“TechKnow” USC Critical Studies Graduate Conference – Call for Proposals

USC Critical Studies Graduate Conference
Technologies of Knowing – “TechKnow”
Los Angeles, California
Friday, April 11, 2014

In the opening of Understanding Media (1964), Marshall McLuhan famously refers to media technologies as “the extensions of man.” Despite the core centrality of technology to the function of media itself, humanities scholarship frequently focuses on the cultural while ignoring the technological. The fields of film and media studies have produced countless histories of major studios, producers, and creative contributors. In light of this vast body of knowledge, the histories and theoretical inquiries that address the possibilities, limitations, and impacts (both physical and psychological) of technologies are comparatively small in number while at the same time these questions have become even more critical as media technologies increasingly enable (or at least seem to enable) people to do and know new things. The 2014 USC Critical Studies Graduate Conference seeks to bring examinations of media technology to the fore through the conference theme of “Technologies of Knowing.”

Borrowing McLuhan’s notion of the “extension,” this conference will be particularly concerned with the many ways that media technologies can extend the processes of discovery and knowing. How do media technologies impact the ways we think? How do the ways we think inform what technology can do? In what ways do media technologies produce, archive, or obfuscate certain knowledges? While any paper engaged with technology and media studies will be considered, preference will be given to papers that reflect on the relationship(s) of media technology to knowledge, including its generation, preservation, communication, and erasure.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words for a 20-minute panel presentation as well as a brief bio of no more than 100 words. If you would like to propose something outside of these parameters, please contact us with your idea before submitting your proposal. Non-traditional, creative and digital projects are welcome, as are individual papers or pre-constituted panels. Please email your submissions and inquiries to Heather Blackmore at blackmor@usc.edu (and copy dillon@usc.edu) by January 24, 2014.

In addition to panels of graduate papers, this year’s conference will include a workshop devoted to concerns around working on and with technology, as well as a keynote panel moderated by Dr. Henry Jenkins.

Possible Topics Include:

- Epistemologies of technology
– Technological determinism
– Representations of technology
– Technological anxieties
– Technology as archive
– Technology and discovery, pedagogy, scholarship, etc.
– Technological histories
– Technology within the political economy of film, television, interactive media, etc.
– Impact of technology on boundaries between established media (television, film, games, etc.)
– Cultural impacts of technological developments and constraints
– Economic, social, cultural, psychological, and material (etc.) nature and impact of the digital
– Invisible technologies
– Forgotten technologies
– Cults of technology
– Amateur technologies
– Cyborgs, biotechnologies, and technology and the body
– Design and technology
– Interfaces, platforms, hardware, and software
– Obsolescence
– Hype

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