WAR OF THE WORLDS TO SOCIAL MEDIA: MEDIATED COMMUNICATION IN TIMES OF CRISIS
Call for Papers Date:
The year 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast and provides an occasion to reflect on the possibilities and limitations of mediated communication in times of crisis. The broadcast is remembered for causing a “panic” in over a million listeners who took the broadcast to be a genuine report of a coming invasion. Since then, War of the Worlds has come to symbolize the power of mass media during times of crisis.
We solicit scholarly essays that take this notorious broadcast as a starting point, or point of reference, in investigating the continuities and discontinuities between old and new media and their use by citizens in times of crisis. The broadcast event deserves attention in its own right as a milestone in media history, and because it highlights a number of issues that remain important in 21st century communication practices: the problem of authenticity in mediated communication; the aesthetics of persuasion; the importance of social context; and the dynamic role of listeners, viewers and users in talking back to media producers and institutions. We seek essays that bring an historical and theoretical perspective to bear on the question of media power and the ability of citizens to hear and be heard during times of crisis.
We are looking for essays that address a number of questions within three broad areas:
1) War of the Worlds and media power in times of crisis
-- How has the War of the Worlds broadcast served as a touchstone for conceptualizing media power and audience agency in the 20th and 21st centuries?
-- How have the meanings of the War of the Worlds story and event changed over time, from its original moment, through the Cold War, the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, and in the post-9/11 decade?
2) War of the Worlds, broadcasting conventions, and crisis
-- How was War of the Worlds shaped by – and how did it shape – the emerging broadcast conventions and genres of the 1930s? To what extent is “crisis” an enduring or structural aspect of broadcast address?
-- Has broadcast coverage of specific moments of political or social crisis directly or indirectly drawn on War of the Worlds as a point of reference?
3) War of the Worlds and the promise of social media
-- How are social media transforming the parameters and practices of citizenship, communication and crisis in the 21st century?
-- How do “new media” make use of “old media” conventions, especially in the case of crisis communication?
-- Have we finally outrun the legacy of the War of the World broadcast, or are we still haunted by its enduring presence in our digital mediascape?
Nov. 25, 2011: Paper abstracts are due to the editors (500 words)
Dec. 16, 2011: Paper selections announced
March 16, 2012: Extended abstracts or outlines due to the editors.
July 16, 2012: Paper draft due
August 17, 2012: Final papers due to editors
Joy Elizabeth Hayes, The University of Iowa
Kathleen Battles, Oakland University
Wendy Hilton-Morrow, Augustana College
Publisher: Peter Lang
Joy Elizabeth Hayes
Associate Professor, Communication Studies
147 Becker Bldg., The University of Iowa,
Iowa City, IA 52242 (319) 353-2265
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