UPDATE: Communication in Crisis (1/20/06; 3/31/06-4/1/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Garnet Butchart
contact email: 


Updated website: http://www.communicationincrisis.org/

Communication in Crisis
Conference hosted by the Graduate Program in Communication
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
March 31 - April 1, 2006

Keynote Speaker: Mark Crispin Miller (New York University)

The new millennium thus far has been characterized by political, cultural,
social, and environmental crises. Divisions and hostilities, born of
transnational, domestic, and intercultural crises, have engendered
contemporary scenes of communication that range from the repressive to the
cathartic. This conference proposes to critically examine the notion of
"crisis" as it shapes the study and practices of communication, and as it
can be shaped by and through communication. We seek to explore the
strategies of engagement with crisis employed outside of the discipline of
Communication, as well as the ruptures that crises potentially engender
within the discipline.

In times of crisis, we must ask: How are barriers imposed on the practices
and outlets of human communication, and does crisis itself contain the
potential for expanding, rather than limiting, the free flow of expression?
How can lessons learned through the study of communication be applicable to
moments of crisis, past and present, in political, economic, racial,
ethnic, and sexual contexts? On what basis does one determine moral and/or
ethical crisis in the first place? Is the scholarly tradition of
disinterested investigation and reflection viable, or desirable, in the
face of widespread crisis? Once crisis is identified, what forms of social
action are effective, if any? In the context of crisis, are the theories
and methods of Communication flexible, or are they in need of

We invite submissions that interrogate the notion of "communication in
crisis" from a variety of perspectives and areas of study: film, media, and
cultural studies; critical theory and philosophy; social interaction; race,
gender and sexuality; cultural policy and political economy; intercultural
communication; rhetorical studies; critical pedagogy. Through critical
interrogation of the notion of "crisis" we hope to generate productive
responses to questions of theory and method, politics and culture facing
communication scholars today.

Possible topics for investigation include, but are not limited to:

• crisis of representation and of recognition
• crisis in understanding across cultural boundaries
• crisis in the presence or absence of memory
• identity crisis (individual, institutional, cultural, ideological, national)
• crisis in academic freedom and purpose
• representations of crisis
• crisis in community (regional, national, imagined)
• crisis of progressives in the face of moral discourse
• crisis in the formation/deformation of public spheres
• crisis and its rhetorical frames
• commodification of crisis
• crisis of faith in institutions (political, religious, pedagogical, legal)
• crisis of cultural studies in addressing both the mainstream and the margins
• crisis in technology

We invite submissions from faculty and graduate students. Please submit
abstracts of up to 250 words by January 20, 2006 to conference_at_comm.umass.edu


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Received on Tue Jan 10 2006 - 09:34:09 EST