You are now in the main content area

The Hospitality of Cyberspace: Literatures of Modernity MA Distinguished Speaker Series with Gillian Whitlock

February 12, 2015
5:00 PM EST - 6:30 PM EST
Jorgenson Hall, Room 1402, 380 Victoria Street
Open To
Students, Prospective Students, Public, Alumni, Faculty, Staff
Can we speak of the hospitality of cyberspace on behalf of the dispossessed? The English MA in Literatures of Modernity is honoured to host Dr. Gillian Whitlock as our Winter 2015 Distinguished Speaker. Dr. Whitlock is a Professor in the Department of English, Media Studies and Art History at the University of Queensland. She is the author of The Intimate Empire: Reading Women's Autobiography and Soft Weapons: Autobiography in Transit, as well as co-editor of Trauma Texts and numerous other works. Dr. Whitlock’s lecture will focus on maritime voyages filmed and narrated by asylum seekers, where they become producers of their own testimonial narratives that are then disseminated through both conventional and new media. Social media offers new venues and opportunities for the dissemination of testimony generated by refugees, from within the boats, trucks and planes that transport them. Much of the current writing on social activism and new media focuses on the uprisings of the Arab Spring that was inspired and energized by new technologies and the dissemination of dissent. Asylum seekers are not citizens seeking democracy in the public spaces of their own homelands; to the contrary, they are stigmatized as the barbarians at the gates of ours, and as a threat to the security of the nation. However, in their hands, smartphones and social media enable new forms of testimonial narrative, from within spaces of detention.