Why Deep Reading Matters Now: Grief, Hope and Social Justice in a Time of Planetary Crisis

Presented by: Dr Jude Seaboyer

Date: Friday 6 November 2020
Time: 12–1pm
Location: Online via Zoom


Our students live in the shadow of the world’s sixth mass extinction. They are witnessing intersecting planetary crises in the form of drought and wildfires, catastrophic weather events, habitat destruction, and mass migration of human populations. Those we teach at UQ may be relatively privileged yet they know they may never have the opportunity to use their hard-earned educational capital to earn the liveable income necessary to live Aristotle’s “good life.” It would be odd if such an uncertain future were not linked to the alarming increase in rates of anxiety and clinical depression university teachers and counsellors have observed in classrooms and clinics well before COVID added its long shadow. My research contributes to research around the ethical teaching of a growing body of literary fictions that open up a conversation around planetary crises. Out of the darkness, I will argue, these fictions do what literature has always done best. Confronted with an impossible reality, they not only recognise grief and despair but imagine into existence a way of being in the world that opens a space for hope that enables action. In the face of anxiety and sorrow, the deep reading of crisis fictions can become an active strategy for living hopeful lives. I will illustrate this talk with references to a number of these texts and the work they do.  


Dr. Jude Seaboyer's research focuses on contemporary fiction, and on student engagement and the pedagogy of reading well. She has supervised to completion 14 PhDs and MPhils and 24 honours theses, and is interested in talking with prospective students whose proposals address nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century fiction. Past and current supervisions have focused on the works of, among others, Jane Austen, Anne Bronte, Kate Chopin, Elizabeth Bowen, Angela Carter, A. S. Byatt, Pat Barker, Barbara Kingsolver, Ian McEwan, and Sarah Waters. Critical approaches have extended from issues of identity, memory and trauma, neo-Victorianism, metafiction and intertextuality.



About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 11 March

Online via Zoom

Research Seminar - Tuning In with the Stethoscope in the Nineteenth CenturyDr Melissa Dickson (University of Birmingham)

Friday, 25 March


Early Adventures in Australian Actor Training

Dr Chris Hay

Friday, 8 April

Online via Zoom

Invention and reinvention in the landscape symbolism of Joachim PatinirMichael Levy

Friday, 29 April

Online via Zoom

Negotiating balance of cultures among Chinese Australians to facilitate ageing well

A/Prof Shuang Liu

Friday, 13 May


Redefining crisis in museums: insider’s perspectives on digital engagement

Dr Caroline Wilson-Barnao, Craig Middleton (National Museum of Australia), and Lisa Enright

Friday, 3 June

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

A journey through the Australian environmental movement ecosystem

Dr Robyn Gulliver

Friday, 10 June

Online via Zoom

TBADr Alex Bevan