CASE Events Social Sciences Week

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Social Sciences Week

5-9 September 2022

woman walking with donkey through misty rainforest.

How do the social sciences impact our lives?

James Cook University’s College of Arts, Society, and Education (CASE) and the Cairns Institute are holding a series of events to celebrate social sciences week. Each day we will hear from a range of social scientist with lunch time and afternoon talks.

All welcome! All events will be online or streamed.

Presenter: Dr. Elizabeth Kramer (Sydney)

Health experts around the world agree that smoking increases your risk of dying. Based on this, many countries have implemented policies and campaigns to reduce smoking uptake and encourage cessation. However, Indonesia is one of the few countries in which tobacco consumption, namely daily smoking rates, has not significantly decreased since 1990, bucking worldwide trends in tobacco consumption. Given the scientific consensus that smoking kills, and that at least 1 in 7 deaths in Indonesia is attributable to smoking (WHO 2018), why is it so difficult to implement tobacco control regulations?

This discussion will address some of the challenges to effective tobacco control using a social sciences lens that go beyond the public health messaging to highlight economic, political and sociological aspects of cigarettes in Indonesia. Looking at the current state of regulation and policy it appears that saving lives has not traditionally been, and nor is it now, the Indonesian government’s priority. However, in better understanding the influences at play, we can also understand where pressure points lie—what discourses need to be challenged and what advocacy can be done—in order to install potentially live-saving regulations.

Time: 12noon

Venue: Nguma-bada campus D3.063 –The Cairns Institute


Panel discussion, chaired by Dr Maxine Newlands

This session explores the interconnections between the natural or biophysical sciences and the social sciences. Topics of discussion include how to work together to better understand the human dimensions of scientific endeavour; how people actions constructs a social realty of nature and science and why working together can provide better outcomes.

Time: 11.45am

Venue: Bebegu Yumba campus 145-003 (ATSIP building)


Password: 247609

School Engagement Activity (JCU)

This is one of our regular engagement events with Ryan Catholic College in Townsville. Year 11 students from the Ancient History class, will be on campus to hear from Archelogy academics and students about the role of archaeology in understanding past societies - historical and in the deep past - and will take part in mock excavations to engage with the archaeological process.

Time: 11.45am

Venue: JCU Bebegu Yumba campus

Presenter: Dr. Anna Hayes (JCU)

As the presidency of Xi Jinping has progressed it has become clear that the People’s Republic of China has adopted a more assertive and aggressive role in regional and international relations. This seminar provides insights into the nature of Xi Jinping’s China and identifies a range of key factors undergirding China’s foreign outlook. Given the author’s recent interview with former Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, the seminar will also make links between the arguments put forward by Mr Rudd on how best to manage strategic competition between the US and China, identifying how his new book, ‘The Avoidable War’, is situated within contemporary examinations of Chinese politics and international relations.

Time: 12 noon

Venue: Nguma-bada campus, D003-003 (The Cairns Institute)


Password: 193895

Presenter: Dr. Kearrin Sims (JCU)

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become the lodestar of Beijing’s efforts to increase its global political and economic influence. This presentation interrogates BRI discourse, arguing that the normative adoption of BRI narratives as a means for making sense of connectivities between China and other places risks producing new forms of epistemic violence against subaltern populations.

The empirical focus of this presentation is on China-Laos relations, and the epistemic positioning of highland ethnic minority groups in northern Laos. This context offers a valuable case study for examining BRI discourse due to the profound effects of Chinese investment in Laos, the geostrategic importance of Laos as a BRI ‘gateway’ between China and Southeast Asia, the deep histories of ethnic minority engagements across China and Laos, and the limited extant research on both China-Laos relations and the more localized effects of Chinese actors within the highland border regions.

Time: 4pm


Presenter: Dr Kirstie Broadfield (JCU)

Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), over thirty years ago, there have been over 400 Indigenous deaths in custody, with 30% of the Australian prison population identifying as Indigenous. Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system continues to be an unresolved issue despite varying attempts to mitigate it. Over the last quarter of a century, most research into crime and criminal justice has been undertaken through methods that have privileged state-centred perspectives and perpetuated the silencing of Indigenous perspectives and voices through omission. Thus, the true nature and extent of state crime becomes buried in the statistics. Therefore, my research aimed to elevate the voices of Indigenous Australian people by gaining their insights and understanding of their lived experiences in the criminal justice system.

This paper presents some of the results of a research project that applied a fresh approach to analysing the violence of Indigenous incarceration using the theory of necropolitics and related concepts. Specifically, it focuses on pervasive issues within the police (necro-enforcers) and corrective services (death-producers) arms of the criminal justice system that were found to have contributed, in some part, to in-custody deaths and violence experienced by Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system.

Time: 12 noon

Venue: Nguma-bada campus A001-017


Password: 131578

Presenter: Professor Ryan Daniels

There is an increasing focus in the literature and in the wider discourse about the importance of and need for creativity in order to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, food security, and social equity and cohesion. This presentation involves three parts:

  1. the concept of creativity is explored and explained,
  2. theoretical approaches that define the creative process are overviewed, and
  3. a recent research study focussed on creativity in the higher education research (PhD) area is discussed. Arguments for a greater focus on creativity and the creative process are then proposed.

Time: 1 pm

Venue: Bebegu Yumba campus 145-003 (ATSIP building)


Password: 361768

Presenter: Associate Professor Susan Engel

In an age of ‘nudges’ and other behavioural interventions, it is perhaps not surprising that shaming people has crept from the margins of social welfare programs and development policy to widespread use.

Shaming likely started as an unconscious but nevertheless pernicious side effect of programs to limit social assistance to the “deserving” poor (posting the names of recipients of social assistance on community noticeboards, income quarantining, work programs with no minimum wage, etc) and is visible as an unconscious way of ensuring loan repayment in group microfinance. Over time, however, shaming has become a deliberate, theorised approach through community-led total sanitation projects. In this presentation I argue that this shift occurred without adequate consideration of the negative effects of shame, particularly where it references who someone is as opposed to something they may have done.

When people are shamed for things they have limited control over it leads to very harmful side effects including anxiety, depression, self-harm and worse. If we genuinely aim to end poverty there is, as Amartya Sen notes (1983: 161), an absolute requirement of “just not being ashamed.”

Time: 12 noon


Presenter: Dr Magdalene Bunbury (JCU)

Across the ditch in NZ (Aotearoa), experts are shedding light on how the country’s first humans adapted to their changing climate. Learn about a new, large radiocarbon dataset on these first 250 years of Māori settlement.

Time: 1pm

Venues: Nguma-bada campus D4 (The Ideas Lab) and Bebegu Yumba campus TSV 145-003 (ATSIP building)


Password: 735468