2010-2011 Committee:

Editor-in-Chief Rachel Bayefsky
Publisher Kira Rose
Typesetters Sam Ferguson and K.C. Lee
Webmaster Bonolo Mathibela
Cover Design Hana Ross
Editors Ciara Dangerfield,
Alyce DeCarteret,
Brian Earp,
Rebecca Roach,
Kira Rose,
Laura Schaposnik,
Helen Todd
SCR Review Committee Professor Laura Marcus,
Dr David Palfreyman,
Professor Leigh Payne,
Dr William Poole,
Professor Rhian Samuel,
Professor Derek Terrar,
Professor David Wiggins


Volume 6 of The New Collection is available as a PDF download from here. Links to individual articles can be found below.


Brian Earp Can science tell us what’s objectively true?
Adam Etinson A Rights-Based Utopia?
Catherine Chisholm Characteristics of Bullying, Victim Behaviour and the Whole-School Policy
Rachel Becker ‘Unsex Me Here’: Intertwining Characteristics of Queer and Straight Composers
Ruth Helen Faram Testing the Grey Matter: Neuroscience and the Pursuit of the Unknown
Kira Rose Romance: A Gendered Genre

Can science tell us what’s objectively true?
Brian Earp
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Can science tell us what’s objectively true? Or is it merely a clever way to cure doubt - to give us something to believe in, whether it’s true or not? In this essay, I look at the pragmatist account of science expounded by Charles Sanders Peirce in his 1877 essay, ‘The Fixation of Belief’. Against Peirce, I argue that science does not come naturally to our species, nor does the doubting open-mindedness upon which its practice relies. To the extent that science is successful in ‘curing’ doubt, it’s because it tracks the real state of the world; and I argue that Peirce himself - his pragmatist narrative notwithstanding - is implicitly committed to this view as well.

A Rights-Based Utopia?
Adam Etinson
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In the epilogue to his recent revisionist history of human rights, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Samuel Moyn considers the complex pressures exerted on the modern idea of human rights in light of its utopian status. One of these pressures, according to Moyn, consists in the ‘burden of politics’, that is, the need for human rights to represent a bona fide political programme of their own and not just ‘a set of minimal constraints on responsible politics’. In this essay review, I reflect on an opposite problem: the complex pressures exerted upon our utopian imagination in light of its habitual association with the modern idea of human rights. In particular, I illustrate the impoverishing effect that a preoccupation with rights can have on our utopian ideals. These reflections form the basis for my argument that, far from aiming as Moyn does to preserve the utopian status of the idea of human rights, we ought to wrest utopian thought free from any dominating preoccupation with rights.

Characteristics of Bullying, Victim Behaviour and the Whole-School Policy
Catherine Chisholm
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Dealing with bullying, either as a participant or a bystander, is unfortunately a common aspect of school life for many adolescents. This article examines the complex nature of bullying in terms of the difficulty of defining it due to the differing interpretations of what constitutes it. The characteristics of bullying and victim behaviour are explored, along with the effects of bullying upon the individuals involved, the school community and the possible effects upon both bullies and victims in later life. The need for a whole-school anti-bullying policy is also considered. With bullying behaviour impacting upon the whole- school community and environment in a number of ways, arriving at a shared understanding of exactly what constitutes bullying in each incidence is vital in maintaining a consistent approach toward bullying behaviour and thus ensuring the success of intervention work.

‘Unsex Me Here’: Intertwining Characteristics of Queer and Straight Composers
Rachel Becker
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Discussions of sexuality as it surfaces in musical works or relates to a composer’s style have become popular in musicology. In this paper, I argue that the effects of sexuality on musical composition are often overemphasized by academics, critics, and musicians. I provide background information on the ways in which critics and academics have discussed the relationship between sexuality and music, and on the loaded language that often makes its way into these discussions. I then examine two pairs of composers - Samuel Barber and Howard Hanson, and Aaron Copland and Roy Harris - and look at the ways in which musical characteristics cross lines of sexuality. The goal of this paper is not to provide a comprehensive overview of the reception of these composers and works, but to consider the ways in which divisions between composers have been emphasized because of the place of sexuality within society.

Testing the Grey Matter: Neuroscience and the Pursuit of the Unknown
Ruth Faram
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Recent advances in brain research have led to a dramatic increase in the visibility of Neuroscience. The rapid translation of laboratory research to applied clinical therapy has allowed for the treatment of some devastating neurological disorders, something that did not seem possible even twenty-five years ago. Recent interest in the expanding field of Neuroscience has lead to many groundbreaking discoveries. Here I summarise two of these - Neuronal Plasticity and Adult Neurogenesis. I discuss these in relation to fundamental research, which is the most basic, ‘pure’ research, often focused at a cellular level, which may not initially have any direct commercial benefits. I attempt to highlight the importance of such fundamental knowledge and suggest why it will remain the backbone of all scientific research, despite any advances made at a clinical level. I briefly describe the area of Neuroscience that I am currently studying, which engages several cellular and molecular components, in an attempt to share not only my enthusiasm for the brain, but also to highlight the significance of any fundamental research from a practical perspective.

Romance: A Gendered Genre
Kira Rose
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This paper explores gendered narratives in A.S. Byatt’s Possession: A Romance. While Byatt does not see herself as a ‘feminist’ writer, her fiction speaks to her preoccupation with the complexities of women’s lives. In the first part of this paper, I consider how Byatt’s Victorian poetess Christabel LaMotte contends with and reaffirms romance’s expectations, arguing that LaMotte stands in for the historical Poetess figure and her tenuous relationship to femininity and creativity. I go on to demonstrate how LaMotte’s identification with the mythic Fairy Melusine, and her failed attempt to write an epic poem, reinforce LaMotte as the re-embodiment of the perpetually displaced Poetess.