This talk will address the moods, feelings and political utility of crisis and stories of crisis in contemporary times. Crisis is often attached to migrant and refugee flows, as well as to other phenomena such as climate change, the stock market or even voting behaviour. Yet, are these social and political issues really an emergency and existential threat, or are other things also at play?
Are crisis and emergency age-old devices of communication and control, diverting our attention from other more wicked problems? Are these problems and issues always for others, or are we all implicated in perpetuating crisis stories? Chaired by Claudia Tazreiter, this talk brings together writers, researchers, philosophers and filmmakers to explore contemporary crisis talk and stories of crisis that appear to be bombarding us with narratives of existential threat.
With writer and historian Ruth Balint; political theorist and human rights philosopher Alexandre Lefebvre; literature, media and cultural studies expert Michael Richardson; and author, philosopher and filmmaker Mary Zournazi.
Presented in partnership with UNSW Grand Challenge on Refugees and Migrants, featuring academics from arts, media and social sciences.
Claudia Tazreiter is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of New South Wales. Her research focuses on the social and affective impacts of forced and irregular migration, human rights culture, the role of civil society in social change and gender in migration. She is co-convenor of the Forced Migration Research Network at the University of New South Wales which brings together inter and trans-disciplinary research collaborations across the social sciences, humanities, law, psychology, medicine, built environment and art practice. Her recent book is Fluid Security in the Asia Pacific: Transnational Lives and State Control.
Ruth Balint is a senior lecturer in History at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She teaches and writes on transnational histories of immigration, displacement, refugees and the family, with a current focus on the European Displaced Persons of post-World War Two, about which she is writing a book. She shares an Australian Research Council Grant on the history of Russians who came to Australia via the China Route after World War Two. She is also currently editing an “illegal history” of people smuggling in Australian immigration.
Alexandre Lefebvre is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and International Relations, and the Department of Philosophy, at The University of Sydney. He is author of Human Rights and the Care of the Self (Duke 2018), Human Rights as a Way of Life: on Bergson’s Political Philosophy (Stanford 2013), and The Image of Law: Deleuze, Bergson, Spinoza (Stanford 2008). At present he is working on a book titled Liberalism as a Way of Life, the goal of which is to represent liberalism as a rich and fulfilling spiritual outlook and way of living. In 2017, he received the Vice-Chancellor’s Outstanding Research and Teaching Award from the University of Sydney.
Michael Richardson’s interdisciplinary research investigates the intersection of affect and power in media, literature, politics and culture. He is currently working on a project about drones and witnessing in warfare and culture, as well as one on the feeling in the present of predictive technologies. He is the author of Gestures of Testimony: Torture, Trauma and Affect in Literature (Bloomsbury 2016), which won the Dean’s Research Award for an Early Career Monograph in his Faculty, and co-editor of Traumatic Affect (2013).
Mary Zournazi is an Australian author, philosopher and filmmaker. She is the director of the multi-award winning documentary Dogs of Democracy (2016) and the author of several books including Foreign Dialogues, Keywords to War, Hope - New philosophies for change and Inventing Peace with the German filmmaker Wim Wenders. She is the co-author of the play Solomon’s Dream with Christos Tsiolkas. Mary has worked extensively with writing and producing radio documentaries for ABC Radio National. She teaches in the sociology program at the University of New South Wales, Australia. Currently she is working her new documentary film on Rembetika Music (or the Greek Blues).