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ERCC Conference Inventing the Human
Conference 2023: 'Inventing the Human' - University of Melbourne & Online
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Sujit Sivasundaram

Professor of World History, Faculty of History
University of Cambridge

Sujit Sivasundaram is Professor of World History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow in History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. 'Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire' is his third book. It was awarded the British Academy Book Prize in 2021 and Jerry Bentley Book Prize in World History in 2022. This book and his broader work draws the Pacific and Indian oceans into a conversation around histories of the environment, the history of race, imperial history and the history of science. 'Waves Across the South' included discussions of the histories of Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and the Pacific world in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He is currently President of the Pacific Circle, a group of scholars devoted to the study of knowledge and environment across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. He is now working on a long environmental history of the Indian ocean and on an urban history of Colombo, a multiply-colonised and engineered city in the centre of the Indian Ocean, a transit point between Europe and Australia, in addition to other maritime routes.
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Amanda Jo Goldstein

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Associate Professor of English
University of California, Berkeley

Amanda Jo Goldstein is an Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. She specializes in Enlightenment and Romantic literature and science, rhetoric and poetics, pre-Darwinian biology, ecocriticism, and materialist theories of history, poetry, and nature. She is the author of Sweet Science: Romantic Materialism and the New Logics of Life (Chicago, 2017), co-winner of the MLA prize for a First Book in 2018, as well as the Kenshur Prize in eighteenth-century studies. She is writing a book on utopian ecologies in the long nineteenth-century in their relation to anti-colonialism, abolition, anarchism and the again-pressing question of multispecies justice in an era when Nature behaves against-the-law.

James Davies

Professor of Music  
University of California, Berkeley

James Q. Davies is Professor of Music at UC Berkeley. He is author of Romantic Anatomies of Performance (2014), co-editor with Ellen Lockhart of Sound Knowledge: Music and Science in London, 1789-1851 (2016), and series editor with Nicholas Mathew of the book series New Material Histories of Music with University of Chicago Press. His new book is Creatures of the Air: Music, Atlantic Spirits, Breath 1817-1913 (Chicago, 2023), which explores musical orders of environmentality, coloniality, and political ecology: ideas about breath control, air-conditioning systems in buildings, as well as music and climate.
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Susan Stryker

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Professor Emerita, Gender and Women’s Studies
University of Arizona

Susan Stryker is Professor Emerita of Gender and Women’s Studies at University of Arizona. Since retiring she has been Presidential Fellow and Visiting Professor of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University (2019-2020), Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership, Mills College (2020-2022), and Marta Sutton Weeks External Faculty Fellow, Stanford University Humanities Institute, 2022-23.  Former executive editor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, she continues to serve as co-editor of the Duke University Press book series ASTERISK: gender, trans-, and all that comes after. She is the author of Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution (2008, 2017), co-editor of the two-volume Transgender Studies Reader (2006, 2013) and The Transgender Studies Reader Remix (2022), as well as co-director of the Emmy-winning documentary film Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria (2005). She is currently working to complete her book manuscript, Changing Gender (under contract to Farrar Straus Giroux), and developing a variety of film and television projects.

Chris Danta

Professor of English, School of Cybernetics
Australian National University, Canberra

Chris Danta is Professor of English in the newly formed School of Cybernetics at the ANU. His research operates at the intersection of literary theory, philosophy, science and theology. He is the author of Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot (Bloomsbury, 2011) and Animal Fables after Darwin: Literature, Speciesism, and Metaphor (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He is currently working on an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship with the title Future Fables: Literature, Evolution and Artificial Intelligence (2021-24).
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Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu

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Warlpiri Elder and Professorial Fellow in Indigenous Studies
University of Melbourne

Professor Wanta Jampijinpa Pawu is a Warlpiri elder, Professorial Fellow at the Indigenous Knowledge Institute, University of Melbourne, and Artistic Director of the Milpirri Festival, Lajamanu. He is fully initiated into Warlpiri law and was admitted to the highest order of traditional leadership by the Warlpiri elders in 2008. 

Pawu is the only Warlpiri investigator to have led an Australian Research Council project and has collaborated on research that gives focus to Warlpiri song, epistemology, education, the repatriation of archival records and youth engagement. Pawu has provided policy advice on Indigenous law, education and youth matters to multiple government and industry bodies, including the Australian Government’s Indigenous Voice National Co-Design Group, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and the Northern Territory Department of Education. 

Pawu is a highly sought-after public speaker and cultural advisor of international repute, who has directed numerous films including Milpirri: Winds of Change (2014), which presently screens on SBS OnDemand. He holds long-term research collaborations with colleagues at the University of Melbourne in the Indigenous Knowledge Institute, Faculty of Science, and the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, as well as with academics at universities around the world.

Photograph taken by Peter Bergmeier

Delia Lin

Associate Professor in Chinese Studies
University of Melbourne

Delia Lin is an Associate Professor in Chinese Studies at the University of Melbourne. Her motivation for research has been to discover the underlying patterns of contemporary Chinese governance through examining how cultural terms, traditional ideas and key concepts are built into the integrands of law, education and government polices by various actors, shaping the ways the society thinks, functions and interacts with the world. Her monograph, Civilising Citizens in Post-Mao China: Understanding the Rhetoric of Suzhi (Routledge, 2017) examines the predominant discourse of suzhi (roughly translated as 'human quality') and the cultural, philosophical and psychological underpinnings of this discourse. Using a new method to analyse Chinese governance—one that is both historical and discursive in approach—the book demonstrates how suzhi has been made into a political resource by the Chinese Communist Party-State, journeying from Confucian political thought to Chinese Socialism. She is now working on projects relating to the ways elites use references to traditional ideas, particularly those with significant cultural resonance, to garner support for policies and institutions.
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