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[liberationtech] Fwd: [ecrea] Call for papers - Special issue 3/2017 “The Remaking of Truth in the Digital Age”

Cecilia Tanaka cecilia.tanaka at
Tue Jan 17 15:07:49 PST 2017

For your knowledge!  <3

​"The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented."​

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Call  for paper:/CS Journal of Media Performing Arts and Cultural Studies./
Special issue 3/2017 “The Remaking of Truth in the Digital Age” edited by
Chiara Giaccardi and Nathan Jurgenson

The deadline for abstract submission is: January 31st 2017

*The Special Issue *

Many thought Brexit would not come to pass, that Donald Trump could not be
elected, experts, pollsters, and probability models told us so, down to the
decimal point. An entire media apparatus that was increasingly certain came
to produce instead confusion. The manufactured character of news becomes
dramatically exposed, as well as the entertainment-driven nature of
electoral politics that increasingly look like reality shows. The vacuum
left behind is threatened to be filled with the rising tide of hate speech,
hoaxes, and so-called fake news.

We introduce this project amidst this wave of anti-inclusionary and
counter-informative forces. Populist movements around the globe are
rallying against journalists, politicians, and other professionals and
experts who themselves have failed to speak to and about the lives of these
people. We are said to now be in a “post truth” time, one where debate over
truth has been replaced by a chaos of facts, where the work of building
knowledge feels exhausting and impossible, leading to a normalization of
the surreal, the uncritical acceptance of heavily biased information as
intuitive and unproblematic.

This issue is about our moment of epistemic chaos, the decline of old
knowledge gatekeepers, and the political ramifications of fake, misleading,
and propagandistic information. We pay special attention to the role of
new, digital, social technologies of knowledge and their relationship with
politics. We cannot understand how and what people know without
understanding the set of information technologies in which we inhabit.

Those debates around the diminishing of traditional institutions being
disrupted away by the rising tide and quickening flow of digitality are
instructive, too, as institutions of epistemic authority, grapple with
staying useful and relevant today. This issue is a meta-discourse on
discourse in a time many have called “post truth.” What is it to do
theoretical work in a so-called post-truth world without falling in the
equally undesirable opposites of cynical functionalism (truth is merely
what works, comforted in what they already know, and preserving the status
quo) or a new positivism (paternalistic explainerism, where truth is a
matter of numbers, and those in power claim a false objectivity). What
might Foucault’s “parrhesia” mean today?

And, ontologically, the disagreement over the basic shape of thing in the
world might lead to useless possibilities like a radical constructivism
where reality is merely what we do with it or an essentialism where reality
can somehow be perfectly grasped using the right methodologies. If reality
is hard to grasp, its consequences are hard to miss: people suffer
injustice and tourture, strive to survive in impossibly harsh conditions,
and find ways of resilience and resistance. Suffering and death has a
concreteness that escapes any rhetorical strategy, a reminder of the limits
of the defeatism of simply claiming everything is fake or a simulation. Is
there room for a critical realism that recognizes that reality always
exceeds our capacity to grasp it? One that could suggest respect and care
over arrogance and exploitation?

These crucial questions have precedent. A decade ago, conversations about
the internet often centered on how truth and news and information more
generally will flow when people have access to consume so much more
information. And, only a little later, when so many more people can produce
such information. Those debates around the introductions of Wikipedia,
Google News, or Facebook Newsfeed are instructive today as we continue to
struggle with how to incentivize, create, and sort information in ways that
are accurate and just.

We should draw on the literature describing the history of political
performance and propaganda. Global strategies of political misinformation
and shaping information ecosystems to manufacture ideology and behavior
shape and are shaped by the information technologies of their times, and
these are lessons we need to draw from to understand our current moment. Is
the epistemic vertigo being felt a feature or a flaw, a momentary
readjustment or a new normal?

Describing our current situation should also draw on past thinking about
knowledge, politics, and technology. For instance, the debates about
positivism, the myth of the neutrality and objectivity of numbers and
science are instructive. From “big data” science to “data journalism”,
numbers play a large part in our contemporary data flows, from metric-based
incentives like clicks, shares, and followers to the ubiquity of polling
and probabilistic forecasting of elections. Indeed, the most important
global news media entity, Facebook, claims it does not have a political or
editorial philosophy because it is merely “technology”, a nod to the
history of claiming false neutrality. How do we describe epistemic
responsibility and pedagogy within a tech culture of supposed objective
disinterest? Is there room to move beyond reducing people to numbers? Is a
different “proxemics” based on closeness possible?

What is the role of social science in this discussion, especially with
respect to new media technologies? Is there room for dialogue today, when
information is consumed as a resource for belonging, for maintaining
oppositional echo-chamber blocs, especially acknowledging the point that
knowledge and understanding is never purely for its own sake but is always
entwined with power? The knowledge-power link is no longer something that
needs to be made convincing when more and more information is so overtly
weaponized, targeted, in the Info Wars.

And how can social science speak to and about our own epistemic bubbles?
What about the epistemic gap between those with and without college
educations, those who and who are not part of the knowledge-work economy?

We welcome submissions about all of what we’ve talked about here, as well
as the many more threads we did not mention relating to this complex
theoretical topic.

*Deadlines & Guidelines*

Please send your abstract to: redazione.cs at <mailto:
redazione.cs at> by *January 31, 2017*.

Notifications of acceptance will be emailed shortly after the deadline.
Abstracts must be from 300 to 400 words long, and may be presented in
English. The proposal shall include 5 keywords, authors, institution, and
contacts (e-mail), together with a short curriculum for each author.

Authors will be asked to send the whole article (preferably in English, but
Spanish, French and Italian are also welcome) by April 30, 2017.

Contributions will be sent to two independent reviewers in a double-blind
procedure prior to publication decision. Articles should be between
4,000-5,000 words (no more than 35,000 characters, spaces and notes
included), but shorter articles will also be considered.

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor currently
under consideration for publication elsewhere.

A guide for authors, sample issues, and other relevant information is
available on the journal’s website.

For further information or queries regarding this Special Issue, please
contact the editors: chiara.giaccardi at <mailto:
chiara.giaccardi at>; nathanjurgenson at <mailto:
nathanjurgenson at>

CS is A-class rated journal by ANVUR (Italian National Agency for the
Evaluation of the University and Research Systems) in the three academic
disciplines: Cinema, photography and television (L-ART/06), Performing arts
(L-ART/05), and Sociology of culture and communication (SPS/08). The
journal obtained an international recognition by the French AERES - Agence
de l’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur, being
listed between its information and communication sciences journals. CS is
included in the IATJ database – International Archive of Theatre Journals <>, also accessible on the IFTR - International
Federation for Theatre Research <>'s website
and in SCOPUS.
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