ARCSHS Oration and Forum

Event status:

Suzanne Fraser headshot with 'ARCSHS Oration' text This public event will introduce the new Director of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS): Professor Suzanne Fraser. Professor Fraser will open the event with a lecture. To follow the lecture will be a panel discussion with four distinguished Australian social scientists.

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Thursday 07 November 2019 06:00 pm (Add to calendar)
ARCSHS Event staff
9479 8700;
Presented by:
ARCSHS Director Professor Suzanne Fraser
Type of Event:
Forum/symposium; Public Lecture; Public
RSVP Essential

Oration theme

Constituting social ‘problems’: The role of social research in defining and addressing social issues in a sceptical world.

Recent decades have seen critical developments in research that question scientific objectivity and posit more than one ‘reality’, with philosophers and scholars of research method asking us to consider how and why knowledges (including ‘facts’) are made. At the same time, climate change scepticism, ‘antivaxxers’, Trumpism and related phenomena have also adopted a critical relationship to facts, if for very different ends. For some researchers, this openness is necessary and generative. Others simply want their ‘facts back’. Questions of knowledge, truth and fact loom large in the fields of research in which ARCSHS works because ours are highly contested spaces too: LGBTIQ lives and rights; blood-borne viral presents and futures; consuming, pleasure-seeking bodies in the context of sex, drugs and risk. In such areas, what we know, how we know it, and why, remain contested and volatile. Drawing on contemporary thinking about the nature of research this event will explore three key questions emerging from these developments:

  1. How should researchers navigate issues of truth, fact and reality in a context in which the need for stable ground seems stronger than ever?
  2. How should researchers view their role in society, given that the work they do constitutes as well as solves problems?
  3. Given the role of research in constituting problems, how do we decide which social problems to constitute in the pursuit of better worlds, and how we can best frame and address social issues?

Forum panellists:

All speakers ARCSHS Oration and Forum

  • Gary Dowsett, Emeritus Professor, ARCSHS, La Trobe University
  • Carla Treloar, Scientia Professor and Director of the Centre for Social Research in Health and the Social Policy Research Centre, University of New South Wales
  • Kane Race, Professor in Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney


    Helen Keane, Associate Professor and Head of School of Sociology, Australian National University

Level 1, Conference floor, Rydges Melbourne, 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Rydges Melbourne, 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne



7th Aug 2020 1:36am

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