Issue 9: Spaces of Protest
Submission Deadline: July 18, 2014
“Insurrectional experiences have taught us how unimaginable things can very quickly enter into the field of possibilities.” In the time that has elapsed since Jacques Rancière uttered these prescient words in a 2011 interview, their validity has been repeatedly confirmed. From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street and from Cairo’s Tahrir Square to Istanbul’s Gezi Park, creative struggles and imaginative demonstrations have organically emerged from masses of people who had hitherto been considered passive, apathetic, or without agency. These collective movements, these sparks of revolutionary fire, have done much more than simply demonstrate an underlying discontent. They have also challenged the basic framework through which we interpret our surroundings, making visible the invisible and possible the impossible.
In this issue of Media Fields, we are exploring practices of protest as they relate to space and media. How are activists appropriating spaces and reclaiming the commons? How are they using technology and media, new and old, to intervene in relations of power and oppression, production and control? How are these activities challenging our understanding of culture and identity and reconfiguring our notion of the sensible? Or by contrast, following Ranajit Guha’s suggestion, how might we reconstitute insurgent politics by reading hegemony in reverse—uncovering how protest is officially rendered as ineffectual, criminal or invisible? How might media scholars locate alternative traditions of political mobilization? How do revised notions of materialist agencies help us grasp the complex assemblages mobilized when protests occur that include media, meaning and actants? What is the continued relevance of Marxism, psychoanalysis, and film and media theory in light of contemporary developments? How do we need to rework our theoretical approaches to accommodate contemporary circumstances and contingencies?
We welcome paper submissions dealing with all of these issues. Submissions may address a specific site or practice of protest, or they may take a broader view, dealing theoretically with the newly emerging constellations of solidarity and radical geographic/spatial imaginaries. We also invite submissions that excavate divergent and alternative emphases and practices as they relate broadly to media and protest. Consequently we welcome submissions that suggest new theoretical approaches to these themes as well as ones that reimagine (or imagine anew) theories of political engagement, change, and revolution.
Essay submissions are typically 1500-2500 words. We also invite proposals for scholarly or critical engagements in atypical formats such as interviews, art, or photography. We encourage approaches to this topic from scholars in cinema and media studies, anthropology, architecture, art and art history, communication, cultural studies, ecology, geography, literature, musicology, sociology, and other relevant fields. Email submissions, proposals, and inquiries to Issue Editors Greg Burris and Alston D’Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for full submissions is July 18, 2014.
Submissions may look at a variety of topics including:
- Theorizations and contextualizations of specific practices of protest.
- Comparative approaches between different sites of protest.
- The place of Marxist, post-Marxist, and neo-Marxist approaches to revolution, change, and protests and their critiques.
- Interventions and discursive practices within the public sphere, alternative publics and counterpublics. Queer and/or feminist theoretical interventions into neoliberalism and the Habermasian conception of public sphere.
- The status of film and media theory in the aftermath of protests and revolution (Occupy, Protests of ‘68).
- Examinations of protests and rebellions in relation to contemporary radical thought including Alain Badiou’s notion of the Event, Jacques Rancière’s distribution of the sensible, or Slavoj Žižek’s Act.
- Examinations of protests and protest movements via system theory, material and social assemblages or actor-network theory.
- Anticolonial movements and indigenous resistance, past and present, against cultural hegemony, appropriation and genocide.
- Representations of protest in film, television, and new media.
- Examinations of the ways in which practices of protest constitute and/or disrupt categories of gender, sexuality, or nationality.
- Responses to corporate surveillance and dataveillance.
- Discussions of hacking, countersurveillance, and culture jamming as well as responses to and condition of media blackouts, censorship and other government control over media and communication.
- Practices of solidarity, coalition-building in and across spaces, identities, and movements (for instance, BDS). Or conversely examinations of practices undercutting solidarity, such as appropriation and strikebreaking.
- Media access and the digital divide in relation to protests and social movements.