CASS Inaugural Professorial Lecture: A Career up in Smoke

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

Please join us for the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences Inaugural Professorial Lecture Series. In this lecture, we welcome Professor Simone Dennis from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, School of Archaeology and Anthropology.

A Career up in Smoke

Why is it important to study smoking? Why have I spent the better part of my career doing just that? In this lecture, I trace the smoky journey I have taken through academia, detailing how attendance to this practice has shifted from an acceptable social habit to something dirty and dangerous. By focussing on tobacco smoking and its legislation, Among other things, focusing on tobacco smoking and its legislation has led me to consider broad social issues such as how middle class-ness is expressed and made manifest in the world; how, far from being backgrounded atmospheric, the air itself is essential to how the operations of power become manifest and effective, and equally essential to the making of the social world. Tracking and tracing the legislative changes to smoking has also permitted me to make some interesting insights into how we create and deploy methodological and analytic tools to social phenomena, and particularly about how the senses are involved in the production of social science data and results. The emergence of thirdhand smoke has proved extremely interesting for what and how the 'public' has been constructed, and who can and cannot belong to it. We may think that everyone belongs to something called 'the public', but existing and emergent legislation dealing with constraining smoking in public space might make us think otherwise.