UDC 2015 keynote speaker announced: Astra Taylor

We are very pleased to announce that Astra Taylor will deliver the keynote talk at the UDC 2015 conference. Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and activist. Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers including Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Cornel West, Peter Singer and others. Taylor’s essays and criticism have been published widely and she is the editor of Examined Life, a companion volume to the film, and coeditor of Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America. Taylor also helped launch the Occupy offshoot Strike Debt and its Rolling Jubilee campaign. Her latest book is The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. She is currently working on a documentary about democracy.

Nominations for the Dallas Smythe Award are open

Please consider nominating someone for the Dallas Smythe Award, which will be presented at the UDC 2015 conference in Toronto. The award honours a critical media scholar/activist whose work exhibits the spirit of engagement, democracy, teaching, and feistiness to which the UDC is committed. The deadline for nominations is December 1, 2015, and details can be found here.

Call For Papers

CALL FOR PAPERS: Circuits of Struggle

Union for Democratic Communications 2015 conference
May 1-3, 2015, University of Toronto
Hosted by the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology
Deadline for submissions: December 1, 2014

The Union for Democratic Communications is dedicated to the critical study of ascendant, emergent, oppositional, democratic, and experimental forms of media, their production and distribution, and the development of local, regional and international systems of democratic communication. In this spirit, the organizers of the 2015 Toronto conference propose that participants engage with the theme of circuits of struggle.

Contemporary communication practices are marked by struggle. On the one hand, we live amid neoliberalism and austerity and the challenges these structures impose on democratic life, including precarity, debt, and enclosure. Capitalism has integrated communicative activity and digital technologies into a logic of accumulation that exploits all forms of the commons: the environment, languages, affects, information, and knowledge. Technological innovation makes possible new forms of surveillance and corporate control over these resources. On the other hand, this integration is incomplete. Individuals, organizations, and collectives are using these same technologies to fight back. Struggles for higher wages, less work, social justice, and a better quality of life are occurring worldwide. Those who struggle against domination are communicating across new channels in innovative and creative ways.

In this context, the 2015 conference organizers ask participants to engage in conversation about the nature of contemporary media, communication, and technological struggle, and the possibilities for transforming the contemporary neoliberal order.

We welcome proposals from emerging and established scholars, graduate students, activists, media makers, workers, and artists for presentations that speak to the theme or related issues in democratic communications, including new media and technologies, media and tech activism, policy, histories, gender and race, work and labour, social justice, and organizing and resistance. We welcome proposals for paper presentations, workshops, theme panels, film screenings, artistic interventions, and other formats.

Submission guidelines: Please submit a 300-500 word abstract or presentation description to https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=udc2015. For theme panels, please submit a short description of the panel and 300-500 word abstract for each presentation.

Graduate students who want to be considered for the Brian Murphy Student Paper Award should submit a full paper along with their abstract.

Deadline: December 1, 2014.

We look forward to seeing you in Toronto in 2015!