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Analysing Pleasure: A Symposium

University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April

Masterclass with Professor Richard Dyer
Thursday 20th April


The Department of Media Film and Communication at Otago University invites paper proposals for a symposium taking the theme 'Analysing Pleasure'. The symposium is being organised around a visit by Professor Richard Dyer, whose work informs it. With his first few articles on topics such as the rights of entertainment, The Sound of Music, disco, homosexuality and film noir, and stars such as Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth, Richard Dyer insisted that the pleasures of popular culture were deserving of detailed analysis.
Many current debates build upon his foundational work for example: discussions of class; taste; cinephilia; beauty and aesthetic pleasures; popular culture; sexual gratification; social, historical and cultural conditions of pleasure; idiosyncratic and fan pleasures; haptic, tactile and sensory engagements; non-representational theory and affect and interrogations of spectacle and other visual pleasures.


For this two day symposium we invite proposals for papers of 20 minutes across the broad spectrum of Media and Cultural Studies, to include literature, music, theatre, media and the arts.

Key questions and themes to be explored may include but are not limited to:

  • How have understandings of pleasure shifted?
  • What new approaches exist for analysing pleasure?
  • How have viewer/text relations expanded thanks to multi-platform, cross-platform and relocated media?
  • What kinds of pleasures remain outlawed and what kinds of pleasures have become mainstream?
  • How is the body currently being written into theory?
  • Intersectionality and pleasure
  • Sexuality, gender and pleasure
  • Race, critical whiteness and pleasure
  • Displeasure and critique
  • Feel good and feel bad texts


In addition to the Symposium, on the Thursday afternoon before, there will be a Masterclass with Professor Dyer, for which applications from Postgraduates and early career researchers will be prioritised. Professor Dyer will assign several of his publications for discussion. Participants will also get a chance to discuss their own work. A dinner will follow the Masterclass.

Instructions for Submissions for Symposium and Masterclass

There is no registration charge for this symposium for which acceptance will be highly competitive.

Submissions for these events and any questions should be sent to: with by Monday 13th March. Acceptances will be sent Friday 17th March.

  • For the Symposium please send an abstract of 250 words and brief bio to with the words 'SYMPOSIUM' in the subject line.
  • For the Masterclass please send an abstract of up to 500 words and brief bio to with with the words 'MASTERCLASS' in the subject line.
  • If you hope to attend both the Symposium and the Masterclass then follow the instructions above and put 'SYMPOSIUM AND MASTERCLASS' in the subject line.


Dunedin offers an excellent range of motels, hotels and self-contained apartments, from comfortable budget units to 5-star facilities.

The compact nature of the city means most properties are located close to the city centre. Even if your preference is to stay in the quieter suburbs, there are plenty of enjoyable options and the city centre would still be within easy access.

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