21 to 23 June 2021

Academic and research track

“New news for new times”

Journalism all over the world is in an existential crisis. But this profession has many champions who are deeply invested in the ongoing role that journalism plays in enlarging democracy, ensuring freedom of expression and safeguarding the right to information. On day three (23 June) of this year’s Highway Africa conference we turn to how journalism could be reinvigorated as a renewed force for good in the world. This academic and research track within HA will combine invited speakers with a call for papers on topics which have an unashamedly future focus. We are asking researchers where we see the seeds of rebirth, reimagination and renewal:

  • Emerging genres of journalism
  • Emerging shapes and scopes of news organisations and emerging work practices
  • Rethinking journalism curricula
  • Emerging business and revenue models
  • Emerging media innovation and creativity

If you would like us to consider you to give a presentation on one of the above themes please send an abstract of 500 words with title to Tatenda Chatikobo on t.chatikobo@ru.ac.za by midnight SAST on Friday 23 April. We will let you know our decision by Monday 10 May. Acceptances will require a 4000-word paper (excluding references) to be sent to us by Monday 7 June. Our intention is to make all papers available on the Highway Africa website for reading before the actual conference so that presentations and conversations can be rich and informed.

New book out: Re-Imagining Communication in Africa and the Caribbean: Global South Issues in Media, Culture and Technology.

We are delighted to announce the publication of our new edited volume, titled Re-Imagining Communication in Africa and the Caribbean: Global South Issues in Media, Culture and Technology. The book brings together a selection of 22 scholars from the two regions, to provide critical explorations of people and media in their diverse engagements with culture, communication and technology in the 11 countries represented.

Details of the book can be found at the following link:


With change and reform at its core, this book traverses the domains of new media and traditional culture, music as resistance, reforms to communication theory, resisting colonial and imperial legacies, advocating journalistic renewal, and exploring new corporate and cultural strategies, among others. It covers print journalism, broadcast radio and television, digital media, popular music, and video games—in a range of national and cultural contexts.

The book also pays particular attention to the role of media and technology in the experiences of disadvantaged or under-represented groups, including women and indigenous communities. 

The editors are Hopeton Dunn, Dumisani Moyo, William Lesitaokana and Shanade Bianca Barnabas. Early endorsements of the book were provided by Professor Tawana Kupe, Media Scholar and Vice Chancellor of University of Pretoria; and Professor Rupert Lewis, Pan African Scholar and Emeritus Professor of Political Thought at the University of the West Indies.

Chapter contributors to the book include Melville Cooke of Jamaica, Herman Wasserman of South Africa, Anthony Gunde and Victor Chikaipa of Malawi, Hagos Nigussie of Ethiopia, Carol Munoz Nieves of Cuba, Shanade Bianca Barnabas and Itunu Bodunrin of South Africa, Daina Nathaniel of Trinidad and Tobago, Nicola Bidwell based in Namibia, William Lesitaokana and Seamogano Mosanako of Botswana, Parkie Mbozi of Zambia, Rachel van der Merwe of South Africa, Lloyd Waller and Nicola Satchell of Jamaica, Musonda Kapatamoyo of Zambia based in the US, Nova Gordon Bell of Jamaica, Collen Chambwera of Zimbabwe, Paul Chiudza Banda of Malawi, Dumisani Moyo of Zimbabwe, based in South Africa, and Hopeton Dunn of Jamaica, based in Botswana.

According to early reviewers, these scholars engaged critically with the central issues of how we communicate, produce, resist, reform, entertain, and build communities in early 21st-century Africa and the Caribbean.

Hopeton, Dumi, William and Shanade. :

CFP: Journalism Studies and the Global South: Rethinking Theory, Practice, and Pedagogy

Manuscript deadline: 01 October 2021

Over the years, the study of journalism has crystallized into a well-defined sub-discipline in the field of media and communication studies. As a sub-discipline, it has also burgeoned into a tapestry of cultures, epistemologies, ways of knowing and doing that exist in tension and in dialogue with each other. The establishment of the Journalism Studies journal about two decades ago has created the much-needed platform for cultural ferment on the craft and a kind of heterotopia that is necessary to transform the sub-discipline through intercultural trans-epistemic dialogue from different intellectual traditions around the world. This Special Issue represents one such dialogue from the Global South which is about the need to decolonize the theories, methods, and pedagogies that undergird the sub-discipline. Apart from Southern theories, the Issue also focuses on how the Global South can unthink Eurocentrism and its colonial matrices that are embedded in news media institutions, processes, and journalistic practices. The Global South is used here not only as a geo-political category for mapping the cartographies of power in knowledge production in Journalism between the West and non-West, but also as an analytical tool for understanding domination in an increasingly deterritorialized and invisible cognitive empire. It is an epistemic angle and a resistance imaginary for recuperating new loci of enunciation from silenced ontologies, histories, cultures, bodies, and worldviews of the South.

Needless to say, the debate on decolonization in journalism studies is long overdue. For some time now, media and communication studies have been engaged in a reflective and soul-searching journey about the need for transforming the field through a more diverse and inclusive multicultural theory. The tropes for this transformative process have ranged from internationalization to de-westernization. However, they have increasingly crystallized around the decolonization imperative. Decolonization is seen as seminal in the birth of a multicultural turn that gestures towards an intercultural and trans-epistemic knowledge order in the projects of theory-building in the sub- field of Journalism studies. While the de-westernization and decolonization debates have specifically been more prevalent in the sub-disciplines like international communication and intercultural communication, not much has been done in journalism studies, specifically.

Contributions to this Special Issue should focus on the colonization of journalism by capital, including the pervasive influences of neoliberalism and market forces on the curriculum and journalistic practices. Other topics include, among others, the politics of knowledge production in the sub-discipline in terms of culture, race, gender, class, and geography. In decolonial thought, the DuBoisan color line is increasingly seen as a metaphor of many other lines of epistemic apartheid that create false hierarchies in knowledge production. In particular, papers that explore decolonial feminism and re-imagining journalism in the 21st century would be very welcome. Closely interwoven with the theme of marginalization and exclusion of othered knowledges and bodies, is that of alternative epistemologies produced from exteriority of modernity such as those of indigenous communities or First Nations. Other interesting themes may include the following:

– Marketisation and commodification of journalism education and news media
– Decolonizing news frames and the representation of blacks, Latinos, and Asians in Western media.
– Islam, Confucianism, journalism ethics, and global journalism practice
– Genres of journalism in the Global South.
– The place and significance of storytelling in indigenous or “aboriginal” communities and postcolonial communities.
– Rethinking development and post-development journalism in the age of decolonial struggles
– Alternative indigenous and endogenous theories and pedagogies
-Unthinking news values, journalism ethics, and other related practices.
-Decolonizing the technologies of storytelling and mediating news
-Citizen journalism, participatory journalism, advocacy journalism in contexts of struggle and global coloniality.
– Decolonial feminism, media ownership, and representation women in newsrooms
– Ethnic media, cultural sensibilities, and decolonial agenda-setting

Looking to Publish your Research?

We aim to make publishing with Taylor & Francis a rewarding experience for all our authors. Please visit our Author Services website for more information and guidance, and do contact us if there is anything we can help with!

Submission Instructions

– Select “special issue title” when submitting your paper to ScholarOne
– Full papers due: 31 September 2021
– Submissions sent for review/desk-rejected: 15 October 2021-
– First reviews done by: 30 November 2021- First decisions to be made: 15 December 2021
– Time authors given for minor revisions: 30 January 2022
– Time authors given for major revisions: 28 February 2022
– Second reviews done by: 14 April 2022
– Final revision by authors given for revisions: 14 June 2022
– Finalizing of all manuscripts by ed-in-chief review: 15 July 2022


Press Release: WESENS

Film Analysis Competition

You could win R10 000 with the acclaimed Karoo Sci-Fi film – WESENS!

The South African Karoo Sci-Fi film WESENS is bringing film lovers a first-of-its-kind film analysis competition where they can win big cash prizes.

The creative agency The Suits and LitNet are looking for a critical analysis of WESENS, the award-winning Karoo science-fiction film that was released in South African cinemas in October last year and that is now available exclusively on BoxOffice by DStv.

They ask for more than a conventional movie review. What they are looking for is a critical analysis where you examine the film and share your insights and interpretation of the themes and symbolism within it.

You do not have to recount the plot of the film, rather focus your analysis on how the metaphors, analogies and cinematic techniques that was used, add to your interpretation of the themes, symbolism and ultimate message of the film. 

The competition is open to pupils, students and film lovers. The critical analysis of the film must be between 500 and 1 200 words and entries must be emailed with the subject line: “Wesens” to Izak de Vries at LitNet – izak@litnet.co.za

Cash prizes include a R10 000 first prize, a R3 000 second prize and a R2 000 third prize. Entries have to reach LitNet on or before 9 May 2021 to be eligible for a prize.

What is also, very exciting, is that one of the judges for this unique film analysis competition is the renowned South African author and film critic, Leon van Nierop! 

Visit LitNet or WESENS for more information. We look forward to reading your interpretation of the first South African Karoo Sci-Fi film – WESENS!

Watch the DStv BoxOffice trailer of WESENS here.

Open letter: UKRI ODA funding

Due to drastic cuts in UK overseas development aid, researchers working with Global Challenges funding are being informed this month their funding has been revoked or curtailed.  UK partnerships which have been built with Global South researchers over many years are being drastically affected.  UK-led climate-facing research, in particular, is being shut down or disrupted in the run-up to COP26. 

Please consider adding your name to the open letter at the following link, which calls for reversal of this decision and an opportunity for the UK to sustain its profile in leading research to tackle global challenges.  The letter will be sent to Dominic Raab and Rishi Sunak on 18th March and an effort is being made to publish it in a national newspaper. 

Thank you for your support.  

Chris Paterson, Leeds.

The open letter is here:


You can add your name to the letter here: 


Call for Abstracts: Digital Methods in Action: Use, Challenges and Prospects

(Deadline: 31.05.2021)

Dear Colleagues,

We hereby invite you to submit an abstract for the session “Digital Methods in Action: Use, Challenges and Prospects”, organized by Gabriel Faimau and Jannis Hergesell (Botswana and Germany) at the Online-Conference “1st International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods” (SMUS Conference) and “1st RC33 Regional Conference – Africa: Botswana” in cooperation with ESA RN21 “Quantitative Methods” 23 – 26.09.2021, organised and hosted online by the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana. The deadline for submission is 31.05.2021. Please find details on the session, the conference and the submission process below.

Kind Regards,
Gabriel Faimau (University of Botswana, Botswana) and Nina Baur (TU Berlin, Germany) (Conference Organizers)

Session “Digital Methods in Action: Use, Challenges and Prospects

Session Organizers: Gabriel Faimau and Jannis Hergesell (Botswana and Germany)

The emergence of digital methods has presented various ways of studying and understanding digital phenomena in general as well as online and internet-related research in particular. This includes studies of online archived objects, online spatial analysis, social media and social networking, online network mapping, and various online social, political, economic and cultural references. Internet and online environment researchers have lately focused on addressing the following issues: How digital methods provide tools to respond to the challenge of Big Data on the one hand and how digital methods provide a base for what scholars call “online groundedness” in order to examine various socio-political change and cultural conditions shaped by online dynamics and constellations on the other? These digital methods widen the scope of researchers and change research practices and subjects fundamentally. However, this also raises “classical” questions of empirical social research: How are sampling strategies, data collection and methodological procedures changing? Do conventional quality criteria need to be adapted or supplemented? This session provides a unique platform to reflect on practical use of digital methods in various research fields and map out frameworks for exploring new possibilities for online social science research as well as encourage critical discussions on recent trends in the field of digital methods. We invite papers that address ways of doing and using digital methods, including but not limited to:Internet research and methodological innovation: Digital methods of social media research. Digital methods in studies of online political discourses and participation. Ethics and questions of digital research. Practical use and challenges of doing digital research and methods. Mixing methods in researching digital landscape. Insights from dealing with Big Data. Techniques and challenges of online data collection. Interdisciplinary cooperation between technical and social sciences on digital methods. Enhancement of “established” research designs by digital methods. Online participatory action research.

Submission of Papers

All sessions have to comply with the conference organization rules (see below). If you want to present a paper, please submit your abstract via the official conference website: https://gcsmus.org until 31.05.2021. You will be informed by 31.07.2021, if your proposed paper has been accepted for presentation at the conference. For further information, please see the conference website or contact the session organizers, Gabriel Faimau and Jannis Hergesell (faimaug@ub.bw; Jannis.hergesell@tu- berlin.de).

About the Conference

The “Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability” (GCSMUS) together with the Research Committee on “Logic and Methodology in Sociology” (RC33) of the “International Sociology Association” (ISA) and the Research Network “Quantitative Methods” (RN21) of the European Sociology Association” (ESA) will organize a “1st International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Spatial Methods” (“SMUS Conference”) which will at the same time be the “1st RC33 Regional Conference – Africa: Botswana” from Thursday 23.09 – Sunday 26.09.2021, hosted by the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana. Given the current challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will convene entirely online. The conference aims at promoting a global dialogue on methods and should attract methodologists from all over the world and all social and spatial sciences (e.g. area studies, architecture, communication studies, educational sciences, geography, historical sciences, humanities, landscape planning, philosophy, psychology, sociology, urban design, urban planning, traffic planning and environmental planning). Thus, the conference will enable scholars to get in contact with methodologists from various disciplines all over the world and to deepen discussions with researchers from various methodological angles. Scholars of all social and spatial sciences and other scholars who are interested in methodological discussions are invited to submit a paper to any sessions of the conference. All papers have to address a methodological problem.

Please find more information on the above institutions on the following websites:

  • ‒  “Global Center of Spatial Methods for Urban Sustainability” (GCSMUS): https://gcsmus.org and www.mes.tu-berlin.de/spatialmethods
  • ‒  ISA RC33: http://rc33.org/
  • ‒  ESA RN21: www.europeansociology.org/research-networks/rn21-quantitative-methods
  • ‒  University of Botswana in Gaborone: www.ub.bw

If you are interested in getting further information on the conference and other GCSMUS activities, please subscribe to the GCSMUS newsletter by registering via the following website: https://lists.tu-berlin.de/mailman/listinfo/mes-smusnews

Rules for Session Organization (According to GCSMUS Objectives and RC 33 Statutes)

  1. There will be no conference fees.
  2. The conference language is English. All papers therefore need to be presented in English.
  3. All sessions have to be international: Each session should have speakers from at least two countries (exceptions will need good reasons).
  4. Each paper must contain a methodological problem (any area, qualitative or quantitative).
  5. There will be several calls for abstracts via the GCSMUS, RC33 and RN21 Newsletters. To begin with, session organizers can prepare a call for abstracts on their own initiative, then at a different time, there will be a common call for abstracts, and session organizers can ask anybody to submit a paper.
  1. GCSMUS, RC33 and RN21 members may distribute these calls via other channels. GCSMUS members and session organizers are expected to actively advertise their session in their respective scientific communities.
  2. Speakers can only have one talk per session. This also applies for joint papers. It will not be possible for A and B to present at the same time one paper as B and A during the same session. This would just extend the time allocated to these speakers.
  3. Session organizers may present a paper in their own session.
  4. Sessions will have a length of 90 minutes with a maximum of 4 papers or a length of 120 minutes with a maximum of 6 papers. Session organizers can invite as many speakers as they like. The number of sessions depends on the number of papers submitted to each session. E.g. if 12 good papers are submitted to a session, there will be two sessions with a length of 90 minutes each with 6 papers in each session.
  5. Papers may only be rejected for the conference if they do not present a methodological problem (as stated above), are not in English or are somehow considered by session organizers as not being appropriate or relevant for the conference. Session organizers may ask authors to revise and resubmit their paper so that it fits these requirements. If session organizers do not wish to consider a paper submitted to their session, they should inform the author and forward the paper to the local organizing team who will find a session where the paper fits for presentation.
  6. Papers directly addressed to the conference organising committee (and those forwarded from session organizers) will be offered to other session organizers (after proofing for quality). The session organizers will have to decide on whether or not the paper can be included in their session(s). If the session organizers think that the paper does not fit into their session(s), the papers should be sent back to the conference organizing committee as soon as possible so that the committee can offer the papers to another session organizer.

CFP: IAMCR Symposium / Gender and Communication Section/GEN

Call for Papers

Organizers: Dr. Maha Bashri (United Arab Emirates University), Dr. Shobha Avadhani (National University of Singapore)

Discussant: Professor Radhika Gajjala (Bowling Green State University)

With a focus on intersectionality, simultaneity, and reflexivity about the self in context, confrontation of issues of power even within marginal groups, the symposium Being Marginal- Performing Raced and Gendered Labour, to be held on Saturday the 3rd of July, 2021 at the Gender and Media section of the International Association of Media and Communications Research (IAMCR), aims to engage with the layers of being a marginal woman, asking the question of what intersectionality looks like in academia with special reference to the field of Communication. We want to turn the feminist lenses we work with back on ourselves, our practices, our contexts, our lives.

The symposium invites submissions from women in academia who are reflexive about the intersections of identity that they are located in and prepared to critically interrogate their own privilege where relevant. The deadline for the submission of your 300-word abstract is April the 1st, 2021. The notification of submitted abstracts will be on the 15th of April and full papers are due on the 15th of June. Accepted papers will be presented online in the GEN/IAMCR symposium on July 3rd, 2021. Participants will be e-mailed the webinar Zoom link beforehand. The IAMCR conference this year will be held in Nairobi, from the 11th to the 15th of July.

Being Marginal – Performing Raced and Gendered Emotional Labor

The 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was groundbreaking in many ways, not least because it represented a large-scale focus on the aim to achieve equality, development and peace around the world. Twenty-six years later, in 2021, when IAMCR holds its annual conference in Nairobi, Africa for the first time in 64 years, it is relevant to ask how far women in the field of media and communications research have progressed. In particular, given the conference’s theme “Reimagining the Digital Future: Building inclusiveness, respect and reciprocity”, the important question of the state of women in the margins of the field needs to be foregrounded.

The issue of lack of representation has been a concern for scholars on the periphery. This was the focus of the 2019 ICA pre-conference entitled “CommunicationSoWhite”, inspired by an article with the same name published in the Journal of Communication by Chakravartty et al. (2018). The article and the pre-conference drew attention to the erasure of scholars of color, but also considered the exclusion of other marginal groups. More specifically, Black and Garvis (2018) engaged with themes related to the lives of women in academia, highlighting the need to consider past, present and future experiences. Muhs, Niemann, Gonzalez and Harris (2012) presented the lived realities of women of color, with the multiple narratives of the writers in this edited volume exposing the intersections of race, gender and class in the academic world. It is necessary to reconceptualize the intersections of race, gender, class, etc. as simultaneous processes of identity in contemporary institutions and social practice (Holovino, 2017).

Indeed, by coining the term “intersectionality”, Crenshaw (1989) drew attention to the need to consider multiple complex layers to discourses of marginalization. Even where there are explicitly stated policies relating to diversity within academia, Sara Ahmed’s work entitled “On Being Included” engages with the contentions of diversity as a symbolic commitment versus the actual diverse bodies that exist at the margins of the institution.

Building on this work and acknowledging that we in the media and communications field are at a defining moment 26 years after the Beijing Women’s Conference, 64 years after IAMCR’s beginning, 31 years after Crenshaw’s coinage, and just over a year into #CommunicationSoWhite, our symposium seeks to connect to this discourse of privilege and oppression. We aim to provide a platform for marginal women to be reflexive about their intersectional identities, and how these identities overlap and position them in the flows of power and knowledge.

inform decision-making in institutions. How do marginal academic women negotiate and navigate relationships, structures, gaps, and opportunities within their institutions and beyond? What coping strategies are available to them (e.g., communities, safe spaces, etc.)? We specifically want to explore the need to create and present a self-narrative – to take control of the narrative/discourse about diversity, experiences, topics and subject matter that we research (or never research). We see this taking control of the narrative as a way to construct the legitimacy of marginal women in academic institutions.

In the last couple of years, the Communication discipline has witnessed serious conversations about the status of minority and women scholars (e.g., ICA’s #CommunicationSoWhite and the backlash NCA encountered as a result of its selection method for the Distinguished Scholars in the discipline). The existing unequal structures in the discipline lead to the erasure of labor and its delegitimization when it is produced by minority and female scholars. The intersection and simultaneity of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, etc. becomes a burden on women in the discipline rather than a strength reflecting the mosaic of diversity in contemporary societies. Their research, production, and labor are heavily scrutinized and/or criticized and many a time denigrated to a lesser status than that of other colleagues. When minority groups speak out against these unequal structures they are labelled as difficult, angry, an uncouth. Consequently, this undermines the concerns of these women in their respective institutions, associations, and the discipline as whole.

Subtopics (including but not limited to):

  • Prevailing discourses in different contexts that exclude or limit the work of marginal women
  • Recognition and acceptance of Communication research produced by minority women scholars as bona fide and integral across the leading associations and organizations in the discipline
  • Incorporation of curricula and content into the Communication discipline that speaks to diversity rather than having such content exist in silos and/or sporadically across programs
  • The necessity and evolution of self-care and coping strategies
  • Opportunities and limitations of diversity programs
  • Alliances and oppositions in Communication academic relationships
  • Straddling domestic, cultural and workspaces
  • Experiments in challenging the status quo Conference organizers will be working toward publication of presented papers in a journal special issue in 2022.

  • Please send your abstracts of 300 words (max) and brief bio to both: maha.bashri@uaeu.ac.ae and cnmsa@nus.edu.sg

CFP: Journal of the New Techno HumanitiesCall for Papers

Title: New Media, Interactive Audiences, and the Virtual.  Next Generation Narratives 

Short title: Interactivity and Virtual Reality 

Guest Editors

Keyan G Tomaselli: keyant@uj.ac.za

University of Johannesburg

Dr Keyan G Tomaselli is Distinguished Professor, Humanities Dean’s Office, University of Johannesburg, a Laureate Fellow of the International Communicology Institute, and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.  He is editor of Critical Arts and founder and co-editor of Journal of African Cinemas.

Damien R Tomaselli: damientomaselli@gmail.com

Dr Damien R Tomaselli is a postdoctoral fellow at the Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD), based at the University of Johannesburg. He works as a cinematic transmedia storyteller and is a Fellow of the International Communicology Institute. His Ph.D. thesis is entitled, ‘Cosmology of the Relativistic Multi-Modal Chronotope. A metaphysical lens on how creators may rhetorically embed fictional spacetime into various story-world configurations for dramatic narratives.’ He is also co-founder of an international storytelling association for professional practitioners involved with emerging narrative forms, called The Cauldron.  He is also managing editor, Communicare: Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa


This new journal targets at the creative aspect of the humanities still to be fully recognized in the established classification and methodology of disciplines. By embracing the practical extension of the latest scientific and technological methods, the journal aims to provide a forum for transdisciplinary discussion and in-depth analysis on the nature and development of humanities, as well as the latter’s interface with other disciplines. 

The journal welcomes contributions from the pragmatic and experimental approaches by employing new technological methodologies, such as computational methods, visualization, data archives, processing and interaction, or surveys. The journal also welcomes philosophical, hermeneutic, critical, rhetorical, and historical approaches to interpretations of scientific and technological phenomena, focusing on their ontologies, nature, histories, methodologies and prospect of development.

New Techno Humanities  will publish original research articles, review articles and book reviews on the topics including, but not limited to Methodology, Authorship attribution/ stylometry/ stylistics, Modelling, digital visualization, Digital cultural heritage, Digital cultural heritage, Data visualization, statistical analysis, big data, Semantic web technology, network theory, Translation studies with technological methods, Corpus analysis, and Textual analysis.


In 2017 Klaus Schwab, chairperson of the World Economic Forum, described the fundamental changes brought about by the expansion of digital domain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (among other developments) as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’. He describes a world where individuals move between digital domains and offline reality with the use of connected technology to enable and manage their lives. This is significantly different to previous social and economic regimens in terms of its velocity, scope, and systems impact, and “it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance”. In this arrangement, knowledge workers provide focus, creativity, and leverage in using those investments to achieve the organization’s objectives more efficiently. In other words, knowledge is an integral part of total management and cuts across functional boundaries. 

Much of what has been developed in the realm of 4IR is driven by advances in science, technology and software development.  These are all essential components for the comprehension of phenomena; however, the content of software and creative outputs and manner in which people, both as creators and consumers, interface with the content, is often neglected.  This special issue is intended specifically to focus on the aspect of the narrative in digital audio-visual formats, including gaming, motion books, virtual and augmented reality forms.  It further aims to develop methods of visually representing the progress of narrative in these ‘new’ modalities, specifically in terms of its space-time compression and dilation.  The value of the research is to shift the discussion of 4IR from the predominantly technicist to a more interdisciplinary and holistic dialogue of content, form and narrative that was available during the previous period of analogue media. 

Where text-based film theorists prevailed during the 20st century,  now in the 21st it is software programmers, gamers and media agencies who are driving both practice and theory.  They are simultaneously relocating the interpreter (viewer) of new media from being a spectator to being a co-author of plot outcomes. The late 1980s saw a ‘theoretical turn’ towards the concept of the ‘active audience’, arguing that savvy media audiences do not receive information passively, but are actively involved in the sense-making of messages within the contexts of their social, class and personal experiences. The ‘interactive’ nature of digital media has extended this notion: not only do audiences make sense of what they consume, they actively co-create meaning.  This is most clearly seen in gaming, in which the ‘story line’ is determined by the choice of the player’s moves to shape the outcome of the narrative in various directions.  Games and gamification are becoming a popular field of research, which New Techno Humanities will study.  

The new theorists of the virtual (the new media) are addressing issues of multi-dimensional multi-platform interaction, and multi-media real time spectatorship that includes virtual-enabled interactions of various kinds. The issue here involves next-generation narratives, immersed audiencesand interactive experiences with content enabled by new technologies. These are generated by cross-platform experiences that anticipate new types of audiences searching for deeper access to the minds of characters they encounter in the digital media, but also how they can shape narrative digestion.  

A key question is:  is the idea of spectatorship still relevant, or should it be reformulated in a loose Boalian performative sense of spect-actor where spectators become involved in the shaping of narrative outcomes?     Normative theories can be no longer automatically applied in the body-less, borderless, immersive dynamic intertextual media age, that is taking shape in the 4IR era. In semiology, film theory is treated as a language while in Peirceian semiotics visual narrative theory is treated as a conversation between participant and text. New kinds of multi-faceted narrative arise out of these kinds of virtual relations that displace spectators from cinema seats into a networked world that involves spect-actors from anywhere. 

A second research question thus concerns how individuals appropriate and use such technologies in their own lives. Thirdly, how can the content they create benefit to re-balancing society in terms of both message making and product delivery? For instance, the infancy of intellectual property crypto currency solutions driven through blockchain such as Etheruem based Singles tokens and the Unlock protocol, instigate the roots for a potential democratization of an artist first-rights management system that significantly undermines the status quo of the current entertainment economy. 

As a practitioner who can execute ‘future’ narrative forms, as well as an academic who specializes in the theoretical discourse of various forms of narrative execution, the digital creator’s ability is of storyform to develop a craft-first theory in the climate of the 4IR  ‘digital area/canvas’.  Where software companies are tech oriented, there is a need for associated critical analytical study of the sector and how it is applied, by who, with what effects.

The purpose of the special issue is the exploration of systems of representation that will allow us to model, or ‘see’ the warping of time and space in relation to a specific narrative output.  This process merges metaphysics with narrative architecture and visual and other representations of spatial-temporal signification.  This aspect of visualizing digital narratology, including quite specifically virtual reality and enhanced reality, is key to providing tools to understand the ways in which the content of 4IR is understood. 

Bakhtin’s chronotope legitimizes the idea of the space-time meaning within the literary realm. However, in in this number of JNTH we want to include visual representations (models) of concrete visual narratives with the specific focus on space-time as the primary organizer of meaning, as well as an anchor of dramatic unfoldings (diegesis) or analysis of ‘fabric’ within narrative.  This fabric is of course metaphysical, rather than material. In a metaphorical manner it manifests itself as solidified, concrete expression of the space-time narrative. This is because in the case of digital texts, a trail of information is able to be indexed as a result of the digital pipeline through which the visual representation must occur. This information includes colour, light, narrative density among other indices. 

This visual representation, or mapping, of space-time within a narrative, is dependent on a dialogue between metaphysics, visual representation, space-time rhetoric, trails of digital information, narratology and the configuration between audience and the represented fictional world to which the audience is potentially immersed.  These concepts are understood as metaphysical, rather than material manifestations, and are not necessarily bound to any specific narrative form, since any form of narrative is chronotopic in nature.

Submission timeline

Submission of Abstracts:  30 April 2021 

Invitation to write a full article or commentary: 15 May

Submission of completed articles:  30 October

Peer review process:  6 months – estimated

Submission guidelines 

Kindly submit your paper to the Special Issue category through the online submission system (https://www.editorialmanager.com/techum/default.aspx) of New Techno Humanities. All the submissions should follow the general author guidelines of New Techno Humanities available at https://www.elsevier.com/journals/new-techno-humanities/2664-3294/guide-for-authors

Call for Proposals: Book Project

Indigenous Language for Development and Social Change Communication in the Global South

Since the 1970s, the active role and involvement of marginalised citizens in development and social change programmes at local, national, and in some instances, international levels, has sparked much interests from scholars around the globe (cf. Waisbord, 2008). At the heart of this scholarship is the need to coordinate active citizen participation in different aspects of development, which is a breakaway from the earlier top-down development agenda of the 1940s- which placed emphasis on the Marshall plan of economic growth (i.e. Modernisation), where beneficiaries of development played little or no role in decision-making processes involving them (cf. Melkote & Steeves, 2015; Manyozo, 2008). Through participatory communication- which was influenced by Paulo Freire’s work on dialogical praxis, liberation pedagogy, and conscientisation as part of his classical treatise: “Pedagogy of the oppressed” (cf. Molale, 2021), scholars around the global south, largely from Latin America, began exploring ways in which different theories, frameworks and models can be established to facilitate and enhance meaningful and sustainable transformation in the quality of life for local citizens through their active involvement in development processes (cf. Manyozo, 2012).

The alternative paradigm that emerged was geared toward the popularisation of the development and design of campaign messages, that are supposed to be culturally sensitive, language specific(emphasis intended) and in tune with the social realities of the people of the developing world (cf. Salawu, 2015; Nwuneli, 1993; Uribe-Jongbloed, 2013). The language in which a development message is disseminated is a very important aspect of the message treatment. It is posited that the indigenous language of any community is the best suited for the purpose of conveying any message, whatsoever, to the said community (cf. Salawu, 2015; Nwuneli, 1985: 203). Indigenous Language Media, as it is still the case presently, played a vital role in facilitating “voices from the margins” through alternative “bottom-up” participation and communication platforms such as community radio and newspapers, theatre and traditional communication platforms such as song, dance, and folk media (cf. Kamlongera, 2005; Mlama, 2002; Alia, 2010); as well as the use of digital/social media for the coordination and sustenance of social movements (cf. Tufte, 2017). However, it has been recently discovered that there are instances where indigenous language media have been used to further the interests of development managers/bureaucrats at the expense of marginal voices, through an information transfer mechanism where the local citizens are passive recipients of messages from the top-down (cf. Molale, Ogunsanya, Leketenyane & Asak, in press.) or where the English language has been used in indigenous community media platform as a lingua franca (cf. Molale & Mpofu, 2021) to further marginalise local knowledge and languages.  

In light of the foregoing, it is pertinent to ask to what extent indigenous language media can offer space and platform for resistance, and coordination of an empowered and active citizen voice from below- as a way of advancing genuine development and social change.

In trying to answer this question, scholars from around the world are invited to submit proposals aimed at exploring the following different themes:

·     Indigenous Language Television and Radio Programming for Development and Social Change

·     Indigenous Language Media and Health Communication

·     The role of Indigenous Language Community Media in Agricultural and Sustainable Resource Management (i.e. Food Security and Climate Change)

·     Indigenous Language Media/Communication and the Environment

·     The role of Indigenous Language Media in promoting Childcare, Youth and Gender Empowerment

·     Indigenous Language Community Media and the Participation of People with Disabilities 

·     The role of Indigenous Language Media in deepening Democracy

·     Indigenous Language Media and Literacy

·     Impact of Indigenous Language Media reporting on Rural Societies 

·     The use of Social Media by Indigenous Language Media outlets for an engaged Mass Audience

·     The use of Indigenous Language Media in Mass Mobilisation and Social Movement Formation

·     Indigenous Language Media, Protest and Resistance

·     Indigenous Language Media/Communication, Peace and Conflict

The above themes are by no means exhaustive.

Submission details: 

Interested contributors are invited to submit a 500-word proposal and a short biography to Dr Tshepang Bright Molale (North-West University, South Africa) at devcoms123@gmail.comand ccto tmolaleb09@gmail.com.  Deadline for abstract submission is May 23, 2021. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by June 6, 2021. Final chapters of approximately 5000-7000 words will be due on the December 6, 2021. Please note that all submissions will undergo a rigorous blind peer-review process.

Abiodun Salawu – North-West University, South Africa

Bright Molale – North-West University, South Africa

Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed – Universidad Externado de ColombiaUllah Sahid – University of Chittagong, Bangladesh

Professor Abiodun Salawu
Director of Research Entity: Indigenous Language Media in Africa
Faculty of HumanitiesNorth-West University
Mafikeng Campus
Private Bag X2046
Mmabatho 2735
South Africa

Telephone: +27 18 389 2238

E-mail: abiodun.salawu@nwu.ac.za