Call for Submissions
Mediating the Anthropocene
Media Fields Journal, Issue #13
Deadline: May 22, 2017
Upon reaching the historic Paris Agreement in 2016, which was the culminating event of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared the moment a “historic turning point” in global efforts to combat climate change. For the first time, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement and starting 4th November 2016, there can be decisive steps in combating carbon emission. Although this is a hard won achievement, discourses that merely valorize such events without critically engaging with the unequal effects and experiences of environmental pollution efface particular environmental struggles of the global South. More importantly, they hide the irony of a ‘collective solution’ - where some of the same countries that have stepped up to solve the problem have been and continue to be the cause of the problem. They gloss over the many social movements and organic resistances that have already emerged in various parts of the global south in response to these environmentally exploitative practices. So perhaps we are at a ‘historic turning point’ where debates about the anthropocene can critically engage processes of globalization and neoliberalization like never before. They can provide insights into the penumbra of the global and the uneven circuits of capital. Such a line of enquiry however, has to begin with how the anthropocene is mediated. What are the politics of this mediation and what is at stake in mapping these assemblages/exchanges?
This issue of Media Fields Journal seeks to trace and theorize fecund exchanges between media and the environment. It asks how a media studies perspective can enable new visions of and engagements with the anthropocene? And likewise, what an ecological conception of media would be? What are the politics, potentials, and pitfalls of such theorizations? Conceiving of mediation as an agential process that can bring subjects/bodies into relationalities (Guillory, 2010), we invite scholars to critically engage the anthropocene as ongoing vital mediations between human and non-human matter. What new understandings of life forms can they enable and in what ways can they help explore our biological connections to media?
We welcome engagements that are attuned to the complex ecologies of scale (from the nano to the global) and are both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in scope. Our goal is to understand the environment as a lens that reflects, distorts, and focuses new ways of theorizing mediated spacetimes and consequently to reconceive, expand, and explore the Anthropocene through a media studies framework. We seek syncretic engagements that would be a way forward in envisioning sustainable, equitable futures.
Contributors can submit essays (1500-2500 words), digital art projects, and audio or video interviews by 5:00 pm PST on May 22, 2017. Please include an abstract (150 words) and an author bio and send submissions to issue co-editors Bhargavi Narayananan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sarah Lerner (email@example.com).
For more information and guidelines please visit www.mediafieldsjournal.org
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Genealogies of the Anthropocene
- Media Archaeologies, Media(ted) histories of the earth
- Media Ecologies and Mediated Landscapes
- Human Geographies, GIS mapping
- Media Infrastructures and the Environment
- Sonic Epistemologies and Technological Innovation
- Eco-Aesthetics, Eco-Cinema, Environmental Documentaries
- Eco-critical theory and contemporary media
- Media and Sustainability, Green Media, Media as Environment
- Representations and visualizations of the environment
- Politics of news coverage and reports on Climate Change and Pollution
- Weather media, ocean media, and deep sea explorations
- Trash media, Media waste, Toxic Media, Nuclear Power
- Circuits and politics of recycling, re-purposing, and re-mediation
- Nano-visions, virality and media, Insect Media, ‘Tiny’ Ecologies
- Biosecurity, Eco-disasters, and crises
- Environmental movements, local resistances, and southern epistemologies
Ruins: 2017 Media Fields Conference
University of California, Santa Barbara
April 6-7, 2017
Extended Submission Deadline: February 1, 2017
Keynote speakers: Marwan Kraidy (Anthony Shadid Chair of Global Media, Politics, and Culture and Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania) and Rahul Mukherjee (Dick Wolf Assistant Professor of Cinema and New Media Studies, University of Pennsylvania)
The Media Fields Editorial Collective at the UCSB Department of Film & Media Studies is seeking proposals for its upcoming biennial conference. We are soliciting papers that address this year’s theme, Ruins
Although media texts and technologies are often enthusiastically wedded to discourses of speed, futurity, and modernity, they are also haunted by loss and decay. If forms like the photograph, phonograph, and moving image once served as audiovisual guarantors of the progress of Western history, they did so partly by translating vast worlds of living difference into ossified documentary traces. Similarly, while recent media technologies have proffered new modes of perceptual experience, the pulses and shocks of modernity have drastically reconfigured the parameters of social interaction and knowledge production. Whatever velocities or futurities our media may offer, they remain inextricably tethered to the prospect of ruin.
This focus on ruination has intensified within our discipline in recent years. In the shadow of protracted ecological calamity, we are inundated with images of waste and “natural” disaster, even as our image-making devices rely on highly contentious forms of labour exploitation, resource extraction, and territorialization. As the impermanence of computer memory is exposed and our obsolete devices toxify lands and bodies across the Global South, the futurist euphoria once yoked to the digital is waning. As emergent and entrenched war machines lay waste to ancient icons, ruined terrains are mobilized as potent symbols of foreign barbarism, ideological (im)purity, and humanitarian crisis. At the same time, processes of ruination embedded in junk, piratical, and informal economies are flourishing not only in the interstices of social life, but also at the core of highly codified media environments. Such alternative economies compel a rethinking of the aesthetic, technical, and infrastructural dimensions of mediation, pointing to new ways of seeing and hearing in worlds where things break but are rarely fixed and where obsolescence, crisis, and collapse have become both habitual and idiomatic.
Centering these and other concerns, the Media Fields Collective invites proposals that address the deteriorations and afterlives of media texts, technologies, and architectures. Rather than framing ruin, decay, and breakdown as merely negatives to technological progress, we aim to interrogate various ruins on their own terms and consider epistemological, methodological, aesthetic, and disciplinary questions. Presentations may address but are not limited to:
- Media archaeology and artifacts
- War, revolution, and postwar reconstruction
- Climate change, extreme weather, and ecological disaster
- Catastrophe, social breakdown, and dystopia
- The extraction, manufacture and distribution of media technologies
- Abandoned architectures and spaces of media encounters
- Waste, pollution, and rot
- Memorialization, trauma, and loss
- The destruction and reshaping of global geographies
- Technological obsolescence, failure, and degradation
- Salvage, repair, and maintenance
- Archives and preservation
- Junk mail, storage, and digital excess
- The politics of media infrastructures
- Speculative and new materialist approaches to media
- Iconoclasm and image destruction
- Media afterlives and zombie media
- After media; the post-cinematic, post-photographic state of film and media studies
Panelists will have 15-20 minutes to present their papers. We also invite experimental presentation formats and screenings. If you have an unconventional proposal in mind, we ask that you provide a brief summary of your planned format. Please email a 250- to 300-word proposal and a brief bio (both in Word format) to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 1, 2017. For any inquiries, please contact the conference organizers: Tyler Morgenstern (email@example.com), Lisa Han (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Daniel Grinberg (email@example.com).