Wednesday, May 7, 2008

UK studentship award: the internet and the archive

Arts and Humanties Research Council collaborative doctoral award: the internet and the archive

School of Education, University of Edinburgh, UK
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), UK

This studentship, fully funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, with additional funding from the collaborating partner, will support three years of full-time study. The student will investigate how the internet is changing the way users engage with, and learn from, the
collections of cultural institutions, with supervision provided by Dr Sian Bayne (University of Edinburgh) and Ms Rebecca Bailey (RCAHMS).

Basing the study on the online education and outreach activities of RCAHMS, the broad remit of the project is to explore how new online media environments change and challenge the curatorial and outreach responsibilities of museums, galleries and archives.

The studentship covers all UK fees, and includes an allowance of £12,940 per academic year, plus an additional annual £1,500 maintenance payment provided by the AHRC and RCAHMS. Students may also be eligible for UK study visits and one overseas study visit as well as one overseas conference for the duration of the award. For eligibility criteria, see the AHRC web site at:

For fuller details of the proposed project, and the application procedure, please see:

To discuss the project informally, please contact Mrs Pam Holgate, University of Edinburgh (0131 651 6120, or Ms Rebecca Bailey, RCAHMS (0131 662 1456,

Applications should be submitted by 13 June 2008, and we anticipate that interviews will be held during the week of 7th July.

University of Edinburgh:

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland:

Google invests in open Internet

Google has been busy on the legal, tech and policy front lately, and there's a primary theme running through all of their pursuits: Google loves wide open spaces.

First up, as is being widely reported, Clearwire and Sprint are combining their wifi and broadband services. But did you know Google is one of the companies behind the $3.2 billion deal? They've teamed with Comcast, Intel Capital, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Trilogy Equity Partners to create the new company.

From their blog:

We believe that the new network will provide wireless consumers with real choices for the software applications, content and handsets that they desire. Such freedom will mirror the openness principles underlying the Internet and enable users to get the most out of their wireless broadband experience. As we've supported open standards for spectrum and wireless handsets, we're especially excited that Clearwire intends to build and maintain a network that will embrace important openness features. In particular, the network will: (1) expand advanced high speed wireless Internet access in the U.S., (2) allow consumers to utilize any lawful applications, content and devices without blocking, degrading or impairing Internet traffic and (3) engage in reasonable and competitively-neutral network management.

We're looking forward to seeing the Clearwire network take shape and begin to deliver benefits to users, and we will continue to look for new partners to promote openness and bring compelling applications and services to end users. There's more information on Clearwire and the transaction on Clearwire's site.

[via Google Blog]

New Firm Combines Social and Behavioral Ad Targeting

Splicing relevant ad messages into the social graph was supposed to be a cinch, given all the personal data profile creators leave lying around. But the big networking platforms and their ad reps have struggled to find the right formula. Google admitted in January it has searched in vain to monetize its vast inventory on Orkut and partner sites including MySpace. MySpace has its own data extraction project, dubbed hyper-targeting, yet still sells inventory in bulk rather than by niche segment. Facebook is in a similar conundrum.
What's the problem? For one thing, it can be hard to separate out useful data in a person's profile. For another, the meaning of "friend" is relative, making it hard to "[get] into the conversations that already happen between people," as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg grandly forecast marketers would do last November. Put another way, when someone claims a connection to 400 people, it's tough to tell who the real buddies are.

A behavioral targeting firm called Media6degrees said it's engineered a workaround to the dual problems of data and relationship glut. Rather than look at a person's friend list, the company uses a combination of cookies and ad server logs to pinpoint a person's interests and generate anonymous profiles of her real friends.

The New York-based start-up has toiled in obscurity for much of the past year, employing a technology development team of about 13. With its hire this week of a senior Microsoft ad executive as CEO, it hopes to burst onto the consciousness of the ad community.

New Chief Joe Doran was general manager in Microsoft's digital advertising solutions unit and was a principal architect Microsoft's acquisition of aQuantive. Doran was involved in other acquisitions and strategic initiatives during his nine years at Microsoft, including the purchases of in-game ad network Massive, ad exchange AdECN and European mobile ad firm ScreenTonic.

Doran said Media6degrees has based its platform in part on 1990s Bell Labs research on marketing and social theory. Bell Labs analyzed individual phone customers' call records to determine recency and frequency of contact with other individuals. It then found marketing offers directed to those "friends" saw three to five times greater response rate than a control group.

"The team looked and said, how's this going to look, to replicate Bell Labs' work on the Internet," Doran said. "Can we do that in a consumer friendly, privacy friendly way... looking at interaction on the social graph and getting rid of the voyeurs and stalkers? We want to see people that really have rich connections."

He said Media6degrees found an Internet analogy in referral information stored in ad server logs. Those logs can be made to cough up specific social networking profile pages an individual has visited recently by analyzing referring URL structures, which is potentially actionable information when juxtaposed with an action taken by the ad-clicker. For instance, someone acting on a Miami timeshare or scheduling an F-150 test drive may have friends and relations who would be receptive to a similar offer. Affinity groups of presumably anonymous individuals are created by grouping individuals who have visited the same set of profiles.

But how does the firm get access to those server logs? In a manner similar to a traditional behavioral ad network such as Tacoda, it partners with a network of advertisers that each volunteer to place a cookie on the browsers of Web users visiting its sites. Participating advertisers and site owners receive a small CPM to distribute its pixel.

"If you put up a media pixel on your site, we can not only help you retarget an individual who came to that site, but we can help you identify micro-affinity groups," said Doran. "The data we used to capture this is data that's owned by the advertiser today. We get a piece of data with every ad served."

Doran argued the owners of social networking platforms are hurting themselves by focusing on the content people share in their profiles.

"The most important thing is not to look at the content but to look at the interactions between individuals," he said. "I'm defined not by my interactions on MySpace or on Facebook. I'm defined by my interactions with my friends."

The company has worked with about 30 "alpha" advertisers to test its system. These marketers get inventory at cost. It's now preparing for a wider debut with a number of advertisers that Doran declined to name.

Media6degrees is funded by Contour Venture Partners and Coriolis Ventures. It's a member of the Network Advertising Initiative, a coalition of behavioral targeting firms.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Qualitative Methods in Research on Human Resource Management

Qualitative Methods in Research on Human Resource Management
Call for Papers

Zeitschrift für Personalforschung – German Journal of Human Resource Research
Due Date: October 31st, 2008
Editors: Hans-Gerd Ridder and Christina Hoon, Leibniz University of Hannover

Interest in qualitative research has increased in recent years regarding its relevance fordeveloping the field of strategy and management further. Strategy and management research include numerous examples of high quality studies using qualitative methods that have contributed to this field. Highly ranked management journals have published special issues on qualitative research. The increasing amount of articles regarding this topic displays that there is a growing demand for discussing the purpose, methods and the contribution of qualitative research.

The Academy of Management has institutionalized workshops at their annual meetings where researchers share ideas and discuss qualitative research methods with a close link to their current research projects. In 2008 the German Academic Association for Business Research has invited scholars to a pre-conference workshop at their annual meeting to discuss and reflect upon qualitative methods.

Given this increase in the relevance of qualitative research methods, the German Journal of Human Resource Research is pleased to announce a Special Issue on “Qualitative Methods in Research on Human Resource Management.”

We encourage submissions of papers regarding the following topics:

1. Qualitative data is seen as appropriate for studying phenomena that are not well understood and for which little or no previous theory exists. Instead of testing theories, qualitative research aims to build theories or to contribute to existing theories. Rich and detailed data is the basis for shedding light on complex phenomena which unfold in processes or emerge as new or unusual. Therefore, we invite contributions that stem from existing empirical research from the realm of Human Resource Management which discuss the following topics:

• the relationship between data and theory

• theory development in terms of building new theory

• a contribution to existing theory through the application of qualitative research methods.

These papers should show how theory is advanced by conducting qualitative research methods in empirical HRM research.

2. There is wide range of analytical methods including case study research and grounded theory and numerous techniques like observation, interviews, and analyses of documents. Although the flexibility of methods and techniques is widely appreciated, criticism exists that there is a lack of standardization with regard to validity and reliability. Therefore, we also invite contributions that stem from existing empirical research in the realm of Human Resource Management which discuss the development of current practices in producing high-quality qualitative research:

• reflections on how methods and techniques can be made more effective in order to enhance the quality of qualitative research in Human Resource Management

• discussion on whether the development of standardization in methods and techniques is likely to enhance the quality of qualitative research in Human Resource Management

• discussion on how the combination of qualitative and quantitative methods can enhance the quality of qualitative research in Human Resource Management

These papers should show how the qualitative methods or techniques were elaborated, revised or altered in empirical HRM research in order to gain better explanations of the phenomena of interest.

In order to be considered for publication in this Special Issue, an abstract of two to three pages in length should be sent to the editors by July 31st, 2008. The editors will review the abstracts and contact authors with an invitation to submit full manuscripts.

Abstracts and full papers are expected to be written in English.
The deadline for the full papers is October 31st, 2008. The papers will undergo a double-blind review process. The authors will receive feedback and a final decision by December 31st, 2008. Finalized papers are due by March 31st, 2009. Submitted papers should be unpublished and not currently under submission for other journals. Formal guidelines for final submission are available from:

Please send abstracts to:
Prof. Dr. Hans-Gerd Ridder and Dr. Christina Hoon
Leibniz University of Hannover
Faculty of Economics and Management
Institute of Human Resource Management
Königswortherplatz 1
30167 Hannover
Phone: ++495117624560

Seeking Yale ISP Fellows in Innovation and IP Reform

The Yale Information Society Project is expanding its current research program in innovation and intellectual property (IP) reform and seeks applicants (deadline June 6) for a 2008-2009
resident postdoctoral fellowship at Yale Law School.

The program's purpose is twofold: (1) to research the effects of domestic and international intellectual property laws and alternative mechanisms for knowledge production; (2) to suggest
reforms that will promote the values of human development, economic growth, innovation and social justice.

We are particularly seeking recent J.D. and Ph.D. graduates with a background in law and economics, economics, or allied policy fields.

Sincerely, Laura DeNardis
Laura DeNardis, Ph.D.
Executive Director
The Information Society Project
Yale Law School
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520


Open Access expands to humanities disciplines with a bold new publishing initiative in critical and cultural theory

Brussels, Belgium – On May 12, 2008, the Open Humanities Press (OHP) will launch with 7 of the leading Open Access journals in critical and cultural theory. A non-profit, international grass-roots initiative, OHP marks a watershed in the growing embrace of Open Access in the humanities.

"OHP is a bold and timely venture" said J. Hillis Miller, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, a long-time supporter of the Open Access movement and OHP board member. "It is designed to make peer-reviewed scholarly and critical works in a number of humanistic disciplines and cross-disciplines available free online. Initially primarily concerned with journals, OHP may ultimately also include book-length writings. This project is an admirable response to the current crisis in scholarly publishing and to the rapid shift from print media to electronic media. This shift, and OHP's response to it, are facets of what has been
called 'critical climate change.'"

"The future of scholarly publishing lies in Open Access" agreed Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University and fellow member of OHP's editorial advisory board. "Scholars in the future should give careful consideration to the where they publish, since their goal should be to make the products of their research as widely available as possible, to people throughout the world. Open Humanities Press is a most welcome initiative that will help us move in this direction."

OHP will give new confidence to humanities academics who wish to make their work freely accessible but have concerns about the academic standards of online publishing. In addition to being peer-reviewed, all OHP journals undergo rigorous vetting by an editorial board of leading humanities scholars.

OHP's board includes Alain Badiou, Chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure, Donna Haraway, Professor of the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation, UC Irvine, Gayatri Spivak, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, Peter Suber, Open Access Project Director for Public Knowledge and Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, and Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University, who has been leading the public debate on the crisis of academic publishing in the humanities.

"Open-access publishing in serious, peer-reviewed online scholarly journals is one of the keys to solving a financial crisis that has afflicted university libraries everywhere and has had a chilling effect on virtually every academic discipline" said Greenblatt."Making scholarly work available
without charge on the internet has offered hope for the natural sciences and now offers hope in the humanities."

With initial offerings in continental philosophy, cultural studies, new media, film and literary criticism, OHP serves researchers and students as the Open Access gateway for editorially-vetted scholarly literature in the humanities. The first journals to become part of OHP are Cosmos and History, Culture Machine, Fibreculture, Film-Philosophy, International Journal of
Zizek Studies, Parrhesia and Vectors.

"But it's not simply a matter of what Open Access can do for the humanities" added Gary Hall, Professor of Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University, co-editor of Culture Machine and one of the co-founders of OHP. "It is also a case of what can the humanities do for Open Access. Researchers, editors and publishers in the humanities have developed very different professional cultures and intellectual practices to the STMs who have dominated the discussion around Open Access to date. OHP is ideally positioned to explore some of the exciting new challenges and perspectives in scholarly communication that are being opened up for Open Access as it is increasingly adopted within the humanities."

Open Humanities Press is an international Open Access publishing collective specializing in critical and cultural theory. OHP was formed by academics to overcome the current crisis in scholarly publishing that threatens intellectual freedom and academic rigor worldwide. OHP journals are academically certified by OHP's independent board of international scholars.
All OHP publications are peer-reviewed, published under open access licenses, and freely and immediately available online at .

Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in the Digital Age

Takeovers & Makeovers: Artistic Appropriation, Fair Use, and Copyright in the Digital Age

On November 7 & 8, 2008, the Berkeley Center for New Media and the History of Art department at the University of California, Berkeley will hold a symposium on appropriation rights in the digital era. This event will bring together artists, lawyers, art historians, and representatives from the information technology community to discuss the changing field of
appropriation art in the wake of the emergence of new digital media technologies that have radically altered access to and manipulation of information.

In the United States copyright is now automatic, and registration with the Copyright Office no longer required. Recent additions to copyright law such as the Digital Rights Management and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) have further extended copyright protection by criminalizing the creation and dissemination of devices, technologies, and services that assist in circumventing copy protection, even when such circumventions do not violate copyright and remain within the shrinking purview of 'fair use.'

Growing legal debates over file sharing have ensured that copyright violation and fair use are firmly entrenched popular topics in the media. These developments speak to the urgency of readdressing the ever-expanding reach of copyright and the limits it subsequently places on
our right to critique, comment upon, and parody our culture.

This conference aims to offer such a reassessment, and will also reconsider the history of appropriation in the arts and begin a cross-disciplinary discussion about the myriad repercussions of its increasing pervasiveness as a practice for the future.

Appropriation - the act of taking private property and making it over as one's own - is a crucially important, yet increasingly fraught concept in contemporary art and culture. For art historians the term designates an often critically engaged art practice in which artists glean materials from
cultural artifacts and transform, parody, remix, and recontextualize them. Yet the term has a markedly different status in the legal discourse, in which 'appropriation' is virtually indistinguishable from its shadow, 'misappropriation.'

Indeed, under the law any act of appropriation can be argued to be an infringement of copyright or trademark, while even murkier strategies of quotation, reference, or influence can be deemed plagiarism.

How do restrictions on appropriative acts effect creativity and limit artistic production and attendant forms of social, political, and cultural critique? What might be the ramifications of constant extensions of exclusive rights for the public domain? Is the property of large media
corporations more or less valuable than artistic reinterpretations of their materials? Could appropriation be the price one pays for being culturally relevant? Is appropriation an honor or an insult? What can be learned from art historical instances of appropriation for contemporary practice, and vice versa? How might the terrain in which the legal and art discourses over appropriation meet be mapped productively?

Of note here are the many legal battles fought over fair use in the music industry, while the art
world has largely stayed out of the fray, leading to a number of myths about fair use in the fine arts. Does the knowledge, for example, that artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg licensed certain images they reproduced as artworks alter the reception, interpretation, and relevance of their work? Has the fact that many artists have chosen to
settle their copyright debates behind closed doors rather than in the courtroom hurt the cause of fair use?

Whether through repurposing found material, re-contextualizing objects for institutional critique, re-editing news and commercial television, reenactments of events, hip-hop sampling, open source art, or fan fiction, appropriation has come to define a key set of cultural practices that are reshaping copyright and fair use laws.

The intersection of copyright and creativity creates a complex web of relationships and paradoxes: artists who freely circulate their work rely on licensing to support themselves, and those who appropriate copyrighted material often go on to copyright their own work and limit its circulation.

The digital era has ushered in further complications, as digital technologies and user-generated content sites facilitate the easy appropriation and distribution of source material, in part or wholesale, but severely complicate the legal issues surrounding these works of art. Creative Commons, for example, has developed a new form of copyright that allows individuals to opt for less than exclusive rights on their creations, so that works can be freely transformed and disseminated.

Websites such as YouTube and Flickr provide outlets and distribution centers for appropriators and misappropriators alike, but are these sites 'safe harbors'? Should they be held responsible
for the legal infractions (or artistic achievements) of their contributors? In addition to addressing the history, present, and possible future of appropriation, conference participants will take up its relationship to current debates over digital copyright law, fair use, and mass distribution in on-line environments.

Confirmed Speakers Include:
Tom McDonough (Art Historian, SUNY Binghamton)
Siva Vaidhyanathan (Professor of Media Studies and Law, University of Virginia)
Anne Wagner (Art Historian, UC Berkeley)
Fred Von Lohmann (Senior Staff Attorney, The Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Virginia Rutledge (Vice President and General Counsel, Creative Commons)
Rick Prelinger (The Internet Archive & The Prelinger Library)
Jason Schultz (Associate Director, Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic)

And more…

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

- Critiques of Postproduction

- Copyright Ambivalence – appropriators defending their copyrights

- Property vs. Right

- Reenactments

- Culture Jamming, Hacktivism

- Parody vs. Satire

- Copyright and fixity in dematerialized art

- Secret histories of licensing in the arts – Warhol, Rauschenberg, Levine…

- Why artists appropriate now & the stakes of appropriation today

- Appropriation and Distribution

- Appropriation and Exchange Value

- Consumerism and the Cultural Commons

- Appropriation and Misappropriation

- Use & Misuse

- Appropriation on and off the web

- Guerilla Art

- Fan Culture

Please send abstracts of no more than 400 words to:

Deadline for abstracts – July 15, 2008

Celebrating Quebec Cinema - call for papers

Cheers? Celebrating Quebec Cinema
Issue 10, Fall 2008

Call for Papers
(deadline: June 10, 2008)

If one goes along with the general consensus shared by cultural critics in the mainstream press, major industry spokespersons and public funding organizations, it would seem that now, in the wake of the 21st century, the time has come to celebrate Quebec cinema. The ardent public appetite for Quebec films seems an established fact, and the revenues and market shares of local production have experienced, year in and year out, unparalleled highs in the history of Quebec cinema. To symbolically mark the publication of its tenth issue, Nouvelles « vues » sur le cinéma québécois would like to reflect upon the themes/concepts of celebration, euphoria and the carnivalesque.

Firstly, how is celebration represented in Quebec films? How is the carnivalesque registered within these films' content, their discourse? How does the party, the pow-wow and the rumba manifest itself both inside the theater, as well as beyond it? Does the euphoria surrounding Quebec cinema require that films released to theaters be more optimistic? Is there still space for "dark" material in contemporary Quebec cinema?

Furthermore, we would like to interrogate the apparent consensus, both self-congratulatory and indulgently complacent, that helps to construct the modus operandi of a cultural industry in which ego and confidence is measured only in proportion to domestic or international success (either real or imagined). How does this euphoria translate into reality for producers, filmmakers, audiences? Is there really a reason to celebrate? Is there any evidence (economic, cultural, political) supporting the reverie of this euphoria?

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Nouvelles « vues » sur le cinéma québécois invites the community of filmmakers, researchers and critics to explore multiple definitions and expressions of celebration, as much in the actual films themselves as within the contexts of their production and reception.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

• Excess and the carnivalesque, the aesthetics of;

• Rituals, religion, celebration rites and families: celebrating and (de)constructing community;

• The nation, the myth and National Day: associations worth revisiting?;

• Celebrations of Quebec cinema: the austere and the flashy (Jutra, Genies, Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, galas and festivals, etc.);

• Celebrating Quebec abroad: Quebec cinema honored, really?;

• Local stars, starlettes and the Cannes Film Festival;

• Diversity and stagnancy at film festivals in Montreal;

• Regions and film festivals in Quebec;

• Celebrating identity, celebrating diversity: a culture opening up, or a remote utopia?;

• Cinema during the holiday season in Quebec;

• Commercial success, popular success, critical success: adequateness, contradictions and definitions;

• The next day's hang-over: a metaphor for contemporary Quebec?

We invite authors and industry practitioners to submit (by email) original proposals (approximately 250 words), in English or in French, before June 10, 2008. Final texts must be received by October 15, 2008, at the latest. All texts will be read and evaluated by our advisory board for comments and approval.

Nouvelles « vues » sur le cinéma québécois
c/o Bruno Cornellier
Department of Communication Studies
Concordia University
7141 Sherbrooke W., L-CJ-417.7
Montréal, (Québec)
H4B 1R6, Canada


The Point of Feminism - call for papers

The Point of Feminism

An interdisciplinary one-day conference looking at issues relating to feminism and media scholarship

University of Reading
12 September 2008

The publicized closure of 'Women's Studies' departments at an institutional level coupled with 'post' feminist discourses and the perceived irrelevance of feminism in neo-liberal societies, all indicate the social and political need to (re)visit feminisms. The aim of the conference is to reach a better understanding of issues facing scholars of media, and to situate these issues within a broader historical, institutional, political, social and cultural context.

We are inviting proposals for an interdisciplinary (film, new/media, cultural, and communications studies) one-day conference at the University of Reading. The day will take the form of round table discussions and workshops chaired by established feminist scholars with opening and closing plenaries by

- Sue Thornham (University of Sussex)
- Maureen McNeill (University of Lancaster)
- Christine Geraghty (University of Glasgow).

We are proposing to have workshops organised around (but not restricted to) the following strands:

- Institution

- Methodology

- Pedagogy

- Discursive Issues

- Definition

- Practice

- Empirical Matters

Proposals should discuss the personal and/or political relationships of feminism with these themes. We will give particular consideration to proposals that critically reflect on research or teaching experience rather than straightforwardly present research outcomes. We are
particularly interested in proposals by early career researchers and postgraduate students. The outcomes of the day will be disseminated through publication.

Deadline for sending us your proposals is 16 May 2008.

More information can be found on facebook, group 'The Point of Feminism'

The day is organised by Helen Thornham (University of Bristol), Heather Sutherland (University of Reading) and Elke Weissmann (University of Reading), in association with MeCCSA's Women's Media Studies Network.

For further information or to send your proposal for a 5-10 minute contribution, please contact:

Heather Sutherland
Elke Weissmann

University of Reading
Helen Thornham
Film, Theatre and Television
Bulmershe Court
Woodlands Avenue
Reading, RG6 1HY

Lectureship in Media

School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London
Lectureship in Media
Centre for Media and Film Studies

Salary: £28,227 - £41,735 per annum including London Allowance
Vacancy No: 100372

Applications are invited for a Lectureship in Media in the Centre for Media & Film Studies starting on 1 September 2008.

The Centre for Media & Film Studies at SOAS is a major new initiative in the study of non-western media and film that runs a doctoral research programme and three distinct MA degree courses. It is now embarking on a BA in Global Media and Film, the first such degree in Britain, with the support of colleagues across the faculties of SOAS.

It is intended to appoint a media scholar who is able to convene and team teach on the integrated core courses on the new undergraduate degree, as well as teach more advanced courses in critical media and cultural studies. We are looking for someone who has particular
interests in the theory/practice divide and proven experience in professional broadcasting and multimedia practice; particular interest in documentary film, news and current affairs and in global media distribution would be welcome. The ability to teach some of the following options is highly desirable: global television cultures; reading popular culture; gender, sexuality and representation; television genres (including advertising, reality television, soap opera); and digital cultures. The person appointed would also offer new theoretical and practical options, depending on their specific research interests which should fit within the regions of SOAS and
their diasporas.

The candidate appointed will also be expected to teach on our MA courses and to supervise PhD students. This new appointment represents a significant investment in the further development of the Centre both thematically and in regional spread. The Centre's programmes are combined with a wide range of other expertise at SOAS and it collaborates with a number of other London Colleges to provide a unique environment for teaching and research.

Prospective candidates seeking further information on the Department and the School may contact the Director of the Centre, Professor Annabelle Sreberny (

An application form and further particulars can be downloaded from Alternatively, write to the Human Resources Department, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, WC1H OXG, fax no: 020 7074 5129 or e-mail: stating your name, address and the vacancy reference number. CV's will only be accepted when accompanied by an application form. No agencies.

Closing date: 26 May 2008
Interviews week commencing: 30 June 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

In the Game: AoIR pre-conference workshop

In The Game: AoIR pre-conference workshop
Proposal deadline: 9 May

This event will be a pre-conference workshop at Internet Research 9.0: Rethinking Communities, Rethinking Place, to be held on 15 October 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark. For information about the conference, please see the AoIR website ( It is co-organized by Anne Beaulieu (Virtual Knowledge Studio), Marinka Copier (Utrecht University), and T.L. Taylor (IT University of Copenhagen).

Thematic background

A core issue for ethnography is the ethnographer's relationship to her object of knowledge. Although the web as a context of research, and net-mediated sites in general, have been heralded as an opportunity for the ethnographer to become the invisible 'fly on the wall', our experience leads us to emphasise the contrary. The participant pole of the participant -observer continuum remains crucial, even in mediated settings. Indeed in some online contexts there is no research stance outside of that of engaged participant.

The existence of relationships between the ethnographer and other participants is essential to ethnographies that want to maintain a focus on meaning and culture. The opportunities and challenges posed by pursuing ethnographies in mediated settings may be other than claims to having achieved objectivity, and may consist in a re-examination and re-valuation of particular attachments to the ethnographic tradition. This event seeks to explore the particular textures and implications of ethnographic relationships in mediated settings.

The ethnographic relationship is understood inclusive here, as a complex and evolving relationship that changes over the course of fieldwork and through the various aspects of knowledge production and dissemination. To structure the discussion of such a complex
issue, four themes have been identified and will frame the various sessions. These themes are detailed below.

:: Contiguity ::
What happens when the field and our scholarly activities are very close in time, space and media? What are the ways of leaving the field, if any? Is this still a useful, important, necessary move? What does such a loop of mutual observation and feedback between researcher and object imply? How does it differ from other forms of interaction or multiple roles of more traditional ethnographies?

:: Accountability ::
Does mediation increase the accountability of the researcher? How do the settings, with their porous/networked boundaries, differ or resemble other settings? How does accountability change over time, or in relation to different relationships? And when the researcher is a
contributing member to the group, how is the notion of accountability enlarged beyond a research ethics definition to a participatory one. Because of the traces left by the researcher, is the accountability not actually greater than in face to face settings? What are the (necessary) boundaries of the researcher's responsibilities? When do we go too far? And how does time (often such a fast moving artifact online) intervene in the issues we have? How do ethnographic
relationships change over time, time of the object studied vs. research and publication time.

:: Affectivity and embodiment ::
Despite the rhetoric that sometimes surrounds mediated environments, how as researchers are we still always engaged with affective embodied practice, both that of ourselves but those in the
communities we study? How can these be important resources for our work, and what special challenges might they pose. In the context of games and virtual environments for example, the avatar issue is always at work, but there remains the way as researchers we still find our corporeal bodies enrolled in our work - our anxiety at a raid, the neck problems from all the computer use, the way our understanding of our sites is itself mediated through our embodied
experience. Closely tied to this are the ways affectivity works within the domain of ethnography - the unguardedness of play, the frustration, the pleasure or frustration within the fieldsite.

:: Scholarly practices ::
How do relationships to the object shape what counts as research? For example, what is the role of the cultural status of the 'object' in making something legitimate scholarly enquiry? What is at stake when doing ethnographies of activities that are sometimes considered to be antithetical to 'research' - for example, gaming or playing, researching intimate activities, youth culture (where the accusation that one is just "hanging out" rather doing serious work may always loom). How do we articulate the relation between expertise and practice? Is ethnography being brought too close to home? Which new skills are needed? How is our practice of research interwoven, often
in complex and unanticipated ways, with the socio-technical objects and agents in the field.

Participants and structure

The workshop is aimed at researchers who have already pursued fieldwork in mediated environments. They are invited to submit a paper proposal (1500 words) before 9 May 2008 to Marinka Copier ( The proposal should present elements of prior ethnographic material and a reflection on that work from the perspective of one of the proposed workshop themes: continuity, accountability, affectivity & embodiment, and scholarly practices.

The goal of this process is to bring together practicing ethnographers for an in-depth discussion of some key issues within the domain, simultaneously grounded in concrete projects. The workshop will have a maximum of 15 participants to enable in-depth discussion, and respondents will be assigned for each paper.

Submissions will be selected on the basis of peer-review, which will be coordinated by the organisers of the workshop. Final papers (5000-6000 words) will be due at the beginning of September and will be distributed in advance to all workshop participants.

Important dates

Deadline for submissions: 9 May (mail to
Announcement of paper acceptance: 30 May
Deadline for full papers (5000-6000 words): 1 September
Pre-conference workshop: 15 October

Cultural Studies Association of Australasia 2008 National Conference

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
6th – 9th December, 2008

Cultural studies has historically concerned itself with the cultural practices of the everyday and the now. However, as a politically motivated discipline, cultural studies has an ongoing preoccupation with cultural, economic, and political change, and thus with futures. The 2008 Cultural Studies Association of Australasia National Conference will interrogate possible and impossible local, national, regional, and global futures.

Our imaginings of the future shape the lived experience of the present and our cultural memory of the past. These imaginings are usually polarised towards the deeply nihilistic or the jubilantly utopian. This conference will address the spaces between real and fictional futures, and the hopes and anxieties that emerge from those spaces.


• Judith Halberstam (TBC), Professor of English and Gender Studies, Director for the Center of Feminist Research University of Southern California

• Fred Chaney, Order of Australia, Co-chairman of Reconciliation Australia, former Deputy Chairman of the Australian Native Title Tribunal

• Kim Scott, Australian novelist, winner of the Miles Franklin Award, WA Premier’s Literary Award, and RAKA Kate Challis Award.

Conference themes and topics might include the future of:

• Landscapes: popular cultural responses to global warming; discourses of evolution; the aesthetics of entropy, erosion, ruins, and wastelands; ghost towns;

• Urbanscapes: retro and futuristic 'burbscapes and cityscapes; future advertising and graffiti; new soundscapes; liquid architectures (modular, programmable, and nanotech);

• Movement: the culture of mobile lifestyles (backpackers, tourists, and caravan parks); animal and human migrations;

• Community: the fate(s) of indigenous and regional communities; future ethnicities and subcultures; ageing and overpopulation;

• Politics: future social movements; neo-imperialism; post-civil society; the collective commons; utopian and preventative policies;

• History: (personal and national) collections, museums and archives; the atrophy of language; life stories; the media as a future archive of the present;

• Bodies: sexualities; genders; virtual; post-human; cyborg;

• The Child: children's utopias; future parenting and pedagogy; changing cultural constructions of childhood; future infantalism;

• Technology - new trends in media and entertainment; emerging trends in, and discourses of, game culture; regional engagements with online communities; fringe cyberculture; future ethnographics;

• Economy - blue sky futures; future food systems; popular representations of gold and instant wealth; trends and discourses of exploration, discovery, and exploitation;

• Aesthetics - popular imaginings of messianic, apocalyptic and utopian futures; new forms of art and art funding.

The conference will be held in the unique regional environment of Kalgoorlie at Western Australia's School of Mines. Kalgoorlie is the historic centre of mining in Western Australia. The Perth-Kalgoorlie pipeline, completed in 1903, was a contentious development that opened up the goldfields and signified a commitment to the future of WA. The town's growth gave rise to satellite industries such as tourism, beer brewing, and sex work, and today Kalgoorlie is a thriving regional city. However, like any industry centred around natural resources, the mining industry there has a finite future. The choice of Kalgoorlie as a venue therefore not only puts into practice the Association's policy of addressing the needs of regional communities, it emphasises that the future is a dynamic driven by tensions between development and sustainability.

The call for panels and refereed papers is now open

Panel Proposals due: June 30

Refereed Paper Proposals dues: August 15

A selection of papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies.

Proposals should be emailed to:

For all other conference enquiries please contact either Ron Blaber ( or Amanda Third (