New Media, Old Media, Social Media: Changing South Asian Communications Scholarship

ICA London 2013 Preconference
Sunday, June 16 (9:00 am -7:00 pm) and Monday, June 17 (9:00 am - 3:00 pm)
the Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental and African Studies, U of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

Transportation: This is walking distance from numerous subway/underground stops ( We will provide directions to all participants, but will also arrange to have preconference representatives at conference hotels.

Co-sponsored by:
the ICA Communication Law and Policy Division
the U of Pennsylvania
Jamia Millia Islamia
Shiv Nadar U
the School of Oriental and African Studies at the U of London
and Florida State U

Home to more than a billion and one half people, South Asia enjoys a shared history combined with a unique cultural, religious, political, linguistic, and ethnic diversity. South Asian media reflects this diversity through its cultural products, which are becoming increasingly popular throughout the region and in other parts of the world. This two-day preconference will explore the emerging media systems, mediated publics and communications pedagogy in South Asia, in the context of the region’s growing salience in the dynamics of globalization. It will cover a range of topics on new media as well as conventional media, to provide a critical account of the media changes underway in South Asia and their implications for national politics, regional political dynamics, public cultures and communications scholarship.

The preconference workshop will focus on themes of topical relevance for South Asia and for ICA members studying the region, by combining invited presentations with an open call for papers for each issue-specific panel. The panels will center on the important themes of media enabled political activism, media and information policy, and communications pedagogy in the region as well as media cultures among the South Asian diaspora. The panels will be followed by a round table discussion among members of the organizing committee and invited experts to review the field of communications scholarship on South Asia and discuss plans and agendas for future research. The preconference will be a major contribution to consolidate, review and reflect on the existing body of communications scholarship and communications education in the region. It will provide a fillip to the emerging area of communications scholarship by strengthening the networks of knowledge and professional collaboration and exchange among media educators. It will complement and expand existing efforts of communications scholars studying the profound political and cultural changes unleashed by media in the last two decades of rapid globalization in the region.

Across South Asia, media and communications sector expanded dramatically in the last two decades, fuelling new forms of mediated politics and public cultures, and new linkages with global communication and media networks. First of its kind to focus exclusively on South Asian media, this preconference showcases most recent scholarly work on media growth and communications policy in the region and their significance for broader communications scholarship. It is a major meeting point for scholars studying South Asian media and communication, and an opportunity to review and advance communications research and training in the region.

The rapid growth of media and communication, including print, sound recording, television, new media, telecommunications, and mobile devices and applications, point to the importance of South Asia, of its linkages to other parts of the world, of media industries, and of public policies that govern these sectors. The expanding media in South Asia and their role in the global media spheres call for a robust research agenda involving diverse disciplinary approaches and concerted efforts to strengthen communications scholarship in the region. This preconference provides an important opportunity to advance these goals, by bringing together scholars and media educators working on South Asia.

The preconference will address most important issues related to new media and conventional media, by inviting presentations from scholars exploring South Asian media from various disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, cultural studies and political science, alongside media and communications studies. The list of topics covered by the preconference includes, if not limited to: media enabled political cultures and political activisms; mapping media and communications systems; media and information policy; labour in the communications sector; the state and futures of public service media; emerging fields of interest in communications studies; and, media uses and media cultures within South Asia and among the South Asian diaspora. In addition to consolidating emerging communications scholarship on South Asia, the preconference aims to establish a venue for discussing emerging trends and challenges of communications training in the region and develop a communications education agenda for media educators and scholars. It will explore ways to enhance regional cooperation in developing curriculum and pedagogical practices for communications studies.

Recognizing the growing importance of media for the political and cultural landscapes of South Asia and for the South Asian diaspora, the preconference will also invite some guests from the government, media, and community sectors in London to present as appropriate, in a keynote or roundtable/panel capacity. This will allow us to make use of the unique attributes of London as a city with strong representation of media and South Asians.

This preconference builds on an earlier preconference on Indian media we had organized in Chicago (ICA 2009), and a network of scholars set up as part of our on-going efforts to boost communications scholarship on South Asia.

The preconference will include panels of research papers, as well as invited speakers.

Paper submission process:
Abstracts of 300 words should be sent to Suhana Udupa ( and Steve McDowell ( by 15 December 2012. Authors will be notified of acceptance by 15 January 2013. Full papers will be requested by 15 May 2013 for online posting for other participants.