JCU Blue Humanities Lab

    The Blue Humanities Lab is a collaborative project, which emerged from the College of Arts, Society and Education at James Cook University (JCU) and expanded to include researchers and academics from other institutions.  Situated around the issues of climate change and the ‘blue’ spaces of our world – reefs, oceans, rivers, and inland bodies of water, we critically reflect on ways the humanities and social sciences can improve our knowledge of cultures, histories, publics and practices.  Founded in 2020, we explore and develop ‘blue’ approaches to interdisciplinary research and engagement in better understanding the human relationship with water or the absence of water. The Lab comprises members from disciplines including anthropology, history, literary studies, and political science.  

    Research Interests: 

    • Colonial place-making, cartography, and naming practices
    • Environmental politics, networks and policy 
    • Indigenous aesthetics, film, art and photography
    • Postcolonial literature, print culture, modernism/modernity and the Pacific
    • Shakespeare, ecocriticism, place-based theatre and education
    • The environmental history of northern Australia

    Upcoming events:

    Environmental Communication: Science Inspired and Arts Delivered. May 5 | Download flyer here. | Register your attendance here.

    Falling From The Sky Exhibition: May 5-22 | Displayed at The Cairns Institute and the Lux Gallery on Nguma Bada Campus, Smithfield. | Take a sneak peek here

    What Country, friends, is this? Adapting Shakespeare in Coastal North Queensland: May 8 | 12pm | Zoom: https://shorturl.at/ckuHP (password: 088794) | Download flyer here.

    Past events: 

    2023: Ecological Shakespeare in Performance Symposium, JCU, 28 April 2023

    2023: Ultramarine Conversations: Blue Assembly x Blue Humanities Lab, ANU, 13 April 2023

    2022: Blue Humanities Lab public seminar - Visualizing the Reef: Creating a sense of planet through natural history television on the ABC, with Professor Gay Hawkins FAHA .Institute of Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. Held Thursday 17 November 2022.

    2020: The Lab presented at the ACHRC Humanities in the Regions Conference. View the presentation here. 


    For all enquiries, please email us through bluehumanitieslab@jcu.edu.au 

    red-haired woman facing the tempestuous water

    Nuove scoperte fatte nel 1765, 67, e 69 nel Mare del Sud, Antonio Zatta. From the collections of the State Library of New South Wales

    man resting on dead crocodile 1949 Australia

    Here I am dancing at my father’s funeral, showing myself as Wurrumba with a shark liver in my mouth. The stars here are the glistening water, the same effect as the light that dapples and shines on the shark’s head from the water. If they need to fight then Galpu people call themselves Wurrumba. They show themselves as an angry shark. Becoming Wurrumba like that lifts you up to be a hero. It pumps you up. It makes you ferocious. Powerful. — Warren Balpatji

    The BP Magazine. Cover. 1 December 1936. Walter Jardine, Australia. Used with permission from the National Library of Australia


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