Associate Professor Tony Moore

Communications and Media Studies

BA (hons) (Syd); PhD (Syd)

Associate Professor Tony Moore joined the Communications and Media Studies Program as a Lecturer in February 2009, following careers in book publishing and as a program maker at ABC Television. Tony completed his doctorate in Australian cultural history at the University of Sydney, and writes regularly on communications, history and politics in the press and scholarly publications. Through his journalism and publishing projects Tony maintains close industry links with professionals working in the media and policy sectors, which are drawn upon to enhance the vocational depth of the Communications and Media Studies Postgraduate program.

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Dancing With Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians Since 1860

Released July 2012

In nineteenth-century Europe, the word ‘bohemian’ conjured the primitive, exotic and mysterious power of gypsies and was soon adopted by renegade writers and artists.

For more than 150 years in Australia, networks of creators – painters, writers, larrikin journalists, actors, filmmakers, comedians and hackers – have become as famous for their controversial, eccentric lifestyles as for the subversive work they produced. Dancing with Empty Pockets is a history of Australia’s most creative and iconoclastic bohemian artists from Marcus Clarke and Dulcie Deamer to the Yellow House and Nick Cave, and an examination of how our counter cultures have changed the way we live.

In Australia a bohemian identity was associated with a succession of circles, spaces, subcultures, and movements across most creative arts and medias that persisted from the nineteenth through the twentieth century, that leave traces and echoes to this day.

Drawing on the theoretical insights of Pierre Bourdieu, Walter Benjamin, Mikhail Bakhtin and British Cultural Studies, Dr Moore, reveals an Australian bohemian tradition stretching back past the pomo, punk and counter-cultures of the 90s, 80s, and 70s, the anarchistic Sydney Libertarians and Carlton scenes of the 1960s and 50s, the modernist avant-gardes like the ‘Angry Penguins’ in the 30s and 40s, to the jazz age libertines of the 1920s and the writers and painters associated with the Bulletin and Heidelberg Schools in the late nineteenth century.

The bohemian tradition has thrived over the past three decades of a plethora of Gen X and Y inner city music scenes, spectacular youth subcultures from ravers and goths to street artists and steam punks, sexual, and other identity movements, a satire boom, climaxing in the digital artists, anarchic cyberpunks, hackers and pranksters who have colonised the social spaces of the internet as virtual bohemias.

‘Dr Moore takes us down history’s backstreets after midnight in search of our bohemian past; his prose is as witty, ironic and entertaining as many of the characters he finds lurking there.’

Graeme Blundell

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