby

Description:

A new approach to sustainability, integrating theories of narrative identity with ecological and religious thought, developing cross-school and industry collaborations. 

Funding:
2014: Monash University faculty of Arts Research Project Grant: $6000

Locating Science Fiction

Prof. Andrew Milner

Description:
The project aims to devise and develop a new paradigm for science fiction studies that will encompass the genre’s full range, from the most elite variants of canonical literature through to the most popular versions of film, television and radio. It will apply this paradigm to the study of science fictional representations of future catastrophe, especially plague, nuclear war and extreme climate change.

Funding:
2012-14: DP120100622 Locating Science Fiction, Australian Research Council
Discovery Grant of $A 239,000.

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgO8PlO0UAY

Website:
http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/research-showcase/locating-science-fiction/

Back to the Book project (hosted at Utrecht University)

Dr. Anna Poletti

Description:
How has the literary evolved as an analog art alongside the digital, and how does this evolution complicate existing models of media convergence? The question is probed on the basis of three integrated cases regarding the re-materialization of the novel and the book as a hybrid mode, and the subculture of paper-based networks of self-expression in personal zines.

Funding:
Funded by the Dutch Research Council

Link:
http://backbooks.wordpress.com/

Identity Technologies: Constructing the Self Online

Dr. Anna Poletti (co-editor)

Description:
Bringing together scholarship about the construction of the self by new and established authors from the fields of digital media and auto/biography studies, this volume presents new case studies and fresh theoretical questions emphasizing the methodological challenges inherent in scholarly attempts to account for and analyze the rise of identity technologies. 

Press Coverage:
Inside Higher Ed article

Website:
http://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5058.htm

Nonhuman actors and factors in narrative fiction

Prof. Kate Rigby

Description:
Explorations of works of narrative fiction that are seen to open an ethical space within which to reconsider the interactions of multiple human and nonhuman actors and factors in the genesis, unfolding, impact and future implications of eco-catastrophe, whether historically witnessed or imaginatively prefigured. 

Narrative, empathy and Identity 

Cross-corpus Investigations of Pronominal Reference

Dr. Anna Margetts

Description:
The project builds on earlier work by Haig and Schnell who developed a corpus-annotation system (GRAID) for conducting quantitative research into referring expressions in natural language. It aims to (a) broaden the GRAID database by two further languages, Saliba and Javanese, and (b) extend our investigation by another typological feature, namely the distinction between free vs. bound pronouns.

Funding:
2012   G08 Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme 
Grant received for the project Cross-corpus investigations of pronominal reference (with Geoff Haig, Bamberg University). 20,000 AUD for two years

Collaboration:
Collaborations with colleagues in brain studies and the medical sciences, inter alia.
For more information, see the GRAID manual

Towards the documentation of Saliba-Logea, an Oceanic Language of Papua New Guinea

Dr. Anna Margetts

Description:
The project aims at a documentation of the Salilba-Logea language in its cultural context which combines audio, video and photo material with text files, glosses and translations. The database will feature texts of different types by speakers of all ages.  Focal points of the documentation include interviews with community elders, documentation of cultural practices, canoe building, mythical accounts of local landmarks and other traditional stories, texts of ethno-botanical relevance and the emergence of a written language style.

Funding:
2009: Documentation of Endangered Languages Program, VW Foundation, Germany

Grant received for the documentation of Saliba-Logea (Oceanic, Papua New Guinea) (withCarmen Dawuda, John Hajek and Ulrike Mosel). 50,000 EUR for two years.

2004: Documentation of Endangered Languages Program, VW Foundation, Germany

Grant received for the documentation of Saliba-Logea (Oceanic, Papua New Guinea) (with John Hajek and Ulrike Mosel). 305,800 EUR for three years.

Link:
http://lux09.mpi.nl:8186/DOBES/projects/saliba/project

Migrant identities: “Intergenerational Encounters and Narrative Construction of Identity” 

Dr. Heinz Kreutz

Description:
This project draws on narrative interviews which shed light on the narrative-social construction of migrant identities in foreign cultural settings. One aspect in which I am particularly interested is the narrative construction of identity and alterity elderly German migrants.  Identity, alterity and adaptation are intrinsically linked to change and community resilience. The project therefore also sets out to explore the benefits of intergenerational contact for a subset of elderly CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) community members to address the effects of social isolation. More engagement with local communities, becoming involved in mentoring schemes and opportunities to use their native language can contribute to active, healthy and more positive ageing. 

Collaboration:
Collaboration 2009-2014 at the local community level in Boroondara, VIC, in the development and implementation of an ‘active ageing’ strategy and creating Age Friendly community.   Active ageing initiatives have become a prime focus in many municipalities. The City of Boroondara is committed becoming an Age Friendly City, exemplified in its recognition of the World Health Organisation’s seven key areas for action which include social participation, social inclusion and communication. Boroondara has a population of 30,000 older adults (ca. 25%), and recognises that the importance of an approach that engages and involves affected members of the community and a shift away from a ‘deficiency’ model. Such an approach allows us to explore ageing in terms of adaptation, change and community resilience.

Doctor and patient speech and discourse-pragmatic features in Chinese-English interpreted interactions: perspectives from Chinese-speakers, English-speakers and Chinese-English interpreters 

Dr. Jim Hlavac

Dr. Zhichang Xu

Description:
This study examines self-reported communication features of 25 Chinese-speaking patients and 24 English-speaking medical staff in interpreted interactions. Data from 33 Chinese-English interpreters provide a basis for cross-perspective analysis of speakers’ communicative and discourse features.

Funding:
2013: Arts Faculty Research Grant $6800

The interplay of professional interpreters and (family) language brokers in Macedonian-English interpreted interactions 

Dr. Jim Hlavac

Description:
This study focuses on Macedonian-speakers who require interpreting services and recorded data of interpreted interactions. Data from and the perspectives of 10 professional Macedonian-English interpreters are examined as well as those of family members who function as language brokers.

Narrative, Memory and Politics

Lu Xun and Chinese Senses of the Human

Prof. Gloria Davies

Description:
This research examines Lu Xun’s unique stature as China’s best known and most lauded modern writer in relation to his contributions to modern Chinese intellectual culture. Empirically, it deals with China’s revolutionary twentieth century and Lu Xun’s role in shaping that history. Theoretically, the project examines modern Chinese ways of sense-making for what they reveal of an aesthetics of radical self-cultivation.

Related Links:
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674072640

http://boundary2.dukejournals.org/content/38/2/125.short

Narrative, politics and popular culture in Cuba

Dr. Carlos Uxo

Description:
In this project I examine the role of Cuban crime fiction as a mechanism for disseminating Che Guevarra’s notion of the ‘New Man’, paying special attention to the role played by the “Anniversary of the Revolution” award for crime fiction created in 1971 by  the Cuban Ministry of the Interior . 

Person-based Deictics as Discourse Markers

Dr. Anna Margetts

Description:
While spatial deictics, such as demonstrative, have long been recognised as taking on discourse functions, person deictics, such as personal pronouns, person markers on verbs and nouns, or person-based directionals have hardly been discussed in this way. Yet recent research highlights that across the languages of the world person deictics are employed for a range of discourse functions which are investigated in this project. 

Funding:
2013: Research Project Fund, Faculty of Arts, Monash University. Grant received for research project on discourse uses of personal pronouns. $A 2,000

Internationalisation and Organisational Change in Japan

Dr. Jeremy Breaden

Description:
This ongoing project involves ethnographic analysis of Japanese organisations engaging in reform and renovation activities centered on the concept of ‘internationalisation’. It examines contested meanings of internationalisation and particularly their association with ‘organisational stories’–localised narratives of organisational development sustained and negotiated through discourses and actions in the workplace–and broader narratives of Japan’s economic, social and political engagement with the outside world. 

 Funding:
2013: Research Project Fund, Faculty of Arts, Monash University. Grant received for research project on discourse uses of personal pronouns. $A 2,000

Narrative, Violence and War

Transactions

Dr. Ali Alizadeh 

Description:
Transactions is a fictional narrative comprising interconnected stories based on the major arcana cards of the Tarot. This contemporary exploration of the esoteric images features characters of a world under the brutal regime of late global capitalism: a European porn star with a traumatic secret, a deceptive Iranian asylum seeker, a mysterious shape-shifting female assassin, monstrous aid workers in Africa, a sadistic young woman from the Emirates, and a prophetic poet form New Zealand, among many others. 

Links:
http://alializadeh.wordpress.com/books/

http://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/book.aspx/1259/Transactions

Rethinking the Victim: Gendered violence in Australian women’s writing

Prof. Sue Kossew (Monash) 

A/Prof Anne Brewster (UNSW) 

Description:
This project, the first to examine gendered violence in Australian literature, argues that literary texts by Australian women writers offer unique ways of understanding the social problem of gendered violence, bringing this often private and suppressed issue into the public sphere. It investigates narratives of violence from diverse heritages in fiction, short stories and poetry to rethink representations of victimhood and agency.

 

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