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Countervoices Autumn Research Seminar

Thursday 29 October 2020, 4.00PM to 5 pm

Join our PG forum’s first research seminar in a series of events which offer postgraduate students in the Centre for Modern Studies and beyond the opportunity to present a short piece of work to an interdisciplinary audience. 

The event consists of two invited presentations from Jade Hinchliffe (Hull) and Matthew Leroy (Vienna) followed by a Q&A.

What Can Dystopian Fiction Tell Us About Surveillance?

Surveillance is, and has always been, a dominant theme in dystopian literature, film and television as this genre is concerned with power, control and human rights. Classic twentieth-century dystopian novels such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) depict disciplinary societies where citizens are monitored and controlled in enclosed spaces by oppressive states. Today, however, we are monitored “on the go” by corporations as well as governments. In my research, I analyse twenty-first-century dystopian fiction from the global north and global south and discuss the insights that these novels provide us regarding how we are monitored today. In this seminar, I will analyse Lauren Beukes’ Moxyland (2008) and discuss the issues it raises regarding the implications of dataveillance and smartphone technology. Then I will relate this to contemporary concerns about tracing apps and healthcare surveillance in light of COVID-19. 

Keywords: Dataveillance, Dystopia, Smartphones, Surveillance

Jade Hinchliffe is a PhD researcher at The University of Hull, funded by the North of England Consortium for Arts and Humanities. She has a First-Class BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MRes in English Literature both from The University of Huddersfield. Jade’s interdisciplinary PhD thesis analyses the portrayal of surveillance and social sorting in twenty-first-century dystopian fiction from the global north and global south. You can follow her on twitter @jade_hinchliffe  


'Stranger Danger': Australian Newspaper Articulation of Refugees and the Profit from Pain

This paper analyses Australian newspaper articulation of refugees with danger. A frame analysis reveals a significant amount of threatening frames in The Sydney Morning Herald and Herald Sun from 2001 – 2014, shifting from one of primarily military danger to one of economic cost after the 2008 economic crisis. Despite such framing, there is a direct contradiction between the refugees as a danger discourse and the corporate profit it ensures. A danger to the nation usually demands a swift solution; however, both the military-industrial complex and media are profiting from the continuing ever-present danger. The negative framing supports Galtung & Ruge’s news value theory that describes the saliency of news that emphasizes negativity and conflict. More specifically, framing refugees as a military danger supports Shamir’s paradigm of suspicion theory, which creates a discourse of a need for quarantine, screening and isolation, as evident in the images and discourse of the navy patrolling the shores of Australia and the subsequent interception and removal of refugees to other Pacific islands such as Manus Island and Nauru. 

Matthew Leroy was born in Sydney, Australia. After completing degrees in Communication Sciences, and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures he is now a lecturer and doctoral candidate at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna. His fields of research are migration, and cultural studies with a particular interest in Australian studies.

He is also the president of the Australian Academic Circle – a Vienna-based network devoted to the exchange of knowledge and support among academics with connections to Australia.


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Meeting ID: 202 042 5243

Passcode: 8wyMBB


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Location: Online via Zoom