Mrs Breann Fallon

Postgraduate Teaching Fellow
PhD Candidate


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Biographical details

Breann Fallon received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours First Class) in Religious Studies and History from the University of Sydney in 2014. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Studies in Religion. She has taught in Studies in Religion since 2015, first as a casual tutor and lecturer, and as a Postgraduate Teaching Fellow in 2017. Her research interests include religion and violence, genocide, cinema, nature, material religion, and gender, having published on all of these topics. In particular, her research focuses on further understanding the mind of genocide perpetrators, considering their relationship with the objects they wield. Additionally, the intersection of religion and cinema, particularly film as a religious medium, is another of her key research areas. Breann is the Asia-Pacific podcaster for the Religious Studies Project, the Social Media Manager for the International History of Religion Women Scholars Network and is also part of University of Sydney Refugee Language Program team.

Research interests

  • Religion and Violence
  • Genocide
  • Cinema
  • Religion and Nature
  • Material Religion

Teaching and supervision

Breann teaches units including RLST1002: History of God Deities, and Demons, RLST1005: Atheism Fundamentalism and New Religions, RLST3603 Contemporary Australian Religion, and newly in 2017 she will be teaching as part of the Honours Students seminar program. Breann has also taught RLST2620: Religion and Violence as a part of the Studies in Religion Summer School.

Thesis work

Thesis title: The Fetishisation Effect: Resurrecting Fetishisation Via a Case-Study of the Machete in in the Perpetuation of the Rwandan Genocide

Supervisors: Jay JOHNSTON , Carole CUSACK

Thesis abstract:

Fetishisation is considered to be a useless and outdated methodology amongst religious studies scholars. This methodology is weighed down by a lack of clarity, as well as colonial, sexual and racist overtones. In truth, the much more popular notion of Durkheimian Totemism (1912) has left Fetishisation in its wake. Scholars such as Roy Ellen (1998) have attempted to resurrect fetishisation as a methodology. Ellen presents the fetish as an that object ceases to be inanimate, transforming into a power conflated with a particular "spirit" (1988, 221), this "spirit" manipulating the individual as well as the community around which it is shaped. Despite this reworking of fetishisation, it still has not been readliy drawn upon within the religious studies academy - this is perhaps due to the colonial history surrounding the term. Drawing upon Ellen's attempt to bring fetishisation out of the depths, this thesis shall again attempt to resurrect fetishisation, working through the negative history surround the term and applying the methodology to a new area of study. Here, fetishisation shall be considered within the context of religion and violence, fetishisation being used to consider the power of the the machete in the Rwandan Genocide. This project utilises primary material sourced from perpetrator diaries and interviews in order to access if a fetishisation of the machete did take place, causing it to become a manipulating and influencing force. In comprehending the influence of the fetishised machete within the Rwandan Genocide, this case of genocide will not only be more clearly understood but fetishisation may be truly resurrected as a viable methodology for religious studies scholars. As such, this thesis aims to render this particuler methodology once agin useful and viable within religious studies as a discipline.

Current projects

Forthcoming publications

  • Breann Fallon, 'Violence of Mind, Body, Community, and Spirit: An Investigation of the Spiritual and Religious Response Triggered by the Sexual Violence of Genocide' in Blyth and Colgan eds., Rape Culture, Gender Violence, and Religion (Palgrave Macmillan: forthcoming 2017)
  • Breann Fallon, 'Anzac Civil Religion? A survey of the Australian public on their interaction with Anzac', Journal for the Academic Study of Religion (forthcoming 2017).
  • Breann Fallon, '"I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree”: Trees in the Practice of Paganism, Wicca and other Nature-based New Religious Movements', Journal of the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (forthcoming 2017).

Associations

  • Asia-Pacific Podcaster for the Religious Studies Project
  • Member of the Australian Association for the Study of Religion
  • Member of the British Association for the Study of Religion
  • Member of the European Association for the Study of Religion
  • Member of the Sociology of Religion Study Group for the British Sociological Association
  • Member of the International Peace History Society
  • Member of the Australian Historical Association
  • Social Media Manager for the International History of Religion Women Scholars Network

Awards and honours

  • 2016 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dean's Citation for Excellence in Tutorial Teaching Award
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, tenable for PhD from 2015-2018
  • 2015 Peace History Society International, Postgraduate Paper Award
  • 2014 University of Sydney Rachael McKibbon Prize for an Honours Thesis in Studies in Religion
  • 2014 University of Sydney Honours Scholarship
  • 2013 University of Sydney GS Caird Scholarship for Studies in Religion III
  • 2013 University of Sydney Dean’s Scholar
  • 2012 Australian National Student Leadership Forum Delegate
  • 2012 University of Sydney GS Caird Scholarship for Studies in Religion II
  • 2010 Young Citizen of the Year for Eden Monaro, Australia
  • 2008 Australian Defence Force Academy Long Tan Leadership Award

In the media

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Fallon, B. (2014). A(blue)nt: Beyond the Sybmology of the Colour Blue. Literature and Aesthetics, 24(2), 21-38. [More Information]
  • Fallon, B. (2014). Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Girard: The Fortification and Veneration of American Civil Religion in Film. Literature and Aesthetics, 24(1), 29-46.

2014

  • Fallon, B. (2014). A(blue)nt: Beyond the Sybmology of the Colour Blue. Literature and Aesthetics, 24(2), 21-38. [More Information]
  • Fallon, B. (2014). Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Girard: The Fortification and Veneration of American Civil Religion in Film. Literature and Aesthetics, 24(1), 29-46.

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