COVID-19 and the Pandemic of Denial – Bold Thinking Series

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Date: Tuesday 10 November 2020

Time: 5.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Location: Online Series

Cost: FREE to register

As COVID-19 has spread around the world, denial has followed in its wake. Perhaps until President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, many followed his lead and downplayed the threat of the virus. Some even insisted it is not real. People aren’t dying. It’s all a cover. As with many other aspects of our life, the pandemic has amplified what was already there. Denial has always been an ingrained part of our life, but the pandemic has brought it into new focus.

What can the pandemic tell us about the everyday role of denial in our life? What can we learn from other forms of denial—genocide denial, climate denial, science denial—to help us understand the role that denial has played in the global health crisis? How does denial impact our ability to act together in response to collective threats? If we had understood denial better, would we have been able to respond to this crisis better? And what role might confronting denial play in our shared future, which surely promises more collective challenges on the scale of COVID-19?

These questions pose even deeper problems about defining what denial is and understanding how it works. This event assembles a diverse panel of experts—a journalism scholar and political scientist, a lecturer in social psychology, and an anthropologist—to tackle these problems head-on, and confront the truth about denial.

Moderator:

Jon Faine

Until October 2019 Jon Faine was the host of the agenda-setting morning broadcast for ABC Radio in Melbourne for over twenty years. Before joining the ABC in 1989 to host ‘The Law Report’ on Radio National, Jon had practised for seven years in both commercial litigation and as a legal aid/human rights advocate.

For over thirty years, Jon has been in demand for conference keynote speeches, presentations, facilitation, and panel moderation. Specialising in complex matters of public policy, strategy, legal issues, technological challenge or cultural clashes, his work has covered every

imaginable field, from health, disability, science and medicine, politics, foreign affairs, civil liberties and human rights.

Speakers:

Associate Professor Andrea Carson

Dr Carson is a political scientist and journalist. Her research examines the intersection between politics and the media, with special interests in investigative journalism, the media’s role in democracies, and political communication. She has researched attitudes to COVID-19 lockdown measures in Australia and the USA.

Dr Mathew Marques

Dr Marques is a lecturer in social psychology. His research focuses on psychological mechanisms like trust, conspiracy theories, and ideologies, and how they influence people’s attitudes toward controversial scientific research on topics like genetically modified foods and vaccinations.

Dr Gerald Roche

Dr Roche is a political anthropologist. His research focuses on language oppression and its relationship to racism, colonialism and genocide. As an applied anthropologist he is also interested in theories and techniques that combat language oppression.

Welcome Address:

Professor Susan Dodds

Professor Susan Dodds is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement) at La Trobe University. She is a nationally and internationally recognised philosopher, especially known for her leadership in research ethics and public policy development related to emerging medical technologies in applied ethics and political philosophy.

Professor Dodds is the leader of the ethics, policy and public engagement theme of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES). Previously, she has held roles at the University of Wollongong, the University of Tasmania and the University of New South Wales.