Welcome to Journalism senior lecturer Nasya Bahfen, who has joined our team this semester.
Name: Nasya Bahfen
Title: Senior Lecturer
Faculty/Division: Faculty of Arts
Dept: School of Media, Film and Journalism
How long have you worked at Monash? Since June 2014
Where did you work prior to starting at the University? UNSW and RMIT in media teaching roles, and at the ABC and SBS in journalism
What do you like best about your role? That the units and the field that I’m teaching in are forced, by default, to adapt to a rapidly changing industry. This means that journalism academics are always being challenged to find current material, to keep a foot in the media, and to explore new ways of teaching. You’re never bored, in other words.
Why did you choose your current career path? The very bland, and truthful, answer is that I had always planned to be an academic – it just happened a bit earlier than I anticipated. I was working at SBS radio a few years after I finished honours and on a whim I applied for a PhD and got a scholarship. I figured that over time those scholarships were going to be more competitive, so I took it, and then started full time teaching while continuing to work as a casual journalist. Eventually, juggling two jobs got to me.
First job? Service station attendant in Blackburn. The service station wasn’t 24 hours, so every night I’d have to close up by pushing the trolleys of LP gas cannisters and car batteries into the mechanics’ section of the place. During the uni summer break I went full time. It was a very effective way of losing weight.
Worst job? Market research. This was back in the day when everyone had landlines. It paid for my textbooks and other uni outlays, though, so I can’t really complain. But eight hours of talking to different people about their voting intentions wasn’t exactly a laugh.
What research/projects are you currently working on and what does it involve? I’m on an ARC Linkage project on cyber-racism and building community resilience. Because the majority of racist activity by far right organisations can be found online, cyber racism represents a new front in a socio-cultural ideology war, and our research looks at efforts to strengthen the communities who are victims of such activity. We take the position that communities ought to engage in discourse about cyber racism and online hate, particularly where these pertain to attacks on them. Focusing on victimhood results in the risk of the target of online hate becoming the passive object and not the active subject of history. We basically want to find out how they can strengthen their responses to online hate, as opposed to just arguing for censorship of online material.
What is your favourite place in the world and why? Melbourne and Jakarta are both places I’d consider ‘home’, and technically my favourite places to be. The runner up would be New York city where I was a visiting scholar with NYU – NYC holds a very special place in my heart.
What is your favourite place to eat and why? It’s always changing. Right now it’s a halal, organic, wagyu burger joint in Fitzroy. In Singapore where I lived a while back, there were these 24 hour roti prata places where the meal would cost less than your 2am taxi ride to the place.
What is the best piece of advice you have received? Learn to say no.
Tell us something about yourself that your colleagues wouldn’t know? I suffer strange allergic reactions to rose by products like rose oil and rose water.
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