Call for Proposals - Posthumanism and Media Studies
Theme and Scope:
The Journal of Posthumanism (Transnational Press London) invites submissions for a special issue exploring the intersection of posthumanism and media studies.
Posthumanism fosters a more inclusive and less hierarchical approach to our entanglements with both human and non-human elements. Posthuman theory, particularly as articulated by N. Katherine Hayles and Rosi Braidotti, has long been influential in media studies. However, it has often been applied without a systematic or thoroughly developed methodology. Ferrando (2020) argues:
“posthuman ethics invites us to follow on three related layers. First of all, as a post-humanism, it marks a shift: from universalism to perspectivism, from multiculturalism to pluralism and diversity. As a postanthropocentrism, it induces a change of strategy: from human agency to agential networks, from technology to eco-technology. As a postdualism, it requires an evolution of our awareness: from individuality to relationality, from theory to praxis.”
This Special Issue of the Journal of Posthumanism therefore asks, how does such posthuman perspectivism, pluralism, agentiality, eco-technology, relationality, and praxis, apply to the future of media and cultural studies? How might we understand the very concept of “future”?
Media is exploding at an ever-increasing pace across digital platforms, working with, through, and against new technological advances such as AI. These developments are also occurring during a time of global shifts that include pandemics and climate change. In light of these changes, it is the ideal time to provoke more conversations between media and cultural studies through posthumanism.
Several approaches have been proposed that align media studies with or explicitly draw on posthuman concepts. In 2021, Posthumanism in Art and Science: A Reader was published, making the argument that “aesthetic production is a vital part of posthumanist thinking processes, which thereby grow ever more urgently relevant to social and ecological problem-solving.” (Aloi & McHugh, 2021, 2) Recent studies have developed posthuman approaches to rhetorical practice (Boyle, 2018) and explored how we might understand the combination of humans and technical media as synthetic subjects (Wiley & Elam, 2018). Elsewhere, Iliadis (2013) proposed that a shift away from a cybernetic understanding of communication as a process of pre-existing agents that transmit messages to one another could offer the possibility for the development of a new underlying informational ontology for communication and media studies, which would lend itself to new methods. Such ontologies and methods have been explored in relation to media studies through, for example, posthuman approaches to autoethnographies and subjectivities (Wilde, 2020; 2022). Monea and Packer (2016) have proposed a media genealogy approach that extends the type of work being done in media archaeology. Building on this genealogical approach, Sylvia (2019; 2021) has argued that posthuman ethics, ontology, and epistemology could be adopted in media studies through a more explicit embrace of affirmative approaches such as counter-actualization, modulation, and counter-memory. Elsewhere, exploring the tensions and potential contradictions between the history of cultural studies and posthumanism, Cord (2022) asks, “can or should Cultural Studies and the nonhuman turn really be brought into the contact zone?” There are therefore a variety of possible responses and resonances between posthumanism and media studies.
We propose this special issue as an avenue to explore, extend, and develop a posthuman praxis for media studies. We invite researchers to explore themes related to these posthuman approaches. This might include, but is not limited to:
- Pieces that build on or extend existing theory and methods in posthuman media and/or communication practices.
- The role of AI in shaping posthuman futures and subjectivities.
- Posthuman approaches for the study of games, television, social media, journalism, and rhetoric.
- The exploration of posthuman ethics in media studies.
- Application of posthuman paradigms such as counter-actualization, modulation, and countermemory in media case studies.
- Posthuman conceptualizations of media’s role in processes of subjectivation.
- How media intra-actions emphasise different modes of materialism and materialities.
- Experimental approaches to media studies.
- Post-anthropocentric or non-human media studies.
- Ontologies of posthuman media.
- Posthumanist entanglements of media and culture.
- Onto-epistemological postdualisms that could/should be applied to media studies.
- Non-Western conceptions of posthumanism as applied to media studies.
We encourage submissions that draw broadly on the work of theorists such as N. Katherine Hayles, Rosi Braidotti, Karen Barad, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Foucault, and that engage with the ethical, epistemological, and ontological aspects of posthumanism. We are particularly interested in papers that propose new methods of inquiry and analysis within media studies, and that engage with the potential of an affirmative posthuman turn within critical and cultural theory.
Dr. J.J. Sylvia IV, Associate Professor of Communications Media, Fitchburg State University
Dr. Poppy Wilde, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication, Birmingham City University
Submissions should adhere to the Journal of Posthumanism guidelines for authors, which can be found here: https://journals.tplondon.com/jp/about/submissions. Please submit your abstract (max. 500 words), including a tentative title, and a short author biography (max. 100 words) via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by September 30, 2023, with the subject line “JoP - Posthumanism and Media Studies”.
All submitted abstracts will be initially reviewed by the guest editors to ensure relevance to the special issue theme. Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to submit full papers, which will then undergo a peer-review process in accordance with the journal’s standard review procedures.
Abstract Submission Deadline: September 30, 2023
Notification of Abstract Acceptance: October 31, 2023
Full Paper for Peer Review (5,000-6,000 words, excluding footnotes and references) Deadline: March 10, 2024
Publication of the Special Issue: October, 2024
Please note: by submitting an abstract for this Special issue, you may also be asked to conduct peer review for an article within it (even if you are also accepted). If you would not like to be asked to conduct peer review, please indicate this in your email.
Please feel free to circulate this call for proposals among your colleagues and networks. If you have any questions about this call or the proposed special issue, please feel welcome to contact us. All inquiries and submissions can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Aloi, G., & McHugh, S. (eds) (2021). Posthumanism in art and science: A reader. Columbia University Press.
Boyle, C. A. (2018). Rhetoric as a posthuman practice. The Ohio State University Press.
Cord, F. (2022). Posthumanist cultural studies: Taking the nonhuman seriously. Open Cultural Studies, 6(1), 25-37. https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2020-0138
Ferrando, F. (2020). Posthuman feminist ethics: Unveiling ontological radical healing. In M. R. Thomsen and Jacob Wamberg The Bloomsbury handbook of posthumanism, (pp. 141-60). Bloomsbury Academic.
Iliadis, A. (2013). Informational ontology: The meaning of Gilbert Simondon’s concept of individuation. Communication + 1, 2(1). Article 5. https://doi.org/10.7275/R59884XW
Monea, A., & Packer, J. (2016). Media genealogy and the politics of archaeology. International Journal of Communication, 10, 3141–59.
Sylvia IV, J.J. (2019). From archaeology to genealogy: Adding processes of subjectivation to artistic intervention. Communication +1, 7(2). Article 3. https://doi.org/10.7275/a3dm-3770
Sylvia IV, J.J. (2021). Posthuman media studies. Journal of Posthumanism, 1(2), 139-51. https://doi.org/10.33182/jp.v1i2.1360
Wilde, P. (2020). I, posthuman: A deliberately provocative title. International Review of Qualitative Research,13(3), 365–80. https://doi.org/10.1177/1940844720939853.
———. (2022). Storytelling the multiple self: Posthuman autoethnography as critical praxis. In C. Blyth & T. K. Aslanian (Eds.), Children and the power of stories (pp. 1-16). Children: Global Posthumanist Perspectives and Materialist Theories. Springer Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-9287-1_1.
Wiley, S B. C., & Elam, J. (2018). Synthetic subjectivation: Technical media and the composition of posthuman subjects.” Subjectivity, 11(3), 203–27. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41286-018-0055-0