The dissonance of humane domination: How the powerful control the mobility of the vulnerable

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) Professorial Lecture Series 

This public lecture is the third in a series of seven lectures that aim to celebrate our esteemed academics and showcase their areas of expertise in research and teaching.

About the event

Western states often argue that their policies of refugee exclusion are in place for the benefit of refugees. Policies aimed at deterring refugees from travelling to claim asylum, for example, are said to protect refugees from nefarious people smugglers and deaths on dangerous journeys across land and sea. Such ‘humane’ justifications for controlling the mobility of vulnerable people have a long history. Indigenous people, enslaved people, ethnic minorities, and others have long been subject to such arguments and practices of ‘humane domination,’ as they have been variously contained, excluded, and expelled by powerful actors for their own supposed well-being. There is a dissonance here that can be difficult to grasp and hard to resolve.

In this lecture, Professor Luke Glanville explores how enslaved Blacks and their descendants in the United States expressed this dissonance through slave songs, the blues, and jazz. By paying attention to Black musical engagement with dissonance, I suggest, we can better understand this enduring phenomenon of ‘humane domination’ and begin to perceive how it might be challenged and overcome.

The event will feature Wayne Kelly on piano and James Luke on double bass.


  • 6-7.20pm - Academic Lecture
  • 7.20-8pm - Networking drinks and canapés 

About the speaker 

Luke Glanville is Professor of International Relations at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. 

His research interests include historical international relations and the history of international political thought. He applies these interests particularly to the study of refugees, borders, sovereignty, and mass atrocities.

Read more about the speaker here

Date and Times


Hedley Bull Building, Lecture Theatre 1
130 Garran Rd