Please join us for an evening hosted by the Department of Art History.

Professor Annamarie Jagose, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, will launch three books authored and/or edited by academics from the Department of Art History:





Ann EliasCoral empire: Underwater oceans, colonial tropics, visual modernity, Duke University Press





Anna Lawrenson & Chiara O’ReillyThe Rise of the Must-See Exhibition: Blockbusters in Australian Museums and Galleries, Routledge





Susan PotterQueer Timing: The Emergence of Lesbian Sexuality in Early Cinema, University of Illinois Press



Ann Elias, Coral empire: Underwater oceans, colonial tropics, visual modernity

In Coral Empire Ann Elias traces the visual and social history of J. E. Williamson and Frank Hurley and how their modern media spectacles yoked the tropics and coral reefs to colonialism, racism, and the human domination of nature. Using the labor and knowledge of indigenous peoples while exoticising and racialising them as inferior Others, Williamson and Hurley sustained colonial fantasies about people of colour and the environment as endless resources to be plundered. As Elias demonstrates, their reckless treatment of the sea prefigured attitudes that caused the environmental crises that the oceans and reefs now face.


Anna Lawrenson and Chiara O’Reilly, The Rise of the Must-See Exhibition: Blockbusters in Australian Museums and Galleries

Blockbuster exhibitions are ubiquitous fixtures in the cultural calendars of major museums and galleries worldwide. The Rise of the Must-See Exhibition charts their ascent across a diverse array of museums and galleries. The book positions these exhibits in the Australian cultural context, demonstrating how policy developments and historical precedents have created a space for their current domination. Drawing on historical evidence, policy documents and contemporary debates, the book offers a complex analysis of the aims and motivations of blockbuster exhibitions. Its chronological approach reveals a genealogy of exhibits from the mid-nineteenth century onward to identify precursors to current practice.


Susan Potter, Queer Timing: The Emergence of Lesbian Sexuality in Early Cinema

In Queer Timing, Susan Potter offers a counter-history that reorients accepted views of lesbian representation and spectatorship in early cinema. Potter sees the emergence of lesbian figures as only the most visible but belated outcome of multiple sexuality effects. Early cinema reconfigured older erotic modalities, articulated new—though incoherent—sexual categories, and generated novel forms of queer feeling and affiliation. Potter draws on queer theory, silent film historiography, feminist film analysis, and archival research to provide an original and innovative analysis.



6-7:30pm, Wednesday 21 August 2019

The Sibyl Centre Auditorium,
The Women’s College,
The University Of Sydney,
Camperdown NSW 2050

For any enquiries, please contact