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ACAT Seminar Series

Logos for 2022-2023 International Decade of Indigenous Languages

Language Endangerment and Social Justice

Presented by Professor Umberto Ansaldo

Thursday, 20 April 2023

In the last three decades, our awareness of endangered languages has grown steadily. From a highly specialised field owned by a handful of linguists, endangered, minority, and indigenous languages have become a topic of scientific inquiry, social policy, and community activism. The rapid rise of technologies in support of documentation has allowed a much wider public to engage and exchange knowledge, as can be seen in many digital platforms used as conservation archives. In this talk I first look at the scholarly foundations of the field, which help understand the intellectual significance of this area of inquiry. I then review the structures and practices that have evolved surrounding documentation. And I finally discuss the relevance of the field of endangerment for our engagement with social justice.

View presentation here.

Book cover image - sad face emoji with title Dislike-Minded

Dislike-Minded: Media, Audiences, and the Dynamics of Taste

Presented by Professor Jonathan Gray

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Media, cultural, and communication studies of the past few decades have produced no shortage of accounts of fans, and of why people love what they love. And increasingly more is being said of hate and trollery. But still relatively little has been said about principled, impassioned dislike. Are dislikers just snobs, as Pierre Bourdieu told us? In this talk, I move beyond this singular explanation, and draw from over 200 qualitative interviews to offer a number of observations and conclusions about what dislike tells us, and why and how it matters as its own affective response to media.

Excited advertising rhetoric tells us we’re in an age of on demand consumption, where each one of us gets what we want when we want it. But we’re all still regularly hearing songs we “hate,” having screen media chosen for us, inhabiting public space that is semi-colonized by major brands, franchises, and celebrities, and being subjected to as much or more than we actively select. My talk will focus on what a study of interactions with such media can tell us about relationships between identity, power, media, and reception, and about people’s expectations for improved and better media.

Presenters bio:

Jonathan Gray is Hamel Family Distinguished Chair in Communication Arts at University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA. Much of his work examines the points of interaction between audiences and texts, with particular interest in television, political entertainment, comedy and satire, and their audience reception. His books include Dislike-Minded: Media, Audiences, and the Dynamics of TasteTelevision Goes to the Movies (with Derek Johnson), Television Studies (with Amanda D. Lotz), Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media ParatextsTelevision Entertainment, and Watching with The Simpsons: Television, Parody, and Intertextuality. An ICA Fellow and a past Peabody Awards Board of Jurors members, he is also Chief Editor of International Journal of Cultural Studies and co-editor of NYU Press’ Critical Cultural Communication series.

View presentation here.