Dr Gabriel Tusinski has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship at the Humanities Research Centre (HRC) in the College of Arts and Sciences at Australian National University from June-August 2019. During the fellowship period, Dr Tusinski will conduct original research on the HRC’s annual theme of “Crisis!” His project, ‘This is (not) crisis’: Chronotope, Crisis Narration, and the Metapragmatics of Historical Time, will analyze a body of empirical data gathered over 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Timor-Leste between 2008 and the present. Specifically, it will investigate Timorese political speech and popular discourse following the “2006-7 Crisis,” an episode of violence marked by government collapse, mass-destruction and displacement, and the renewal of UN-sponsored peacekeeping operations and diplomatic nation-building efforts.
Figure 1 Aftermath of Crisis in Dili, Timor-Leste, photo courtesy of Dr Gabriel Tusinski
Using the tools of a semiotically-informed linguistic anthropology, Dr Tusinski will examine the spatial and temporal organization (or “chronotopes”) of Timorese crisis narratives and their social effects. He will explore such questions as: What do declarations of crisis do socially and interactionally and how do they work in practice? How does “crisis” conjure and transform sociocultural sensibilities about the past, present, and future? How do invocations of crisis impact peoples’ understandings of the emergent structure of historical time?
Dr Tusinski’s activities during the fellowship will allow him to complete an article for publication. He will also actively participate in the programs of the Centre and the College, meet regularly with other fellows, and make a public presentation of his research at the Centre’s weekly seminar series. He is particularly enthusiastic to engage and interact with fellow scholars of Timor-Leste currently in residence at ANU.
Figure 2 Crisis! HRC Annual Theme (from HRC Website)
The Humanities Research Centre (HRC) was established in 1972 as a national and international centre for excellence in the humanities, broadly construed. It promotes innovative and interdisciplinary humanities research in Australia and beyond. Over its forty-five years of existence, it has been host to many of the world’s leading humanities scholars.