SAM Seminar: Beyond Empathy

When:3 Nov 2015, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Robert Webster Building, Room 327
Who:Sukhmani Khorana and Tanja Dreher (University of Wollongong); Fiona Nicoll (University of Queensland)
Beyond Empathy

A roundtable discussion.


1. ‘What's this then s---?’: Reflections on empathy, ethics and comedy in three Indigenous television productions.

Discussion of three Aboriginal media projects: the iconic Barbecuarea and the recent productions First Contact and Black Comedy, in terms of how they address audiences through greater or lesser appeals to the value of empathy.

Fiona Nicoll is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland. She was the project manager of 'Courting Blakness', a public art installation and national symposium curated by Fiona Foley with eight Aboriginal artists at the University of Queensland, which established a dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff, students and members of the public on grounds other than empathy. Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University will be published by UQP in 2015.


2. Does Empathy Assimilate the Other?: Refugee-Themed Screen Texts and Ethical Witnessing.

This talk will consider a few recent Australian screen representations of asylum seeker stories to consider the evocation of empathy. An alternative notion of ‘ethical witnessing’ will be introduced to gesture towards more dialogic forms of engagement.

Sukhmani Khorana is Lecturer in Media and Communication at the University of Wollongong. She is the editor of a Routledge anthology titled Crossover Cinema (2013). Her current work considers the ethics of representation and engagement in mainstream screen media and migrant media, as well as in urban spaces such as film festivals.


3. Listening beyond empathy

Listening is often considered to be a therapeutic or empathetic response to marginalized voices and/or untold stories. In this paper I argue for a more agonistic politics of listening in the context of increased opportunities for voice provided by the growing sector of community and alternative media, and the transformations of the media landscape brought about by digital media.

Tanja Dreher is an ARC Future Fellow in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong. Tanja’s research focuses on the politics and ethics of listening in diverse contexts, including Indigenous sovereignties, media and multiculturalism, and climate justice.


SAM Seminar Series 2015
Convenor, Collin Chua – c.chua@unsw.edu.au

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