SACOMM 2018, University of Johannesburg, 12-14 September

Theme: “Communication at a Crossroads”

Deadline for abstract submissions: 30 April 2018

A crossroads is a site where roads intersect. It is a point of crisis, a turning point, and a point of alternative configurations, convergence plus divergence, meeting and departure, unity and disunity. Metaphorically, it is a point of flux and change, a critical juncture at which a life-changing decision must be made. The crossroads is a superposition of varied, multiple, different – sometimes conflicting – tendencies, impulses and trajectories, and there is little certainty about the future. At a crossroads movement is channelled, controlled, regulated, or freed: we can stand still or go forward, get lost or find endless possibilities, be trapped by inaction, insincerity and passivity or find freedom. At a crossroads we can be transfixed to the past and its aftermaths, or we sincerely take the future on. We may be misled, be manipulated into going in particular directions, or we may use the crossroads to affirm our independence and agency, forge alliances, and build new, transformative, ethical, just futures.

The student movement for free, quality decolonised education that started in 2015, followed by persistent calls for decolonisation of the university and transformation of research and teaching, has heightened the crises and tensions within traditional disciplines. Centres cannot hold, and typical business-as-usual attitudes to epistemic injustice are no longer tenable. The discipline of communication, like many others that have been caught up in these crises and tensions, is at an epistemic and disciplinary crossroads of its own, one that calls for a “communication turn” and for bold, new, difficult, innovative, boundary-crossing, boundary-smashing, critical, frank and courageous conversations in communication.

This conference calls for presentations, papers, posters and panels in communication, media, journalism, film, television, and cultural studies that interrogate the notion of “communication at a crossroads” and the “communication turn” in a variety of ways. The intention is to take stock of the current flux within these fields, as well as map possible futures. Our context is Southern Africa, Africa, and the global south. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Communication at a crossroads
  • Decolonisation and epistemic struggles
  • Dare we decolonise communication?
  • The “communication turn”
  • Film/Television at a crossroads
  • Journalism at a crossroads
  • Public relations at a crossroads
  • Corporate communication at a crossroads
  • Development communication at a crossroads
  • Communication, advocacy and activism at a crossroads
  • Visual culture, media and communication
  • New media, new mediatisations, and their practices
  • Whither social media?
  • Communication, social media and social movements in Africa
  • Whither cultural studies?
  • Communication industries at a crossroads

The confirmed Keynote Speaker for SACOMM 2018, Johannesburg, is Prof. Francis Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town. 

Category 1: Full 20 minute conference paper presentations.
Category 2: Panel discussion sessions and/or roundtable/workshop proposals

All abstracts must be submitted on the correct abstract submission form. Submissions which are not submitted on the correct form will not be accepted. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted.

The Abstract Submission form can be downloaded in MSWord format here: Abstract Submission Forms

All abstract submissions should be addressed to the SACOMM Conference Organiser, Collen Chambwera, at  Please note that you may submit more than one abstract, but no more than two. In case you submit two abstracts, please make sure that they belong in different streams.

Submission deadline: 30 April 2018. 

Deadline for electronic submission of all abstracts for peer review and other proposals: Monday 30 April 2018. The conference organisers will notify authors about the status of their contributions via e-mail by end of May 2018.  

A call for registration with further details about the conference will be released in June.

Conference theme: The conference theme gives an indication of the topic of discussions during plenary sessions at the SACOMM annual conference. Individual abstract submissions are not strictly required to adhere to the conference theme.

Academics: R 3400

Students/emerging scholars/independent scholars: R 1000

Included in conference fees:

  • Full access to all conference sessions and activities;
  • Gala dinner on Thursday 13 September;
  • Lunch and coffee breaks from Wednesday 12 September to Friday 14 September;
  • Conference programme.


SACOMM has six different streams. Please indicate which stream your abstract submission should be allocated to on your abstract submission form.

The SACOMM streams are:

  • Media Studies and Journalism
  • Corporate Communication
  • Screen Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Communication education and curriculum development (CECD)
  • Communications advocacy and activism (CAA)