CFP: [Science] Media Fields 2: Infrastructures / UC Santa Barbara, April 9-10, 2009

full name / name of organization: 
Athena Tan


A conference hosted by graduate students in the Department of Film and
Media Studies,
University of California, Santa Barbara
April 9-10, 2009


Keynote Speaker: Brian Larkin, Associate Professor and Chair of
Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University, author of Signal and
Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Duke University
Press, 2008), co-editor of Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain
(University of California Press, 2002)


The 2007 Media Fields conference gathered students and scholars to reflect
upon how their projects related to the idea of the field in the
epistemological and environmental registers of the term. In April 2009, a
second Media Fields conference will hone in on the more specific idea of
infrastructures. If a field is an expanse of space, infrastructures are
skeletal and map out interactions, relations, and orders of elements in
such a space.


Recent work on media by scholars such as Brian Larkin, Lisa Parks, Jonathan
Sterne, and Zhang Zhen points to the import of infrastructures in relation
to the study of material spaces, representations, and practices related to
filmgoing, piracy, satellite footprints, globalization, and urbanization.
Media Fields: Infrastructures aims to build upon such work and to consider
how the term infrastructure offers a rubric with which to extend the
conceptual radius of film and media studies in different directions. How
might perspectives from the humanities inform thought about media and
infrastructures? And how might media and cultural studies benefit from
perspectives generated in social sciences and environmental design?


You might consider the following types of projects and ideas:

--Opening up the metaphoricity of infrastructures. How might media studies
be able to appropriate concepts, languages, and practices related to
infrastructures? What are infrastructures of media (scripts? shots?), what
infrastructures of language do we use to understand media, and how might
these questions lead to new disciplinary trajectories?

--Media as they serve as infrastructures of the nation (national monuments,
icons, and media spectacles), of global transitions (call centers,
satellite footprints, media industries and regulations), of developmental
paradigms (the IMF, World Expos) of the body (medical imagery, x-rays), of
travel (in-flight entertainment, billboards), and of security (emergency
services, the Patriot Act).

--Examinations of the material infrastructures of media systems such as
wired and wireless networks, routers, DVD cases, archives, or movie
theaters, as well as infrastructures which support media practices. For
example, how might understanding the infrastructures of media piracy entail
considerations of databases, undersea cables, copyright, code, and/or video
stores? How are media infrastructures such as these represented or visualized?

--In expanding the notion of infrastructure beyond material objects, one
can consider how social and cultural practices might function as media
infrastructureâ€"think for example of film exhibitions, public art
demonstrations, as well as the role of less material infrastructures
(grammar, code). How might one study infrastructures of a text or a
website? How might one define an aesthetics of infrastructures?


The scope of this conference is interdisciplinary. We invite paper
submissions and project proposals (eg., films, models, installations) from
graduate students, scholars and practitioners.


**Please submit abstracts or project proposals of 300 words or less to by January 30, 2009.**

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Received on Fri Jan 09 2009 - 14:55:42 EST