Lisa Trahair is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies.
Shortly before completing my PhD at the University of Sydney, I was appointed Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland (1996) and one year later took the position of (interdisciplinary) Co-ordinator of Film Studies for the Faculty of Arts. In 1999, I returned to Sydney to UNSW where I currently teach and research.
My primary research focus is on how popular and avant-garde artefacts make use of the image both as a source of aesthetic pleasure and to contemplate, and thus formulate ideas about, reality. My area of expertise is film studies and within that film comedy and film and philosophy. My book The Comedy of Philosophy: Sense and Nonsense in Early Cinematic Slapstick was published by SUNY in 2007. I continue to publish in the areas of comic performance, contemporary European cinema, and film and philosophy. Forthcoming projects include Understanding Cinematic Thinking: Film-Philosophy in Bresson, von Trier and Haneke, co-written with Gregory Flaxman and Robert Sinnerbrink, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, (expected publication in 2019) and Second Nature: Comic Performance and Philosophy, co-edited with Josephine Gray, Rowman & Littlefield, 2020. In the latter part of 2019 I will be visiting scholar at the University of Amsterdam.
As well as being the recipient of many Faculty research grants, I have been the first chief investigator on two interdisciplinary ARC Discovery projects. The first of these grants (DP0450596) was with Professor Jim Davis, now in Theatre Studies at Warwick University, for the project “The Framing and Staging of Comic Performance in the Nineteenth and Early 20th Centuries”. The second (DP1092889) was an interdisciplinary collaboration with Assoc. Professor Robert Sinnerbrink (Philosophy, Macquarie University) and Associate Professor Gregory Flaxman (Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina) entitled “Film as Philosophy: Understanding Cinematic Thinking”. In 2009 I was awarded a UNSW Vice-Chancellor’s Goldstar Award ($30,000) for this project. I have also received grants in the past from the University of Sydney and the NSW Film and Television Office.
With the second ARC Grant I co-founded the Cinematic Thinking Network (currently over 100 members) and hosted 5 workshops on related topics at UNSW. These involved contributions from both Australian and international scholars from post-graduate level to eminent professors. Two of these workshops resulted in special issues of international journals co-edited by me and Robert Sinnerbrink: Cinema and/as Ethics, Substance 45:3, 2016; Special Dossier: Cinematic Thinking, Screening the Past, 38, 2013. In addition, I co-edited with Lisabeth During Belief in Cinema: Themes after André Bazin, a special issue of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 17:4, 2012.
At UNSW I have held numerous administrative positions, from being the Dean’s delegate on the then COFA Faculty Board, to contributing to appointment committees and promotion committees (for both the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science). I have been the school representative on the FASS Standing Committee and the FASS Honours Working Party. I have held the positions of Film Studies Convenor, School Honours Convenor and School Research Convenor.