Marxism and Communication Studies in the 21st Century.
National Communication Association (NCA) Preconvention Seminar Conference.
Call for Participation.
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Chicago Hilton Towers, Chicago, IL
Marxism’s relationship to communication as a discipline has long been marked by a profound ambivalence. On the one hand, notions derived from Marxist theory—“ideology,” “hegemony”, “reification”, “commodification,” “social class,” “dialectics” etc.-- are regularly deployed in the pages of the NCA’s journals and are foundational for entire subfields such as cultural studies. Moreover, a growing number of communication scholars explicitly identify themselves as Marxists or at least see their work as indebted to the Marxist legacy. On the other hand, extended, informed discussions of Marxist theory and the unique insights it affords are all but invisible at NCA’s annual meeting and in its publications. And a glance at most rhetoric and mass communications textbooks reveals that the approach receives little or no attention in most undergraduate courses.
At a time when world-historical events such as the emergence of the anti-corporate globalization movement and the U.S. invasion of Iraq have once more underscored the importance of the Marxist critique of capitalism and capitalist imperialism, there is an urgent need for dialogue about the ways Marxism can advance the study and liberatory transformation of human communication and the social world in which it is embedded. Building on the enormous success of the “Marxism and Communication Studies” panel at last year’s National Communication Association conference in Miami, this day-long conference will bring together communication scholars, scholars from other disciplines and political activists from outside the academy for just such a discussion.
Short position papers (5-10 minutes long) are invited on all topics relevant to the preconference’s central theme, but we are especially interested in contributions that address the following:
• The contributions of Marxism and Marxist perspectives to specific sub-fields within the discipline of communication (i.e. media studies, rhetoric, political communication, film studies, cultural studies, communication policy, etc.).
• The aporias and limits of particular Marxist approaches to communication and/or ways in which Marxist approaches to communication could be refined and updated.
•The impact of social class (and class relations) on the media, public address and other arenas of communication.
•Corporate power as a threat to free speech and democratic discourse both in the U.S. and internationally.
•The appropriation, mutation and distortion of Marxist ideas (hegemony, ideology, commodity fetishism, etc.) by mainstream communication scholars.
• Marxism in the communications classroom.
•The relationships (and potential conflicts) between Marxism and other theoretical approaches animated by radical or revolutionary politics (i.e., feminism, anarchism, social ecology, so-called “Post-Marxism”, critical race theory, Queer theory, etc).
•Anti-communism and the marginalization of Marxist ideas within the academy and academic professional associations.
• The connection between Marxist communication scholarship and left political activism.
• Marxism, postmodernism and poststructuralism.
• Globalization, global communication systems and cultural imperialism.
Submit 100-to 200-word proposals via e-mail by July 15, 2004 to one of the three conference organizers. Please include full contact information.
Lee Artz, Associate Professor, Media Studies
Department of Communication and Creative Arts
Purdue University Calumet
2200 169th Street
Hammond, IN 46323
P.O. Box 244
New Buffalo, MI 49117
Department of Communication Studies
CMA 7.114/mail code A1105
The University of Texas, Austin
Austin, TX 78712
fax (512) 471-3504
Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Communication
North Central College
30 N. Brainard St.
Naperville, IL 60540
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