The Official Newsletter for the Media Ecology Association
February 2021 Newsletter
Celebrating Black History Month
In our ongoing efforts to create an environment that is inclusive and diverse, we invite you to read from these books and articles that relate to race and technology.
Black Software (Oxford University Press, 2019) - Charlton Mcllwain
Algorithms of Oppression (NYU Press, 2018) - Safiya Umoja Noble
Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Polity Press, 2019) - Ruha Benjamin
Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (Duke University Press, 2019) - Ruha Benjamin
Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures (Critical Cultural Communication) (NYU Press, 2020) - André Brock Jr.
Beyond Hashtags: Racial Politics and Black Digital Networks (NYU Press, 2019) - Sarah Florini
“Critical technocultural discourse analysis” (New Media & Society, 2016) - André Brock Jr.
“#LaughingWhileBlack: Gender and the Comedy of Social Media Blackness” (Feminist Media Histories, 2017) - Brandy Monk-Payton
Black History Makers in Technology
Check out this brief outline of African American innovators in technology (this list is not comprehensive!):
1872: Elijah McCoy – invented and patented an automatic lubricator for oiling the steam engines of locomotives and ships. Rumor has it that his name is where the term “The Real McCoy” comes from, supposedly because railroad engineers wanted to make sure they got his superior oil-drip cup invention and not a fake.
1885: Granville Woods – invented a device that allowed train stations to communicate with moving trains.
1959: Otis Boykin – patented a type of resister still used in radios, television, and computers.
1962: James Edward West – developed the foil-electret microphone that is now used in almost all current microphones, including cell phones.
1966: Marie Van Brittan Brown – inventor of the home security system and first closed-circuit TV.
Late 1960s: Roy L. Clay – dubbed the “godfather of black Silicon Valley,” he helped launch Hewlett-Packard’s computer division.
1972: George Carruthers – principle inventor of the Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectrograph used during Apollo 16’s lunar landing.
1973: Shirley Ann Jackson – first African American woman to earn doctorate from MIT in any field. She later worked as a theoretical physicist at Bell Laboratories and chaired the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
1976: Jerry Lawson – led the development of the Fairchild Channel F Console, which used swappable game cartridges rather than ROM storage.
1980: Valerie Thomas – patented a 3-D Illusion Transmitter that’s now used by NASA. Doctors also use it for medical imaging, and it’s used in 3-D television.
1988: Jesse Russell – led the first team from Bell Laboratories to introduce digital cellular technology in the United States. He also patented dozens of innovations in wireless technology, including base station tech that transmits radio wave signals to and from mobile devices.
2006: Janet Emerson Bashen – became the first Black woman to obtain a software patent.
Source: Connected Nation
The Twenty-Second Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association
To Be Held Virtually Via Zoom
Dystopic Futures – Media Ecology in an Algorithm Society
July 8–11, 2021
“Media ecology looks into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival.” (Neil Postman, 1970). “It is the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs.” (Lance Strate, 1999)
THE MEDIA ECOLOGY ASSOCIATION (MEA) invites the submission of abstracts of papers and proposals for panels for presentation at its 22th Annual Convention, which will be held from 8 to 11 July, 2021. In light of the effects of the pandemic on health and travel, we have decided to postpone hosting our annual meeting at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil until 2022, and will once again hold our convention online via Zoom.
The annual meeting of the MEA provides an opportunity for our community of scholars, educators, professionals and practioners to exchange experiences and ideas in a friendly environment. Participants at MEA conventions address a wide diversity of topics in our programs, and we encourage submissions that explore media ecological approaches from any number of different disciplines and fields of knowledge and social practice.
THE THEME OF THE 2021 CONVENTION is Dystopic Futures: Media Ecology in an Algorithm Society. Dystopian societies are represented in a variety of science fiction works as an effort to predict pessimistic consequences of our current practices. Films, books and other forms of art set their narratives in the future, to comment on our present culture while maintaining critical distance. However, nowadays we are living in a sort of dystopic present with undesirable and frightening realities. In addition to our natural, environmental, political, ethical, cultural, health and social problems, we have to deal with issues brought by technological advances. We are living in a technopoly (Postman, 1992), or in what some recent authors call an algorithmic society, “a society organized around social and economic decision-making by algorithms, robots, and AI agents, who not only make decisions but also, in some cases, carry them out” (Balkin 2016). What kind of dystopia can we envisage as consequence of our dystopic present?
General topics of interest related to the convention theme (but not limited to):
- Fake news, and social media: discursive breakdown and political consequences.
- Robots and transhumanism
- Algorithmic media: data mining, subjectivity modeling and decision-making
- Big Data, machine learning, AI, and society
- Limits of AI development: is it reasonable to talk about an AI take over?
- Movies and literature: mapping different kinds of dystopias.
- Pandemics, economic crash, irreversible climate changes and other disasters: what now?
- Any new (and better) world order on the horizon? Is avoiding dystopia possible?
- Is media regulation still possible? In what sense and by what means?
- Discourse and education in the era of technology hegemony.
- Politics, health, citizenship, and media
- Disinformation, censorship, and propaganda
- Crazy talk and stupid talk in digital media
- Orality and digital literacy in a dystopic world
- Arts, technology, and cultural legacy
- Utopia, dystopia and media ecology studies
Because we will once again be holding our convention via Zoom, we plan to offer the same lower registration fees that we did last year. Namely,
- MEA members: $25
- MEA student members: $10
- Non-members: $50
- Non-member students: $25
All convention participants and attendees are encouraged to join the MEA.
Please direct questions to convention coordinator Adriana Braga, MEA2021Convention@gmail.com. For more on the Media Ecology Association, visit https://www.media-ecology.org.
Download a PDF version of this CFP in English (or in Portuguese) to print or share!
Welcome to the Executive Board of the Media Ecology Association!
Please help us welcome the new and transitioning Executive Board Members of the Media Ecology Association!
Peggy Cassidy: President 2021
Margaret Cassidy is Professor and Chair of the Communications Department at Adelphi University. A graduate of the Media Ecology Ph.D. program, she is the author of BookEnds: The Changing Media Environment of American Classrooms (Hampton Press, 2003) and Children, Media, and American History: Printed Poison, Pernicious Stuff, and Other Terrible Temptations (Routledge, 2018).
Michael Plugh: Vice President Elect 2021
Michael Plugh is Assistant Professor of Communication at Manhattan College. He is Past-President of the New York State Communication Association, current President of the New York Society for General Semantics, and currently serves as Vice President, Elect of the Media Ecology Association. Mike’s research interests include media ecology and general semantics, particularly in the area of education.
Ashley Moore: Recording Secretary 2021
Ashley Moore is a Ph.D. Candidate in Public Communication and Technology at Colorado State University. Her research interests include critical examinations into the ways biological and cultural narratives about race affect public conceptions and communication of race and, ultimately, determine society’s ability to redress racial inequalities.
Her dissertation seeks to identify if and how individuals use biological or cultural perspectives to identify, describe, and justify their own and others’ race in online and offline spaces. Ashley’s interest in the MEA is rooted in her own fight for racial justice. As a black woman and native of St. Louis, Missouri, she has seen and experienced the effects of racism within the lives and communities around her – including her own. Theoretical perspectives from media ecology have given her an opportunity to reconceptualize the way we think about race by offering a new understanding of our racial experience – as technology rather than biology.
Susan Drucker: Historian 2021
Susan J. Drucker (Juris Doctor, St. John’s University) is a Distinguished Professor of Journalism in the Department of Journalism/Media Studies, School of Communication, Hofstra University. She is an attorney, and treasurer of the Urban Communication Foundation. She is the author and editor of 13 books and over 150 articles and book chapters including two volumes of the Urban Communication Reader, Regulating Convergence (Lang, 2010), Voices in the Street: Gender, Media and Public Space and two editions of Real Law @ Virtual Space: The Regulation of Cyberspace (1999, 2005), Regulating Social Media: Legal and Ethical Consideration (2013) with Gary Gumpert. She co-edited Urban Communication Regulations: Communication Freedoms and Limits (Lang, 2018). Her latest book is Fake News: Real Issues in Modern Communication with Russell Chun (Lang. 2020). She received the Walter J. Ong Award for Career Achievement in Scholarship from MEA in 2018. Her work examines the relationship between media technology and human factors, particularly as viewed from a legal perspective.
Matt Thomas: Internet Officer 2021-2023
Originally from Seattle, Matt Thomas did his undergraduate work at the University of Southern California and his graduate work at the University of Iowa, where he got his PhD in American Studies. His interests lie at the intersection of media, technology, identity, and American history. His work has appeared in a variety of venues, both academic and popular. He currently lives in Iowa City, IA, where he teaches at Kirkwood Community College.
CALL FOR NEWSLETTER CONTENT
To submit your news to In Medias Res, the official monthly newsletter of the Media Ecology Association, members can click here for the submission form.
We are looking for news that is relevant to the members of MEA. This might include member achievements (i.e., journal publications, books, creative works, etc.), awards received, upcoming relevant conferences, recent books that MEA members should be aware of, web content that might interest MEA members, news about upcoming EME issues, calls for submissions, etc.
The deadline for submissions to be included in the next month’s newsletter is the 28th of every month at 5pm EST.
MEA @ NCA 2021
Call for Competitive Papers and Complete Panel Proposals
The Media Ecology Association
at the 107th Annual Convention of
The National Communication Association
November 18–21, 2021
“Renewal & Transformation”
Submissions Open: January 11, 2021
Submissions Close: March 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time
MEA @ NCA Program Planner: Michael Plugh, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Media Ecology Association welcomes submissions for the 2021 National Communication Association convention, centered on the theme of Renewal and Transformation. NCA’s annual gathering offers our community an opportunity to renew our associations, as we engage in the important rituals of community building and affirmation. After a trying period of physical distancing and compromise, we look forward to meeting, once again, to share questions, ideas, and good spirits, and to make sense of the many transformations this period has presented. How have our communities been transformed by these recent times and their challenges? In what ways can we renew old associations as a means by which to navigate a path forward?
This call invites you to explore these concerns, emphasizing the historical and intellectual roots of our field, and their relevance to the theme of Renewal and Transformation. As such, papers and panels that deal with topics related to the theme are encouraged (though not required). Likewise, proposals that link traditionally distinct thinkers or disciplines to media ecology, extend established ideas or concepts, or otherwise advance existing approaches to the field, are also welcomed.
Submission Method and Deadline
Online submission will be accepted through the NCA Convention Central website beginning January 11, 2021. The absolute deadline for submissions is March 31, 2021 at 11:59 PM Pacific.
Types of Submissions
Interested colleagues are encouraged to submit individual papers, paper sessions, and/or panel discussion proposals that address the convention theme as it relates to the study of media ecology. (Strict adherence to the NCA convention theme is, again, not a requirement for submission). The MEA program will accept the following three types of submissions: individual papers, paper sessions (common theme paper presentations); and panel discussions (common topic roundtable discussion).
Individual Papers: All paper submissions should include an uploaded file between 20 and 25 pages (double-spaced) in length, including references and tables, and have (a) a title; (b) a 250–500-word description; and (c) no personal identification of the author in the abstract or throughout the paper upload. Please remove all personal identification before uploading the document online. Individual papers will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: (a) a firm grounding in the established literature; (b) sound arguments with well-substantiated ideas; (c) clear expression of ideas; (d) a clear media-ecological orientation; and (e) a contribution to the general understanding of media ecology. If your submission is a student paper, please be sure to indicate this. Also, submitters should indicate their willingness to present as part of a Scholar-to-Scholar (S2S) program session.
Paper Sessions comprise a group of authors with papers to present centered upon a common theme. Paper Session proposals must include (a) a session title and description describing the session’s overall focus; (b) indicate the session chair and respondent; (c) the title of each paper on the session and author information; (d) an abstract of no more than 75 words for each paper; and (e) a rationale of no more than 250 words for the session. Paper sessions should include individuals representing multiple institutions rather than individuals from only one or two institutions. Further, a single person should not serve more than one role (i.e., chair, respondent, author, or presenter) in a submission.
Panel Discussions comprise a group of panelists who discuss a specific topic. Submitters may use the exact same text for both the abstract and rationale if they do not wish to create a separate rationale (reviewers will use the rationale when evaluating this type of panel). Complete panel discussion proposals in this format will therefore include (a) a panel title describing the panel’s overall focus; (b) a list of all presenters, with their affiliations; (c) an abstract of no more than 250 words; and (d) a rationale of no more than 250 words. Panel discussions should include individuals representing multiple institutions rather than individuals from only one or two institutions. Further, a single person should not serve more than one role (i.e., chair, respondent, author, or presenter) in a submission.
All panel discussion or paper session proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: (a) solid organization and preparation, with clear indication of the focus and rationale of the panel; (b) clear, strong integration/coherence among the topics of the individual papers or presentations; (c) interest to MEA members; (d) a clear media- ecological orientation; and (e) a contribution to the general understanding of media ecology. All submitters are also asked to consider creative collaborations and co- sponsorship with other units. Co-sponsorhip opportunities should be noted in the “special requests” tab.
The MEA has six session slots available for this convention. As a standard practice, paper sessions consisting of competitively refereed and accepted complete papers will receive priority ranking and scheduling privilege. Also, since we have limited panel allocations and hope to engage more of our colleagues in the MEA’s program, we urge all prospective contributors to send in only one submission&mdashone complete paper or participation on only one proposed panel. Please also note that NO identical submissions may be made to more than one unit.
NCA Policy: Audio/Visual Equipment
NCA policy entails providing reasonable A/V support of presentations at its annual convention. However, equipment requests must be kept to a minimum because of their high cost. Submitters must therefore adhere to the following guidelines:
- A/V equipment requests MUST be made at the same time as the paper or panel’s submission, and will be screened by the program planner.
- NCA will normally approve requests for the following equipment: laptop audio, Internet connection and LCD projectors.
- NCA will NOT normally approve requests for equipment such as laptops, transparency projectors, VCR or DVD players, camcorders, satellite links, or teleconference/webinar equipment.
Individuals may, of course, elect to rent equipment for the convention at their own expense.
All submitters are encouraged to review the Professional Standards for Convention Participants prior to submission. Helpful resources (including the Professional Standards for Convention Participants), such as live and recorded step-by-step instructions on how to submit, are available in the NCA Convention Library (http://www.natcom.org/conventionresources).
Call for Submissions for Explorations in Media Ecology Vol. 20
All articles submitted should be original work and must not be under consideration by other publications.
Explorations in Media Ecology, the journal of the Media Ecology Association, accepts submissions that extend our understanding of media (defined in the broadest possible terms), that apply media ecological approaches and/or that advance media ecology as a field of inquiry.
As an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary publication, EME welcomes contributions embracing diverse theoretical, philosophical and methodological approaches to the study of media and processes of mediation through language, symbols, codes, meaning and processes of signification, abstracting and perception; art, music, literature, aesthetics and poetics; form, pattern and method; materials, energy, information, technology and technique; mind, thought, emotion, consciousness, identity and behavior; groups, organizations, affiliations, communities; politics, economics, religion, science, education, business and the professions; societies and cultures; history and the future; contexts, situations, systems and environments; evolution and ecology; the human person, human affairs and the human condition; etc.
EME publishes peer-reviewed scholarly articles, essays, research reports, commentaries and critical examinations, and includes several special features. Our Pedagogy Section focuses on teaching strategies and resources, pedagogical concerns and issues relating to media ecology education; we are particularly interested in articles that share great ideas for teaching (GIFTs) media ecology in the classroom. The Probes Section features short items that are exploratory or provocative in nature. Creative writing on media ecological themes can be found in our Poetry Section. Questions and matters of concern to media ecology scholars are taken up in our Forum Section. And our Review Section includes individual book reviews and review essays.
EME is a refereed journal. Strict anonymity is accorded to both authors and referees. References and citations should follow the Harvard Referencing system, and the journal otherwise follows standard British English for spelling and punctuation.
Submissions can be uploaded online at: https://callisto.newgen.co/intellect/index.php/EME/submissions
Direct inquiries to
Call for Papers - EME’s 20th Anniversary
Call for Papers: Invited special issue in celebration of EME’s 20th anniversary.
We welcome contributions that celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Explorations in Media Ecology: The official Journal of the Media Ecology Association. Contributions can come in the form of analyses, essays, poetry, art, reviews, etc. Possible topics welcomed in the issue, but not limited to: Past and future trends in the journal or media ecology Discussion of influential articles, poetry, art, reviews Inspirational authors of the MEA Traditions kept alive by the journal and ME.
Please email contributions directly to EME’s Editorial Assistant, Gregory Loring-Albright, at email@example.com.
Call for Submissions for ETC: A Review of General Semantics
ETC: A Review of General Semantics is the official quarterly publication of the Institute of General Semantics, now in its 78th year of continuous publication.
ETC welcomes submissions about the symbolic environments in which humans spend their time, with a particular focus on the study of the intersection of language, thought, and behavior. We are primarily interested in approaches to the nature of language as our species’ primary medium of human communication, how we use language to create what we call meaning, and how we can be better meaning-makers through an understanding of the relationships among language, meaning, thought, mind, symbols, media, technology, context, culture, etc.
Submissions fall into four main areas – keeping in mind, of course, that such categories are tentative, artificial, and always subject to revision. The categories are meant to suggest the broad range of possible contributions, not to limit them. Contributors are not required to specify into which area a particular piece falls.
Category 1: Articles about our various symbolic environments, emergent or persisting metaphors, and/or current or historical study of human symbolic use that advances our understanding of symbols, behavior, and culture.
Category 2: Cases and observations of language use and misuse in politics, commerce, relationships, and self-talk that contribute to an understanding of the relationship between language, thought, and behavior.
Category 3: Instructional frameworks, models, and principles intended to assist educators in illustrating general semantics principles: lesson plans, activities, demonstrations, etc.
Category 4: Artwork, illustrations, poetry, short fiction, and/or other vehicles that express or explain some idea about symbols and behavior, such as maps and territories, abstractions, non-categorical thinking, extensional thinking, or the principle of etcetera.
HOW TO SUBMIT
Article submissions are accepted electronically via e-mail. All submissions must be original work and must not be under consideration by other publications. Please submit to:
The following are the guidelines for contributions to ETC: A Review of General Semantics (modified January 19, 2021):
Microsoft Word documents are preferred. Please send your document as an e-mail attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Contact the Editor if you experience any technical issues.
As we move toward the professional standard practice that is internal consistency within our pages, we request that contributors follow the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th Ed., 2020) for all citations and bibliographic references. However, because we are, at this time, an interdisciplinary community, we will continue to accept manuscripts that utilize the author’s choice of style guide (MLA, Chicago, etc.).
Please do not, under any circumstances, use the automated footnote or note referencing function of MSWord.
If you wish to include photos, illustrations, or graphics, you may incorporate them into your document yourself or send them as separate files with instructions for where to insert them within your manuscript. Acceptable formats include JPG, JPEG, GIF, TIF, and BMP files. Resolution/file size should be as large as possible. All permissions for the use of copyrighted material are the responsibility of the author and must be obtained before submission.
Please include with your submission a brief author’s blurb, of no more than three sentences, as you wish to present yourself, and which we will publish at the bottom of the first page of the published piece. Indicate your last degree and the institution from which you obtained it.
Finally, if you submit an article that has been previously published, please obtain reprint permissions prior to your submission to ETC, and make sure to provide evidence of such permission at the time you submit.
ETC emphatically and especially welcomes and encourages submissions by students.
For more information, please contact the editor, Thom Gencarelli, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information and/or to purchase current or back issues of ETC: A Review of General Semantics, please visit the IGS website at: http://www.generalsemantics.org/
Working Group for Increasing Inclusivity
Following a special workshop in the 2020 MEA convention organized by Carolin Aronis (University of Colorado, Boulder), Peggy Cassidy (Adelphi University), Rachel Armamentos (Fordham University), and Bernadette Ann Bowen (Bowling Green State University), sixteen MEA members volunteered to become new members of this group. Three of them stepped forward to lead the group. The new group members include board members, faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, all from different institutions and countries, some new to the MEA while others are long standing members.
Multiple issues to strengthen MEA and the Media Ecology as a field of study were identified through the convention session (thank you for all contributors!).
Virtual Coffee with a Media Ecologist
Are you interested in media ecology and have some questions about it? Are you working on a study related to media ecology and searching for advice? Are you an instructor looking for a media ecology expert to invite as a virtual guest speaker to one of your classes?
Get in touch with us! We are happy to schedule a “virtual coffee” appointment with you. Simply fill out the form below to set up a short call or virtual meeting with a scholar from the MEA.
The format is open to all. We especially encourage students and early-career scholars interested in media ecology to get in touch with us.
Do you have a background in media ecology and would like to volunteer for virtual coffee meetings with those looking to learn more about it? Send an email to Julia M. Hildebrand.
Arrange a Virtual Coffee appointment on our website.
MEA Member News and Achievements
The Arts and Play as Educational Media in the Digital Age
Peter Lang’s “Understanding Media Ecology” series most recent release is The Arts and Play as Educational Media in the Digital Age by Robert Albrecht and Carmine Tabone. The digital revolution we are now entering as educators is an unchartered sea pregnant with wondrous possibilities but laden with a minefield of unforeseen consequences. A pedagogy that overlooks or downplays the disruptive and often dangerous influence of digital media on childhood development is necessarily a very shortsighted one.
More than just highlighting our misgivings about digital media, however, this book has a purpose far more ambitious and infinitely more useful. Based upon 45 years of work with young people in Jersey City classrooms, day camps, housing projects, libraries, church basements and community centers, the authors propose a pedagogical strategy that uses hands-on experiences in the arts as a strategy to offset and counterbalance the dominance of digital media in the lives of children.
Rather than call for the elimination of digital media — clearly an impossibility even if it were desirable — the authors maintain that children need to be exposed to non-digital, non-electronic experiences that cultivate alternative ways of thinking, feeling, and being in the world. In sum, the book does not call for an end to the digital, but outlines ways in which the arts and creative forms of play help to establish a balance in the education and socialization of children as we enter more deeply into the Digital Age.
For more information and purchasing options, please visit the book’s page on Peter Lang’s website.
Donate to MEA through AmazonSmile
When you order through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.”
To use it, go to smile.amazon.com and sign in as you usually do. Directly under the search bar, you will find a pull-down for supported charities. Search for and select Media Ecology Association.