All posts by Patrick Stokes

‘Gloomy Sunday’: Deakin Philosophers talk Suicide on The Philosopher’s Zone

Gloomy Sunday,’ an exploration of the philosophy of suicide – and the risks involved in philosophising in public about suicide – was broadcast on ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone on Sunday 8 September.

The piece is presented and produced by Deakin’s A/Prof Patrick Stokes and features Deakin’s Dr Jon Roffe and Dr Valery Vinogradovs alongside the University of Melbourne’s A/Prof Justin Clemens and Prof. Jane Pirkis.

You can listen to the program here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Who Needs the Humanities?

“It’s clear,” says Dr Bowden, “that the design of new, marketable technologies requires input from Humanities scholars who are well placed to understand the human dimensions and impacts of these technologies, and to articulate the ethical frameworks that should guide their functioning and use.”

On Wednesday 31st July, Deakin’s Dr Sean Bowden will be facilitating a panel discussion on the topic Who Needs the Humanities? at the NGV’s Clemenger Auditorium (tickets are still available via the link). Joining Sean will be: 

  • Prof Joy Damousi, Professor of History at the University of Melbourne and current President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
  • Prof David Lowe, Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in Contemporary History, Deakin University.
  • Prof Robert Stern, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield and current President of the British Philosophical Association.
  • Dr Miriam Bankovsky, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Director of the Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, La Trobe University.
  • Dr Emily Potter, Senior Lecturer in Literary Studies and Associate Head of School (Research) in the School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University.

Ahead of the event, Dr Bowden and panelists spoke to Deakin’s Disruptr Magazine about defending a place for the humanities in the twentieth century. 

The value of Humanities research might often be difficult to pin down. But this is only because it is as multi-dimensional as the human world in which we live.


Dr Helen Ngo wins 2019 AAP Innovation in Inclusive Curricula Prize

We’re delighted to report that Dr Helen Ngo has been awarded the 2019 Innovation in Inclusive Curricula Prize by the Australasian Association of Philosophy, for her work on ASP214 Justice and Equality:

Dr Helen Ngo

The judging panel unanimously decided to award the Prize for Innovation in Inclusive Curricula to Helen Ngo for her unit Justice and Equality. The first half of the unit focuses on grounding the students with a knowledge of the key movements in contemporary political philosophy, including utilitarianism, Rawlsian liberalism, libertarianism, Marxism, and communitarianism. In the second half the focus turns to racism, decolonial justice, feminism, transgender identities, and disability.

Rather than looking at these topics in isolation from the philosophical movements explored in the first half of the unit, Ngo links the new topics to political philosophy as traditionally conceived. For instance, Marxism is connected to decolonial justice through the work of Frantz Fanon; Rawlsian liberalism is discussed in relation to racism through the work of Charles Mills. The new topics are also discussed in relation to each other. For example, the week on transgender identities is related back to the week on feminism, and the tensions between feminist and transgender activism are explored, as are the possibilities for trans-feminist solidarity.

Ngo has radically altered the unit from previous years, assigning authors from a variety of underrepresented and marginalised groups. The unit also encourages the students to engage with real-world issues that are traditionally overlooked in undergraduate units in political philosophy. Ngo makes the case that these issues can both illuminate and pose serious challenges to existing political theories. Her unit is an excellent example of how to design a philosophy course that encourages diversity and inclusivity.

Congratulations Helen!