Keynote Speakers

Esther Leslie

Esther Leslie has research interests in Marxist theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno.

Other research interests include the poetics of science, European literary and visual modernism and avant gardes, animation, colour and madness.

Her books are Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism (Pluto 2000), and Hollywood Flatlands, Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant Garde (Verso 2002), Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry (Reaktion, 2005) andWalter Benjamin (Reaktion 2007), Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage(Unkant, 2014).

Her translations include Georg Lukacs, A Defence of ‘History and Class Consciousness(Verso 2002) and Walter Benjamin: The Archives (Verso, 2007).

Her next book is on the poetics and politics of liquid crystals.

Verity Burgmann

Verity Burgmann is Adjunct Professor of Politics in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University and Director of the Roger Coates Labour History Project, an online resource of primary source documents of Australian radicalism accessible at

In 2013 she was Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack Visiting Professor at the Free University in Berlin. From 1988 to 2012 she taught in Political Science at the University of Melbourne and became its first female professor in 2003. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1999.

Author of numerous publications on labour movement history and politics, protest movements, radical ideologies and environmental politics, her books include: ‘In Our Time’: Socialism and the Rise of Labor (1985); Power and Protest (1993); Revolutionary Industrial Unionism: the Industrial Workers of the World in Australia (1995); Green Bans, Red Union (1998); Power, Profit and Protest (2003); Climate Politics and the Climate Movement in Australia (2012); and Globalization and Labour in the Twenty-First Century (2016). Published by Routledge, this latest book provides a labour-oriented response to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.


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