Networking the Globe
Information Technologies and the Postcolonial
Date: 21–22 May 2010
Venue: University of Stirling, Scotland, U.K.
Dr. Rajinder Dudrah (University of Manchester)
Dr. David Herbert (Open University)
Contemporary events with catastrophic global ramifications, such as the current economic crisis or ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, are not only mediated by super-fast digital communication and information networks but also conditioned by these rapidly advancing technologies. From the social networking site Facebook to the Middle Eastern satellite news channel Al Jazeera, digital forms of culture have multiplied in recent years, proliferating conduits and connections across the globe which shape our lives in multifarious ways. In the light of this, a postcolonial perspective on information and communication technologies is pressing. How far is cyberspace mediated by metropolitan centres of knowledge production, and how might new media entrench existing structures of inequality, by serving corporate capitalist interests or by saturating consumers with hegemonic representations of global events? Conversely, to what extent can technologies operate as tools of empowerment or resistance for marginalised peoples, by bypassing forms of censorship and facilitating access to global arenas of debate and alternative communities? How have new technologies impacted on issues of identity, place and nation, and shifted the parameters of postcolonial thought?
This inaugural postgraduate conference of the Postcolonial Studies Association will consider the cultural, political, and practical effects of information and communication technologies on postcolonial peoples and spaces. The PSA invites papers from postgraduates working in the disciplines of literature, history, cultural studies, film, human geography, linguistics, politics, psychology, religious studies, art, music, media & communication, and informatics, among others. Our aim is to bring together a wide variety of scholarly interests and methodological approaches.
Papers may focus on, but are not limited to, the following conceptual intersections:
• Technologies and neo-imperialism: cultural imperialism and homogenization, digital media and hegemony, technological warfare and its virtual representations (computer games);
• Technologies and capitalism: commodification of information, web marketing and advertising, uneven access to technology, uneven development of technologies (industrial and agricultural);
• Technologies and resistance: alternative virtual communities, ‘indigenous’ media and self-determination, sustainable technologies, open-source soft ware communities, hackers and cybercrime;
• Technologies and communication: new forms of language, literacy, transnational social networking sites, censorship and its circumvention, ‘freedom of speech’, media as social and political commentary;
• Technologies and place: spatial dislocation, the erosion of national boundaries, cosmopolitanisms (tele-technologies such as mobile phones, email, internet telephony, webcams);
• Technologies and youth identities: music as sub-cultural expression (downloads and MP3 players), virtual subjectivities and transnational communities (computer games, YouTube, chat rooms);
• Technologies and text: new filmic and literary genres, the production of alternative modernities, textual representations of technologies;
• Technologies and knowledge: education and e-learning, data and surveillance, globalisation and the idea of ‘democratised’ or ‘universal’ knowledge (web-based search engines);
• Technologies and the ‘new’: new uses of old technologies, modernity and cultural innovation.
Panels will normally comprise of three 20-minute papers. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Brian Rock by 15 March 2010: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aside from keynote papers and parallel panels of postgraduate presentations, the conference will host training workshops relating to professional and research skills led by both established and early career scholars. These will include a presentation by Prof. Stephanie Newell (University of Sussex) on her career path in the field of postcolonial studies.
The JPW/PSA Essay Prize 2010 will be awarded at the conference. Details about the prize will be available shortly on the PSA website: www.postcolonialstudiesassociation.co.uk
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