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Niall Lucy Award presented to expert in philosophical ethology

News story

Curtin research fellow Dr Matthew Chrulew has been named the inaugural winner of The Niall Lucy Award, named in honour of the late Professor Niall Lucy.

Then-Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Brett Kirk and Dr Matthew Chrulew at the Humanities Research and Graduate Studies Research Event.
Then-Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Brett Kirk and Dr Matthew Chrulew at the Humanities Research and Graduate Studies Research Event.

Dr Matthew Chrulew, the leader of the Posthumanism and Technology program within Curtin’s Centre for Culture and Technology (CCAT) and a respected researcher in the field of philosophical ethology, was presented with the Niall Lucy Award on September 1 at the Humanities Research and Graduate Studies Research Event.

Professor Niall Lucy was the co-founder of CCAT; a leading scholar on literary and critical theory, especially on ‘deconstruction’, a term coined by French philosopher Jacques Derrida that explores the connection between text and meaning; and a writer on contemporary culture, media politics and Australian popular music. He died in June 2014.

To commemorate Professor Lucy’s significant achievements, Curtin’s School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts funded the Niall Lucy Award, valued at $5,000.

The Niall Lucy Award was open to applicants who demonstrated excellence of published work in critical and cultural theory, media scholarship or popular music scholarship.

A range of submissions were received, but the judges felt Dr Chrulew, whose research examines human relationships with animals and the environment, was the unanimous choice.

“It isn’t often that an emerging scholar and theorist of Matthew Chrulew’s calibre and potential turns up. This is someone who promises to be a world leader in his field,” said Professor Tim Dolin, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Humanities, at the event.

“He is a driving force behind a new interdisciplinary enterprise: one that applies the tools of cultural and critical theory to the science of animal behaviour, with the aim of intervening in debates about the environment, extinction, climate change and the ethics of the human and animal relationship.”

Dr Chrulew has also recently been awarded funding from the Australian Research Council to continue his research.

Together, the award and the grant will allow Dr Chrulew to take a sustained approach to opening up the field of philosophical ethology.

“It was extremely heartening that a group of Niall’s closest colleagues and friends felt that my work lived up to the scholarly standards and critical spirit of his own. I am very proud to be associated with his legacy,” said Dr Chrulew.

“There is a real need to look historically and critically at the concepts through which we understand animal behaviour, cognition, culture and technology, and to think through how they relate to more traditional humanities ideas about the distinctiveness of human society and subjectivity.”

The Niall Lucy Award will be open for submissions again next year.

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