30/03 – 07/04 Rosemary Overell

This week @wethehumanities switches hemispheres and heads to New Zealand. Brilliantly (although, it must be said, entirely by coincidence) we’ll be continuing the political vein from Emma’s week, which saw an extended and incredibly week-received discussion of mental health provision in academia, with Rosemary taking up pedagogy and power. I’m also really looking forward to hearing what she has to say about foodies and reality TV (do they have Bake Off in NZ?).

I am an early career academic at the University of Otago – all the way at the bottom of the South Island in Aotearoa (New Zealand). I’m originally from The University of Melbourne, in Australia, where I wrote my PhD on ‘Affective Intensities in and Between Melbourne and Osaka’s Grindcore Metal Scenes’ (soon to be published by Palgrave books). My work, then, focuses on how affect (those bodily intensities we can’t express through the language of emotions) intersects with popular culture. Though my thesis focused on music I am interested in many aspects of pop culture – including reality television and ‘foodie’ cultures.

I come from a cultural studies background and I strongly believe that education should be politically radical and focused on empowering students and reaching out beyond the ‘ivory tower’ of the formal university institution. My position at Otago means I have the chance to teach within the uni, but also connect with the community through the Dunedin Free University – which is inspired by the pedagogy of Paolo Friere and Jacques Ranciere. Cultural studies was anchored in a socialist political position – I believe that popular culture is a site for hegemonic struggle and that’s why it is important to study.

This week I will be avidly tweeting about the everyday life of being an academic in Otago – about the affective labour of working in the university but also the intersection between activism and academia!

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