Call For Papers – Visuality: Truth and Politics

Volume Editors: Sophie Freeman, Geoff Hondroudakis, Maria Kamal, and Brian McKitrick

Abstract submissions due: 12th of February, 2021

Full paper submissions due: 12th of April, 2021

All abstracts should be submitted via email to platformjmc@gmail.com. Abstracts must be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae and biographical note, and should not exceed 350 words. Abstracts are to be submitted no later than 12 February 2021. Full papers are due 12 April 2021. Please be aware that acceptance of abstracts does not guarantee publication. All submissions should be from early career researchers (defined as being within a few years of completing their PhD) or current graduate students undertaking their Masters, PhD, or international equivalent.
Please send all further questions to platformjmc@gmail.com

All eligible submissions will be sent for double-blind peer-review. Early submission is highly encouraged as the review process will commence on submission.

Note: Please read the submission guidelines before submitting work. Submissions received not in house style will not be accepted and authors will be asked to resubmit their work with the correct formatting before it is sent for review.

From photographs to viral videos and memes, images pervade digital communication. In one
sense, the global health crisis compresses a media landscape already dominated by
branded content, extremism, tokenism, fakes and misinformation hosted on platforms
underpinned by logics of surveillance capitalism. The long-discussed
spectacle of the image appears, in this sense, to degrade the epistemic function of visuality,
breaking the bonds between the visible and the true.

Yet, within this milieu, a cell phone video documenting police brutality enabled social media
audiences to witness the events that led to George Floyd’s death and galvanised global
protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, demonstrating the power of visuals
shared in the digital media sphere. Activism and political dissent take on new forms (or
recycle old forms with new technologies) to hold power to account through visual forms of
communication and witnessing. Such mass movements reveal that the suturing of the
visible, the true, and the politically effective remains possible, though it requires enormous
collective work.

Beyond and beneath these most overt sites of struggle, visuality as a conflux of sensing and
representing renews fundamental problems of knowing and being. Scholars such as Wendy
Chun have pointed to the technoscientific collapse of the image with its process of
becoming. Planetary computation prompts us to rethink how technics make visible the
invisible, converting the Earth into a vast sensing apparatus from which data become visual
object. Such frames contrast with notions of the photograph as part of social rituals and a
means of participating in the “mortality, vulnerability and mutability” of others (Zelizer, 2010,
p. 25). Visuality thus also activates ontological questions of the determinations and disjuncts
between the frame of the human and that of technical system.

This issue of Platform seeks papers which engage with the question: What is the relationship
between the visual, the true, and the political today? What does visual signify today in the
digital realm in regards to activism and discourse? How do visual technologies bolster
reactionary powers through new forms of surveillance and policing? What does the visual
signify in terms of representation as such, of the relationship between the sign, its apparatus,
and its meaning? Platform invites papers on all aspects related to visual politics and digital
media, including but not limited to:

  • Online and physical activism
  • Circulation dynamics of visual media
  • Witnessing and accountability
  • Collective memory, visibility and accessibility 
  • Images as transient: attention and content overload
  • Manipulation, interference and disinformation
  • Online and offline moderation
  • Ideologies of visibility and concealment
  • Apparatuses and applications of data visualisation
  • Sensing and Visual Augmentation
  • Memes and formats of online cultural artifacts
  • Image appropriation and remix culture 
  • Images, memorialisation and mourning rituals

Platform: Journal of Media and Communication is a fully refereed, open-access online graduate journal. Founded and published by the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne (Australia), Platform was launched in November 2008.

Platform is refereed by an international board of established and emerging scholars working across diverse fields in media and communication studies, and is edited by graduate students at the University of Melbourne.

Cunning Knowledge and Media Technologies

Volume Editor: Christopher O’Neill

Abstract submissions due: 19th of March, 2016

Full paper submissions due: 20th of May, 2016

Please send all enquiries and submissions to platformjmc@gmail.com. Abstracts must be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae and biographical note, and should not exceed 350 words. Abstracts are to be submitted no later than 19th of March, 2016. Full papers will be due by 20th of May 2016; please be aware that acceptance of abstracts does not guarantee publication. All submissions should be from early career researchers (defined as being within a few years of completing their PhD.) or current graduate students undertaking their Masters, PhD. or international equivalent.

All eligible submissions will be sent for double-blind peer-review. Early submission is highly encouraged as the review process will commence on submission.

Note: Please read the submission guidelines before submitting work. Submissions received not in house style will not be accepted and authors will be asked to resubmit their work with the correct formatting before it is sent for review.

Everyone is on the side of the cunning. Media, communications, and cultural studies scholars have increasingly come to identify resistance with the alacrity of Michel de Certeau’s walker, with the trickster whose clever ‘tactics’ always outwit the lumbering stupidities of state power and its ‘strategies’. Cunning knowledge comes from below, it is popular, it resists codification and iteration, it responds to a given exigency in the moment, it is defined by a certain disposition. Cunning belongs to those who, in a state of lack, are driven to subvert majoritarian institutions and ways of thinking. Theorists including Michel de Certeau, Guy Debord, Sarah Kofman, Carlo Ginzburg, Donna Haraway, Marcel Detienne, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Gilbert Simondon, and François Jullien have celebrated the capacity for cunning to undermine instrumental or otherwise reductive conceptions of knowledge.

But what happens when even the largest organs of state and corporate power self-consciously seek to recuperate the power of the cunning for their own ends? In Hesiod we read that Zeus swallowed the Greek goddess of cunning Metis, for “fear that she might bring forth a thunderbolt stronger than his own”. Analogously, Google has produced “a kind of cunning world-wide-web-weaving”, Dan Mellamphy has argued in a previous issue of Platform, it has “swallowed-up the ruse and intelligence of the internet” by crafting a powerful, emergent, yet unstable archive, a bottom-up form of administrative knowledge. Furthermore, the distinction Certeau makes between the prescriptive spatial grammar of urban strategists, and the colloquial détournements made by walkers, seems less secure today, as pattern-of-life spatial analytics attempt to grasp the movement of the city in motion, with all its associated rhythms and cadences.

This issue of Platform seeks papers which engage with the question: What does ‘cunning’ signify today in the technological realm? Does cunning still belong to those who lack power, or are the powerful today now so powerful that they lack not even lack? As the qualities associated with cunning, such as adaptation, induction, speed, and resilience become adopted as normative values in finance and statecraft, does cunning still possess the capacity to disrupt (disruption itself perhaps now holding dubious critical efficacy), or is there a need to consider new modes of critique, ‘new weapons’, perhaps a reappraisal of the neglected virtues of slowness, deliberation, even stasis? Platform seeks papers on all aspects related to cunning and media & technology, including but not limited to:

  • Hunting techniques (the venatic) & (state) surveillance, drones, etc.
  • The relation between witchcraft, alchemy, sorcery, and modern technoscience
  • Cunning as a gendered knowledge
  • Cunning as an aspect of neo-liberal subjectivity
  • Cunning and lack, aporia, poverty
  • Cunning and medical technologies (e.g., health tracking technologies)
  • Cunning as an embodied knowledge, its relation to gesture
  • The relation between mimesis, trickery, and online self-identity and self-representation
  • The relation between haptic media and cunning techniques of sleight-of-hand (prestidigitation)
  • Cross cultural conceptions of cunning (e.g., comparing metiszhi, etc.)
  • The relation between fortune-telling, soothsaying techniques, and predictive analytics
  • Cunning and design/craft
  • Cunning and approaches to ‘queering’ normative knowledge practices
  • Cunning and its relation to temporality and speed
  • The relation between cunning and other forms of knowledge (e.g., phronesissophia, etc.)

Platform: Journal of Media and Communication is a fully refereed, open-access online graduate journal. Founded and published by the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne (Australia), Platform was launched in November 2008.

Platform is refereed by an international board of established and emerging scholars working across diverse fields in media and communication studies, and is edited by graduate students at the University of Melbourne.

‘A Manifesto for Cyborgs thirty-years on: Gender, Technology and Feminist-Technoscience in the twenty-first century’

Abstracts due: 27th of February, 2015

Editor: Thao Phan

In her iconic essay A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology and Socialist-Feminism in the 1980s, Donna Haraway introduced the metaphor of the cyborg as an “ironic political myth” to critique the so far troubling narratives of the West. Published in the Socialist Review in 1985, it brings together a broad spectrum of literacies—from socialist-feminism, to cybernetics and biopolitics—to proffer a cutting criticism of Enlightenment humanism, gender essentialism, and military technoscience. Her provocations created a useful framework to destabilise rigid boundaries and make fluid the borderlines between human and animal, organism and machine, natural and artificial, semiotic and material. Today the Manifesto sits comfortably as part of the canon of feminist-technoscience and postmodern theory. Although as an oppositional figure the cyborg is bounded by a historical specificity, it has certainly found new significance and politics in the contemporary age of ubiquitous media.

To mark the 30th anniversary since its publication, Platform invites authors whose work resonates or responds to themes expounded in this seminal essay. With the benefit of thirty years’ hindsight, what new observations or critical assessments can be made in regards to the cyborg as a feminist, tropic figure? Did the cyborg fulfill its promise of an “historical transformation”? Is the figure of the cyborg still as useful today, given contemporary technological developments? Or, conversely, do we need myths like Haraway’s now more than ever? We encourage the submission of theoretical or empirical work engaging with applications of, or criticisms of, frameworks used by Haraway, and are particularly interested in critical papers that provide novel insights into the relation between gender and technoscience.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Cyborg subjectivities in the 21st century
  • Gendered tropes in technology
  • Novel readings of gender and technoscience
  • Trans/queer studies of technology
  • Feminist science and/or feminist science and technology studies
  • Posthuman subjectivities
  • Postgender politics and subjectivities of ‘affinity’
  • Multiple or fractured readings of the cyborg
  • Technologies of sex and gender
  • Technologies of race and identity
  • Critical studies of the body/embodiment
  • Feminist histories/historiographies of media, technology or computation
  • The informatics of domination
  • Biotechnologies and Artificial Intelligence
  • Feminism and accelerationist politics
  • Feminism and new materialisms

In addition to this special section, we also welcome submissions that more broadly deal with issues relating to the areas of media, technology, and communication in theoretical or critical terms.

Please send all enquiries and submissions to platformjmc@gmail.com. Abstracts must be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae and biographical note, and should not exceed 350 words.

We recommend that prospective authors submit abstracts well before the abstract deadline of 27th of February, 2015, in order to allow for feedback and suggestions from the editors. All submissions should be from early career researchers (defined as being within a few years of completing their PhD) or current graduate students undertaking their Masters, PhD, or international equivalent.

All eligible submissions will be sent for double-blind peer-review. Early submission is highly encouraged as the review process will commence on submission.

Note: Please read the submission guidelines before submitting work. Submissions received not in house style will not be accepted and authors will be asked resubmit their work with the correct formatting before it is sent for review.

Situating Simondon: Media and Technics

Volume editors: Scott Wark and Thomas Sutherland

Abstract submissions due: 1st of May, 2014
Full paper submissions due: 1st of July, 2014

Abetted by a paucity of translations, the work of Gilbert Simondon has remained relatively obscure in the Anglophone world for some time. Simondon is, however, finally – if somewhat belatedly – finding the appreciation amongst English-speaking readers that had eluded him for so long. Although Simondon’s work is probably most recognised today for its influence upon Gilles Deleuze and Bernard Stiegler, its scope is far greater than one might surmise on the basis of such associations.

Amongst many other topics, Simondon’s philosophy focuses quite heavily upon questions related to technology, communication, mediation, and information. It is these areas in particular that we hope to explore in this special section of Platform. How might we situate the theories of Simondon within our contemporary media environment? Are they still relevant? Or are they too reliant upon outmoded principles and theoretical models? What lessons, both theoretical and practical, might researchers in the fields of communication and media studies take from Simondon’s philosophy? How might we extend or update his work for the digital, networked society?

Platform encourages the submission of theoretical and empirical work engaging with Simondon and his legacy. We are particularly interested in papers that seek to situate Simondon’s work, both historically and within the disciplinary boundaries of media and communications. Potential themes might include, but are not limited to:

Technological determinism in an age of digitization and unprecedented automation. Does Simondon provide us with a useful means for negotiating the question of agency in such an environment, or is he too beholden to the cybernetics and information theory of his time?

Individuation and the associated milieu. Have subsequent media forms and communicative methods altered or halted the processes of individuation of which Simondon speaks?
Media ecology. Some strands of media ecological study stress the dynamism and complexity of media-technical systems. How does Simondon’s understanding of technology challenge or deepen these approaches?
Materiality and hylomorphism. At a time when communication appears increasingly immaterial, how might we understand Simondon’s attempt to escape all hylomorphic conceptions of communication and individuation? Does the notion of immateriality remain trapped within a hylomorphic distinction between form and matter, or is it indicative of a need to reconceptualise the very question of materiality?
Technics and media. How does Simondon’s work fit within the larger field of studies on technics and its history (e.g. Mumford, Leroi-Gourhan, Ellul, Gille, Stiegler, etc.)? Might media and communications as a discipline benefit from a greater emphasis upon the role of technics in engendering media environments both past and present?
The politics of individuation. Stiegler, Lefebvre and Mackenzie, amongst others, use Simondon’s work on transduction and individuation to describe and diagnose politics. How might Simondon help us think politics today?

In addition to this special section, we also welcome submissions that more broadly deal with issues relating to the areas of media, technology, and communication in theoretical, methodological, or empirical terms.

Please send all enquiries and submissions to platformjmc@gmail.com. Both abstracts and full papers must be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae and biographical note.

We recommend that prospective authors submit abstracts well before the abstract deadline of the 1st of May, 2014, in order to allow for feedback and suggestions from the editors. All submissions should be from early career researchers (defined as being within a few years of completing their PhD) or current graduate students undertaking their Masters, PhD. or international equivalent.

All eligible submissions will be sent for double-blind peer-review. Early submission is highly encouraged as the review process will commence on submission.

Note: Please read the submission guidelines before submitting work. Submissions received not in house style will not be accepted and authors will be asked resubmit their work with the correct formatting before it is sent for review.

Platform: Journal of Media and Communication is a fully refereed, open-access online graduate journal. Founded and published by the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne (Australia), Platform was launched in November 2008.
Platform is refereed by an international board of established and emerging scholars working across diverse fields in media and communication studies, and is edited by graduate students at the University of Melbourne