Dr Emma A. Jane (previously Emma Tom) is an award-winning scholar, author, and former journalist who once replaced the Moscow Circus lady in the Globe of Death on a darefrom a newspaper reader. Over the course of her career, Emma has received multiple awards and prizes for her scholarly research, her reporting, and her fiction-writing. (For reasons she does not fully comprehend, her professional thrillseeking has yet to be formally acknowledged.) In 2016, the public benefit of Emma’s research into misogyny online was recognised when she was named the Anne Dunn Scholar of the Year. This followed her receipt, in 2014, of an Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) from the Australian government to fund a three-year research project into gendered cyberhate.
Emma has presented the findings of her research to the Australian Human Rights Commission, and regularly speaks at large, public events such as the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and the All About Women festivals at the Sydney Opera House. Since 2016, she has also been an editorial board member of the International Journal of Cultural Studies. Prior to commencing her academic career, she spent nearly 25 years working in the print, electronic, and online media. During this time, she received – among many other prizes – the 1997 Henry Lawson Award for Journalism, and the 2001 Edna Ryan Humour Award for “using wit to promote women’s interests”. Her previous life as a gonzo journalist also involved competing in a women’s only demolition derby (she was knocked unconscious), attending superbike school (some actual sparks came off her motorbike’s footpegs), and caring for a domesticated scorpion (it was about as exciting as watching slightly poisonous paint dry).
Emma has published eight books including a novel, Deadset, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Asia and the South Pacific for Best First Novel in 1997. Her most recent publication, the fifth edition of Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice, was co-authored with Chris Barker and published by Sage in 2016. Her ninth book, which has a working title of Ugly, Fat, and Slutty: A Short (and Brutish) History of Misogyny Online will also be published by Sage in 2016. Emma is currently a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she only wears a leopard skin costume to work on extra special occasions.
Modern Conspiracy – The Importance of Being Paranoid - by Emma A. Jane and Chris Fleming
While conspiracy theory is often characterized in terms of the collapse of objectivity and Enlightenment reason, Modern Conspiracy traces the important role of conspiracy in the formation of the modern world: the scientific revolution, social contract theory, political sovereignty, religious paranoia and mass communication media. Rather than seeing the imminent death of Enlightenment reason and a regression to a new Dark Age in conspiratorial thinking, Modern Conspiracy suggests that many characteristic features of conspiracies tap very deeply into the history of the Enlightenment: its vociferous critique of established authorities and a conception of political sovereignty fuelled by fear of counter-plots, for example. Perhaps, ultimately, conspiracy theory affords us a renewed opportunity to reflect on our very relationship to the truth itself.
Online misogyny, cyberbullying, and digital mobs are the current foci of Emma’s ongoing research into the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies.
Her current research project entitled Cyberhate: The New Digital Divide? observes that although the internet’s rapid growth has delivered countless social benefits, it also offers people new opportunities to attack each other with unprecedented venom and impunity. Emma uses the term “e-bile” to refer to the extravagant invective, sexualised threats of violence, and recreational nastiness that have come to characterise a dominant tenor of discourse in many parts of the cybersphere. In particular, her current research project investigates the threat posed to online participation and digital citizenship by the recent, marked increase in rape threats and sexualised vitriol directed at women online. It will culminate in an international cyberhate symposium in 2017, and aims to lay the foundations for future research which canvasses real-world solutions to the problem of cyberhate in forms as diverse as technology design, educational initiatives, and policy.
Emma’s work is interdisciplinary, informed by the fields of philosophy, cultural and media studies, internet studies, feminist and gender theory, discourse analysis, sociology, literary theory, and social psychology. Her research draws on her extensive skills in journalism as well as her rigorous academic training. During the first 25 years of her professional life, she achieved national prominence as a senior journalist, columnist, feature writer, and editor at the Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian newspapers. While working in journalism, she published two novels and four non-fiction books. In 2006, Emma transitioned into academia and completed her Masters (2007) and Doctoral (2012) dissertation while working full-time as a writer, and supporting her daughter as a single parent.
Emma received multiple awards for her journalism and fiction writing including the 1997 Henry Lawson Award for Journalism and the 1998 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Asia and the South Pacific for Best First Novel. In recognition of her expertise and exemplary standing in the profession, she also served on Australia’s Advertising Standards Board from 2003 to 2007. Her academic expertise was recently recognised by the Australian Federal Government when it funded her current research project through a Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA). In 2013 the Australian Human Rights Commission invited her to deliver her research findings at a public forum on cyberhate. She is also frequently interviewed by the media about her academic research.
BOOKS IN PROGRESS
Emma is also working on a book called Outsmarted: Cognitive Enhancement and the Unintended Consequences of Emerging Technologies with Associate Professor Nicole A Vincent from Georgia State University in Atlanta.