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"The Hospitality of Cyberspace"

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
12:00 AM
Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer, #1022

This lecture focusses on maritime voyages filmed and narrated by asylum seekers, where they become "producers" of their own testimonial narratives that are then disseminated through both conventional and new media.  Social media offers new venues and opportunities for the dissemination of testimony generated by the asylum seekers, from within the boats, trucks and planes that transport them.  Much of the current writing on social activism and new media focusses on the uprisings of the Arab Spring that was inspired and energized by new technologies and the dissemination of dissent. Asylum seekers are not citizens seeking democracy in the public spaces of their own homelands, to the contrary, they are stigmatised as the barbarians at the gates of ours, and as a threat to the security of the nation. However in their hands smartphones and social media enable new forms of testimonial narrative, from within spaces of detention. Can we speak of the hospitality of cyberspace on behalf of the dispossessed?’

Gillian Whitlock is a graduate of the University of Queensland and Queen’s University in Canada, and her scholarly networks focus on the fields of life writing and postcolonialism, with an emphasis on contemporary writing. She is currently an ARC Professorial Fellow in the School.