PEOPLE’S PROJECT IN MEDIA (-ATED) MARTYRDOM

deadline for submissions: 
April 25, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Kusumita Datta (Assistant Professor, Behala College, University of Calcutta) and Arijit Mukherjee (Assistant Professor, Behala College, University of Calcutta)
contact email: 

This collection attempts to look at the role of digital media as a constructive and disseminating narrative in the world, to delineate a meta-narrative of ‘digital martyrdom’. This collection aims to initiate a study not only on martyrdom in the digital space but a digitisation of martyrdom. It will seek to look especially at the role of mainstream and sponsored media propaganda to locate those interstices in the narratives which subtly subvert narratives of the mainstream mass media. In the first section of the collection, the focus will be on chapters which use as its premise usage of commercial media. The subversion is to be specifically located in the dissemination, language, and reception of the contents of the media matter. In its second section, this collection will seek to locate alternative forms of the digital media and the ways in which it promotes revolutionary fervour to make and mar actors in the digital space. With reference to specific individuals or specific actions post - revolution, this collection will probe modalities in which the digital space is utilized for a media (-ted) construction of the revolutionary protagonist/ antagonist. The focus is more on emergent forms of social media during revolutions, and the actors of a network (-ed) sacrifice.

The chapters may focus on the following:

1. Religion and ritual media: Studies should not only delineate the ways in which religion uses the cyberspace but also the methodologies of the digital as a new religion. The Al-Jazeera Phenomenon as probed by Mohamed Zayani and the study on new age Muslim Martyrdom of the Arab Spring by Johanna Sumiala are path-breaking recent works in this field. This collection will look for a new theoretical apparatus to probe media mediations - the use and abuse of likes, status, false profiles, hacking, digital news, individual blogs, fake posts which may have contributed to revolutionary fervour on a mass scale, and methods of ritualization in digital media.

2. Language of social networks and revolution: Studies should look into the word culture in the digital space. Focus could be on the rhetorical tools to construct a martyr in the digital space. Furthermore the facilitation of digital dissemination and prohibition could be analysed in the context of revolutions. Papers from peace and conflict studies and international relations which would deal with policy decisions of digital activism and censorship, or conversely the banal and colloquial language people use are encouraged. In fact language could be looked at from the point of subversion – in utterance as well as reception.

3. Digital propaganda and social media: The focus of this section is on the sabotage attempts at a revolution in the digital space, especially in the way media proposes to paint a certain picture of the revolution. Maligning through the media in the digital space could focus on revolutions in countries, where borders are in flux and independence itself remains a contested claim, like Northern Ireland and Kashmir.

4. Utilization of media for a global jihad: The use of digital media to propagate a politics of fundamentalist struggle, and the ways in which different digital platforms witness an increasing participation. Speeches and assimilation tactics will have to be analysed to probe the underpinnings of a global war on Terror and its fallacies, especially post-9/11, enabling divergent martyrdoms to contend for space.

5. Revolution, culture and the digital space: The creative insurgency at the heart of uprisings with a focus on culture as disseminated through digital platforms. Marwan Kraidy’s The Naked Blogger of Cairo is a seminal contribution in this field. Studies on the creative upsurge with a continuing momentum post-revolution are encouraged.

6. Digital graphics and revolution: Work on photographs and other forms of graphic art, hagiographies, created or disseminated in the digital form post - revolution are encouraged. Alternately the graphics of pain and torture which are newly revisited in Palestine and Belfast could be the focus of new studies on grief tourism and martyrdom.

7. Alternative and underground media and revolution: Underground literature and its distinct use of digital media activism - the sub-culture of the martyr’s media. Studies on the use of digital media by the fringe groups will be encouraged, commenting especially on the media ownership and usage.

8. Gender, digital space and revolution: Ways in which gender minorities utilize the digital space, and the questions of the public and private sphere of media use. Specific focus should be on the modes in which the digital space is re-created across a gendered trajectory rather than a mere analysis of women using the media.

9. Digital solidarities: Studies may focus on solidarity movements as enabled through the digital space. Taking on from Felix Stalder’s Digital Solidarity, studies in this section should further deal with solidarity movements at the level of the grassroots which work in an era of cheap digital service for revolutions in acts of everyday living. Studies may also focus on the enormous ratio of failures where utterances do not amount to anything beyond utterances. The role of gossips and/in insurgencies and the viral media matter in the digitisation of solidarities.

The focus of any essay may extend beyond the aforementioned sub-topics but should clearly delineate the ways in which the construction of the revolutionary character and martyr is delineated. From the role of religion and martyrdom in the digital space to the interjections of the narratives of life-writing and its challenges in the media space, this collection hopes to lay a groundwork for the ways in which digital spaces are used by the masses to bring about contested martyrdoms. The attempt of this new study will be an interpenetrating analysis of the given chapters so that a meta-narrative of digital martyrdom may evolve.

Submission Guidelines: Submissions should be 8,000 to 10,000 words, in Times New Roman and font size 12, including notes but excluding Works Cited, and follow the MLA Handbook, 8th ed. (2016); notes should be indicated by superscript Arabic numerals in text and pasted at the end of the article.