ICS Seminar Series - Tanja Dreher

Date: Thursday 17 August 2017
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: Female Orphan School Conference Room 1 - EZ.G.23, Western Sydney University, Parramatta South campus

Tanja Dreher


Cosmopolitan or Decolonising? Two Models for the Politics of Listening Online


Media participation is often understood in terms of 'voice', representation and storytelling – yet emerging scholarship and practice highlights 'listening' as an equally significant yet under-researched form of participation (Crawford 2009, Dreher 2017). In this paper I analyse two contrasting modes of listening as participation. First, the cosmopolitan politics of listening proposed for the bridge-blogging project 'Global Voices' by one of its founders, Ethan Zuckerman (2013). Secondly, Indigenous Health May Day (IHMayDay), a twitter festival which privileges Indigenous voices and invites non-Indigenous people to participate by listening and retweeting (Geia and Sweet 2014). IHMayDay is deeply embedded in decolonising methodologies and foregrounds Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies – including the listening practice of Dadirri. Non-Indigenous listeners are asked to pledge, commit and to amplify Indigenous voices. In contrast, a cosmopolitan politics of listening suggests that global challenges require cosmopolitans who will actively seek out voices unheard and stories untold via western news values. Cosmopolitan listening centres on openness, serendipity and translation. The paper will draw out the key commonalities for understanding listening as a form of participation and identify the contributions of both cosmopolitan and decolonising politics of listening.


Dr Tanja Dreher is an ARC Future Fellow, Scientia Fellow and Associate Professor of Media at the University of New South Wales. Tanja's research focuses on the politics of listening in the context of media and multiculturalism, Indigenous sovereignties, feminisms and anti-racism. Her current project, funded by the Australian Research Council analyses the political listening practices necessary to support the potential for voice in a changing media environment characterised by the proliferation of community and alternative media in the digital age. Tanja received her doctorate from the Centre for Cultural Research at the University of Western Sydney in 2006. She is currently working on the monograph Listening across difference: media beyond the politics of voice.