Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CFP -- Canadian Journal of Media Studies



2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. “[I}t is common knowledge,” he wrote, “that the miniaturization and commercialization of machines is already changing the way learning is acquired, classified, made available, and exploited” (1984, org. 1979: 4). In 2010, "Connected Understanding" will be the theme of the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities in Montreal ( The Canadian Journal of Media Studies announces a special issue on Media, Knowledge and the Network University edited by Bob Hanke, York University, and David Spencer, University of Western Ontario.

The massification and informationalization of the university has transformed not only the content of teaching and research but also disciplinary processes of knowledge production and the technological form of academic life and culture. The integration and normalization of ICT's raises many questions about the university, academic labour, scholarly communication and collaboration, and academic technoculture. In 1957, Marshall McLuhan invited us to reconsider the education process by announcing that, with the advent of television, the “classroom without walls” had arrived. A half a century later, we are working in the university without walls and the ICT “revolution” is over. In “Universities, wet, hard, and harder,” German media theorist Friedrich Kittler reviewed 800 years of university-based media history to observe that “universities have finally succeeded in forming once again a complete media system.” Yet media scholars have rarely chosen to study their own universities as media systems. This special issue of the CJMS is an invitation to reflexive, critical media studies. Established and emerging scholars are invited to address continuities and transformations in new media and the network university and to set the agenda for future study and debate.

Possible questions and areas of research and critical inquiry include:

  • What is unthought, unrepresented and unquestioned in discussions of the public university and the ‘neoliberal turn,’ technologically-mediated post-secondary education, and institutional initiatives in the virtualization of the educational process?
  • What is the impact of the cybernation of the university? What is happening in information technology (IT) infrastructure, planning and governance? What IT strategies are pursued by specific institutions in different jurisdictions? What is the role of IT professionals as intermediaries between IT industries, intermediating organizations, private-sector partners and the university? What is the faculty experience of ICTs, and IT “solutions,” services, and support?
  • What are the networks of possibility and affordances of technology, and what are the obstacles and limits? the unintended, unanticipated consequences?
  • What hybrid methodologies, research techniques and software enhance our capacity to map the wireless campus and network condition of the university?
  • What philosophers of technology and politics are relevant to sharpening our thinking on the question of technology? What scholarly perspectives on invention, innovation and the process of emergence enable us to break the habit of instrumentalist thinking and discard the “tool” metaphor? How can we take technical artifacts, from small, portable technology to entire campus networks, out of their “black boxes” in order to study them? How does the technical substrate matter to our thinking? Our reading and writing of “texts”? Our notions of “research”? How is the university embedded in the network society and cognitive capitalism? What are the drivers of IT change in universities? What are the consequences of the disjuncture between the digital culture and practices outside the university and IT (planning, procurement/evaluation/implementation, support and services) inside universities?
  • How can we move beyond user-centric approaches to Web 2.0 based software applications and learning management systems, peer-to-peer networks, and small tech in academic settings? In the new network culture, how can we grasp the relations between what is “given” and what is unlikely, surprising, unexpected and unrealized?
  • How can we move beyond debates over “student centered” learning and faculty deskilling to new models of reskilling and organized research networks, technological literacy and technologies of the common? How can we articulate scholarly “collaboration” and student “engagement” with a politics of knowledge (commodified knowledge, open scholarship and knowledge within the social sciences and humanities, popular knowledge, indigenous knowledge, etc.) that will strengthen the public mission of the university after the recession? How can we turn away from the “knowledge economy” and towards knowledge cultures? What does the prototype of the Canadian Institute for Health Research’s Knowledge Broker Model portend for the social sciences and humanities?

We also invite investigations of:
  • computerization, campus networking strategies, and ICT-related organizational change since the advent of distributed computing, the Internet and the WWW
  • space, time, speed and rhythm in the network university
  • the production and operativity of networks and archives, scholarly journals and portals, web-based learning environments and objects, research cyberinfrastructure, critical cyberpedagogy, technological literacy, copyright/left, intellectual property rights
  • open access movement, open access research, open educational resources, open courseware, institutional repositories, ‘Do it Yourself’ education or edupunk
  • tropes of factory, ecology, network, mobility, common
  • articulations and destabilizations of oral/written, actual/virtual, bureaucratic records/institutional memory, off-line/on line, knowledge creation/information sharing, formal learning on campus/informal learning off campus, amateur/professional, artist/researcher
  • ideology of convenience, ethos of performativity, immaterial academic labour, general intellect, circuits of knowledge and struggle
  • technological “progress,”“knowledge economy,” knowledge “transfer” or “mobilization,” creativity, innovation, academic freedom, academic capitalism
  • the coming network university, knowledge futures, ecoethical perspectives on the university’s inputs and outputs and the discourse of “sustainability”
Since intellectual innovation may be engendered at the intersections of disciplines, contributions are welcome from outside of Communication and traditions and trajectories of media studies outside of Canada. Solo or collaborative work that provides a comparative, international perspective on the network university in different countries is especially welcome.

Submission Guidelines

Authors should submit papers of about 25 pages (or 8000 words) in MLA style with abstract and keywords electronically to David Spencer, Editor, With the exception of the title page, please remove all indications of authorship.

The deadline for papers is February 28, 2010. Peer review and notification of acceptance will be completed by March 31, 2010. Final manuscripts accepted for publication will be due April 30, 2010.

Comments and queries can be sent to Bob Hanke, Guest Co-Editor,
For more information about the Canadian Journal of Media Studies, visit

Friday, September 18, 2009

A belated fourth birthday

I'm feeling a little like a deadbeat dad these days, given my neglect of D&R. I've been having a blast over on my book blog, The Late Age of Print, but unfortunately that's taken up a bit too much of my attention. Case in point: Monday, September 14th was the fourth anniversary of the launch of this blog. I've been pretty good about marking the occasion in the past, but this year I'm ringing in the new year belatedly. As any deadbeat dad worthy of the name would say, "Hey, at least I remembered." Sigh.

Anyway, it's nice to have an occasion in which to reflect a little here. I've missed D&R, honestly. Late Age is wonderful in that it gives me ample opportunity to explore issues relating to books, publishing, and reading. Nevertheless, I miss the eclecticism that has come to characterize D&R over the last four years. I wouldn't say that anything has been fair game for me to address here, but as the tag cloud appearing below and at right shows, this little blog of mine does indeed have quite a range. Sometimes I just prefer broadcasting over narrowcasting.

I've been puzzling over something of substance that would be interesting for me to share on this, the belated fourth birthday of D&R. Mostly I have half-formed thoughts about monism and dualism, inspired in part by my reading of Lionel Trilling's The Liberal Imagination, which I reviewed here this past summer.

Much of my philosophical training in graduate school was spent reading, studying, and discussing the work of Gilles Deleuze. In this I learned to abhor the negative ontology characteristic of dialectical philosophies and to celebrate monism, whose principles of singularity, affirmation, and holism at the time resonated strongly with me. They still do.

Yet, as I myself grow older, and as I grow older with this blog (whose name I cherry-picked from Deleuze's masterwork, Difference and Repetition), I find myself becoming less patient with monism. I am beginning to see its cracks. Mostly I am concerned with its penchant for disengagement, for its tendency toward monologue, for its unwillingness to let itself be shaken to the core by some other. I see in monism a profound insularity or desire to turn inward (what Deleuze would call "involution"), whereas in dualism I increasingly perceive a desire to experience the world outside of oneself. Could it be that monism is a kind of philosophical agoraphobia?

Again, as I said, these are only half-formed thoughts--significantly a result of my not having given D&R its due this year. Hopefully I'll be able to get back on course in the coming weeks or months. For now, thanks to everyone for your contributions here over the last year. Your comments and questions challenge me, your readership inspires me.