The Official Newsletter for the Media Ecology Association
September 2020 Newsletter
The Twenty-Second Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association — Call For Papers
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 at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The deadline for submission is 1 November 2020.
The MEA convention provides in its annual meeting an opportunity for the community of academics and professionals to exchange experiences and ideas in a friendly environment. MEA convention addresses a wide diversity of topics in thematic sections, panels and working groups. We encourage submissions that explore approaches from different fields of knowledge and social practices. We are interested in papers, thematic panels, roundtable discussion panels, creative projects, performance sessions, and other proposals of interest to media ecologists.
We also propose a single central theme to be explored throughout the conference with the aim of generating and exploring multiple perspectives. This is accomplished through plenary and special sessions. The central theme for 2021 focuses on Dystopic Futures. Not all submissions have to address the central theme.
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, but not in our present culture. 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 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 modelling 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, economical crash, irreversible climate changes and other disasters: what now?
- Any new (and better) world order on the horizon? Is not being dystopian nowadays possible?
- Media regulation is still at stake? 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, Stupid talk in digital media
- Orality and digital literacy in a dystopic world
- Arts, technology, and cultural legacy
- Utopia, dystopia and Media Ecology studies
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION
Please submit paper and panel proposals, in English, by November 1, 2020 to MEA2021Convention@gmail.com. A maximum of two submissions per author will be accepted.
Authors who wish their papers to be considered for the Top Paper or Top Student Paper award must indicate this on their submission(s).
Submission Guidelines for paper and panel proposals:
- Include title(s), abstract(s) (maximum 250 words), and contact information for each participant.
- Outline, as relevant, how your paper or panel will fit with the convention theme.
- Authors with papers submitted as part of a panel proposal or as a paper proposal that wish to be considered for Top Paper or Top Student Paper must send the completed paper to the convention planner by May 15, 2021.
Submission guidelines for manuscripts eligible for MEA award submissions:
- Manuscripts should be 4,000–6,000 words (approximately 15 to 25 double-spaced pages).
- Include a cover page with your institutional affiliation and other contact information.
- Include an abstract (maximum 150 words).
Please direct questions to Adriana Braga, MEA2021Convention@gmail.com. For more on the Media Ecology Association, visit https://www.media-ecology.org.
Call for MEA Board Nominations
The Media Ecology Association’s Executive Board includes members elected by the Association’s membership. Each year, three to four positions on the MEA’s Board come up for election/re-election, and you may nominate a member, or volunteer yourself as a nominee. You do not need to have prior board experience (of any type) to be nominated and elected to the board.
There are four elected positions to be filled this year:
- MEA Vice President Elect (1-year term)
- Member-at-Large (3-year term)
- Newsletter Editor (1-year term)
- Recording Secretary (1-year term)
Nominations are open until September 30, 2020. Nominees must be members in good standing of the MEA and will be asked to provide a brief (100–150 word) statement about themselves and their interest in the MEA for inclusion with the ballots.
Voting will take place October 2020 on the MEA website. Details to follow.
Results will be reported on by the end of October 2020. Those elected will start their terms of office in January 2021 and, assuming we have an in-person meeting, should make plans to attend the Executive Board Meeting in New York City at that time. Please visit our webpage for more information regarding the open positions.
Send nominations or self-nominations to our Executive Secretary Fernando Gutiérrez at email@example.com.
Andrew McLuhan Teaches Understanding Media Intensive
Understanding Media Intensive is a 12-part look at media theorist Marshall McLuhan’s major 1964 work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, taught by Andrew McLuhan, Director of The McLuhan Institute. In an age where our media environment conditions and structures our reality in increasingly potent ways, Understanding Media provides important foundational knowledge on how our cultural traumas and tropes are embodied in technologies. This course will provide lecture and discussion on Part One of the book, which puts forth a set of tools for exploring human technologies and innovations as a means to regain agency in the midst of our increasingly disorienting online lives.
Lectures will include explorations and explanations of never-before-seen author annotations, historical documents, and personal accounts. Time will also be spent on the two introductions by Marshall McLuhan, and an introduction “Foreword is Forearmed,” written in 2002/2003 by Eric McLuhan but never published. A scrapbook of materials around the publication of the book in 1964 compiled by Marshall’s wife Corinne McLuhan, containing reviews and interviews, will add further context to how the book was received and provide insight into the material under discussion.
Classes will happen live every Saturday from 11-2pm PST / 2-5pm EST taking place online from October 3rd through December 19th.
Every Saturday, October 3 through December 19
11am – 2pm PST / 2pm – 5pm EST
Live Access – $600
Engage in weekly lectures, live chat, and Q&A with Andrew McLuhan
Audit Access – $360
View documented weekly lectures following each session
Diversity Scholarships: To help creators of all backgrounds reach their goals, we are proud to offer a diversity scholarship to sustain and advance an inclusive community at Gray Area and beyond. This full scholarship is for artists, students, and scholars from diverse backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education and the fields of art, design, and technology.
To enroll and learn more, please visit https://grayarea.org/workshop/understanding-media-intensive/.
Call for Papers: 2021 Eastern Communication Association Convention
ECA, Media Ecology Affiliate Group
Wednesday, March 24–Sunday, March 28, 2021
Submission Deadline: October 15, 2020
The Media Ecology affiliate group is requesting paper and panel submissions for the 112th Annual ECA Convention in Cambridge, MA and seeks submissions that explore ways in which media function as environments. Submissions should seek to probe thoughts and ideas connected to the convention theme of Resilience that address questions and topics from a media ecology approach.
For additional information about the upcoming convention, please visit ECA’s website: http://www.ecasite.org/. All questions or concerns related to the Media Ecology Affiliate Group can be directed to Jeff Bogaczyk, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working Group for Increasing Inclusivity
A Working Group for Increasing Inclusivity within Media Ecology and MEA has started to form in the last few weeks. Following a special workshop in the 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, and some are more 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!). Currently, the three leaders are meeting the board member Carolin Aronis to create goals and objectives that will align with the vision of MEA. The Working Group is expected to start its work and activities in August 2020. More details will be shared in the August Newsletter.
MEA members who would like to volunteer, or provide any insight, please write to email@example.com.
Call for Submissions for Explorations in Media Ecology Vol. 19
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:
Direct inquiries to
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 @ NCA 2020
This year’s convention will be a fully virtual event. Synchronous sessions will take place on the same dates as originally scheduled, November 19-22, with some virtual meetings held on the days surrounding these dates.
The 2020 NCA convention theme, “Communication at the Crossroads,” suggests an emphasis on intra-disciplinary collaboration and exploration. Media ecology is situated to explore communication in this way as a metadiscipline that studies the ways in which human action shapes and is shaped by our media environments. The term “media” is broadly construed in the field and includes but is not limited to communication, technology, technique, orality and literacy, the arts, economics, education, ethics, etc. Thus, media ecology explores the conditions of human experience made possible by the complex patterns of interaction within and among our symbolic-material environments. These complex patterns of interaction represent a crossroads of sorts in an environment Neil Postman characterized by the phrase “information glut.”
“Communication at the Crossroads” also suggests the importance of our many human connections during uncertain times. The present circumstances are indeed a sort of crossroads, and we find ourselves navigating a very uncertain path together. The many ideas represented in media ecology may help our communities to address these challenges and choose a better path forward. Submissions related to our current circumstances, be they related to pandemic and public health, news coverage, online education, or the symbolic and ritual practices of community, are welcome.
2020 Massey Lectures
Ronald J. Deibert — one of the keynote speakers at our 2014 convention and winner of both the MEA Jacques Ellul and Neil Postman awards — will deliver this year’s Massey Lectures, titled Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society. Deibert is the founder and director of Citizen Lab, a research outfit based at the University of Toronto, which studies technology, surveillance and censorship. His Massey Lectures will focus on the societal impact of the internet and social media. This year’s Massey Lectures will be delivered virtually, with details to be announced later this summer. The lectures will be broadcast in the fall on CBC Radio’s IDEAS and the CBC Listen App.
Call for the 2022 Annual Convention Host
The MEA is currently looking for a host for the Twenty-Third Annual Convention of the Media Ecology Association in 2022. If you are interested in hosting, please visit our website and email our Executive Secretary Fernando Gutiérrez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEA Member News and Achievements
“Canadian Culture” Podcast
Musician, author, and educator Dr. Rea Beaumont has launched the podcast “Canadian Culture” that highlights the country’s diverse cultural heritage. The first episode features an interview with Andrew McLuhan, Director of the McLuhan Institute, discussing the groundbreaking work of Marshall McLuhan and Eric McLuhan.
Monday Night Webinars — The McLuhan Institute
Hosted by MEA president, Paolo Granata, these webinars run from 8:00-10:00 EST on Monday nights.
The idea is simple. In response to the state of physical distancing and isolation, it’s time to bring back the McLuhan’s tradition of weekly Monday Night sessions in a brand new format: The Monday Night Webinars!
In a playful, relaxed, and experimental online format, a panel of participants – academics, artists, designers, raconteurs, innovators, and thinkers – will explore the mosaic of the metaphoric global village in light of the current global crisis, as a source of knowledge and inspiration.
Marshall McLuhan Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1394898027486287
The McLuhan Institute YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjVLgst11Hs
CALL FOR NEWSLETTER CONTENT
To submit your news to In Medias Res, the official monthly newsletter of the Media Ecology Association, members can use 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.
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 https://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.