Dr Emma A Jane

Senior Lecturer; DECRA Fellow
PhD
School of the Arts & Media

Contact

+61 2 9385 6944
+61 2 9385 6812
Room 115, Level 1, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus

Consultation

By appointment.
Fields: Culture, Gender, Sexuality, Communication and Media Studies, Communication Technology and Digital Media Studies

Research

Online misogyny, cyberbullying, and digital mobs are the current foci of Dr Emma A. Jane's ongoing research into the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. 

Her current research project entitled Cyberhate: The New Digital Divide? observes that although the internet’s rapid growth has delivered countless social benefits, it also offers people new opportunities to attack each other with unprecedented venom and impunity. Dr Jane uses the term “e-bile” to refer to the extravagant invective, sexualised threats of violence, and recreational nastiness that have come to characterise a dominant tenor of discourse in many parts of the cybersphere. In particular, her current research project investigates the threat posed to online participation and digital citizenship by the recent, marked increase in rape threats and sexualised vitriol directed at women online. It will culminate in an international cyberhate symposium in 2017, and aims to lay the foundations for future research which canvasses real-world solutions to the problem of cyberhate in forms as diverse as technology design, educational initiatives, and policy. 

Dr Jane's work is interdisciplinary, informed by the fields of philosophy, cultural and media studies, internet studies, feminist and gender theory, discourse analysis, sociology, literary theory, and social psychology. Her research draws on her extensive skills in journalism as well as her rigorous academic training. 

Research

Dr Emma A. Jane (formerly Emma Tom) is a Senior Lecturer in the School of the Arts & Media at UNSW Sydney.

Blockchain, cognitive enhancement, online misogyny, cyberbullying, cybercrime, digilantism, and digital mobs are the foci of her ongoing research into the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies. She also researches and publishes on transgender-related issues, as well as on issues relating to gender more generally. Emma's work is interdisciplinary, informed by the fields of philosophy, cultural and media studies, internet studies, feminist and gender theory, discourse analysis, sociology, literary theory, and social psychology. Prior to her career in academia, Emma spent nearly 25 years working in the print, broadcast, and electronic media during which time she won multiple awards for her writing and investigative reporting.

In 2016, the public benefit of Emma's research into misogyny online was recognised when she was named the Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year. This followed her receipt, in 2014, of a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (PDF) (DECRA) from the Australian government to fund a three-year research project into gendered cyberhate and digital citizenship. Most recently (in April 2017) she received the UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Dean’s Award for Achievements by an Early Career Researcher.

Emma has published nine books including a novel, Deadset, which in 1997 won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Asia and the South Pacific for Best First Novel. Her most recent publication, Misogyny Online: A Short (and Brutish) History, was published by SAGE in 2017. In a review of Misogyny Online in the journal Information, Communication & Society (2017), social theorist Frances Shaw calls Jane "one of the most authoritative researchers on gendered digital harassment and its impacts". She writes that Jane's work is generating "a great deal of impact internationally and in policy and regulatory settings", and she applauds Misogyny Online for its "winning combination of conceptually and philosophically rich analysis, forensic and details-oriented storytelling, and heartfelt investment in and passion for the subject matter". Describing the book as "fascinating", "poignant", "reflexive", "entertaining", "impactful", "affecting", "precise", "focussed", "extensive, thorough and rigorous", written with "ferocious intensity", and "essential reading for those working in the field", Shaw also highlights its "powerful narrative" about how misogyny online silences and coerces women out of political participation. She concludes that Misogyny Online "should impel others to act to change their approaches to response, prosecution and governance, and to change the culture that creates the conditions for gendered harassment to occur and to be accepted".

Emma has presented the findings of her research to the Australian Human Rights Commission, and regularly speaks at large, public events such as the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and the All About Women festivals at the Sydney Opera House.

During her previous career as a journalist, she received the 1997 Henry Lawson Award for Journalism, and the 2001 Edna Ryan Humour Award for “using wit to promote women’s interests”.

Publications

Teaching

Dr Jane is currently engaged in a full-time research project entitled Cyberhate: The New Digital Divide? funded by an ARC DECRA grant. This project will conclude in December 2017. 

When working at UNSW in a teaching role, Dr Jane is the convenor of Media Portfolio (MDIA3003), a new core unit designed to assist third-year media, PR, and advertising students find work in the rapidly changing and extremely competitive media and communications sector. She updates the course content every year in recognition of the fact that many UNSW graduates will find themselves applying for jobs which did not exist when they first started their degrees (see, for instance: http://talent.linkedin.com/blog/index.php/2014/01/top-10-job-titles-that-didnt-exist-5-years-ago-infographic). Dr Jane has also established an ongoing collaboration with senior staff at UNSW Careers and Employment to ensure students benefit from the latest research on how best to conduct their job hunting. In 2012, she initiated a similarly collaborative relationship with UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) in order to assist students develop the resilience and confidence required to successfully search for work as a new graduate.

Emma has also convened the Media Internship program (MDIA3007), as well as lecturing and tutoring in Advanced Media Writing (MDIA2003), News Reporting (MDIA1004), and Media Industry Contexts (MDIA1002). 

Honours and prizes

During the first 25 years of her professional life, Dr Jane achieved national prominence as a senior journalist, columnist, feature writer, and editor at the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian newspapers. While working in journalism, she published two novels and four non-fiction books. In 2006, Dr Jane transitioned into academia and completed her Masters (2007) and Doctoral (2012) dissertation while working full-time as a writer, and supporting her daughter as a single parent. 

Dr Jane received multiple awards for her journalism and fiction writing including the 1997 Henry Lawson Award for Journalism and the 1998 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Asia and the South Pacific for Best First Novel. In recognition of her expertise and exemplary standing in the profession, she also served on Australia’s Advertising Standards Board from 2003 to 2007. Her academic expertise was recently recognised by the Australian Federal Government when it funded her current research project through a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA). In 2013 the Australian Human Rights Commission invited her to deliver her research findings at a public forum on cyberhate. She is also frequently interviewed by the media about her academic research. Despite her early career researcher status, she is the first author on a co-authored monograph – Modern Conspiracy: The Importance of Being Paranoid – published by Bloomsbury in 2014. In recognition of her expertise, she has also been invited to substantially update the fifth edition of the SAGE text Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice, after which she will be listed as an equal co-author with the current author, Chris Barker. Dr Jane is also working on a book called Outsmarted: Cognitive Enhancement and the Unintended Consequences of Emerging Technologies with Associate Professor Nicole A Vincent from Georgia State University in Atlanta. 

 

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Ready, set, pitch!

As part of the Media Portfolio course, Dr Jane has run an annual pitching competition called the UNSW Media Practice Presentation Competition. This event involves a select group of third-year students pitching themselves and their creative ideas in front of a panel of industry experts. A video of the 2013 competition can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaPuY_JBmCE