Oceania in Modernity
Professor Sudesh Mishra
Wednesday October 19, 5:00pm
FALE Meeting Room
Oceania, as has been demonstrated by Epeli Hau’ofa, David Chappell, Paul D’Arcy and Nicholas Thomas, has always been an arena linked via sea routes and therefore not defined by the landmass of islands. With the arrival of political modernity in Oceania and with it the auto-centred nationally-defined territorial state, there was a forgetting of this older history of connections via trade, war, marriage, sailing, migration and gifting. While scholars have attempted to revive this history through re-examining Oceania’s past, they have not accounted for how the porosity of this past, its interconnectedness, might be imaginatively re-configured as the region confronts the challenges of the digital age, ‘crisis’ modernity, climate-related dislocations and global hyper-mobility. The gift of the imagination is to ‘transport’ (with the related sense of conveyance as a form of empathetic rapture and ecstasy) and this paper posits a new Oceania bound together by an imaginative contiguity that reinvents an older consciousness of ‘our sea of islands.’
Sudesh Mishra’s latest work of scholarship, entitled ‘The Global South: Modernity and Exceptionality,’ is due to appear in Cambridge Critical Concepts: The Global South and Literature, Russell West-Pavlov (ed.), New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
Social Stigimitisation and Peer-Pressure faced by USP Student Journalists
Dr Shailendra Singh and Eliki Drugunalevu
Wednesday October 12, 5:00pm
FALE Meeting Room
This set of three case studies, with elements of problem-based learning, examines how USP student journalists handle various forms of coercion – threats, cyber bullying, and stigmatisation – from colleagues angered by news reports published in the student training newspaper, Wansolwara. The paper is part of ongoing research into applied learning and teaching through the 20-year-old USP student press. Previous research looked at how students overcame institutional challenges and skirted Fiji’s punitive media decrees in their coverage of the Fiji coups. But research on how students handle social pressure and coercion from contemporaries had been lacking. The presenters posit that as unpleasant as the hostile reactions are, they are a journalistic reality, and as such, not entirely unwelcome. Student reporters’ exposure to confronting situations provides a taste of what to expect as professional journalists, and consequently, good preparation for future challenges in the field. Preliminary learning outcomes indicate that the experience toughens students’ resolve. For those bearing the brunt of the vitriol, coping mechanisms such as guidance by lecturers, support from The USP Journalism Students Association, encouragement from family members, and due recognition of journalistic work at the annual USP journalism awards are critical. By highlighting crucial lessons learnt in the field, this paper reiterates the importance of applied journalism as an educational tool, and the significant role of student newspapers in this respect. This paper exemplifies original research concepts that emanate directly from, and feed back into, learning and teaching for deeper understanding and application.
Dr Shailendra Singh is senior lecturer and the coordinator of the USP journalism programme. His major geographical research area is the Pacific, with a focus on media development, conflict reporting and media policy.
Eliki Drugunalevu is a postgraduate student in social policy and a teaching assistant in broadcast journalism. His research interests are in media policy.
For enquiries please contact Dr Singh on shailendra.singh(at)usp.ac.fj