Call for Submissions

Issue 12: Media and Migration
Media Fields Journal

Submission Deadline: January 15, 2016


A recent New York Times article reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis ranked smartphones on par with food and shelter as part of the “21st Century migrant’s essentials.” Smartphones equipped with maps and GPS allow displaced Syrians to navigate unknown territories. They also allow access to crucial support and information provided by families and migrant networks through messaging apps and social media sites. This report exemplifies the complex interplay between media, migration, and the construction of cultural and geopolitical space. Also indicative of these complexities is Barack and Michelle Obama’s public tribute to Univision’s bado Gigante and its host, Don Franciscoas the show ends its 53-year run on television. Originally produced in Chile in 1962, the bado Gigante came to the United States in 1986 and has since become, as the First Lady states, “a fixture in living rooms across America and an important part of our cultural life.” The show thus has a migrant experience of its own and indexes various historical shifts in the movement of people and media between Latin America and the United States. 

Recent studies demonstrate the need to reassess longstanding assumptions about the connections between media and migration. Carolyn Cartier, Manuel Castells, and Jack Linchuan Qiu challenge the understanding of marginalized communities as “have-nots” who stand outside the information society. Instead, they use the term “have-less” to indicate migrants’ limited and precarious access to media technology. Given the particular challenges to reaching and moving across space that migrants experience, migrants are, as Karim H. Karim demonstrates, at the forefront of technological adoption. In this context, the uprooted migrant has given way to what Dana Diminescu calls the “connected migrant.”

Taking stock of such intricacies, the Media Fields Collective is excited to announce a new issue of Media Fields Journal exploring the relationship between media, migration, and space. We invite manuscripts, art projects, and interviews that explore the communicative ecology experienced by migrants and the way that media informs movement of bodies, information, and networks across space. Contributors may submit essays (1500-2500 words), digital art projects, and audio or video interviews exploring possible dynamics between media, migration, movement, and space. Please include an abstract (150 words) and an author bio. We encourage approaches to this topic from scholars in media studies, material arts, anthropology, computer science, communication, art/art history, geography, urban planning, sociology, global studies, and other fields. 

We propose the following questions as catalysts for these explorations: 

  • How do physical media infrastructures condition movements of information and people? Or even the movement of animals, water, or waste?
  • What economic, social, or legal frameworks regulate the movement of information, spectrum allocation, information systems, and human migration? 
  • How is GPS or other tracking technology being taken up by migrants or their opponents?
  • How might thinking about physical or digital migration of information, media devices, or technologies shed new light on how we approach the movement of people across space?
  • Does the way information move within systems or across borders provide a nuanced way to rethink human migration, immigration laws, and border enforcement?
  • How does the migration of media and people influence ideas about the global, national, and post-national?
  • How do media technologies influence the formation of transnational communities, online communities, and networks for the marketing and consumption of nostalgia? 
  • How do media technologies and social media alter processes, communication, and economic experiences of migration for migrants as well as those “left behind”?
  • What role does media play for migrants resettling in a host nations and navigating new cultural, political, and physical surroundings? How does settlement in the host country affect migrants’ relationship to media?
  • Do gender, sexuality, race, and class differences influence migrants’ access to media technologies? Or the way they use these technologies? How might this contribute to diverging experiences of migration?
  • What effects do media technologies have on the relationship between migration and the gendered distribution of paid and unpaid care work?
  • What methodological questions or issues emerge in understanding this moment of intensifying movement of both people and information across the national borders and through media infrastructures?


For any inquiries, contact issue co-editors, Bianka Ballina ( and Carlos Jimenez ( Email submissions to