Media, Context and the Shaping of Contemporary Movements across the Atlantic – Marta Vilar Rosales, University of Lisbon

Friday, 5 April, 2019, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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This presentation explores the present-day circulations between Portugal and Brazil. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out over four years on both Atlantic coasts, the presentation examines a particular aspect of a broad and complex field of research in contemporary mobility studies – how and to what extent migrants interact with and make use of media contents to feed imaginaries and expectations, design positioning strategies, manage belonging and handle exclusion and inclusion in the different spatial, cultural and political contexts that comprise their migration experiences. The presentation examines print content published by the Portuguese media during the time frame of analysis (2011-15). The discussion will focus on three topics: Portugal as a hospitable and inclusive context to foreign middle classes; the attractiveness of diverse migration destinations to the Portuguese population; and the particular social, economic and political framework at play at the time, which promoted the simultaneous exploration of pull and push factors for migration in Portugal and Brazil, by the Portuguese media.

Marta Vilar Rosales holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (2007), an MA in Culture, Communication and ICT (1999) and a BA (1994) from ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon. Her main interests of research are contemporary material culture and consumption, Portuguese migrations and migration movements in the Lusophone space, colonialism and post-colonialism and media anthropology. Until recently, she was researcher at CRIA – Centre for Research in Anthropology, where she coordinated the Research Line Migrations, Ethnicity and Citizenship, and associated assistant professor at the Anthropology Department, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Currently she is researcher at ICS – Universidade de Lisboa. She also integrated IMISCOE (an European research network of excellence on migration studies) between 2007 and 2010. Since obtaining her PhD, she has participated in seven research projects. Currently is principal researcher of two projects. Since 2006, she has been involved in establishing and promoting international cooperation actions between Portuguese and Brazilian research teams who share scientific interests in contemporary material culture and consumption studies. From these actions, which resulted in the organisation of an international conference (two editions) and in the new international peer review journal (in English) Consumption, Culture and Society.

Communicative Reflexivity and Financial Bubbles: Linking Minsky to Marx – Peter Thompson, Victoria University of Wellington

Tuesday 2 April, 2019, 3pm – 4.30pm

Seminar Room 203, RD Watt Building, University of Sydney

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The aim of this paper is to outline a communicative framework for understanding the reflexive, constitutive role of financial information in the generation and annihilation of financial bubbles. In contrast to the neoclassical economic notion of efficient markets which implicitly assume that information is representative of fundamental market conditions, the approach here highlights the reflexive, constitutive role of information in shaping market reality. This approach emphasizes the potential for financial feedback loops between financial actors and media to endogenously (and performatively) shape market expectations and the symbolic ontology of fictitious asset values.

This analysis is then linked to Hyman Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis (FIH) which identified the central role of credit expansion and leverage in driving cycles of endogenous asset price inflation and collapse. The value of linking Minsky’s FIH to communicative processes is twofold: a) it provides the basis for a more complete analysis of how financial investors respond to the market signals their own activities generate (e.g. asset price inflation leading to discounted risk and cheaper credit) and b) by foregrounding the symbolic processes underpinning trading activity and the generation (and annihilation) financial asset values, it provides a link between the FIH to a revised Marxist account of finance capital’s crisis tendency.

Peter Thompson is a senior lecturer in Victoria University of Wellington’s media studies programme. Primarily, a political economist, his research interests include communication processes in financial markets as well as analyses of media policy. Peter is a founding co-editor of the Political Economy of Communication journal and is currently vice-chair of the IAMCR political economy section. He is also chair of the Better Public Media trust which campaigns for public interest media policy in New Zealand.

De-/Re-Constructing home – Maren Hartmann, University of Arts, Berlin

Friday 29 March, 2019, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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De-/Re-Constructing home: Notions of home and homelessness in times of mobile media

One of the always-taken-for-granted, but yet again constantly shifting concepts within media and cultural studies is the home. Maren Hartmann’s talk aims to unpack and map different understandings of the notion of home – both in media studies and beyond, but also in terms of both ontological and epistemological aspects. Four main – and rather diverse – foci shall serve to aid this mapping process: a) a (brief) feminist take on the household and home; b) a definition of home in the context of homelessness; c) the (media studies) concept of domestication and d) the home button. Next to often taking the notion and existence of home for granted, we often rely on “being-at-home” for our well-being and our identity-formation. In times, however, where insecurities seem once again on the rise, we need to take a new look at the interconnection between home and being-at-home. Drawing on work on homelessness, this talk proposes the concept of homing – making oneself at home in diverse ways. It also addresses the question what role media can play therein.

Maren Hartmann is professor of communication and media sociology at the University of Arts (UdK) in Berlin, Germany. She has worked at universities in the UK, Belgium and Germany and been a visiting scholar in Denmark and Sweden. In 2019, she is a Visiting Scholar in the SLAM Department of Media and Communications. Her work has four main foci: media and time; appropriation, esp. domestication; media and mobilities; home & homelessness. She has published widely in these fields. Maren is also involved in international organizations (Academiae Europeana, the German DGPuK and ECREA) and a regular guest at international conferences. 


Justine Humphry is a Lecturer in Digital Cultures in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. Her previous appointments include Lecturer in Cultural and Social Analysis at Western Sydney University and Research Fellow in Digital Media at the University of Sydney.

Automated Decision Making and Society – Julian Thomas

Friday 15 March, 2019, 3.00pm – 4.30pm

MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

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Digital media industries are at the head of a new wave of automation, driven by an expanding array of intelligent technologies, from deep learning to blockchains. Automation promises great benefits, but concerns abound over the prospects of industry disruption, increasing inequality, declining productivity, and diminishing economic security. With the rapid expansion of automated decision making, new risks to human rights and welfare are emerging. This talk reviews current developments in automation, and considers the ways in which researchers in media studies may contribute to the emergence of ethical, responsible and inclusive automation.

Julian Thomas is Professor of Media and Communications at RMIT University. He leads the Technology, Communications and Policy Lab in RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre. Julian’s recent publications include Internet on the Outstation (INC, 2016), Measuring the Digital Divide (2016, 2017, 2018), The Informal Media Economy (Polity, 2015), and Fashioning Intellectual Property (Cambridge UP, 2012). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, and is actively involved in a wide range of consumer, research and policy organisations in the technology and communications sectors.

The Journalisms of Islam: Contending Views in Muslim Southeast Asia – Janet Steele

Monday 11 March 2019, 5.30 – 6.30pm

Quadrangle History Room S226, University of Sydney

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Join Janet Steele, author of Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia, for a seminar on Islamic journalism.

What is Islamic journalism? It depends on where you stand. In Indonesia or Malaysia, journalism and Islam can have many different faces.

At Sabili, an Indonesian Islamist magazine first established as an underground publication, journalists were hired for their ability
at dakwah, or Islamic propagation. At Tempo on the other hand, a weekly Indonesian news magazine that was banned by the Soeharto regime and returned to print in 1998, journalists don’t talk much
about sharia. Although many are pious and see their work as a manifestation of worship, the Islam they practice has been described as cosmopolitan, progressive, and even liberal. Does Islamic journalism require that reporters support an Islamic party as they do at Harakah newspaper in Malaysia? Or is it more important to practice the kind of substantial Islam promoted by the Indonesian newspaper Republika? What about Muslim journalists who work at secular news organization such as Malaysiakini?

Journalists at these five news organisations in one of the world’s most populous Muslim regions draw upon what are arguably universal principles of journalism, but understand and explain them through the lens of what I call an Islamic idiom. What they say about the meaning of their work suggests a richness of experience that has been overlooked by both scholars and those engaged in international affairs.

Janet Steele is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, and the director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.

This seminar is co-hosted by SSEAC and Media@Sydney, Department of Media and Communications.

Digital Rights in an Age of Surveillance AI

Thursday, 7 March, 2019, 4.30pm – 6.00pm

Seminar 2.03, RD Watt Building (A04), University of Sydney

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Three leading researchers of artificial intelligence and its societal implications discuss how emerging AI technologies are affecting our digital rights, particularly in light of the increased use of machine learning in forms of surveillance and policing. In partnership with the Goethe Institute, the Department of Media and Communications welcomes you to this in-conversation event with:

Professor Melvin Chen(Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), is a philosopher of artificial intelligence and researcher in creative cognition research, ethics, metaethics and aesthetics. He is a member of the ‘AI for Humanity’ initiative, and is interested in the cross-cultural negotiation of issues such as the ethics and governance of AI, and the role of education in an AI-driven age.

Dr Theresa Züger (Humboldt University, Germany) is Head of the Office for the Third Engagement Report at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and a researcher of digital forms of civil disobedience. In 2017, Theresa was a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies with her project Polynocular Tech Lab. She is co-founder of Bridge Figures, an organisation countering xenophobia with digital strategies. She tweets @thezueger

Mr Karaitiana Taiuru (Christchurch, New Zealand) is a long-time advocate of digital Māori rights and a researcher of data sovereignty and digital colonialism, te reo Māori revitalisation with technology, Māori representation and intellectual property rights. His PhD research examines the ways in which genome sequencing technologies perpetuate institutional racism and racial stereotyping.

Media@Sydney Seminar Series 2019, Semester 1

We are very pleased to announce our Semester 1 schedule for the 2019 Media@Sydney series. Events are usually held on Fridays in the John Woolley Building (A20) at the University of Sydney and Friday seminars are usually followed by informal drinks.

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Thursday 7 March: Digital Rights in an Age of Surveillance AI – Melvin Chen (Nanyang Technological University), Theresa Züger (Humboldt University) and Karaitiana Tairu (Christchurch)

co-hosted by the Goethe Institute*

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm, Seminar 2.03, RD Watt Building (A04), University of Sydney

Monday 11 March: The Journalism of Islam: Contenting Views in Muslim Southeast Asia – Janet Steele (George Washington University)

co-hosted at SSEAC*

5.30pm – 6.30pm, Quadrangle History Room S226, University of Sydney

Friday 15 March: Automated Decision Making and Society – Julian Thomas (RMIT University)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 29 March: De-/Re-Constructing home: Notions of home and homelessness in times of mobile media – Maren Hartmann (University of Arts, Berlin)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Discussant: Justine Humphry

Tuesday 2 April: Communicative Reflexivity and Financial Bubbles: Linking Minsky to Marx – Peter Thompson, Victoria University of Wellington

3.00pm – 4.30pm, Seminar Room 2.03, RD Watt Building A04, University of Sydney*

Friday 5 April: Media, Context and the Shaping of Contemporary Movements across de Atlantic – Marta Vilar Rosales (University of Lisbon)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 12 April: “All that Glitters is not Gold”: Digital Media and Adolescents’ Political Engagement – Jörg Matthes (University of Vienna)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 3 May: Digital Media and Online Learning: A comparative perspective from the Pacific and the Caribbean – Heather Horst (University of Sydney), Jolynna Sinanan (University of Sydney), Fulori Manoa (University of the South Pacific) and Sheba Mohammid (RMIT University)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 10 May: Automation and Social and Disability Services –Gerard Goggin et al (University of Sydney)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 17 May: Voice and Participation in Global Food Politics – Alana Mann (University of Sydney)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building

*Seminar followed by Book Launch

Friday 31 May: No seminar, ICA conference

Friday 14 June: Yolande Strengers (Monash University)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building

*Special time or location

Digital Publics: Hidden and Untraceable Data

When: Monday 3 December, 2018 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Where: Philosophy Room S249, Philosophy Room S249, University of Sydney Camperdown, NSW 2006

Part of this year’s Digital Humanities Downunder Summer Institute, co-hosted with Western Sydney University, The Department of Media and Communications, The University of Sydney.

Register here

Human-machine communication is increasingly embedded in our everyday lives through the rise of social media, the Internet of Things (IoT), linked data, and so-called smart technologies such as connected homes, smart cars, and digital assistants. As our use of these technologies continues to grow and integrate with our personal lives, the early promise of machines increasing user communication and participation, seems to have faded towards a world where humans primarily only communicate with machines and must participate or risk being excluded. These integrated and connected processes of human-machine communication are increasingly less visible overtime as they become embedded in platforms, sensors and autonomous systems, while the obvious concern for citizens is an increase of user tracking and surveillance. What is of greater concern, and often underexplored, is our ability to, as James W. Carey (2005) notes, disentangle the consequences of entangled connected devices from the wider world of power and ambition. Understanding this critical ambition should be the role of citizens, who inform and are guided by leading public figures in these arenas.

This is precisely the role researchers from the Humanities, Social Sciences and Human-Computer Interaction disciplines should be engaging in. However, in a post-Cambridge Analytica world, gaining access to these sorts of environments for research and critical examination is increasingly difficult. This is a critical moment for expertise from a number of areas to collaboratively design and employ new approaches towards digital research methods, that can inform and work with publics, advise policy makers, and guide appropriate best practice for users of human-machine communication environments.

To explore this area, we have a panel of leading experts discussing the current and emerging themes of human-machine communication, who will apply their critical lens to this increasingly important area for citizens.

Professor Jean Burgess, Director of the Digital Media Research Centre
Professor Michele Willson, Dean of Research for Faculty of Humanities and Professor, Internet Studies, Curtin University
Dr Aim Sinpeng, Lecturer University of Sydney

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson, Lecturer University of Sydney, and Dr Justine Humphry, Lecturer University of Sydney, will be the discussants for the evening.

Register here