A new book takes aim at contemporary satire, space and literary award shortlists, and a key leadership role for arts professor.
Awards within Dr Space Junk’s orbit
Flinders space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman stands in the spotlight in the lead up to the inaugural Australian Space Awards, having been shortlisted for both Academic of the Year and Researcher of the Year.
These nominations place Dr Gorman at the forefront of leading space industry professionals driving the development of Australia’s space economy. The 2020 Australian Space Awards recognises the achievements of all space industry stakeholders and the award winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney on Thursday, 26 March.
Literature awards A-list
In another accolade of note, Dr Gorman – who is also a member of the Space Industry Association of Australia and President of the Anthropological Society of South Australia – has been shortlisted in the non-fiction category for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature, for her 2019 book Dr Space Junk Versus the Universe.
Her book – which notes that about half a million pieces of orbital debris are circling the earth, including abandoned satellites, multi-tiered rockets and even three ‘cars’ parked on the moon – has also been the subject of attention on popular ABC Radio program Conversations. Dr Gorman’s one-hour conversation with host Richard Fidler (first aired in April 2019) was uploaded last week to the ABC website.
Joining Dr Gorman among the award nominees is fellow Flinders academic Dr Natalie Harkin, who has been shortlisted in the poetry category for her 2019 book Archival-Poetics.
Two PhD students in creative writing at Flinders have also been shortlisted – Margot McGovern for best Young Adult Fiction with Neverland, and Piri Eddy for the Jill Blewett Playwrights Award with Forgiveness.
Winners will be announced on Saturday 29 February, the first day of the Adelaide Writer’s Week event, which is being staged in Adelaide’s Pioneer Women’s Memorial Gardens.
Contemporary satire a joke
In the year of Donald Trump’s aim to be re-elected as President of the United States of America, Flinders literature expert Professor Robert Phiddian takes aim at the apparent impotence of satirists to strip any paint from him in a bold new book, Satire and the Public Emotions (Cambridge University Press).
If the dream of political satire is to fearlessly speak truth to power, Professor Phiddian argues that this is not currently being matched by its actual effects. His study explores the role of satirical communication in licensing public expression of harsh emotions that are defined in neuroscience as the CAD (contempt, anger, disgust) triad. The mobilisation of these emotions is a fundamental distinction between satirical and comic laughter.
Professor Phiddian pursues this argument in the book through an account of Jonathan Swift and his contemporaries, who played a crucial role in the early eighteenth century to make space in the public sphere for intemperate dissent – which is an essential condition of free political expression.
President of English
Associate Professor Giselle Bastin has been nominated as the new President of the Australian University Heads of English (AUHE). The AUHE is the peak body for tertiary-level English programs from around Australia and takes a leading role in representing the discipline’s research and teaching profile at the national level. The AUHE also liaises at the international level with peak bodies from the U.K., U.S., NZ., and Canada.