PhD Masterclass: Racism and Media

Event Name
PhD Masterclass: Racism and Media
10 December 2019
10:00 am - 01:00 pm
Parramatta City Campus

Address (Room): 1.6.66


The question of free speech is never far from the headlines in Anglophone and many European countries. And, in these headlines it is frequently declared to be in crisis. That these dramatic headlines proliferate in societies increasingly marked by abundant communication is curious, but more curious still is why controversies hinging on ‘what can be said’ about particular political, cultural and social issues feature so centrally in free speech crises, over and above, for example, powerful, material and governmental threats to expression. The meaning of racism, in particular, has been integrated to these intense debates about the status and remit of freedom of speech, debates that are conducted in societies not only characterised by endless speech, but by a dominant if intensely disputed sense that racism is largely a problem that has been overcome. This pronounced relation between the meaning and scope of free speech, and the meaning and salience of racism, produces an apparent contradiction. In the public imagination, free speech is celebrated as a fundamental freedom, central to modern emancipation, self-expression, and democratic vitality. In contemporary western societies, it has also become fundamental to an insistent, many-stranded politics that is re-shaping how racism is expressed and legitimised in public culture. The aim of this workshop is to explore this apparent contradiction by:

* Considering the range of ways in which freedom of speech is mobilised in public discourse, and map the normative and political claims made in recurring forms of public drama;

* Use this map to examine the conflicting political-analytical vocabularies and frameworks mobilised in debates about free speech, and to evaluate the antagonistic ideas of ‘the public’, communication, consequentiality and subjectivity that they engage;

* Consider the effects and consequences of connective media and a complex media environment on ideas of speech and conceptualisations of freedom of speech;

* Consider the specific significance of these conditions and dynamics for the politics of racism and anti-racism The workshop will be conducted through short inputs, discussion of readings, and case study analysis. Given that the question of freedom of speech is approached in overlapping and divergent ways across disciplines, the discussions will pay particular attention to disciplinary and theoretical connections and tensions.

Speakers: Gavan Titley

Name: Melinda Jewell

Phone: 9685 9071

School / Department: SHCA