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

Background

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.

Motivation

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
salawuabiodun@gmail.com
salawuabiodun@yahoo.com

Free Webinar: Sustaining SA journalism in a post covid world

Highway Africa at Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies invites you to attend a free webinar entitled ‘Thinking globally, acting locally: sustaining South African journalism in a post covid world’. 

The Webinar will take place on Thursday 18 March 2021, from 14:00 to 15:30, South Africa Standard Time (SAST). 

A report of the same name — that explores what South Africans can learn from global debates about funding independent journalism and the new media economics of news — will be shared at the Webinar via a link to a downloadable PDF. 

The panellists are Dr Harry Dugmore (Rhodes University, Makhanda/University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane), Bulelwa Ngewana (Executive Director, Open Society Foundation for South Africa) and Sbu Ngalwa (Chairperson, South African National Editors’ Forum/ Newzroom Afrika).

For more about the panel and the report and to register for the webinar, please visit our website http://www.highwayafrica.ru.ac.za.

SURVEY: Journalistic Roles, Values and Qualifications in the 21st Century; How journalism educators across the globe view the future of a profession in transition

Thank you for your participation in the World Journalism Education Council (WJEC) Research on:  

The leading idea behind this research project is that journalism education should play a bigger role in the development of professional journalism than it has done in the past. The objective is to compare how teachers involved in journalism education across the globe view the future of a profession in transition. The ambition is to present these global comparisons at the World Journalism Education Congress, in Beijing in July 2022.

The basic research tool is an online questionnaire. The link to that questionnaire is:

https://s.chkmkt.com/?e=205817&d=e&h=E3E2A7D53723BCB

You can answer the questions on your computer, tablet or mobile phone. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. All answers are private and confidential. By answering the following questions, you approve that the data from this global, anonymous survey are being stored on a secured database in Europe (Ireland) by the investigators of Windesheim University of Applied Science and accessed by them using a two-step verification process. 

The deadline for filling in the questionnaire is:  February 28th, 2021. – EXTENDED till 05.03.2021.

Event: Celebrating Paulo Freire

In September 2021, were he alive, Freire would have been 100 years old. The Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University, under the Directorship of Prof Thomas Tufte, is hosting virtual centennial events to celebrate Paulo Freire with reflections around his ‘ontological call’.  Already over 1000 people have registered, though relatively few are from Africa.

Discussions will focus on five principles, those of humility, empathy, love, hope and dialogue that Freire (2017, p. 33) presented as the ‘spirit’ of one of his main referential work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, originally published in 1968. Ana Suzina and Tufte have reflected upon this here.

The selection of presenters includes, from Africa, Prof Colin Chasi, who will speak on humility.

To register for these events, please use these links: Principal-IN – Centenário de Paulo Freire (paulofreirecentennial.org).

Please also note that the Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University has held a series of activities gathering scholars from different regions of the world about the legacy of Paulo Freire in the field of participatory communication and civil society development. Recently, the Institute has published two special issues coming from a previous cycle of debates around this subject. You can see them here and here.

Event: EGS Public Lecture with Simon Denny (HFBK Hamburg)

18 February – 2021 / Online Registration link below.

Big Tech‘s claims: from social media to crypto

An artist who has spent more than a decade unpacking the rhetoric and claims of Big Tech’s core voices, Simon Denny will present key cultural, political and aesthetic principles gathered from his research to date. What were the public narratives of the founders of Wikipedia, Twitter, Tumblr, and 4chan, or the COO of Facebook, in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring’? How was crypto genius Vitalik Buterin talking about geopolitics after the increase Bitcoin’s popularity and value in 2016? How did Peter Thiel’s vision of the future speak to the world of the early Trump era – and what do The Lord of the Rings and the New Zealand tourism board have to do with the marketing strategy of Thiel’s surveillance data company Palantir? Denny dives into the political and cultural logic of tech from TED-byte analysis to the Amazon’s designs for workers, to consider the complex recent history behind today’s most heated technology debates.

This event is scheduled for February 18, at 8 pm CET (2 pm EST).

You can register using this link.

ExCo: Change in Structure

Dear SACOMM Community,

SACOMM’s Executive Committee (ExCo) would like to wish you all the best for the new year. The year will be challenging, but the Association is committed to keeping our community of scholars in touch and engaged. More on our planned activities for the year, soon.

I write to you today to share news on a change in the ExCo structure. I will be stepping down as president in the coming week, as I have taken up a position in the United Kingdom. The ExCo discussed this change virtually and resolved the following:

  • Prof Tanja Bosch – currently our Deputy President – will take over as President of the Association. Per SACOMM’s constitution, this would have happened at our annual conference, which means this change only impacts on timing and not on the inevitability of Prof Bosch becoming President.
  • As an interim measure – and to support the President – Prof Mehita Iqani who is already a member of the ExCo will take over as Acting Deputy President. Prof Iqani will fulfil these duties until our annual conference, where a Deputy President will be elected, as per usual, from a list of nominees.
  • Mr Francois Smit – a member of ExCo and our website content manager – will now manage the Listserv as well.

On a personal note, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve as the President of SACOMM. It has been one of the greatest pleasures, and highlights, of my academic career. I will keep supporting the Association and being an ambassador for it. I certainly believe in all that it does and all the people it represents.

I wish you all the best in your endeavours and hope our paths cross again in the near future.

Kind regards,
Elnerine Greeff

Human Resources: TWO (2) POST DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOWSHIPs AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE: UNIT FOR INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

The University of the Free State (UFS) invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice. Candidates interested in pursuing an academic or professional career in higher education, with special research interest in institutional change and institutional culture within higher education, are especially encouraged to apply. 

The Office for Institutional Change is situated within the Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice and consolidates evidence of institutional culture practices and establish and direct further implementation of best practices with regard to institutional culture. The Postdoctoral Research Fellow will be expected to work on these projects and, ideally, will have an interest and expertise in higher education studies or multidisciplinary studies, related disciplines may include educational management, diversity studies, historical studies, political science, public management, sociology or social psychology. The fellowship will enable an outstanding doctoral graduate to obtain experience of research and innovation at a higher education institution under the mentorship of established researchers.

The fellowship is awarded on a competitive basis, taking into account the applicants’ academic achievements, publication outputs and research potential, as well as the relevance of prior experience and expertise. The fellowship is available for a period of one year, renewable for up to three years subject to satisfactory performance. 

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

ü  Open to all South Africans and foreign nationals for full-time research at the University of the Free State (UFS). 

ü  Graduated with a PhD degree in a relevant discipline within the last five years.

ü  Successful applicants may not hold full-time salaried employment during the fellowship.

ü  Successful applicants must be able to relocate to the UFS for the duration of the fellowship. This is a residential fellowship: the successful applicant is required to spend 80% of her/his postdoctoral period at the UFS.

THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE WILL BE REQUIRED TO:

ü  Conduct innovative research on institutional culture at the UFS.

ü  Author/co-author at least four (4) publication outputs per year in the form of DHET-accredited scholarly journal articles or books/chapters in books. 

ü  Register and reside as postdoctoral research fellow at the UFS and participate in relevant activities of the Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice.

ü  The renewal of the fellowship beyond the first year depends on satisfactory performance and the submission of an annual progress report.

IN ADDITION, THE SUCCESSFUL APPLICANT MAY BE EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FOLLOWING:

ü  Co-supervision of postgraduate students

ü  Co-writing of funding proposals

ü  Presentation of papers at relevant local and international scholarly conferences

ü  Presentation at seminars and workshops organised by the Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice 

VALUE OF THE FELLOWSHIP

ü  R 220,000 annual fellowship 

ü  R 30,000 additional research expenses fund 

To apply, please email the following documentation by 2021 to Ms. Rochelle Ferreira, Email: FerreiraR1@ufs.ac.za

ü  Motivation letter, including a one to two page outline of planned research outputs in view of relevant expertise and experience.

ü  Full CV including a list of research publications, conference papers and other scholarly output.

ü  Full transcripts of academic record and copy of doctoral degree certificate.

ü  Copy of ID document (or copy of passport in the case of foreign applicants).

ü  Contact details of two academic referees who have taught/supervised the candidate.

Please include “Postdoctoral Fellowship DIRAP” in your subject line.

Closing date:  1 March 2021

Commencement of fellowship: As soon as possible. 

For enquiries please contact Prof Colin Chasi               
Email:  chasict@ufs.ac.za

EVENT: New Tools for ‘Distanced’ Anthropological Research: Webscraping and Ethnography of Digital Cultures in/of Africa

The event below may be of interest to students and researchers who are interested in webscraping and digital ethnography methods, with a focus on Africa. For information about the speakers, and to register for these events, please see the Foundation’s website.  

On February 15th, 16th and 25th the Wenner-Gren Foundation is sponsoring a series of webinars entitled, New Tools for ‘Distanced’ Anthropological Research: Webscraping and Ethnography of Digital Cultures in/of Africa, organized by Serena Stein, Wageningen University & Research, and Louisa Lombard, Yale University.

This event is a Webinar Tutorial on Webscraping for researchers and students with little prior experience, and a Roundtable on Digital Ethnography about Africa and by African scholars.

Part I: The Webinar will introduce beginners to the possibilities of webscraping as a tool for digital research. How can webscraping help launch a research project, complement in-person fieldwork, and triangulate findings? What are limitations and technical, analytical, and ethical concerns? The tutorial presumes no prior experience in webscraping, and will use ethnographic-friendly examples. This will be led by Kevin McElwee of the Princeton University Center for Digital Humanities.

Part II: The Roundtable convenes an exciting group of researchers and scholars on African digital cultures and social media, including the technological, regulatory, political, ethical, and cultural context of African digital lives as people access and innovate online.