Dr Rebecca Beirne

Dr Rebecca Beirne

Senior Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (Film, Media and Cultural Studies)

Career Summary

Biography

A leading scholar in the area of lesbian representation in popular culture, Beirne has recently shifted her focus to the study of the representation of mental health conditions in television fictions.

Keywords

  • Film studies
  • LGBTIQ Studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Television studies
  • Gender and sexuality studies
  • Mental health in the media
  • Comics

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
190299 Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified 90
200205 Culture, Gender, Sexuality 10

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
FMCS1000 Film, Media, Culture |
School of Humanities and Social Science - Faculty of Education and Arts - The University of Newcastle
So many of the defining moments in our lives are accompanied by an experience with the media or have grown out of our relationship with the media. The media are a central part of how we live, work and play. This course provides a interdisciplinary framework for the analysis of our complex relationship with diverse forms of media. It will introduce students to a range of analytical approaches to the study of film, media and culture, and their application to specific texts, situations and events.
Coordinator 3/03/2016 - 20/06/2018
Edit

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Book (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Beirne RC, Televising Queer Women: A Reader, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, 228 (2012) [A4]
2011 Beirne RC, Bennett JE, Making Film and Television Histories: Australia and New Zealand, I. B. Tauris, London, 296 (2011) [A3]
Co-authors J Bennett
2008 Beirne R, Televising Queer Women: A Reader, Palgrave Macmillan, New York & London, USA & UK, 272 (2008) [A3]
2008 Beirne RC, Lesbians in Television and Text After the Millennium, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 233 (2008) [A1]
Citations Scopus - 9
Show 1 more book

Chapter (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Beirne RC, 'Representing Lesbians', The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex and Sexuality, Routledge, New York (2018)
2012 Beirne RC, Habib S, 'Trauma and triumph: Documenting Middle Eastern gender and sexual minorities in film and television', LGBT Transnational Identity and the Media, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire 41-58 (2012) [B1]
DOI 10.1057/9780230373310
2012 Beirne RC, 'Queer women on television today', Televising Queer Women: A Reader, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 1-10 (2012) [B1]
2012 Beirne RC, 'Mapping lesbian sexuality on Queer as Folk', Televising Queer Women: A Reader, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke 63-71 (2012) [B2]
2012 Beirne RC, 'Interrogating lesbian pornography: Gender, sexual iconography and spectatorship', Hard to Swallow: Hard-Core Pornography on Screen, Wallflower Press, London 229-243 (2012) [B1]
2011 Bennett JE, Beirne RC, 'Introduction', Making Film and Television Histories: Australia and New Zealand, I. B. Tauris, London xvii-xxiii (2011) [B2]
Co-authors J Bennett
2009 Beirne R, 'Television Shows', LGBTQ America Today, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT 1184-1192 (2009)
2008 Beirne R, 'Mapping Lesbian Desire in Queer as Folk', Televising Queer Women, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, United Kingdom 99-107 (2008) [B1]
2008 Beirne R, 'Introduction: A History of Lesbian Television Criticism', Televising Queer Women: A Reader, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, United Kingdom 1-16 (2008) [B1]
2005 Beirne R, 'Embattled Sex: Rise of the Right and Victory of the Queer in Queer as Folk', New Queer Aesthetic on Television: Essays on Recent Programming, McFarland & Company, Inc, Jefferson, North Carolina, United States 43-58 (2005) [B1]
Show 7 more chapters

Journal article (10 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Beirne RC, 'Extraordinary minds, impossible choices: Mental health, special skills and television', Medical Humanities, (2018)

© Article author(s) 2018. All rights reserved. Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of televisual protagonist and major secondary characters specifically... [more]

© Article author(s) 2018. All rights reserved. Over the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of televisual protagonist and major secondary characters specifically identified within the text as having a diagnosed mental illness. This is a significant development in the context of characters with a mental illness on television, who were previously usually minor and heavily stigmatised. A key trend with these new protagonists and major characters is the attribution of special talents or powers associated with mental health conditions. This paper analyses the discursive construction of this trope in five recent television series: Sherlock (UK, BBC, 2010-), Homeland (USA, Showtime, 2011-), Perception (USA, TNT, 2012-2015), Hannibal (USA, NBC, 2013-2015) and Black Box (USA, ABC, 2014). Theoretically, this paper draws on Sami Schalk's formulation of the 'superpowered supercrip narrative', which refers to the 'representation of a character who has abilities or «powers» that operate in direct relationship with or contrast to their disability'. This paper is also indebted to Davi A Johnson's 'Managing Mr. Monk' (2008) for its discussion of mental illness as attaining 'social value' through becoming a resource with economic and ethical value, as do the conditions of the fictional characters explored in this article. Schalk's work on disability is here expanded to a more specific discussion of mental illness on television, while Johnson's work is updated to discuss whether the newer characterisations reflect the same rhetorical positioning as Monk (USA, USA Network, 2002-2009), one of the earliest texts celebrated for featuring a lead, sympathetic character clearly and explicitly identified with a mental health condition. Of the five lead characters examined here, three are figured as responsible for their symptoms because they have chosen not to take medication or withdraw from their medication. It is concurrently presented that if they do take medication, it dampens their abilities to perform valuable work in the community, thus removing their use value within the world of the series.

DOI 10.1136/medhum-2017-011410
2015 Beirne RC, 'Piracy, geoblocking and Australian access to niche independent cinema', Popular Communication, 13 18-31 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/15405702.2014.978001
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
2014 Beirne R, 'New Queer Cinema 2.0? Lesbian-focused films and the internet', Screen, 55 129-138 (2014) [C1]
DOI 10.1093/screen/hjt058
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2012 Beirne RC, 'Teen lesbian desires and identities in international cinema: 1931-2007', Journal of Lesbian Studies, 16 258-272 (2012) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/10894160.2012.673925
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 1
2009 Beirne RC, 'Screening the dykes of Oz: Lesbian representation on Australian television', Journal of Lesbian Studies, 13 25-34 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/07380560802314128
Citations Scopus - 4
2007 Beirne R, 'Dirty Lesbian Pictures: Art and Pornography in The L Word', Critical Studies in Television, 2 90-101 (2007) [C1]
2007 Beirne R, 'Lesbian Pulp Television: Torment, Trauma and Transformations in The L Word', Refractory: a journal of entertainment media, 11 (2007) [C1]
2007 Beirne R, 'Diamond of Darkness: Liberalism and Colonialism in Edward Zuwick's Blood Diamond', Scope: an on-line journal of film studies, (2007) [C3]
2006 Beirne R, 'Fashioning The L Word', NEBULA: A Journal of Multidisciplinary Scholarship, 3 1-37 (2006) [C1]
2004 Beirne R, 'Queering the Slayer-Text: Reading Possibilities in Buffy the Vampire Slayer', Refractory: a journal of entertainment media, 5 (2004) [C1]
Show 7 more journal articles

Review (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Beirne RC, 'Queer German cinema', Directory of World Cinema: Germany (2012) [D2]

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2009 Beirne RC, 'Sex Wars of the 1980s', LGBTQ America Today ( pp.1122-1125). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press (2009)

Report (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Grushka K, Bennett J, Parkes RJ, Beirne R, Donnelly D, Falzon C, et al., 'Visual media texts: Teaching and assessing the humanities & social sciences in a post-literate age', Centre for Learning and Teaching, 18 (2013) [R1]
Co-authors Josephine May, Debra Donnelly, Heather Sharp, Kath Grushka, Robert Imre, Chris Falzon, Robert Parkes
2013 Grushka KM, Bennett J, Parkes R, Beirne R, Donnelly D, Falzon C, et al., 'Visual Media Texts: Teaching and Assessing the Humanities and Social Sciences in a Post-literate Age', Faculty of Education and Arts, 17 (2013)
Co-authors Kath Grushka, Chris Falzon, Robert Imre, Robert Parkes, J Bennett, Heather Sharp, Debra Donnelly, Josephine May
Edit

Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 6
Total funding $70,544

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20181 grants / $24,044

Australia-Germany Joint Research $24,044

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Rebecca Beirne, Dr Chrisof Schoch, Dr Katrin Betz, Dr José Calvo Tello
Scheme Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1800271
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20172 grants / $30,000

Society, Health and Disability Research Group: New Horizons$15,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Scheme FEDUA Strategic Networks and Pilot Projects (SNaPP)
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Representing Mental Health Conditions on Television, 2006-2016$15,000

Television has historically failed to offer a diverse representation of individuals and characters with mental conditions in a context where. The number and prominence of characters with mental health conditions, has, however, improved in recent years. And as Philo et.al. observe in their 2014 study conducted for UK mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness: “There are encouraging signs that we are moving away from outdated ‘mad and bad’ stereotypes in TV drama and moving towards more authentic, sympathetic and complex characters.” 

This study offers a close analysis of lead and major secondary characters and storylines in 32 television series appearing from 2006-2016 to offer a qualitative perspective on whether they have indeed moved away from established stigmatized stereotypes or not. Of particular interest is the potential of having multiple series where protagonists experience a mental health condition, instead of a secondary or one-off character. This study used mixed methods to: identify major characters in Anglophone scripted television series who are narratively diagnosed with a mental health condition; group the results in a variety of permutations including diagnoses, behavioural characteristics, age, gender, and treatment (therapy, medication and hospitalization); and conduct a close analysis of individual representations.

Funding body: University of Newcastle Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team

Rebecca Beirne

Scheme Faculty Fellowship (Mid-Career Researcher)
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20112 grants / $11,500

Visual Media Texts$10,000

Within our growing knowledge economy, students increasingly encounter disciplines such as history, politics, philosophy, and education through the intersection of new media technologies and popular culture, rather than through the once typical encounter with ‘the book’. Visual culture dominates everyday experience and is becoming increasingly important in teaching and learning (Goldfarb, 2002). Recognising that we live at a time when students prefer to engage with visual media rather than written text, Rosenstone (2001) has dubbed the present age ‘post-literate’, an age where everyone can read but no one will. Prensky (2007) describes the current generation transitioning from schools into the workforce and tertiary education as ‘digital natives’, for whom graphics precede written text as one of the defining features of their engagement in learning. This project recognises the significant work using visual media texts in teaching and learning occurring across the humanities and social science disciplines of the contemporary academy in areas such as history (Bennett & Beirne, 2011; Sealey, 2008), social work (Downey, Jackson, Puig, & Furman, 2003; Ello, 2007), and philosophy (Falzon, 2007; Mulhall, 2002); and its take up as both pedagogy and curriculum in the field of Education (Anderson & Jefferson, 2009). Through developing a dialogue across the Humanities and Social Science disciplines at the University of Newcastle, this project explores how, for what purpose, and to what effect, visual media (including film, television, still images, vodcasts, animation, social media and imaging technologies) are used by academics in the Humanities and Social Sciences to produce 21st century professionals and enhance the student experience. Through surveys, collection of learning artifacts and focus group interviews, it begins to develop an understanding of the variety of texts, assessment strategies and pedagogical approaches used by academics at the case site. Overall the project found that there is a broad continuum of use of visual media texts in the classrooms of academics that participated in the study. It makes a number of recommendations for facilitating and enhancing the use of visual media in tertiary classrooms.

Funding body: Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle

Funding body Centre for Teaching and Learning, The University of Newcastle
Project Team

Dr Kathryn Grushka, Dr James Bennett, Dr Robert Parkes, Dr Rebecca Beirne, Ms Debra Donnelly, Dr Chris Falzon, Ms Bronwyn Gallagher (RA), Dr Robert Imre, Dr Claire Lowrie, Dr Josephine May, Dr Heather Sharp.

Scheme Teaching and Learning Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2011
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

The Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealands Annual Conference, Auckland, 290611 - 1/7/2011$1,500

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team Doctor Rebecca Beirne
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2011
Funding Finish 2012
GNo G1100644
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20081 grants / $5,000

Lesbian in World Cinema$5,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Rebecca Beirne
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2008
Funding Finish 2008
GNo G0189587
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
Edit

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current5

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD2.05

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2018 PhD The Game of Survival: The Adaptation of Classical Greco-Roman Mythology in Videogames PhD (Cultural Studies), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2018 PhD Cinema as a Medium of Time: An Analysis of Long-Takes in the Art-House Films of the Non-English World PhD (Cultural Studies), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2018 PhD (Re)constructing Subjectivity in Contemporary Coming-of-Age Narratives PhD (English), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2016 PhD Hella Queer: Lesbian Representation in Contemporary Comics PhD (Cultural Studies), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2012 PhD In a Mirror Darkly: Using Modern Culture to Visualise the Invisible PhD (Classics), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
Edit

Dr Rebecca Beirne

Position

Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Film, Media and Cultural Studies

Contact Details

Email rebecca.beirne@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 5081
Fax (02) 49216933

Office

Room GP223
Building General purpose
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
Edit