Current Research Projects


Geoff Boucher

Geoff Boucher is working on three projects which have to do with the politics of cultural formations and that can mesh with honours and doctoral supervisions. This approach synthesises elements of Critical Theory and Lacanian psychoanalysis.

1.     The Authoritarian Personality and Rightwing Culture Wars

This project examines the contemporary connection between rightwing authoritarian politics and the culture of the alt-Right and far Right. It includes analysis of QAnon and other fringe conspiracy theories, particularly as they relate to literary anticipations and computer games. If the new strategy of the Right is based on attaining cultural hegemony, how close are they to their goal?

Project partners: Helen Young, Emmett Stinson and Andrew Dean

2.     The Politics of Fantasy

What are the drivers of the rising popularity of fantasy literature? What is the connection between this and the decline of mainstream religion? Is there a link between fantasy literature and cultural phantasies, especially ones with political implications? This project looks at the “literature of the impossible” through lenses of literary mode, narratology and psychoanalysis, to investigate the role of fantasy (and phantasy) in the formation of subjectivity. It reads prominent examples of fantasy literature such as NK Jemisin, Brandon Sanderson, R Scott Bakker and Naomi Novik, asking what their cultural significance and political implications are.

3.     Shakespeare after Zizek

Discussions of the politics of Shakespeare classically oriented themselves to the histories and the “Roman plays”. More recently, New Historicism and Cultural Materialism have detected political trace elements in Shakespeare’s engagements with race and the New World, and with religion and the Catholic Underground. Fascinating though these may be, these things are in truth marginal to the political implications of Shakespeare’s cultural significance. Shakespeare is first and foremost the poet of modern love. That is what he was in his day, and it is what he is in our day. And love is, of course, intensely political, since the myth of modern love is the ideological cement of the family unit, a pillar of bourgeois society. This project supplements feminist and queer theoretical readings of Shakespeare with Zizek’s ideas about how ideology is subtended by phantasy.

Further details about these projects can be found at:

Helen Young, Paul Venzo

The recent Rainbow Families Picture Books research project at Deakin University grew out of a personal lament about the quality and availability of children’s literature resources featuring LGBTQIA+ families and their children.

The initial research phase indicated that just a small number of such picture books tend to dominate library holdings and online retail spaces. While more contemporary texts may include more diverse and intersectional characters and experiences, in general these remain under-recognised and difficult to access.

The second phase of this project involved a survey of rainbow families and their relationship with the picture books that purport to represent them.

from ALIA webinar in June 2021 – reporting on this project.

With Lara Hedberg from Deakin