Preconference Call for Papers

 Media Justice: Race, borders, disability and data

International Communications Association Preconference, 25 May 2017
Sherman Heights Community Centre, San Diego


Call for the ICA 2017 Pre-Conference "Media Justice: Race, borders, disability and data,” Sponsored by the Philosophy, Theory and Critique

Division and Communication and Technology  Division of the International Communication Association

Summary: This is a call for session proposals for the Media Justice pre-conference at the 2017 International Communications Association meeting in San Diego. The Media Justice pre-conference, to be held on May 25th, 2017, at the Sherman Heights Community Center in San Diego, will bring together activists, advocates, and researchers to advance the shared theory and practice of media justice.

Deadline for proposals: 15 February, 2017 (200 words abstract)

Organisers: Prof Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney), Dr Sasha Costanza-Chock (MIT), Dr Tanja Dreher (University of Wollongong), Prof Ricardo Dominguez (UCSD), Maegan Ortiz (Institute of Popular Education of Southern California)

In the United States, there is an active media justice movement, yet the concept is rarely used in international academic, activist or advocacy work. Media justice organizing is based in the realization that social, racial, gender, disability, cultural, economic, and other forms of justice require changes in the distribution and control over media and communications technology (Gregg 2011; Cyril 2005). The Center for Media Justice explains: “we organize under-represented constituencies for media rights, access and representation to win social and economic justice” (http://centerformediajustice.org/about/our-story/our-vision). Media justice campaigns have focused on media representation, network neutrality, phone and broadband access, the communication rights of incarcerated people, policing and surveillance technology, community media, and public interest cable franchising agreements, among other areas. Media justice advocates emphasise the struggle against thebroader matrix of domination (Hill Collins, 1990) and links with social justice movements outside the media field. Given the location of ICA 2017 in San Diego, and the role of the media in the stunning victory for the Trump campaign’s open appeal to racism, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, ableism, and anti-Blackness, this is the ideal time and place for a preconference on Media Justice.

Hackett describes media activism as ‘the movement of movements,’ and argues that all social justice movements have an interest in the transformation of media representations, production processes, platforms, and policies. Media are addressed as a site of intervention, rather than merely providing publicity for social justice movements. In contrast to liberal media reformers, media justice advocates call for significant structural and institutional changes beyond the tightly focused field of media policy (Hackett 2011). Media justice advocates further stress the importance of power redistribution in order to address past injustices:

Media justice is more than an oppositional framework or simple effort at political contrast. It is a multi-layered, emerging analysis that draws on civil and human rights, globalization struggles, corporate accountability and cultural studies. It starts with a structural analysis but it doesn’t stop there because media doesn’t stop there. Who owns it, what’s on it and how it makes us feel are all spheres we must address simultaneously. Where we go from here has to take into account where we’ve been and who has been advantages and who has been hurt. And it is this analysis that separates media justice from the fight for media democracy, because without a vision that seeks to repair the impact of the past and the privilege, we’ll have the same old oppression with better, high-speed resolution. (Makani Themba-Nixon, n.d., cited in Cyril, 2005: 97).

While some notion of media justice has always been implicit within media and cultural studies (e.g. the tradition of work on alternative, citizens,’ and community media), and grassroots organizers have been developing a praxis of media justice for more than a decade, relatively little has been published on media justice in either academic or popular venues.

This pre-conference considers the ways in which recent attention to race, borders, disability, and data might offer productive resources for research and practice aimed at media justice. The program brings together researchers, scholars, activists, and advocates in media justice organizing in order to advance shared development of theory and practice. We will discuss questions of justice in regards to media and communications practices, infrastructures, and representation, as well as the many ways in which media are vital to wider processes of social justice and transformation.

We welcome contributions on the following topics (for example):

* Media justice in the time of Trump, Brexit, and resurgent authoritarian power

* What have we learned from media justice organizing around race and borders?

* How does thinking from disability challenge and transform ideas of media justice, communication rights, voice, and listening?

* What are the key challenges for media justice in the age of ‘Big Data?’

* What are the implications of current developments in the communications infrastructure (especially the internet, including 'privatised' networks, the ever expanding surveillance apparatus, the likely end of net neutrality, etc) - for the above issues?

* How can we further develop a research and advocacy agenda around media justice?

In order to encourage productive dialogues between communication rights researchers and practitioners, the program will include invited speakers from a range of advocacy and activist organisations, and researchers working on media justice. The program will be facilitated to identify points of connection, possibilities for ongoing collaborations, and further development of engaged research and practice.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15 February 2017

To submit a proposal, please prepare a title, list of presenters, and 200 word abstract; submit your proposal via this form: http://bit.ly/mj-ica2017-submitabstract.

Please direct any questions to: Prof. Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney) gerard.goggin@sydney.edu.au, Dr. Tanja Dreher (University of Wollongong) tanjad@uow.edu.au, or Dr. Sasha Costanza-Chock (MIT) schock@mit.edu

The Sherman Heights Community Centre is approximately 1.5 miles from the San Diego Hilton. Participants will have the option of taking a local bus, a short taxi ride, or walking (approx. 30 mins); we will also organize transportation at attendee request.