Call for Submissions

CFP: Media Fields Journal Issue 11: Surveillance Zones

Submission Deadline: February 25, 2015

Since Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency’s systematic interception and collection of Americans’ private data, anxieties about surveillance and privacy have become even more inextricably linked to the digital age. Moreover, with powerful new technologies and networks, surveillance capabilities continue to visibly and invisibly pervade a vast range of quotidian spaces. These capabilities occupy both the aerial sphere through drones and satellites and the embodied sphere through devices like Google Glass, body-worn cameras, and smart watches. In addition, technologies such as pixel trackers and spyware are embedded in the virtualized (but not immaterial) spaces and practices of information and communication media.

As states, corporations, and citizens increasingly use surveillance technologies to both connect and territorialize spaces, scholars have responded by exploring aspects of the deeply entwined relationship between surveillance and spatiality. Notably, Simone A. Browne has considered the ‘digital epidermalization’ of biometric technologies at border crossings and Caren Kaplan has argued that the data collection of GIS and GPS have been combined in ways that ‘militarize’ and target U.S. consumers. Mark Andrejevic has also introduced the idea of the ‘digital enclosure,’ a virtual sphere in which every interaction produces information about itself and, in a more optimistic approach, Jason Farman has posited that the participatory surveillance of mobile media can produce new kinds of social spaces.

Building on such conversations, this issue of Media Fields Journal examines how surveillance and space manifest in discourses around complementary ideas such as security and privacy, disclosure and secrecy, and the technological and biological. We also seek to consider specific impacts of surveillance practices at different scales—among local, national, transnational, and global levels—and how these practices react to and reconfigure the political, legal, and cultural institutions of their milieux.

Furthermore, we aim to investigate how digital surveillance practices alter the interrelations of virtual and geophysical spaces and precariously position online users as both supervised subjects and surveying voyeurs. Tellingly, even as users negotiate between desires of selective visibility and invisibility online, the mechanisms of surveillance that monitor them often remain imperceptible and inaccessible to them. With this paradox in mind, we also invite perspectives on how citizens and digital users are creatively deploying subversive strategies to counteract state and corporate surveillance and create and reclaim spaces of possibility.

Additional aspects of surveillance and countersurveillance to consider addressing include (but are not limited to):

- Cultural Politics: the gendered, sexualized, or racialized dimensions of surveillance; the labor of surveillance; anti-surveillance activism and activist uses of surveillance.

- State Politics: the legal, economic, or historical dimensions of surveillance; the global and geopolitical impacts of state surveillance programs; Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, and the National Security Agency disclosures; the movement for police body-worn cameras; military and wartime surveillance.

- Physical spaces: archives of surveillance footage, technologies in the home and workplace, data monitoring sites, surveillance in public and private spaces, borders and airports, aerial spaces.

- Technologies: cameras, biometric readers, augmented reality devices, wearable devices, mobile phones, drones, satellites, RFID tags and GPS devices, GIS.

- Digital practices: dataveillance, online tracking and targeted marketing, social networks and self-surveillance, mapping and data visualization, live feeds, adoption of privacy software, data encryption and anonymization.

- Media Representation: art projects or performances that address or employ surveillance, sousveillance projects, reality television shows, fictional depictions of surveillance, the coverage of surveillance in journalism, tech industry discourses about surveillance, surveillance in documentary practices.

We welcome all submissions that engage the connections of surveillance and space and encourage contributions from a range of disciplines and methodologies. We seek essays of 1500–2500 words, digital art projects, and interviews (text, audio, or video).

Please review the detailed guidelines at: http://www.mediafieldsjournal.org/guidelines/ and see earlier issues at http://www.mediafieldsjournal.org/.

Feel free to contact issue co-editors Daniel Grinberg and Lisa Han with questions. E-mail all submissions and inquiries to submissions@mediafieldsjournal.org. Please include a short biographical statement and abstract with your submission.