Skip to main content

Metaphors are indispensable tools for making sense of reality, including the ongoing reality of systemic colonial relations—or to obfuscate it (to deflect the need to enact substantive decolonisation agendas, for example). In times of crisis they perform a crucial role in translating and interpreting a rapidly changing world.

Viral phenomena have multiplied recently, literally and metaphorically. But all crises generate metaphorical languages. Terrorism was not a virus, it was a bacterial formation; the GFC was a fierce and incontrollable storm… The ‘Canberra bubble’ – a bad thing – has become the ‘family bubble’ – a good thing. To understand what is at stake in the metaphors we use and the ways they are deployed, we need a critical engagement with their underlying assumptions, their rhetorical operation, their ideological effects, and their real-world implications.

Session 5

Counting to 1. Digital metaphors and technology

Friday 16 October

Do metaphors serve to reveal technology or conceal it?

Robyn Ferrell (Philosophy & Gender Studies, University of Sydney), ‘Three figures of the digital’.

Timothy Strom (Arena, Melbourne), ‘Spider-bots on the Crawl Frontier: Cybernetic Surveillance and Colonial Metaphors’.

Cassandra Steer (Law, Australian National University) & Cait Storr (University of Technology Sydney), ‘Is “Space Colonisation” a Metaphor? International Space Law and the Global Decolonisation Movements

Back to top


Date: 16 October 2020
Time: 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Location: IPCS Online
Zoom Link Australia

Google Calendar iCal Export

A series hosted by the Institute of Postcolonial Studies and the ANU Centre for Law Arts and Humanities.

Convened by Desmond Manderson (Australian National University) and Lorenzo Veracini (Swinburne University).